100-Mile Week Challenge


I set out on a personal mission to see if I could run a 100 mile training week.

One week. All outside. All solo runs.  

On Sunday I mapped out the week. As a mother of three, writing the plan ahead of time was critical to execution. 

In order to hit this sort of mileage, you need to average 14 miles per day. I knew this would require a few double days in order to break up the distance. I planned out new and different routes, but also creative ways to work in family time. I called in backup (read: babysitter) to allow for two mid-day runs and to save two evenings together. But, I also knew to expect the unexpected to occur and problem solve accordingly (see key takeaway #1).

Here is how the week shook out:

Monday – 4 Stroller Miles AM, 8 Miles PM

Tuesday – 10 Miles AM

Wednesday – 13 Miles AM, 4.5 Miles PM

Thursday – 11 Miles AM, 10.5 Miles PM – gaining   m o m e n t u m

Friday – 6 Stroller Miles AM, 4.5 Miles PM

Saturday- 20 miles

Sunday- 11 miles

Total: 102 Miles

 I listened to a podcast  on Trail Runner Nation with Andy Jones-Wilkins that detailed his 100 Mile Training Week.  I heard him say something that made me very curious to explore. He said that he experienced a sort of accumulative impact on both ability and motivation as the week went on with his running. 

There is a lot of great information out there on how to plan your weekly mileage; I am so grateful for the books and online articles we have available to us from coaches across the globe.  I read about different models of structuring an 80, 90 and 100 mile week.  I wanted to see which types best fit our schedule as my husband and I both work full-time and our 3 kids are at home right now. I love a good long run, but double days were going to be my best friend in breaking up the mileage. 

Here are the key takeaways from my experience:

Adaptability. Have a plan, but be willing to adapt when things don’t go according to plan. And dare I say, even better experiences come out of these situations!

    • Our babysitter cancelled before one of my sessions so I rerouted, took them to a park and ran circles around the park, followed by a bike ride/stroller run. This is something we had a blast doing, and now I can insert into our weeks (until it snows).

Timing. Get used to running, at all sorts of new times of day.

  • I am no longer just a morning runner. I LOVED some of my afternoon and especially evening runs! I could process my day from a whole new perspective.
  • untraditional time windows for running can offer the most memorable runs
  • the longer you spend doing an activity, the more you can expose yourself to a special moment.
  • miles go by faster in the dark.
  • You don’t necessarily need to start a high mileage week following a rest day.
  • The second run on a double day feels easier than you would expect.

Prioritize. When you prioritize something, you will always find the time for it.

  • After a full day at home with the kids, heading out the door for dinnertime can allow for a fully re-energized bedtime routine. I would never normally consider running during this time of day, but preparing their dinners ahead of time, and leaving when Fargo got home, I discovered this to be a really nice break in the day.
  • 4 Miles in the evening can wipe an entire work day stress slate CLEAN.

Accumulative Impact. Indeed, it was true. I had my best feeling run on my final day: Sunday. In fact I unknowingly ran 2.5 extra miles. On paper one would expect this one to feel the hardest physically and even mentally. But I jumped out of bed ready to run. 

  • I say this following every ultra run but it remains true. If you can allow yourself to stomach the pain for just a little, you will get stronger. This can translate into Mile 21 of a 50K or the Tuesday afternoon run of a long mileage running week. 

I spent the first half of 2020 attached to a training plan that prescribed specific types of runs, specific days off and specific paces. When you run with a coach, obedience translates to respect and running “additional miles” does not earn you extra credit. I was grateful to my coach for bringing me to the start line uninjured and well prepared with trail experience. Following the Superior 100 run, I have enjoyed a season of “intuitive running”. A sort of rogue, off the radar run by feel, day-to-day.  We all have different seasons of running we find ourselves in.  It was no surprise that this season delivered me adequate mental rest and brought me back full circle to seek personal challenge once again.  It never fades. Always regrows. 

So, how do we keep challenging ourselves in this longer off season? How can we stay competitive outside of organized races and games? A question on the minds of so many athletes, coaches and the like. There are a lot of people going after some pretty awesome adventures. Here is a short list on how to capture a personal challenge this week or season:

  • mile, 5K, 10K personal records (alot of timed trials out there)
  • FKT’s on trail
  • Personal stage race (4 days of running  – to accumulate XX miles)
  • Fastest run time on your local route 
  • First over 60 minute trail run
  • Linking multiple favorite routes
  • Brick workouts (these are especially fun with friends!)
  • Relays (also fun with friends!)
  • smaller, COVID courteous races – sponsored by personal running groups

No matter, I hope that this meets you in one that allows you to get outside daily to witness the wonderful shift, whether slight and subtle or real and raw as summer frays to fall. 

a late summer wildflower

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