Thursday, March 11, 2010

When does mileage become junk mileage?

I'm tired. Very, very tired. The problem with goals is that it is one thing to plan a progression of mileage: 110 km, 115 km, 90 km weeks but quite another to carry it out. I have run 52.6 km this week and so have 57.4 more km to go. I do believe in the importance of volume for getting into shape but I don't believe in running junk miles. When does mileage become junk mileage? I felt like I was running junk mileage today because my legs were heavy, tired and generally I did not feel like I was running a recovery run. On the other hand I really do think I need a couple of weeks over 100 km to get where I need to be. I have two work-outs (6 X 1 km and 8 X 400m) and a long run to do this week. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I get my legs back for them.


  1. I'm testing out a new theory regarding junk miles myself! I just read a couple months ago Run Less Run Faster and am giving it a go. They would classify junk miles as any run that doesn't have a purpose (long, speedwork, or tempo). It seems to be working out pretty well so far. (My book review was Jan 30 in my archives if you're interested.)

    BTW- I couldn't figure out how to reply to your comment on my blog privately. So I just commented back to you. Hope that's ok & hope the legs feel better soon!

  2. Hi RunMom,
    Thanks for your comment. I am familiar with the RLRF plan and I think it has a lot of merit. I certainly agree with the notion that every run should have a purpose and I agree that their three staples (long, speed & tempo) are the backbone of any distance training program. I do however think that some volume for volume's sake helps a runner achieve certain physiological changes that are important for improving fitness e.g. increasing mitochondrial density and training the neuromuscular system to allow the legs to turn over efficiently on tired legs. So I guess I am struggling to figure out when does the sheer volume component of a training program become junk mileage? As I write this I think I have my own answer - one just has to look for the classic signs of over-training, increased heart rate first thing in the morning, deterioration of interval times or racing performance.