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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