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Making the most out of low mileage (Read 372 times)


Girl Parts

    Let's say that due to injury, someone was limited in both the total amount of running over a week (max peak at ~20) and also the LR (~7 miles).   What would you recommend in terms of a schedule or plan for overall base running fitness and shorter racing distances?

     

    My most troubling injury is not running related, but does affect my running... mostly nerve stuff down my right leg.  Last year, in runs over 6-7 miles, the top of my right thigh would go totally numb... so... not terribly enjoyable...

     

    Last year, I tried to put together a plan that would keep a high intensity (hills, speed work etc) but low on the overall mileage and used cycling for my longer cardio events.  I sort of hodge-podged it together, so wondering if there is a better way to organize my training (my log is open, I think, but I haven't updated the individual workouts with details).   For reference, my PRs last year were 5K: 26:55 and HM: 2:11.     And I was happy with both, given the limitations I have.  I have no illusions about what is possible on low mileage, just looking for making the best out of the situation.

     

    I tried to search but low mileage was turning up a bunch of varying discussions, so point me in the right direction if this has been discussed already!

     

    MJ5


    Chief Unicorn Officer

      I would keep a variety in my workouts, but keep the ratio of quality work not too disproportionately high for the mileage you're running. Keep your long run, and maybe keep a day for intervals and a day for tempo work on the schedule, but maybe do less intervals or less minutes of tempo for the mileage that you do than someone doing more miles would do. I like to build hills into my easy runs or long runs when I'm trying to get the most out of a low mileage time period.

      Mile 5:49 - 5K 19:58 - 10K 43:06 - HM 1:36:54

        With your limitations, I would run 3 to 4 miles on 3 to 4 days per week, plus a 6 to 7 mile long run on another day.  I would make one of the shorter runs a tempo run.  I would not do intervals on that low mileage.

         

        There's no harm in running a few miles, then hopping on a bike.  Throw in some swimming, and you are training for a short triathlon.

          Let's say that due to injury, someone was limited in both the total amount of running over a week (max peak at ~20) and also the LR (~7 miles).   What would you recommend in terms of a schedule or plan for overall base running fitness and shorter racing distances?

           

          My most troubling injury is not running related, but does affect my running... mostly nerve stuff down my right leg.  Last year, in runs over 6-7 miles, the top of my right thigh would go totally numb... so... not terribly enjoyable...

           

          Last year, I tried to put together a plan that would keep a high intensity (hills, speed work etc) but low on the overall mileage and used cycling for my longer cardio events.  I sort of hodge-podged it together, so wondering if there is a better way to organize my training (my log is open, I think, but I haven't updated the individual workouts with details).   For reference, my PRs last year were 5K: 26:55 and HM: 2:11.     And I was happy with both, given the limitations I have.  I have no illusions about what is possible on low mileage, just looking for making the best out of the situation.

           

          I tried to search but low mileage was turning up a bunch of varying discussions, so point me in the right direction if this has been discussed already!

          Hang on a second and think of this logic for a moment:

           

          I want to look into low-mileage training: why => because I'm having a "troubling injury" (though not running-related) => so let's cut back mileage (so far so good) and introduce intensity (intervals, tempo)...

           

          As far as I'm concerned, this formula doesn't add up.

           

          Low volume; high intensity program, as far as I'm concerned, ONLY works to someone who had done fair amount of volume work previously and--I would personally recommend only to people who--have a real "time constraints" (work, family, commute, etc.); certainly NOT to someone who has the volume constraints due to injury.

           

          Depending on your goal and background of training, and depending on what it is that you're having a problem with, you have to think of what you can do, what you can't do, and what you need to do.  For example, 26-minutes 5k and 2:11 half, hate to say, doesn't show too much of aerobic development.  In such case, just because you can't, or don't want to, do more than, say, 15MPW of running, turning that into lots of intervals and tempo runs most probably not going to help you push your half marathon time to the next level.  Suppose you can't do lots of asphalt running due to whatever you're having; but, say, you can do pool running (aqua running) or stationary bike or plain old biking, do lots of that to work on your aerobic development interspersed with as much running as your legs can handle whatever the pace it may be.  Again, depending on what problem you're having, go longer and slower instead of keeping it short and faster/harder.  Don't think that, just because you can't do 7-miles at 11-minute pace, doing 3-miles at 9-minutes pace is equivalent or better--it's not.  It's not a math game on paper.

           

          Even if your injury was not caused by running, if the act of running hurts, continue running with it is not a smart move; replacing those runs with higher quality runs is even less smart (I guess using a word like "stupid" is not politically correct nowadays... ;o)).  Again, depending on what your current goal is--if your goal is simply keeping up your fitness level and not thinking about any races at the moment, then forget quality; just do as much as your injured leg allows you to at easy effort and do as much cross training as you can.  THIS is when you should consider doing some cross-training.  After all, cross training will NOT substitute running to become a better runner; but when you CAN'T run, then you can use it as an alternate.  Unless your actual motive is different--like you just don't want to do a lot of exercise anyways and using an "injury" as an excuse to do this so-called "run less, run better" scheme--, that's what I would recommend.


          Girl Parts

            OK - perhaps I wasn't clear - I have no intentions of doing a half at this point, at least not in the immediate future.   I do intend to race short distances this year, because I enjoy racing events.  My main goal, though, would be to do something that would keep an overall base of fitness as much as possible.

             

            The act of running itself doesn't bother me until I start to get into either longer runs or too much volume all together.  I've never been a higher mileage runner, for that reason.   The intensity of the work out doesn't bother me nearly as much as length of time.   Crosstraining is much the same, there is only so much I can do before symptoms arise.    However, it is recommended that I stay active, so I just need to find the balance of what I can do and what is too much.

             

            I gave what I tried last year because I wanted input, not to be called (inferred or otherwise) stupid.  If I thought it was perfect, I wouldn't have asked the question, right?  And the whole last line about this somehow being a cop-out seemed like an unnecessary add.   If I wanted to make an excuse of my injury, why would I run at all?  

             

            But I get what you're saying, so thanks for the input.

             


            Dad of a real runner

              Oski - regardless of the reason, there are many of us who simply don't run more than 20 or so miles per week - but still want those miles to be the most effective at getting us the best race time we can get - given that amount of training.  So you question is perfectly OK.  I'm in the same boat - 25 miles per week is what is comforatble for me.  But I still want to race 5Ks and 10Ks, and maybe even throw a half in just for the hell of it.  And I want to do as well as I can at those distances.

               

              The question for the formites then becomes - given that limitation (ie - 25 miles per week) what is the best mix of type of workout that will maximize my race efforts?  And an increase in mileage is not an option because I don't choose it to be.

               

              (MJ5 and JRMichler - I recognize that your answers were exactly that)

              zonykel


                 

                Even if your injury was not caused by running, if the act of running hurts, continue running with it is not a smart move; replacing those runs with higher quality runs is even less smart (I guess using a word like "stupid" is not politically correct nowadays... ;o)).  

                 

                I understand the context of the comment because you used the word "stupid" in another thread and people were sensitive to it.

                 

                we appreciate your feedback as an experienced coach. However, simply saying that you think a particular approach doesn't make sense or you think is a mistake should be sufficient with the proper explanation instead of calling out an action as "not smart" or "stupid". People will ignore the good feedback and concentrate on the insult.

                  Jeeshh.. this is a 26 min 5k we are talking about. Nobby is one of the very few with actual value to his comments. Take the advice or dont, but please dont be hurt when somebody is trying to help.

                  Dont call it a comeback


                  Girl Parts

                    Jeeshh.. this is a 26 min 5k we are talking about. Nobby is one of the very few with actual value to his comments. Take the advice or dont, but please dont be hurt when somebody is trying to help.

                     

                    Gee, sorry my 5k time isn't worthy?

                     

                    I had no problem with the advice, it was the "extra stuff" that was thrown in that was unnecessary IMO.   As I said, I get what he was saying, but the "stupid" part and the part about me possibly using my injury as an excuse - generally don't go over so well.

                     

                      I guess it looks like my comment created a war here.

                       

                      First of all, nobody, at least I hadn't, said your 5k time was not worthy.  I at least said that it doesn't quite show much aerobic development; in other words, you'll probably need more aerobic type training, not speed training.  I had never EVER segregate people, whom I help and whom I wouldn't, based on their time; I have helped 6+ hour marathon runner as well as 2:20 marathon runner just the same.  Only their attitude to listen to me had been different.

                       

                      Second, I never even said you WERE using your injury as an excuse.  In fact, I still don't know what your injury is so, even if some other people may be able to make an assessment and give you free-advice, unless I know what your problem is, I cannot, and won't, give you a clear picture of what I might or might not suggest.

                       

                      Third, to Zonykel, I don't care if you or any other person have a different opinion from mine.  I really care less whether someone thinks my opinion is stupid or what; I know what I know and what I think is right and I totally understand other people may have a different opinion and what might turn them on is different from mine.  But however you turn things around, doing more quality training (%-wise) when you have some kind of injury (again, we have no idea what this injury is) is nothing but stupid; sorry, but no other way to put it.  Just as I still think trying to run a marathon or half marathon or whatever when you are clearly not ready and even more so you hadn't even been preparing in the final few weeks is quite stupid whether you're 19-year-old or 49-year-old.  Sugar-coating won't teach much of a lesson; the age, especially at 19-year-old, is not an issue; it's a common-sense, or rather lack thereof, issue.  Do you send your 19-year-old child, if you are a parent, going into SAT or final, unprepared?  What do you do if they did?

                       

                      Some people, for whatever the reason, don't like to do the work.  They want to run a marathon with minimal work.  That's fine too.  Some people can only afford to run 3 times a week.  I have worked many of those people before.  But usually requirements won't change much; they will still need what it takes to do a successful marathoning--you cannot deny it and you cannot take a shortcut for it.  If you want to hear that it's perfectly fine and you'll run this wonderful time in a marathon by running 3 times a week with lots of intervals, that's your choice; I wouldn't buy into it and I will flat-out tell you so.  But I probably still won't tell you it's stupid.  Other people have other ideas and that's fine with me.  Once again, if you are injured and trying to do more quality workouts; or if you skip the last 2 or 3 weeks of "training" and jump in and run a half marathon and wonder why your legs are sore, I don't see any other way to call that than what I already had.  I'm not posting my comments here to win some approval or status from others here.  The only purpose of my posting my comments here is because I believe my comments will help runners--I know what I know by actually "earning it".  I've mead my share of mistakes--stupid mistakes--and learnt a lesson or two.  I've been in a running business most probably more than most people here (I'm sure some had surpassed).  I don't come here to talk about movies or gardening--I don't object it; like I said, whatever turns on others.  But when it comes to running and training, I don't take it lightly and unfortunately I don't know any other way to do it but pretty straight forward.


                      Girl Parts

                        Nobby - I get what you're saying.  I do.  But I guess the part that I don't understand is telling me what I was doing was wrong/stupid, etc - yeah, I kinda was hoping for advice going forward because I *know* I was winging it last time.  I was just trying to give folks a frame of reference of my last approach.     So it's sort of like someone saying "Hey, I did it this way but I'm looking for some better way to do it" and someone coming around and saying "Yeah, that was stupid."  Well... great lol   I wouldn't have asked the question if I thought I knew what I was doing Smile

                         

                        My 5K time comment was to Parklife.  Considering my first 5K was 34 minutes a year ago, I am happy with my 26 but hey, I guess that puts me in a different class than all the "good" runners.  I'm ok with my times.    Like I said, I have no delusions here.  Just trying to make the best of it.

                         

                        If it helps the frame of recommendations for me, I have four levels of disc herniations - L4/L5, L5/S1, C5/C6, C6/C7.   The lumbar ones cause me the most trouble when running.  Once I get fatigued or maybe it's just the repeated impact, my symptoms appear - pain down the leg/numbness, etc.    The cervical ones make my arm go numb on occasion but that doesn't so much bother me running.

                         

                        Right now I am on my second unplanned rest day because of back pain.   It's just something I deal with.     The important thing is that I stay active - all of my doctors know I run and have no issue with it so long as I stay under the threshold where problems arise (and rest when they do).  And  my symptoms are way worse if I sit around all day, so that's not an option.  Keeping weight off, keeping active and moving are important parts of both dealing with the physical issues and mentally staying sane - it is not easy dealing with pain as frequently as I do.

                         

                        I enjoy the racing aspect and am happy to compete against my own times versus "winning".   So I would like to continue doing that, too.

                         

                        Not sure if that helps or just opens me up for more criticism, but there's the full story.

                         


                        Girl Parts

                          Also - the type of running or the level of effort plays much less of a factor than just length of time.   So running hard (like racing) doesn't bother me much.    It really seems to just be a matter of volume/time on my feet/miles - just to clarify.

                           


                          Dad of a real runner

                            We've (once again) lost sight of the basic question.

                            If someone is going to limit their weekly mileage to 20 to 25 miles (FOR WHATEVER REASON) what is the best use of those miles that will yield the best results for racing anywhere from 5k up to a hm?  How much should be tempo, how much VO2 max, how much recovery/easy?

                              We've (once again) lost sight of the basic question.

                              If someone is going to limit their weekly mileage to 20 to 25 miles (FOR WHATEVER REASON) what is the best use of those miles that will yield the best results for racing anywhere from 5k up to a hm?  How much should be tempo, how much VO2 max, how much recovery/easy?

                               

                              I'd try to break my runs into 4 days, perhaps structured as follows:

                              Day 1: shorter/easy run

                              Day 2: Hard/Key Day 1

                              Day 3: off or easy xt

                              Day 4: short/easy run

                              Day 5: Hard/Key Day 2

                              Day 6 off or easy xt

                              Day 7 off or easy xt

                               

                              The first Hard/Key day would alternate between VO2Max Reps (varying distances each week) one week and about 3 to 5K worth of 1K CV Reps w/ some fast 200s tacked onto the end (about 6 to 7 miles total). CV Reps (known as Critical Velocity is about 35 to 37 minute race pace)

                               

                              The other key day would be my long run that contained some harder running between HMP and MP (about 8 to 12 miles total). This woudl be one continuous run.

                               

                              The remaining miles would be split between the two other easy days.

                               

                              Given all this however, I don't think one could expect a very productive HM race on such limited mileage.


                              Girl Parts

                                Thanks, BoilerTom - question - is there a benefit to doing the 4 days with the two back-to-backs like you have?  As opposed to one of the xt days in between?

                                 

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