Friday, January 22, 2010

Why Doubling My Monthly Mileage is Okay for Me

November 2009 was my highest month's mileage for 2009 - 65 miles.
December 2009 I did 50 miles.
In 2009 I averaged 38 miles per month.

And for January 2010, with 9 days still remaining in the month and 2 half marathons still to come this month, I'm already above my highest month of 2009 - I'm at 70 miles!

So by all calculations, I will end the month with more than double the previous month's mileage (est. Jan. 2010 at 107 miles versus Dec. 2009 at 50 miles).

Not normally recommended, the standard you hear in the running world is to not increase weekly mileage by more than 10% week to week.  So why is this okay?
  1. I am listening to my body, and I am seeing my sports chiropractor regularly.  Obvious but important.  With each ache, I ask "Is this good sore or bad sore?"  Basically, is this the adjustment phase and my muscles are strengthening themselves through this process, or is something wrong.  Often, until it's full-blown pain, people don't stop long enough to ask and answer that question effectively.  With weekly checkups, my chiropractor truly is the unbiased objective observer to answering the question of "Is it good sore or bad sore?"
  2. I've learned to run easy miles.  In the past, my rest days were crucial because a lot of runs were speedwork, tempo runs, intervals - basically harder miles.  By running about 60% of my miles this month as easy miles, it's allowed me to get more miles on my legs with less stress to the body.
  3. Running is not a new thing to me.  One thing about the 10% weekly mileage gain rule is that this statement is most often given as a word of warning to newer runners, especially those following some one-size-fits-all training schedule.  I've been running regularly for years and have become very self-aware in my running, which is an entirely different situation, from the warnings given to those who would get excited and go out and just randomly run every day or run extra long one day if given a chance, when you are ramped up and just starting out.
Now I'm still having my cases of the "good sores" as my body adjusts, so the question is still what I will try to do Sunday at the 3M Half.  I'd like a decent time but if I'm sore that day or the weather sucks, I think I'll enjoy a nice scenic long run. :-)


  1. Enjoy the 3M! I do believe at one point you'll be running through my neighborhood. I'm not hardcore like you and only doing one half this spring - and I decided against doing the 3M in favor of one in Feb. Good luck!

  2. I agree wholeheartedly with #3 - even though I have gone through some "bad" weeks where my mileage was lower than anticipated, or where I had to skip two runs in a week, I was able to maintain the longer runs because I have a solid (if slow) base built. Totally different for me to go from a long run of 10K at Thanksgiving to a half three weeks later than for a newbie (and it was tough for me, but I adjusted expectations accordingly).

  3. Quix, don't you dare ever you the words "only" (as you did) or "just" when talking about yourself getting active. There's no bar you have to rise to, no ceiling you have to break through - if you have the right attitude, you are ALREADY hardcore!

    Corina, I started running by signing up for marathon training. Big mistake. Ended up injured. With so much more experience now, I can look back and laugh - I didn't have a base, I shouldn't have been adding 10% weekly mileage, or even 5% weekly mileage with how I started out. And now I can double it - running gives us a chance to learn something new every day!!!