The miles are down. The legs feel great. The times are doing just fine, thank you.
I have long felt that mega miles during training runs are only necessary for a couple of groups of people:
1. Those whom are elite and really do need to top out of 100 miles.
2. Those whom may have hit a plateau and need a little extra something to help their times drop a bit (if everything else had failed).
3. Those really looking to injure themselves and injure themselves good.
I am not advocating that people run small amounts of miles in their marathon training. I am also not saying people need to not put in quality workouts either. I just feel that we far too often get pre-occupied as runners with adding more and more miles to our weekly total just simply, because…well…because!
Runners are a numbers obsessed group of people. This is no secret. And because we often define ourselves by the miles we run and the times we run them in, it is no surprise that adding that final three miles to a 47-mile week to make it a nice round number is a very easy thing to do. I love the Don Kardong quote that more or less says “forget about 100 miles week- technically 88 is a much rounder number!”
On March 13th of 2010 I had run 525 miles. On March 13th of 2011 I am exactly 150 miles less for a total for the year. Yet, I just happened to run the second fastest half-marathon of my life. Without a doubt, what I do is hardly the way to “properly” train for any particular race. I run races often, I travel almost constantly and if it weren’t for the steaks and salads I eat on the night before races, I would have to say my diet is pretty bad during the rest of the week. It is the nature of what I do.
Yet here I am, trying to fit in cycling miles and swim yards (putting swimming into miles makes it just so small that it really hurts the ego, even for an article about not worrying about numbers!) as I prep the best I can for some upcoming triathlons. As such, my miles are way down. But I feel healthy and happy and relatively fast.
Is it just me, or will it work for others as well? That is the million-dollar question surrounding any training tip, diet or workout regimen. However, time after time, friends around me have focused much more on what they do with their miles than how many they do and almost instantly many injuries go away, race times decrease and a litany of other positives follow. As with anything, it only matters if it works for you. So give it a try.