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.