Thoughts on My First 50-Mile Training Week and 2016 Running Goals

Hi!

It’s been a while since I’ve found the time to blog. Work has been extremely busy and, since my work is writing, blogging has taken a backseat.

Running has not taken a backseat. I find that the more writing I have to do, the more I like/need to work out. There’s a direct correlation between how much stamina I have for running laps around the river and how much stamina I have for spending hours sitting in front of my computer.

(The summer before my second year of grad school, I had about 4 months to write a several-hundred page book dealing with some pretty far out there subject matter, and some days I would cross-train two hours (pure cardio) just to stay sane.)

Anyway, I’ve been steadily upping my monthly, weekly, and daily mileage for the past year. This time in 2015, I was happy to run 30 miles a week. Today, I finished my first 50-mile training week and I feel great.

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The face of a 50-mile training week

I’ve been running for almost seven years now and it’s still an ongoing pleasure to learn new things about how my body responds to different stresses and stimuli. Every runner is different and each runner owes it to herself to figure out what works best for her.

I know plenty of super-speedy runners who like running fast, low mileage. I also know lots of super-speedy runners who enjoy long, slow training weeks. My friend Hollie recently wrote a great blog post about how she thrives on high, slow mileage. I think my sweet spot (for the time being) lies in the middle of low vs. high mileage.

Right now, I’m training 45-50 miles a week with 10-13 mile weekly long runs. I take cross-training days as needed (once a week to once every two weeks). Most of my daily runs are between 6 and 7 miles.

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My first “half-marathon” long run!
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Oh, you know, just taking selfies in the gym bathroom, as one does

My 2016 running goals are to break a 20-minute 5K and a 70-minute 10-miler (which will hopefully happen at the Broad Street Run this spring). I set “goals” instead of “resolutions” because I’m not going to be crushed or feel like a failure if I don’t achieve them. After last year’s Broad Street Run (for which I trained 25-30 miles/week), I set the goal of reaching 40-mile training weeks, but only if it felt right. If my body felt worse instead of better for the wear, I would have immediately backed off and found new ways to maximize lower mileage.

Someday, I might bump my weekly mileage to 60, 70, or even 80 miles, if that’s what feels good and natural. Truthfully, the more I run, the easier running seems, and the more I crave and enjoy it.

When I first started running, I was in truly terrible shape. I only ran 3 miles per week (a weekly Saturday 5K) for at least the first 6 months. I was all kinds of injury-prone, but I consistently did what my body could do and no more, no less.

Cliché: If someone had told me back then that I would someday run 50 miles a week, I would have thought that sounded extreme, unhealthy, and damn near impossible for someone like me, who didn’t necessarily win the running genetic lottery. But if you have patience and faith in yourself – if you’re willing to suck it up and build your stamina (and musculoskeletal strength) slowly – it really is possible to achieve more than you ever thought you could.

I’m a little late, but I’m sending you all the warmest, sincerest wishes for a healthy and happy 2016. Do what feels right for you, and you will do no wrong.

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Questions for the Internets:

What is your longest long run?

How many miles do you like to train/week?

What’s the best ice cream flavor you’ve tried recently?

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11 Comments

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  1. I’ve run a couple of 50 mile weeks. I generally stay between 40-45, but I cross train every week too. I do at least one BodyPump class a week and I like to get to yoga occasionally too. You were doing great on the lower mileage so I think upping it will only help you, and I agree… it should feel right! It took me forever to run over 40 and feel comfortable with that, then 50 last week really wasn’t TOO bad. Also, are you racing less, or just not recapping? Usually a race will set me back a little that week mileage wise due to the increased intensity (I take it easier earlier in the week).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Weeks that I race or cross-train will end up being between 40-45 miles, and that’s just fine by me! I tend to race infrequently in the winter and almost every weekend I can in the spring and summer, so the recaps will resume soon (I’ve recapped every race I’ve run since the start of the blog). 😄

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  2. It’s a perfect time of the year to build that base and sleep in on weekends. 🙂

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  3. Wow! 50 miles in a week! That’s rare for me. But kudos to you for having an awesome running week!

    What is your longest long run? 30 miles, but that was when I was training for a 50 miler. It’s the only one I have ever done and surprisingly, not as bad as it sounds. 🙂

    How many miles do you like to train/week? I usually like about 30-40.

    What’s the best ice cream flavor you’ve tried recently? I am off the sweet stuff for a while, so no comment :-X

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  4. I’m proud of you Liz. Nice job last week and I can’t wait to see you tomorrow!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow, 50 miles! My highest mileage week was 37 I think. What a great accomplishment!

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  6. Great to see you improve on your running, I’ve seen or know you since 2014.and I can see a lot of positive improvment for you.
    I’ve been running since 2014. I was out of shape 44yrs old..(old man) lol..

    My 1st 5k was 21:12 in 5/3/14.
    And now I’m at average19:02-19:34.(18:41PR). 4:52 my mile PR IN 1989.
    I’m still new and want to improve.
    46 miles the most I did in a week and 15 miles most I ever ran for long run.

    I average about 5 to 7miles a day running 1 speed work and long run and a rest day.
    Anyways I love to run, it clears my mind and it a way I relive stress.
    Glad to see you running.
    Hopefully I’ll see you soon at a 5k
    Happy running Liz..

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