Lucky 7 Challenge (What I learned from my highest mileage week yet)

I hinted at this in my weekly training recap post, but on Monday, I officially completed the Lucky 7 Challenge, hosted by Fitness World Run Club. Fitness World Run Club is my Pee Dee/Florence area run club. I lived in Florence until 2012, and even though I’m in Charleston now and don’t get to run and race with the club as much, they’re nice enough to let me stay involved.

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The mission, for those who chose to accept it, was:

  • Run at least 7.14 miles a day for 7 consecutive days. This equals a 50 mile week.
  • You could run more than 7.14 miles a day if you had a long run on your schedule or just wanted to.
  • Races counted as long as you ran 7.14 miles that day, so if you raced a 5K, you still had to run the rest of the distance.
  • Pace did not matter. Walk breaks and walking counted.
  • If you needed to break it into two runs (for whatever reason), that was fine.

Runners have to complete the challenge during the month of April, and our reward will be a car magnet, a finisher’s medal, and the personal satisfaction of completing a 50 mile week.

Since I log 40-45 miles a week most weeks, I wasn’t worried about completing the mileage, but I still had to plan. Even for me, 50 miles in a week violates the well-known “10% rule”. No matter what you think about that rule, jumping from 10 miles in a week is pretty big. I get tired with mileage increases, so I needed to plan it so that I had time to recover from the Bridge Run and make sure my hip wasn’t giving me any trouble.

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Each day, I documented my progress in the club’s Facebook group with a post-run selfie (to prove to my friends and family that I survived the run) and a cute drawing. Best of all, about 40 other people in the club completed the challenge, so we all encouraged each other by liking and commenting on the posts.

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I logged a total of 54 miles in 7 days because I ran 10 miles on Sunday and ran more than 7.14 miles some days.

A 54 mile week is normal or even low for some- especially marathoners. As a 5K/10K runner, it was my highest mileage week ever. It might be a lifetime high, as I do not plan to run 50+ mile weeks or 7 days a week. 

With five years of consistent running, I have a lot to learn- and I’ll take up the opportunity to learn when I can. Your mileage may vary (pun intended), but here’s what I learned from the challenge:

Recovery is crucial. Every day except Day 7, I knew I had to run the next day. Even if the next run was a planned recovery day, it was 7.14 miles and that’s pretty miserable if you’re sore or tired. I drank a protein/recovery shake after each run, stretched, and foam rolled. I certainly didn’t skimp last week because I knew a rest day wasn’t an option unless I got injured (then, I would’ve pulled the plug on the challenge).

Hmm, maybe I should pay more attention to recovery when I’m NOT running 7.14 miles a day for 7 days straight.

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Alternate easy and hard days. I incorporated a garage/hill workout, a progression run, a mile repeats session, and a long run in my week. I don’t like running steady state miles all the time and needed to do speedwork and a long run since I’m training for the Race the Landing 5K series. These were not on consecutive days, and I took it very easy on the other days. I can run hard days back-to-back if the runs are short, but the injury risk goes up as the miles go up.

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Throw out the time goals on easy days. I use a calculator to determine my easy pace, but easy on the day after running mile repeats feels different than easy after a rest day. So many runners claim they only have one pace, but if you truly run your easy days easy, you can push the pace on the hard days. Otherwise, you’re fatigued from the previous run. These easy days were far from my fastest runs and I didn’t pay attention to the Garmin except to reach 7.14 miles.

Since there was no medal, trophy, clock, or finish line at the end of my easy days, I saved my hard efforts for future races.

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7 miles is not much harder than 4 miles. For someone whose been running a few years, 7.14 miles is not harder than running 4 or 5 miles. What’s hard is carving out the time to get up early, lace up your shoes, go outside, and run in the first place. Once you’re out there running, it’s not hard to talk yourself into more miles. I found the extra 30 minutes needed to take a 4-mile recovery day to 7 miles. I didn’t run doubles because it would be even harder to find time to run and shower twice.

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Recruit running partners. I did 3 of my 7 runs with training partners, friends, and running groups. On two of these runs, my friends pushed me to run faster than I might have otherwise. On the other run, I purposely ran with people at a slower pace so I could recover. I’m a social runner and can’t imagine logging 50-54 miles a week all alone, although I know many who do.

If you’re running with others and need to run extra, I recommend running those miles *before* meeting the group. Otherwise, it’s tempting to stop when your friends call it a day, especially if your friends want to go out for coffee or drinks afterwards.

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Encouragement makes all the difference. You never know what someone else is going through in life, and you never know what burden they might be carrying on their back when they hit the pavement or trail. Regardless of why you’re running, how fast, or how far, it takes a lot of heart and faith to lace up your running shoes each day, get out there, and put in the hard work.

Cheer for people. Smile. High five. Wave. Like and comment on Facebook posts. Stroke other runners’ egos and build them up because everyone deals with people or life situations that bring us down.

In the end, the competition is that little voice within ourselves telling us to stop.

I hope we all win.

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13 Responses to Lucky 7 Challenge (What I learned from my highest mileage week yet)

  1. Liz says:

    I would have never thought about running the miles beforehand. I tend to not want to stop once I start (not that I run much these days), so I think if I had to stop to meet up with somebody, I’d lose my motivation. Jon wants to get back into running again so I plan to do some shorter runs with him, but my knees and ankles hurt a lot with running a ton. I think my body is just jacked up the older I get. Congrats on finishing your 50 miles! Is it ever crazy when you go drive 50 miles to think that you just ran that in one week? That’s a LONG way!!!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      I tried to time the runs with people to where I ran up pretty close to when the groups would be meeting- even if that meant I had to run laps around a parking lot or something. The stops were pretty short and it was good to see people, have small talk, etc, so I didn’t really notice much.

      I’m so much more motivated when I’m running with others- and especially when we go out post-run!

  2. Kristin says:

    Oh my gosh, wow, nice miles and workouts!! I love your variety!! You are a rock star, seriously!! WOW!! Love your signs, too!! So cute and oh so organized! Perfect! XOXO 😀

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Thanks, it was fun making a sign each day. I thought about it in the later miles, you know “Hmm, what will I draw when I get home?”

      It’s a 54 mile week. Everyone who is getting out there is a rockstar just for getting out there. Many others are running much more (and much faster!).

  3. Laur says:

    Oh my goshhh, I want to live in your area. Everyone is so supportive about running and there’s so many events all the time! Congratulations on your highest mileage week with no injuries and a lot of gained knowledge. I know throughout this whole process of my knee surgeries, I have learned so much. The main thing is to find your own groove and tune into your body. If everyone stopped focusing on the goals of fellow social media friends, I believe a lot of runners would be injury free or close to it.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      A few people posted in the Facebook group that they were experiencing issues during the challenge and some people did have to stop. Of course they weren’t happy to stop, but everyone was still so nice- because just running more than usual was a big accomplishment for them even if they didn’t do the en tire thing.

      We have a LOT of running events here. Even in the summer, there are races almost every week, tons of brew runs and other fun events.

  4. Wow. 54 miles is an amazing week.
    I love all the little pictures you made to document your runs.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Thanks, the pics were fun to draw.

      It’s safe to say I have “peaked” and probably need to focus less on distance for awhile- especially with 5Ks coming up.

  5. kristenk says:

    This is so cool! I love fun challenges like this. It sounds super hard, so congrats on completing it!

  6. lizlicorish says:

    Oh yay! This is so cool. Congrats on your highest mileage week! 50 miles is a lot to be proud of. I love the 7 mile distance because it’s usually a solid 60 minute run for me. I agree with you about running a variety of paces. My training paces can vary from 7:30-9:30 depending on what kind of day I am having and how far out I am from a race. Good luck with your upcoming 5K race series!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Thanks girly! I thought about the same thing, that 7.14 miles is just over an hour of running. It’s something I can make time for each day. And yes, my training paces vary so much- especially lately with the heat. I know it’s not hot yet but it has slowed down my pace as I’m trying to get used to it. Just so hard to breathe!

      The series starts May 7. I’m pretty excited!

  7. Farrah says:

    I love those signs! 😀 They’re so cute!

    Definitely agree with you that encouragement makes a wholeee ton of a difference! Great job on your mileage this week! :]

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