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Anatomy of a 100 Mile Week

A couple months ago, I wrote down a list of goals for myself to accomplish each month between now and October 2016. Every week, I take a look at those goals and evaluate whether I am on track.

Obviously, for October, my goal was to qualify for the Trials.

For November, I wanted to run a sub 35:00 10k at the Turkey Trot, and even though I was a little off (35:19), I still considered this effort to be a “win,” given the weather conditions that day.

Today, I accomplished my December goal, which was to hit a 100 mile week. I care less about my Monday to Sunday mileage than I do about my overall 7 day mileage, for anyone who is wondering how I could have a 100 mile week on a Tuesday. I think it’s important to not be too constrained by trying to fit in mileage in a given time frame. For instance. I initially planned my first 100 of this training cycle to be hit in the time frame from 12/6 - 12/13, but the rest day I took on 12/6 was 100% necessary. Therefore, instead of trying to cram 100 miles into 6 days, I ran 88 miles from Tuesday - Sunday, knowing that I typically hit 10 on Mondays, giving me 98 for that 7 day stretch. Today, I ran 14.1 miles, which makes my previous 7 day total 100.2 (a new mileage PR!)

I am constantly asked about mileage, how many days a week I run, what my workouts look like, and how often I eat. Interestingly, one of the top questions I am asked is whether I have ever run 100 miles in one week. I think for non runners, a 100 mile week is just as tangible to think about as a 4:00 mile. So, what does it look like to run 100 miles? I will admit, I probably ran more doubles the past 7 days than I typically would, but that came from trying to fit 88 miles in over 6 days.

Tuesday: AM: 2.5 miles (this was the day I had the terrible cramps and had to stop my run early) PM: 9.7 miles/ 1:09:40 Wednesday AM: 5 miles on trails + drills PM: 11 miles total; 2 mile warm up, 3 x 2 miles with 800 m recover, 2 mile cool down home: lower body strength session

Thursday AM: 7 mile recovery run at Eagle Creek Park PM: 6.5 mile holiday light run with Volée teammate home: core

Friday AM: 8 miles on Tow Path ~58 min PM: 3.5 miles with Sadie + 8 strides

Saturday AM: 2 mile warm up, 13.1 mile race, 3 mile cool down PM: 2 mile shake out PM: Christmas party that involved me drinking a bomber of New Belgium’s Le Terroir and feeling pretttyyyyyyyy good

Sunday AM: 14.5 in 1:50:18 with friends

Monday AM: 10 miles in a windy hail storm in 77 mins Tuesday *woke up after 12 hrs of sleep with a sore throat, so I scrapped my workout plans (for the record, I don’t think this is high-mileage related) AM: easy 6 with Dave PM: 8 on the tow path with running buddy in ~59 mins

I wish I could remember everything that I ate this week, because I commonly get asked how much food it takes to sustain my running. A Volée teammate recently suggested it would be really interesting to know what elites really eat, besides the food that is instagrammed and listed in Runner’s World articles. A few days ago, I stumbled upon this article written by a Haute Volée teammate and lol’d at its accuracy (the article is 7 myths about elite runners).

The first myth is that we eat immaculately clean and healthy all the time. THIS IS SO TRUE. Yes, I eat healthy most of the time. My breakfasts this week have typically consisted of different types of cereals (puffed millet, puffed kamut, and Kashi whole wheat biscuits) mixed with toppings such as coconut, pecans, and bananas. One day I made a breakfast sandwich with toasted (white) bread, cheese, and a fried egg. Another day I added peanut butter and banana to cooked amaranth.

Lunches are usually leftovers from the previous night, and typically involve copious amounts of bread and hummus, or, quesadillas, or “mini pizzas” where I take corn tortillas and add marinara, mozzarella cheese, and whatever veggies are in the fridge and bake them for a few minutes.

Snacks are Picky Bars, plain yogurt with whatever toppings I have, dates, Lara Bars, handfuls of chocolate chips, homemade cookies (Dave’s pretty good at baking), fruit, or bananas with almond butter

The dinners I remember eating this week were grass-fed sirloin steak (twice) with either bamboo rice or amaranth and roasted veggies; Coho salmon with rice and roasted veggies, chicken topped with mozzarella and spinach, as well as roasted broccoli, pepper, onion, and garlic; pizza; and gnocchi with roasted veggies. Right now, I am waiting for chicken & rice soup to cook, to hopefully help my sore throat.

But, what do I eat that someone may not label as “clean” or “healthy”? Lots of chocolate. Handfuls of chocolate chips, or I’ll pick up a soy-free chocolate bar when it’s on sale. I love green tea ice cream. Cookies…like Dave’s peanut butter bars or the sugar cookies he just baked. Lots of frozen yogurt with speculoos (cookie butter) and cookies mixed in. Cheese. Beer. Mac ‘n Cheese. Non-whole wheat foods. If I’m within a couple weeks of my goal race, I typically cut these foods out, but, any other time, what some people would assume are “cheat” foods are definitely a part of my diet.

The other myth I laughed at is that we train early. Nope. At least, I don’t. 90% of the time, I don’t set an alarm. I let my body tell me how much sleep it needs. I wake up anywhere between 7 and 10 AM and usually write an article or two while sipping green or black tea, allowing my body to loosen up and rehydrate for my first run.

I also don’t run fast every single day. In fact, I probably only run “fast” 3 - 4 days per week. Part of that is because I am upping my mileage (I anticipate that my 3rd or 4th 100 mile week will be faster than my 1st one), but I also give myself time to recover. Some days, my first mile is over 8:30 pace.

I definitely go through pain and suffering during races. I’ll admit that the pain is different than it was when I first started running marathons, but it’s definitely there. Even races that aren’t all-out can be painful. Case in point, the last 400 m of my half on Saturday:

Another myth that can be debunked in the grand scheme of a 100 mile week: that we have no social lives. Not true! (kind of). I actually did a few social things week, like go to a local, hand made holiday market, and a Christmas party! But yeah, for the most part my social life consists of going for runs with friends and trips into the real world for groceries.

Now that my first 100 mile week is down, what’s next on my list? There was always a myth in college about a few guys who had done a handful of 100 mile + 100 beer weeks. Maybe I can aim for 100 miles + 100 sips of beer :)

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