Monday, July 11, 2011

piles of miles ...

I think a lot about mileage. For most (not all) people, reaching your full potential as a runner lies in running MORE miles. And if you are smart about your training, boosting your weekly mileage can be done safety and effectively.

From 2008-2010, I attempted to log 1,000 miles. The first two years, I fell short with 923.27 and 921.35, respectively. I just couldn't "find the time." Then in 2010, someone, well, actually two someones, far wiser than I, told me the weakness in my endurance was a direct result of a small mileage base.

That's all it took. I didn't want my weakness to be caused by something I could control. I don't have much control over my body type. Or huge quads. Or VO2 Max. But, I could control how much I was running. So, I committed myself to running more and when 2010 ended, I had logged 1808 miles. Nearly two times as much as I ever had before. And all my PRs had dropped.

For me, I don't think there is such a thing as "junk miles." Every run has a purpose, whether it be at tempo, conversational or recovery pace. Yes, sometimes a run can suck so badly that it feels like "junk," but it's not. It's doing something for you.

Maybe it's teaching you to run on fatigued legs.
Maybe it's teaching you how to conquer your mental demons.
Maybe it's promoting muscle recovery while you catch up with your friends.

Every run makes you stronger.

Yesterday morning, I ran 12 miles with my friends - a post-surgery PR.

It started out fabulous and ended ugly. I was dehydrated and tired. I wanted to quit. At times, I wish I had. But once it was over, all the positives came to light.
  • I had just run 12 miles. 60 days post shoulder surgery. At a decent pace.
  • I finished the run with 905.08 miles on the year. On July 10th. Pretty rock star, especially considering I took a month off to heal the shoulder.
  • I ran 34 miles and biked 50 miles this week. My legs should be tired.
But above all, I am getting stronger every single day. With every single mile.

27 comments:

Karen said...

You are such an inspiration!

Jen said...

SUPERSTAR!!!!

milesforbreakfast said...

I go back and forth on "junk miles" especially after reading Run Less, Run Faster. I've read so many blogs where people have used the program and their PR's have been amazing but then a big part of me just can't run only 3x a week. I miss my 'easy' runs. Do you ever think less is more?

Jessica (Pace of Me) said...

I totally agree with you that there is something to learn from every run. I was thinking about this yesterday after my long run too and wrote a little about it.I don't track my annual mileage so much but do look at it closely week to week and while I don't think any miles are "junk" I also try to remember that rest is important in making me stronger too so try not to run on "dead" legs. Great post!! Oh and would that be a lulu skirt I see? Lookin' goooood!!!

ajh said...

I'm not real big on the junk miles theory either. If I am out there running vs. sitting on my butt it is good!

Running Ricig said...

I agree, no junk miles. You are seriously awesome! Way to go on your 12 miler.

Rachel McPhillips said...

You are an inspiration! Every time I think, I don't have the time, I think of T and know, she just had surgery and has one more kiddo than I do and she has already run triple what I had planned. :)

Rene' said...

First of all I am so excited for you Friend. I mean seriously you are at 900, with weeks off for your injury. you are totally incredible. I struggle with "junk miles" and rest days and injuries. I don't think anything is junk. In my opinion every one of my runs has purpose. The only thing that scares me is not being will to take a day and then getting injured. I think it is different for every person!!! did you eat a cupcake after? or a bag of salty chips??

Molly said...

those are seriously great numbers two months post surgery!

Lisa said...

Great job on the mileage!! Love your determination despite having shoulder surgery. :)

Holly said...

Thanks for posting this!! I had a 10k on Saturday that I was not prepared for! Hills that I hadn't run on in months killed me even though I had hit tempo and speed work. I was doing RLRF but am thinking about adding in extra running days to help build my base back up. Super excited that you got 12!

DEM said...

Great job!! I did my 12-mile long run this weekend too - but I didn't have a group of awesome friends to push me through...a little jealous - but what a great group it is!!

Nice Work on that pile of miles indeed!

Tri-Living...Together said...

Amazing!!!!!!! Great awesome job on your run post surgery!!!! Keep on inspiring!

Chris @ Heavy Steps said...

Great job! Most people 60 days post surgery would be at home eating a pizza! You rocked it.

I liked what you said about the miles. I am really trying to up mine. I had my first 30 mile week last week. Feels great to say!

Marlene said...

I don't believe in junk miles - not one bit. Every run counts - I think you and I have both demonstrated that more mileage = stronger runner. There are other factors, but this is a big one.

Congrats on the 12-miler. Stellar!!! Look out SF!

longlegsontheloose.com said...

no mile is a junk mile if you looked good during it!

SupermomE12 said...

I seem to be in the minority of the running world right now, but I am not a RLRF fan. I firmly believe that increasing my weekly running miles significantly has improved my endurance, my strength and my speed (and I have had less injuries as well). I don't ever feel like a mile is a junk mile... hard, easy, fast or slow... every mile run for me is a good mile. I guess I am a believer of Run More Run Faster. :)

Runners Fuel said...

I also beileve that there is not a thing as "junk miles". Good job this year, so far!

Silly Girl Running said...

So glad to hear that that shoulder of yours is not holding you back! :)

Kortni said...

I am so glad you posted about this. I think about junk miles all the time and wonder if I am running too much. I agree that you can learn something from every run and that keeps me going. I also think I would lose my mind if I only ran three or so days a week. My kids would not like me so much! Congrats on a great 12!

Twila said...

Glad you are doing better! I just sat down and reworked a schedule that upped the miles! I am going to keep my miles at mid 30s to 40s until race day (9/18). That is a stretch for me since I have an out of town hubs and 2 year old. But I don't mind the 9:00 pm treadmill runs!

Mel -Tall Mom on the Run said...

CONGRATS!! You are doing amazing things T keep it up :)

Teamarcia said...

I agree. No junk miles. Each step moves us closer to our goal.
While I've enjoyed success with RLRF, there's much to be said for running more.

Emz said...

12 miles. Freaking awesome.
So excellent.
Love seeing where we've come from [previous years mileage]. You're. Killing. It.

Awesome.

Becka said...

Lots of runs suck, but you are right about it feeling great 100% of the time when it's all over. Great job, T!

kimert said...

Love what you said about no junk runs! I needed this post. YOU are an inspiration! Just awesome!

ArtofRunninghood said...

So glad you are back out there! I also agree that every run can teach us something or serve some purpose. Love this picture...you have some nice looking friends. :)