Thursday, January 30, 2014

Why I Think I Can Run Higher Mileage

I'll probably write this and jinx myself and get injured very soon.  I wrote earlier this week about the 30-day challenge I'm doing (update on Day 4 below!) and I'm sure most people would think it's not the healthiest challenge.  And I agree.  I am already struggling and probably going to back off tomorrow by going to a spinning class instead of running.

But, I also think that I am physically capable of doing much higher mileage than I have done.  Here is my monthly mileage while training for the Chicago Marathon last summer/fall:

(I use to log my runs)

So if I took 140 (August mileage) divided by 4 weeks, that's only an average of 35 miles per week, and the other months are even lower.  I also looked at my miles per week and my highest was 49.5 which I believe was the week I did 2 20-mile runs in the same week (here and here).  So yeah, I'm not the best example of running normal/consistent mileage/marathon training tactics.  But I'd like to be, eventually.  Besides that week, I had no other weeks in 2013 that were above 40 miles.

Here are a few reasons I know that I am capable of running higher weekly mileage:

- Most weeks I only ran 4 days.  I should be running 5-6 days to train for a marathon.  This is not true for everyone, but I believe that for my ability level and to get faster, I should be/need to be running more than 4 days a week.

- I struggle with motivation.  One of the main reason I don't run higher mileage lies in my head.  There were a lot of days over the summer I just didn't feel like running, so I didn't.  One week in July was 5 miles because I only ran 1 day.  If I can stay motivated to do my 5-6 days of running a week, my mileage should naturally increase.

- I have never been injury-prone.  I am happy to say that I don't believe I have ever had an over-use related running injury.  This is not very common in the long-distance running world.  My senior year of college from June through November, I was consistently running 40-50 miles a week, and that was easily when I was in my best shape.  I did get injured that winter, but that was a strain from weight-lifting, not related to how much I was running.  I believe this is because of the extreme amount of milk/chocolate milk that I consume and therefore have bones of steel.

All that being said, it is obvious I am not ready for the high mileage YET.  That will hopefully come more in June - September as I train for a fall marathon.  It is especially noticeable to me that I am not quite ready yet because I failed to make it through 60 minutes of running today, on Day 4 of my challenge.

Day 4 - 3.65 miles in 30:30 - 8:21 average pace

The good news is I ran outside.  The bad news is, I didn't make it a full 60 minutes to complete Day 4 of my 30-Day Challenge.  The first 15-20 minutes felt fine (besides the places where sidewalks were barely shoveled), and it really didn't even feel that cold, but I also could tell this run was going to be a struggle.  I finally stopped after just over 30 minutes and started to walk.  Unfortunately, I was a long way from home.  I did a mix of running for 2-3 minutes at a time and walking home, so I probably did get in closer to 40 total minutes of running, but I'm not even going to count that since I had considerable periods of walking in-between.

My legs feel very fatigued, as I expected.  I am leaning towards taking tomorrow as a cross-training day and going to a 60-minute spinning class instead of running.  I am disappointed I wasn't able to make my streak last more than 3 days without a break, but it's more than I had been doing so that's a good thing :)  And I'm going to keep up a full 30 days of activity and shoot for the 60 minutes of running when my body will allow it.  Maybe just some spinning or shorter run days between streaks of 60-minute run days.

What is your weekly mileage like when training for a marathon?  Or when not training for anything specific? I think I'm going to shoot for at least 50 miles a week when I start really marathon training again.

What is your highest mileage week ever?


  1. I think you're being really smart about it! I like the attitude that it's more than you had been doing, so it's a success anyway :) My highest mileage week was probably like 20 miles? And I thought I was going to die then! I don't know how you did 40-50 mile weeks!! haha

  2. I'm glad you decided to listen to your body (it was obviously speaking to you) and not follow through with the 30 day/60mpd running challenge. Incorporating spin and cross training will at least allow you to give different muscle groups a rest. My peak mileage during a training week when preparing for a marathon was 45 miles, only because I typically give myself two or three days off of running a week and incorporate other activity. First and foremost I have to be mentally into it - if that part fails, the rest of me fails.