Finding the Right Mileage for Your Body

I seriously cannot believe it is already Thursday.

My week is flying by – I won’t complain though the hardest part of my week starts tomorrow. Every week that passes also means we are one week closer to June 1st. That day will seriously be the happiest day of my life (aside from my wedding day of course)! :)

 

Thanks for all your comments on yesterday’s post. Like I said, I always welcome a difference in opinion as long as it is done in a respectful manner – and I will never claim to be perfect. I have made mistakes in my training in the past and I am working hard to come back from those mistakes stronger that I was previously.  I truly believe that we all “live and learn” and I have learned a lot over the past 6-7 months.

 

I also want to give a belated shout out to my Mom – her birthday was yesterday! Some of the hardest days of being away from family are those special occasions.  I miss being able to have our yearly birthday dinner for my family. Thankfully she has always been so supportive and I can’t express in words how important and sweet of a woman I have as my mother!

Mom

I haven’t talked much about my workouts as of late. I am happy to report though that yesterday’s workout involved JOGGING!

We started with an hour of pool running and then cut it short. We had enough.

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We went upstairs to do some walking on the treadmill and we ended up doing 15 minutes of walking and 15 minutes of very slow jogging. Wes had no pain and plans on slowly working his way back into it. I am really excited!

 

I was thinking a lot after yesterday’s post of my “happy mileage.”

I have some experience with just about every level of mileage, but have never really found the perfect amount. That being said I am not even sure if there is a “perfect” amount.

When I was training for my first two marathons I probably averaged around 40 miles a week. At those times I was training to complete and not training for a certain time so I didn’t really incorporate speed or tempo runs in there.

As I began running without a race in mind I stayed around that same point for a while, but after losing my job I ramped up the mileage FAST and was averaging between 70-80 miles per week for almost 2 months.

Workout Peak

My peak came at 86 miles. Yeah I was a little nuts. The walls came crashing down very quickly on that for me.

 

As I’ve said before everyone’s body is able to take different levels. My husband has average 100-120 mile weeks ever since he has attended medical school, but that isn’t for me. 

 

I’m not saying I can’t have high mileage weeks once I am at that point again, but consistently it is not the best for my body.  

I need to get my body to feeling strong and healthy. I will NEVER consider a high mileage week until I have gone 1 year without any injury. I know that sounds a little much, but my body needs to get used to real running again and I need to focus on getting healthy.

I hope to be at the point later this year to be running around 40-60 miles per week when training. I have to ramp my body up to get there and I cannot forget the little things. Strength training if NOTHING else has to be a part of my plan even if it is only 2-3 days per week. It has to be as much of a priority to me as getting my runs in each and every day.

 

I was reading Brad Hudson’s book Run Faster and he discussed training two athletes that were husband and wife. One of them ran a high mileage training plan and thrived while the other would shut down and have extreme body fatigue from it.  They both were incredibly fast and had amazing accomplishments but their bodies responded completely different and their training had to be different.

That is the thing I loved about his book is even his training plans say that they can be adapted depending on what kind of training your body handles best.

 

As I said I want to average around 50-60 miles per week when in training, and then after a year of being injury free we will see if I can throw in a high mileage week off and on.  These weeks WILL ONLY be during peek training.

 

My final random thought on training today, I need to remind myself what an “easy” day means.  I need to slow down and really take those easy days the way they are meant to be.  Easy running helps to keep your body healthy especially when you are looking to get faster. If you don’t take those days easy then you will increase your risk of getting injured.

 

What is your “happy mileage?”

Have you every tried high mileage?

About Sara

Welcome to my blog! My name is Sara and this blog documents my journey as a wife and a runner. I train hard and put my heart and soul into my running. My life is a crazy journey full of ups and downs, and I am here to share it all with you!

18 comments

  1. My body is not a runners body and responds best to weight training. Needless to say, a few years ago I wanted to have the lean physique that distance runners have. I pushed myself to run more and left myself looking too thin and with a stress fracture. The running had started to deteriorate my muscles bc that’s all I was doing.

    After being forced by my body to slow down, I was able to take a look at what I was doing. I still love running but do it more responsibly and mixed in with strength training. I do what my body is built to do which is different from someone else’s!

    • That’s great that you have figured out what your body needs! I definitely have learned too that we are not all built the same and we respond to training differently.

  2. My highest mileage was around 40 during marathon training and I haven’t gotten higher since. I think my body prefers higher intensity than mileage.

  3. My highest is near 50 (marathon training plan) and right now I’m in the 30s. I always want to ramp it up, but end up getting a bit ahead of myself (I say as I ice), but I think I have more of a problem with “easy” pace than the mileage.

  4. Great post – I love that we can “feel” that you’re exploring and still figuring things out in your mind. My “happy range” is 40-55 miles. If I personally start going over 60 miles, I can immediately feel my body breaking down. I think I could handle more if I were willing to dedicate several hours of my life to recovery each week (far more time foam rolling, stretching, getting massages, doing drills and plyos, etc.), but I’m just not at the point (and doubt I’ll ever be) where I want to feel like it’s taking over my life.

    • I think that is a great range Megan! It is a huge time commitment once you get over a certain point and sometimes we just have to be realistic with ourselves on what we can do! I look forward to really trying to focus on not only the mileage this time around but also the other things that will keep me healthy!

  5. I am training for Boston right now and my mileage tends to be around 50-55 per week. I find that anything above this really starts to wear on me. This is my 6th marathon – In the past , I stuck to around 45 mpw , but over time I have learned to tolerate a little more. I will probably get up to 60 for this training plan. I think the most important thing that has helped me, as you mentioned, is keeping the easy days easy. I run 6 days per week and take one complete rest day. I usually run easy on 3 of the days, and sometimes do not even bring my Garmin so I dont feel bad about my pace and it keeps training fun.

  6. I get injured REALLY easily so since college I have limited running to 3-4 days a week and cross trained (spinning, swimming, elliptical) the other days, with one complete rest day per week. This has enabled me to train for and finish four marathons with no major injuries, with my best being a 3:15. I personally think intensity and quality are way more important than volume, which can break your body down while providing relatively little training benefit. Basically, quality > quantity.

    • I get injured really easily, too, Sara! I am like you: run 3-4 days per week, the other days I swim and or ride my bike + weights and then one COMPLETE rest day where I do nothing! Not even take the dog for a walk because a short walk can turn into a brisk walk and well, then I am not resting. I don’t train for marathons or races and I don’t aim to be fast. Just want to be healthy and have FUN. If I am injured, then I am definitely not having fun!

  7. My highest mileage week was I think 42 when training for my marathon. Right now it averages like 10… I want it to be more around 20 as that’s my happy running mileage but life is getting in the way, way too much right now. I always get a little upset at myself a tad when I see so many people have like 50+ weeks and would love to do that too, but I know I cannot do that right now at all, I just need to get back up to 20 first.

  8. I am doing some higher mileage now, but it makes me feel tired! I am getting used to 40-50 miles/week but it leaves me really really sleepy and feeling like I need more rest.

  9. I typically run mileage in the 80s. I really like running at that level of mileage. I tend to recover fairly quickly. I have a friend who tried running that level and it burnt her out, not just physically but also mentally I think. I also have friends who run marathons well with average mileage in the low 30’s. It goes back to the old rule that everyone has to find their own sweet spot!

  10. Again I will say that I am glad to see how you are learning – you might look back in a year and have been wrong one way or other, or you might have been right. But the important thing you have been showing is you have learned to focus on being right for YOU. That is critical. I look forward to reading about your slow ramp back into running … and I promise to be a pain in the butt if a weekly summary ever shows you doing something like doubling mileage week to week! But I have confidence :)

    As for me, I have done a couple of 60 mile weeks in a row, but have been hovering around 50 miles this winter. Right now it is annoying … this morning was another sub-zero wind chill day, and frankly I am getting bored of my ‘safe’ 6.75 mile route and want to bust out some 8-10+ mile mornings … but again, safety – I can’t do those until we head above 20F.

    I have never really found an upper limit. Last year, especially while traveling, I did a bunch of 75-80 mile weeks, but never had the time to do much more than that. Pushing that boundary is a definite goal in the spring. I have a bunch of routes and run-types (a 10-5-10 ‘endurance push’ is one I plan to train for my Ultra)… if and when spring decides to arrive!

  11. I think everyone has to find their right mileage. For me, I try to run 3-4 times per week so my weekly mileage is about 15-20 miles and that is perfect. The other days I swim and bike + do weights. I am really small framed and light so I am not sure if that has anything to do with getting injured a lot in the past but right now I just want to enjoy running and have fun. In the summer, I still run 3 days per week but really up my biking since the weather is so nice and we have such a nice bike path in our town. I gotta make sure my runs stay at about 3 miles because if I keep the runs the same and really bike a lot, I will get worn down and injured I am sure. That is the main thing I want to avoid because as you know: being injured is about the worst thing. Keep up the great work and congrats on the run! Both you and Wes will come back even stronger!!

  12. I have been finding that it really helps to use a heart rate monitor to make sure I keep my easy days easy. When I stop focusing on pace and just focus on staying relaxed, my easy runs become more of a recovery run and I can handle more mileage throughout the week. Over the next few weeks I plan to run about 60 miles per week during my peak time of marathon training, but I will be seeing how my body responds to that. I have hovered around 55-57 for the last month or so and have been feeling good!

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