“I bet you I can run to the moon and back!”
An obvious hyperbole, but that is the feeling I had standing at the start line of the Philadelphia Marathon in 2014.
I was a race horse chomping at the bit. All I could think waiting for my corral to be called to the start line was, “let me go, let me go, let me go….” I was ready. When I was finally set free I ran with such an intense happiness for four hours. Which was also my best marathon time.
I continue to run, to run long distances, to run marathons. I exercise, I cross train, I eat well. I eat and exercise in a way that I think will help my performance. That I can run with the feeling, “I am unstoppable.”
Yet, every time I go to the start line I do not have the same ferocious feeling to race. Why?
I go over the question a lot in my head and a few ideas come to mind.
- Fear of not doing as well as last time.
- Fear of hurting myself more than I already hurt.
- I am over 40 – I know I can’t hit my high school cross-country times – is it already time to say I can’t reach my half marathon time from 5 years ago?
All of these are a possibility, I suppose. But after looking at my weekly mileage with another runner I feel there is a big point that I need to take a look at.
To do better on a test then study more, right? That is the mentality I also followed for my running. If I wanted to better at a race, then I needed to run more. More! More!
My goal was always 50 miles a week. Ignoring fatigue, injury, schedule – I had to run 50 miles a week. If I felt well, I would run more than 50 miles.
I had rules. In order for the mileage to count towards my weekly miles, it had to be done at a treadmill pace of 5.5 mph or higher. Anything slower did not count towards my weekly mileage.
Pretty strict, I guess, huh?
Of course I love to read Runner’s World, and in their November 2016 edition I came across the article, “Something Old, Something New.” The article took a look at how runner’s did things in the 1970’s to how runners do things today.
In regards to the subject of weekly mileage, it was not unheard of for non-pro runner’s to log 100 weekly miles in the 1970’s. Today, the average Runner’s World subscriber logs fewer than 100 miles a month.
What does Runner’s World feel about weekly mileage?
That mileage isn’t everything especially for runner’s who just run to be healthier. That logging a few miles a few times a week with other cardio workouts will help you lead a healthy lifestyle. If you are preparing for a half or full marathon, weekly and long runs are still important but there is no need to hit a three digit week.
According to Mike Norman, the co-founder of and coach of Chicago Endurance Sports his half marathoner’s peak with weekly mileage of 25 total miles with an 11 mile long run. His marathoner’s build to 35 weekly miles and a 20 mile long run.
I have to concede. I found that more is not necessarily better when it comes to weekly mileage. I run a lot, I cross train, I eat well – but nothing has led me to drop any time off my personal best times. The only thing I have gained is pain. I have pain in my feet that affects my running and sometimes my ability to walk normally.
I’ve met 50 miles a week for a long time, now. Time to back off. Let’s see what running a little less will do.
I’ll keep you posted!
Cooper, Bob “Something Old, Something New” Runners World, November 2016, pages 78-79.