Thursday, October 18, 2007


More rain.

More miles on the trails.

12 miles to be “exact”.

I’m trying to add in a mid-week medium-long run. That’s something that I feel really helped me prior to Grandma’s but was sorely missing from my summer training program. Ideally, I’d like to be able to run 14-15 miles for these, but when your long run is only 15 miles, 12 miles seems like a good start.

Lately I’ve been thinking about a conversation I had with John Naslund about 6 weeks ago. It was the day before the City of Lakes 25K and we met up for a short run. We were talking about race results over the years and how the same people seem to beat him over the years. It doesn’t matter if he was 30, 40 or 50 – the same people (for the most part) beat him year after year.

I imagine that’s true for most runners, especially if they’ve been at it for a long time. I’m sure it’s true for me. Then I started thinking, “Can I change this trend, and if so, how?” For me, I think it gets back to the rededication post I had a week ago. It has to be about bumping my mileage during my base-building phase. I simply can’t believe I’ve reached my peak performance on only 60 mpw. Sure there have been weeks of higher mileage, but when you average it out for the year, I’m really only a 60 mpw runner – at best.

So I thought I’d give a brief recap of my last attempt at high mileage which took place at the end of 2005 and into early 2006.

Nov 246 miles with weeks between 35 and 78 miles
Dec 316 miles with weeks between 54 and 80 miles
Jan 364 miles with weeks between 50 and 97 miles
Feb 326 miles with weeks between 64 and 100 miles (1:24:45 half)
Mar 365 miles with weeks between 74 and 92 miles (29:15 8K)

In April I had weeks of 69 and 87 along with a 1:17:57 20K, which was a pace faster than I was able to run for 10K just 6 months prior.

A week after that 20K I was on the sidelines with a calf injury. After further review I attributed that injury to being too aggressive on the downhill portion of my hill workouts. Then last night I was re-reading Daws’ Running Your Best – the same book I read two years ago. Daws was big on “smooth transitions” into different types of training. You don’t go from low mileage to high mileage right away. You don’t jump from slow running to speed workouts. You don’t go from running on the flats to running hills.

Regarding that last sentence, he said you need to include hilly runs during your base training, prior to running hill workouts. I thought about that this morning as I was trudging up a hill in Hyland Park and a light bulb went off in my head. In 2005/2006 I did about 90% of my base training on the pancake flat railroad beds in the area. While that terrain was great for adding miles, it did nothing to prepare me for the upcoming hill phase. So while running downhill too hard probably wasn’t the best idea, running on mostly flat surfaces was even worse.

I guess that’s the long way of saying that I think I’ll be ready for the hills this time around. However, I don’t know how my weekly mileage will fare if I run in Hyland Park 5 days a week. I guess I’ll find out.

Quote of the day;

“Hills: You entered a marathon with hills? You idiot.” – Don Kardong


Anonymous said...

I've had the same experience with the same guys beating me for 20-30 years. However, there were 15 guys beating me 20-25 years ago (in my age group) but most of them aren't running/racing anymore. So, longevity helps you move up in the age group. Your love for high mileage might not help the odds of a long career.

Chad said...

Yeah, there's something to be said for longevity. However, I've already been at this for 28 years, so I think "long career" is taken care of.

"Successful career" is another story. "Successful" being defined as getting the most out of your abilities. I just don't want to look back in 20 years and say "What if I would have tried running high mileage...?"

Gregg said...

check out my "dangle the carrot" entry last week on my blog...we are coming to the same conclusions at relatively the same point in our "careers". I feel the same way about regrets later in life, as I have some already about my 20's and not giving it 110%. This winter should be interesting.
Best of luck!

Anonymous said...

When you start bumping up your miles as you did in late 2005 what percentage of those miles do you do as easy to maintain freshness? I run approximately 125-150 per month when things are good but seem to run too many of the miles hard. How do you find the right balance? It's great to have you posting most every day again!

Anonymous said...

Hey Chad, I've been enjoying your blog for the past month or so. Thanks for all the interesting posts.

I've never run more than 80 mpw and am now running about 55 - but hoping to climb back up to some high mileage during the winter before attempting another spring marathon. I was wondering if you were following a specific training schedule? It's hard to find good advice for runners who would like to log more than 80 mpw, but I think that may be the key for me to getting under 3 hrs. I ran a 3:05 in April after peaking at 80 mpw.

Jim from MN said...


Your nod to Ron Daws’ "Running Your Best" did my heart good! Hyland is an awesome place to run--in 2000, I ran one 90-100 minute run on those trails midweek all summer on my build-up to Twin Cities that fall.

As we get older it is really sound advice to temper your transitions (slower to faster; flat to hills; etc.).

Chad said...

Gregg, nice post. I imagine we're not the only runners ever to have those thoughts.

Chris, it sounds like we're on opposite ends of the spectrum. I probably tend to run "too much" of my mileage at a very easy pace. I don't have specifics from 2005 handy, but I'll try to track them down.

Keith, with Boston still 6 months away, I'm just trying to build my mileage. I don't have a specific plan. If you want a schedule out of a book for higher mileage, I'd suggest Pfitz's Advanced Marathoning.

Jim, I hope those runs in Hyland led to a great TCM. Look for more from Daws in the near future.

E-Speed said...

love the quote. I definitely think you will see improvement with added hills on your regular runs. I've worked hard this year to incorporate them and the San Frans hills were a breeze (granted I was pacing not racing, but still). I'm looking forward to hill repeats replacing track this winter for awhile.