Monday, August 14, 2006


Normally I just respond to comments with another comment, but the recent discussion probably warrants a follow-up post.

First off, good points everyone, interesting discussion. I agree that the “line” is curved and shows diminishing returns over time. However, I think, due to the lack of higher mileage samples, this particular graph levels off too quickly. If I threw in results for high-mileage guys like Duncan, Evan and Mike, the graph would probably extend a little higher before leveling off.

As they say, this sport is an experiment of one. Punch in your data and see what happens. You may be surprised.

I agree with Yvonne that there’s a lack of discussion regarding the mental aspect of our sport. However, I doubt that comes into play much on this graph. If someone’s not doing mental toughness exercises at 30 mpw, they’re probably not doing them at 70 mpw. Even if they added them to the mix, it would only shift their data points up a bit. For example, a 1% increase in wava % is roughly 2.5 minutes for me in a marathon. Is the mental aspect going to gain me more that that? I doubt it.

Talking about “time since couch potato”, I'm not saying everyone needs to jump from 30 mpw to 70 mpw. I've always suggested that people need to push themselves a little more - gradually over time – rather than limit themselves to X mpw.

One thing the graph doesn't show is someone running 30 mpw and running an 80% wava. It doesn't matter if they've been running 12 months or 12 years. That mileage WILL NOT cut it when it comes to “competitive” running.

One of the reasons I came up with this topic is because I kept seeing comments on other blogs like;

“Wow, 46 miles this week is a lot.”

Umm, no it’s really not. Not if you want to get to Boston.

“Oh, you’re doing fine at Y mpw. Don’t listen to what everyone else says.”
I think the reason people say stuff like this is because THEY don’t want to put in the work themselves and they don’t want to see you improve either.

“So and so ran 3:10 on Z mpw.”
How do you know that person wouldn’t run 2:50 on more miles?

At the end of it all, this was just a visual exercise to show that as mileage goes up race times go down. Maybe it’ll get some people to take action and change their training. Maybe not.

Quote of the day;

“What else would you want in a marathon? Grandma’s Marathon starts in the middle of the woods, runs along the beautiful shores of Lake Superior, and finishes at a pub.” – Garry Bjorklund


qcmier said...

You're also going to get this crazy triathletes skewing your data. In the back of my mind, I have this idea to qualify for the Boston Marathon after my IM. I hope a sub 3:10 on 30 running miles per week won't be too far of an outlier on your graph.

But you certainly have me thinking about how fast I can go if I up my running miles a bit.

Chad said...

qc, I threw the triathletes out of the data so that it wouldn't be skewed due to cross training.

I have a friend who did her first IM last year at Madison. At Chicago a month later she dropped her 3-year old marathon PR from 3:17 to 3:11. If she can do it, so can you.