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Author Topic: Weekly/Monthly Mileage
sfunk226

Posts: 6
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Post Weekly/Monthly Mileage
on: June 27, 2014, 07:21
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Hello! I have been a runner for a a while now I've run several half and one full marathon. But I have never concerned myself with weekly or monthly mileage. I have a running friend that is always asking me what my mileage totals are for the week and month and I am starting to wonder if this is something I should actually care about. I usually just train for a race by following a plan...hoping that that will give me all the mileage I need to be prepared. When I am not training for a race I just run about 3-4 times a week with one of those being a long run. Could someone explain to me the point of knowing my mileage totals and if it is really something I need to focus on?

Thanks!

Ang J

Posts: 367
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Post Re: Weekly/Monthly Mileage
on: June 28, 2014, 04:49
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It all depends on what you want to get out of running. If you're just in it for the enjoyment then what you are doing is perfect. Some people (like myself) get additional enjoyment from tracking all those numbers - how many miles, what pace, etc., but if you don't find that rewarding then it doesn't matter. All the GPS devices out there encourage this numbers focus.

However, if you are trying to improve your race times then you start paying attention to the details. If you are following a training plan - like RLAM, Hal Higdon, or one of the many others you can find online - then as you say someone else has already thought about the numbers so you don't have to. In general those plans, particularly for half and full marathons, have you increasing your weekly mileage over the course of the plan, and tapering the last couple of weeks before the race so your body is well trained and well rested on race day.

A lot of the wisdom and lore about running dates back to the early days of track and field decades and decades ago, when most of the people around who were actually running were competitive runners. So while there has been an explosion of recreational and fitness running, and there are many runners now who do it for fun and health benefits, a lot of the talk about running still centers on performance and how to improve it. Many general training principles can be applied to the recreational runner, but frankly a lot of the information out there is more relevant for serious amateurs. The average woman runner I know is not putting in 70-100 mile weeks.

However, that doesn't mean the average runner can't benefit from those training principles. One general one is the principle of increasing performance by increasing training volume - that is, you increase performance when you run more miles per week. You can think of it in terms of the expert rule - running is a skill, and the more time you spend practicing that skill the better you will get - and also in terms of fitness. If you are able to run a 4:20 marathon running, say, 40 miles a week, then you may be able to run a sub-4:00 marathon if you run 50 miles a week (I'm just plugging numbers in). They have to be the right kind of miles though; most of those miles have to be easy, with harder workouts distributed judiciously throughout the week. If you ran 50 miles a week, or added 10 miles a week to your total, and they were all hard miles, you'd be more likely to succumb to injury. Make sense?

The short of it is, only focus on numbers if it's something you enjoy or find important. If not, just explain to your friend that that's not what motivates you.

sfunk226

Posts: 6
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Post Re: Weekly/Monthly Mileage
on: June 30, 2014, 14:18
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Ang J-
Thanks so much for the explanation! I really appreciate it. I actually really like the numbers of running but I just never understood what the point was in focusing on mileage totals, it makes more sense now. A bigger issue was that my friend is kind kind of competitive and is constantly asking me about it and I didn't know quite how to tell her that I just wasn't interested in it...but you have given me a very nice way to explain to her by saying "its just not what motivates me." Thanks again!

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