Yes – the number of miles you run per year is not important. You did read this correctly.  The number of miles you run per week, month and year are not important.  It is the quality of the miles that is more important. Yes – you can’t only run speed or run only 200 miles a year, but the threshold varies per person, but it is usually not as much as you think.

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 (33+ years, 35,000 miles and 46+ yrs. old) I had to assess what I had been doing.

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 35% 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
20K – 1:23:39-> fastest ever lifetime (PR – Personal Record)
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 1170 miles (after last year finishing with 1025 miles – least since 1998) with maybe 5 30+ mile weeks and 1 100+ mile month.

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.

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….

Happy New Year to everyone!!!

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aaaovertraining

Nickolas Joannidis
Nickolas Joannidis
I have been running for over 35 years, having done practically every possible racing event or distance from the 100 meters through the marathon. I competed in varsity high school cross country and track at Saddle Brook High School in the mid-1980's, varsity cross country and track at Division II Pace University and finished well over 200 road races since then, including 20 marathons with a lifetime best of 3:14:50. I was the president of the Hoffmann LaRoche corporate running team for 7 years, growing the team from 25 to over 90 during his tenure. I coached many of these runners to achieve their goals, whether they were beginners or advanced. In 2011 I was an assistant coach for the Fair Lawn Recreation track team, helping the 10 to 14 year old group. I am currently personally coaching dozens of runners, from beginner levels to advanced levels and getting them to be prepared to meet their goals.

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