Friday, April 30, 2010

so about that mileage base ...

It seems that a lot of you were shocked by the statement that my mileage base was too small for anything over a 10K. When I found this out, I was shocked too. But, let me see if I can clarify things a bit.

I want to begin by saying that my weekly mileage base is too small to be COMPETITIVE in any distance over a 10k. But it is NOT too small to FINISH longer distances. And there is a distinction in that. Some people see this as COMPETING VS. COMPLETING. And I would like to throw out there that to be "competitive" does not mean that you are in the mix to place, but rather that you be "competitive" versus your past performances and in comparison to your times in other distances. Make sense?

Let's use me as an example. I have a 5K PR of 24:09 and I run 25-30 miles a week. My base is large enough to be competitive at the 5K. If you calculate what I should be running a half marathon in based on my 5K time, I would have a half PR around 1:51. But what is my half PR? 2:01:36.

OK, so let's reverse that calculation. If you calculate what my 5K PR should be based on my current half PR, you come up with a time of 26:07 - a two-minute difference. Reversing the calculation like that shows that I have an adequate base for shorter races, but not necessarily so for longer races. Long story short, it comes down to endurance. I don't have the endurance to hold a comparable pace at a half marathon that I can at a 5K. And how do you build your endurance? YOU LOG MORE MILES. It's as simple as that.

And in case you were wondering (and I know you were), I am looking to build my base to 35-45 miles per week in order to COMPETE in distances up to a half marathon. This same base would allow me to FINISH up to a 30K.

27 comments:

Michelle said...

Thanks for the post - I have been wondering about this. Makes sense after you posted about it.

Keri said...

Interesting...I have been torn on this. I think this is true to an extent, but I also think it depends on the person and the type of runs you do. I always thought it was more about the weekly long run than the number of miles per week.
Thank you for sharing your coaching tips with us!

Jen said...

When I start to "train" for my marathon, I will be running 40-45 miles per week and my long run will be 14 miles. I just think that distance increased your endurance... but do what works for YOU!

Teamarcia said...

Girlfriend you and I are in the same boat. Because I'm a FIRST devotee my mileage stays relatively low, therefore I haven't yet had the 1/2 marathon of my dreams.
When I've tried to up my mileage the injury ghoul pays a visit. Bah!

rebeccam said...

Great post..thanks for passing on your training knowlegde!

Carly said...

This is interesting. But I am curious if you would then need to be extra vigilant to prevent an injury. It seems to me you would need to be extra careful. I tried upping my mileage to train for a half and about halfway through the training plan I had to stop before I injured myself.

the dawn said...

Seriously, I am soaking up all of the knowledge that you are sharing! LOVE IT!!!

I've been following a Pfitzinger marathon plan for this training cycle and it has me peaking at 55 miles per week. I've gotten some reactions that this is higher than it needs to be. Now I feel pretty secure that having that kind of mileage will help me run the kind of race that I will be happy with.

Thank you for sharing your knowledge. I appreciate it so much! I often feel like running and training is just a lot of guess work, but you're helping me to be more intentional about it.

Laurie said...

I think that makes sense and I would imagine that if one increases their mileage slowly enough over time (while taking care of their body) most injuries can be avoided. I think I read somewhere that it should be no more than 10% of your weekly total added on per week. Thanks for the great info!

S Club Mama said...

gotcha! I don't see competing in any race in my future - just completing. lol

Marlene said...

I get exactly what you're saying - makes perfect sense.

Run more to run faster!

misszippy said...

You are wearing your coaching hat well! Don't forget--when increasing your mileage, don't overdo it! ; )

fitandfortysomething.com said...

thank you for the info tonia! happy friday!

MCM Mama said...

Should I be scared that I'm planning to complete a marathon on a base of 35-40 miles? ;o)

I'm hoping to stay in the 30-35 range once the marathon is done. Maybe I can knock my HM PR down next year. I'm definitely gunning to do a sub-1:30 10 miler in the fall.

Candice @ I Have Run said...

Thanks for explaining this! It was not only informative, but motivating. I realize I need to kick it up and stop finding excuses if I really want to be able to compete. Thanks!

Heidi said...

Thanks for the info. Though I'm not sure if I feel that works for everyone. My 5K is a little slower than yours, but my HM is a little faster - and my mileage base is less. I too thought it had more to do with your weekly long run rather than accumulated mileage. Interesting though.

shellyrm aka jogging stroller mama said...

Add just a little bit more and you can join me in July for the 50k! I am not competitive at the distance but I complete it! It would be so fun! Think about it!

Thanks for sharing your knowledge. I like know you explained this! Great teaching skills...must come from being a mom!

Katie A. said...

Great post! I totally agree!
For me though, I learned anything past 50+ miles and my body starts to digress, not improve. I feel like I have been competative with my 45-50 mile weeks with my marathon. The key is good long runs!
Love that your sharing all your knowledge! So fun! Have a great weekend and happy running!

Judi said...

This makes sense to me! I really cannot run an 8 minute pace for longer than a 5K right now. I am most comfortable in the 9's and maybe even close to the 10's when I am going over 10 miles. I guess I would need to up my weekly miles too. I don't know if my body would like that!

I'm just rambling . . . thanks for sharing this info - definite things to think about.

Have a great weekend!

Cynthia O'H said...

And, that is exactly why I am thinking of keeping mileage lower over the summer. I worry that I will be able to marathon but not at the pace I want to; with two kids, anything and everything can get in the way. So, I figure that I could focus on the 5K and 10K distances and try to get closer to 20 and 40 minutes instead. First, I need to find a pair of lungs.

Anabela (Bela) Neves said...

Great info, thanks. I just did up my 11 week training guide for my 10 Miler and I'm looking at the week with 29 miles wondering where I am going to fit it in. I need more time in life.....LOL

Holly said...

Very good info! Keep sharing! After reading this I feel like I am in good shape for my September Half-Marathon. I am working on increasing my endurance and miles per week.

Anne said...

Extremely interesting...and clearly, I'll be in the completing group for a while :)

Lindsay said...

Great post!! Very good to know!

ajh said...

Hmmm. What would you say for a marathon? At some point too many miles equals injuries I think. But I hear you about not matching times for longer distances.

AM-GoalsfortheWeek! said...

that's me at the moment. have the mileage for shorter races, and am attempting to build my base to lead up to Vineman. My training program has me focusing on time/pace vs. miles (ex 1hr run at 8-9 min pace) to build my overall endurance.

Miriam of Filly Runner said...

I definitely focus more on my long slow mileage. Is there a resource on the internet you know of for how much mileage I should be putting in every week to get to higher mileage races?

Jill said...

I just saw this post. Very intereting. I don't think I have been getting enough miles in for my marathon then? I have been running about 30 miles a week. What are your thoughts? How many miles should I be getting in.

With my schedule I can't do much more than that. Oh man all the rules and schedules for running. Hard to keep up with it all.

Great to know all this info. Thanks for all the informative posts...I love it.