Everyone is different and there are people who break every trend. Different goals demand different mileage patterns to accomplish personal goals. My contention is that the total number of miles you run per year is not important. The actual number of miles you run per week, month and year are not important. It is the quality of the miles that is more important. You can’t only run speed or run only 200 miles a year and expect to run the Boston Marathon. The totals are usually not as much as you think you need, however, particularly if you want to consider career longevity.
From 2005-2013 I averaged 1400-1670 miles per year with only 3 or 4 months under 100 miles and massive streaks of 30+ mile weeks. In 2014, I tore my meniscus and had to take almost 2 months off from running. Those months were the best thing that happened to me. As an aging runner (now 35+ years of running, 38,000 miles and 48+ yrs. old) I had to assess what I had been doing to preserve my career length. I really hope to be running when I’m 80, if that is the minimum age that God has in store for me.
In late 2014, I changed my running strategy. In addition to using a super new nutritional program, I started hitting the gym 2-3 times a week for intense low-impact boot camps that emphasized core, stability, agility, balance and strength. I also lowered my mileage by almost 30% and ran 3-4x a week instead of my customary 6x a week.
The results have been staggering – all these times occurred since 2015:
5K – 18:24 -> fastest since 2010
4M – 25:26 -> fastest since 2001
10K – 39:39 -> fastest since 2008
10M – 1:06:36 -> fastest ever lifetime (PR – Personal Record)
20K – 1:23:39-> fastest ever lifetime (PR)
13.1 – 1:30:05-> fastest ever lifetime (PR)
4.72 – 29:22 -> fastest since 2009 (Manchester Classic-CT)
26.2 – 3:24 -> fastest at Boston; 6th-fastest ever
26.2 – 3:21 -> 3rd fastest ever
And I’m going to finish this year with just over 1250 miles with maybe 10 30+ mile weeks and 4 100+ mile months.
So this is how I am going to train going forward – less miles, more speedwork and tempo runs and more strength training. Father time always wins, but you don’t have to give up without a fight. There are 5 75+ year old runners on my running club, and they keep on going and going! I admire them for continuing to get out there.
The professionals are just that – they have the time and their goals are different than most runners. Even they have started backing off 140 mile weeks of the past. Most people can’t relate to these runners and they should use them as inspirations, but should not try to match their workouts as they most likely will get injured…..
While it’s cool to hear about 25+ year streaks of not taking a day off or 3,000+ mile years, I’m sticking to what I have learned. I want to be running when I’m in my 80’s. So if my body reacts positively to less miles, then I will go there. That is exactly the way I treat the runners I coach, with a balance, and a nod to the future….
Happy New Year to everyone!!!
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