Too Much Mileage (Read 2441 times)

    So I've had two older gentlemen tell me that they think I am doing too much mileage right now. These guys aren't blowhards, either. One was just inducted in the Maine Running HOF and the other is a coach of the year for XC. However...I am feeling confortable with what I am doing: 85-95 miles a week for 3 weeks then a 50-55 "back off" week. I'll probably get in a few 100+ mile weeks before my marathon taper. They both asked me what plan I was using and I told them "my own". I don't like the cookie cutter approach. I guess I am curious as to what some of our higher mileage guys (A1, DB, mikey, spaniel, et al) think - to much, too soon or doing what I need to start kicking some ass.

    Goals for 2013: sub 18 5K; stay healthy

    Pammie


      I've had that but at a different level when talking to 2 running coaches on 2 different occassions when i mentioned doing 50 mpw they said  it was too much a better way was to run 3-4 times a week tempo, intervals and a long run each week perhaps with some cross training

       

      I don't know what to advice you but we are all an experiment of one what works for one will not work for you

      Questions to ask. How long have you been running and how long at high mileage do you recover from each session How are your race times, are they affected

       

      An example when i run 40 mpw + for 3-4 months i can easily sub 25 in a 5km (slow to some here) but when i don't i do struggle to do so (iys my most raced distance) i guess this is my sweet spot


      Feeling the growl again

        Are you getting injured?

        Are your workout times getting slower, signaling potential burnout/overtraining?

        Do you dread going for runs often?

        Is running becoming a chore?

        How tired are you the day after a workout?

        How do you feel after a rest day, going into the next run?

        Do you have insomnia?

        Are your times improving? (I know the answer to this one)

        Are you excited to run?

        Are you still motivated by your goals?

        Do you continue to feel stronger?

        What are your goals?

        Have you continued to respond to higher mileage?

         

         

        Now that I have posed to you all of these questions, let me ask one more:

         

        Before these dudes told you that you were running too many miles, did they bother to ask them and figure out if it was too many miles for you, or did they simply make that comment based on your volume alone?

         

        At one point I was coached by a former Olympian who told me first-hand that he never needed to train more than 50-60 mpw to reach the level he did.  He acknowledged that he had freaky talent and quickly recognized that the more miles he could squeeze into my plan, the better I would be.  He was right.  He and I were very different runners.  There is no one-size-fits-all mileage.

         

        Now, based on what I know of your training and progress you are right on track.  It's impossible to say definitively without a full picture of your situation so in the end you need to decide it, but the answers to the above question should get you to that answer.  If they have not bothered to follow you closely, and made such a judgement based on basically nothing but your volume, their advice is worth what you paid for it.

         

        If you were running too much, at the very least, you would not be able to keep turning in improved workout and race performances.

        "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

         

          Well you've lumped me in with three guys who are running or used to run much higher mileage than I ever have, but here goes.

           

          I think there is such a thing as too much mileage, I just think the exact amount is different for everyone.  Also, if you took the entire population of RA, my guess is that "too much mileage" is probably only a concern for maybe 1-5% of the population.  The rest have more to fear from too little mileage.  This is one reason why the stock answer of "run more" works for 95-99% of the questions people ask on here.

           

          I would put you in the 1-5% who need to at least be aware that too much mileage exists, but I don't see a lot of evidence that you are really running too much just based on what I read on these forums and in your log.  You don't strike me as someone who is blindly chasing mileage goals at the expense of performance in workouts or races.  And based on what you write on here, you don't seem overwhelmed physically or mentally by the stress of the mileage.  If anything you seem to be quite conservative in your approach.

           

          Having said that, given the credentials of the guys who brought it up, I think it's worth looking at.  I'm forming my opinion based on what I know from a message board--are they forming theirs based on more information than I have?  Do they know about problems you are having with injuries, illness, or ability to finish workouts?  Or are they just forming their opinion from the fact you're running 90 miles a week?

           

          The fact is that the best guys in New England--the guys you and I see winning the races we run week in and week out--are running as much as you or more.  And the true elites among us, the guys who compete on the national level, are running much more than that.  Granted many of them worked up to their current mileage levels over many years but I know plenty who didn't.  If you want to reach your potential you need to ride the line of overtraining and occasionally you might step over it and occasionally you will get injured.  It's a fact of life that has to me managed in this sport if you want to accomplish anything worthwhile.

           

          All of this is to say, no, I don't think you're running too much but ultimately you are the only one who can know for sure.

          Runners run.


          HobbyJogger & HobbyRacer

            Everybody knows that serious runners don't run nearly that much weekly mileage.

             

            Heck, they might only run 20-30mpw. Then jog another 80+ per week I suppose.

            It's a 5k. It hurt like hell...then I tried to pick it up. The end.

              I'm far from running the mileage that most people here on RA run, and yet some people tell me that's too much.  (about 25mi a week)  So, it's a matter of opinion and personal experience.  Just go with what feels right, if you listen to your body, you'll know when it's too much.

              'No matter how slow you go, you're still lapping everyone on the couch'

               

              "Running is a big question mark that's there each and every day. It asks you, 'Are you going to be a wimp or are you going to be strong today?'"  - Peter Maher

               

              "Running long and hard is an ideal antidepressant, since it's hard to run and feel sorry for yourself at the same time. Also, there are those hours of clearheadedness that follow a long run."  -Monte Davis

                Are you getting injured?

                Are your workout times getting slower, signaling potential burnout/overtraining?

                Do you dread going for runs often?

                Is running becoming a chore?

                How tired are you the day after a workout?

                How do you feel after a rest day, going into the next run?

                Do you have insomnia?

                Are your times improving? (I know the answer to this one)

                Are you excited to run?

                Are you still motivated by your goals?

                Do you continue to feel stronger?

                What are your goals?

                Have you continued to respond to higher mileage?

                 

                 

                 

                 No to all the bad and yes to all the good.  The only real drawback I have noticed is the paranoia I have about getting injured has increased since I went to this training load.  Oh yeah, and my shins hurt sometimes.  My concern is that I never ran when I was younger (no high school or college) like alot of people on RA.  In high school, don't they start you out at 30 or 40 MPW or something?  I went from basically 30-40 MPW my first year of running to 60-70 (with a few lower mileage weeks because of injury and other stuff), to 85-90 after running for only 20 months.  But I feel great!  I could probably add 10-15 MPW right now and still be okay - but I won't!  I heard that some people (Lisa Koll comes to mind) can absorb higher mileage better and are better suited for high volume training.  Maybe 90 MPW for me is like 50 MPW or so for others?  Maybe I could do 100 mile weeks and peak at 120-130 for the marathon right now.  I don't know.  I am actually being rather conservative, I think. 

                 

                I don't have mileage goals, I just do what I think is necessary to improve on a consistent basis over the long term - and I'm talking many years.

                 

                You guys definitely know more about my traing habits and abilities then they do because you read my posts and my training log.  Therefore, your input is far more valuable to me.  Thank you for the respones!

                Goals for 2013: sub 18 5K; stay healthy

                  too much mileage, for what? if competition is your main goal then there could be some indication of over training (i dont think that is the case here though).

                   

                  most runners dont win races. those who do, often run a lot. those who dont, run for fun. run until its no longer fun.


                  Feeling the growl again

                    IMHO you won't serve yourself any better by further increasing over 100ish MPW.  You are so new to that level that you can probably gain more by staying there, than you would by quickly moving to a higher level where you will be forced to run more of it easier.

                     

                    Injury paranoia is fine.  Anyone running into newer territory SHOULD have their senses tuned to looking for potential problems before they become large ones.  Injury risk is just the price you pay to play the game...but you don't have to be reckless about it either.

                     

                    You are doing it smartly, taking every third week as an easier week.  

                     

                    Yes, most people that build to that mileage have years of working up to it behind them.  But the fact that you have not gotten injured yet after what you did in 2010 should be seen as a good sign.  Some people are just less injury-prone, period.  While I did have 11-12 years of running behind me when I started running 100 mile weeks, most of it was in the 30-40 mpw range and I jumped straight from 60ish mpw average to 100 with very little in between.  Hurt like hell the first week, ok after that.  I would not go around recommending people to try that but some people can do it.

                    "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

                     

                      I'll be the devil's advocate and launch a contrary line of thought:

                       

                      My first intuition is to say that, yes, for most people 100+ mpw in their second year of running is too much. 

                       

                      I think you will certainly be kicking ass if you run that kind of mileage, but you may be limiting your long term development as a runner. As others have said, much depends on the kind of runner you are. However, I note that you have had a lot of success on 50-70mpw with a variety of work. I'm not sure that you have given yourself enough time at that level of mileage; you would probably continue to improve another minute or so in the 5k just by continuing to do what you did last year.

                       

                      Then, you would be sitting at the end of 2012 having run 15:30ish for 5k off of 50-70mpw. My guess is that you will also drop a minute off that 5k PR by bumping to 80-100+ mpw, again sitting at the end of 2012 with maybe 15:25 for 5k off of 80-100mpw. Where does that leave you for 2013? Where do you go from here?

                       

                      The difference in the marathon will be more substantial if you bump miles now. I'd say maybe 3 or 4 minutes. But in my opinion long term development in the marathon depends on getting that 5k time down.

                       

                      You've got more or less a seven year window of improvement as a distance runner until you max out. I'd like to see a mature runner hit their maximum mileage maybe 4 years into that window, giving them three more years to get the intensity to where it needs to be to be training at your total limit. Hitting your maximum at the end of your second year is pretty quick.

                       

                      Please don't take this advice as definitive. You've gotten good stuff from mikey and spaniel above that most likely outweighs what I say here. However, it is a question to keep in mind, and you should not feel like the only way to get faster is to push the mileage envelope as quickly as you can.

                       

                      MTA: Most of us cannot bet on a 7 year development as working adults, unless we are professional runners. So, that may make all of the above points somewhat moot. You get while the gettin' is good and something comes along and disrupts the gettin'.


                      Feeling the growl again

                        I'll be the devil's advocate and launch a contrary line of thought:

                         

                        My first intuition is to say that, yes, for most people 100+ mpw in their second year of running is too much. 

                         

                        I think you will certainly be kicking ass if you run that kind of mileage, but you may be limiting your long term development as a runner. As others have said, much depends on the kind of runner you are. However, I note that you have had a lot of success on 50-70mpw with a variety of work. I'm not sure that you have given yourself enough time at that level of mileage; you would probably continue to improve another minute or so in the 5k just by continuing to do what you did last year.

                         

                        Then, you would be sitting at the end of 2012 having run 15:30ish for 5k off of 50-70mpw. My guess is that you will also drop a minute off that 5k PR by bumping to 80-100+ mpw, again sitting at the end of 2012 with maybe 15:25 for 5k off of 80-100mpw. Where does that leave you for 2013? Where do you go from here?

                         

                         

                        This could very well be true.

                         

                        This is where you need to figure out what kind of runner you are.  When I went to 100mpw, I already knew that I was a crappy runner on lower mileage, and with even a few weeks of 70+ some funny (good) stuff started to happen.  I had run 30-50mpw for years with only incremental improvements here and there.

                         

                        Will you get faster in the end by runing mid-mileage first and then doing 100 mpw, or jumping straight to 100 mpw?  I think it's hard to say.  I think it lowers risk of injury, but one could argue it will simply get you there faster.  So you have nowhere to build after that?  I would argue who cares, you got as far as you can go.  All this is think think think....nobody knows.  I don't claim to know.

                         

                        I would say part of it depends on if you want to be a 5K runner or a marathon runner.  For me there is no difference, I have to do marathon-type training to succeed at 5K.  But for typical runners there certainly is a difference.  If you want to be a 5K runner, it is good to know if you can run well off mid-volume because that would have a significant impact on how you developed your long-term training plan.  I'd still have you running 100mpw further away from the season, but I'd recommend switching down to lower volume with more work earlier.

                         

                        For most people I'd completely agree with the stepped development strategy.  However Diamond J has seemed to thrive with moving more aggressively, and so I think a little more aggressively for him.  Coaches who had conservative ideologies on mileage kept me 3+ minutes away from my 10K potential in college by throwing us all in the thrive-on-mid-mileage bucket.

                        "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

                         

                          Good stuff, spaniel.

                           

                          It's also important to consider the temperament of the runner, almost as much as the physiology. Some runners need to feel fresh fairly often or they get burned out. Others literally thrive off of a relentless grind.

                            All this is gold. Jeff makes a good point about developing at a particular mileage for long-term development. I just think 50-70 is a little low for me. The fewer miles I run, I feel stale, not rested(except for my one recovery week each month). I think I'll see what I can do off 80-90 for the year and in 2012. Then I if I need higher volume I can bump to 100-120 or higher.

                            Goals for 2013: sub 18 5K; stay healthy


                            I look my best blurry!

                              This is ALL very interesting. My body at this point can't handle high miles. I am going to alternate road running with the Alter G to increase my miles and hopefully protect my legs as I train for Boston. I wish I were more durable. Hopefully I will be more so in 2011. Like DiamondJ, I am pretty new to this. I don't want to burn out anytime soon but I also want to seize the opportunities that are available to me at this point in my life. It is a balancing act, that's for sure.

                                Every mile you put in goes in the bank and as Jeff says, you can continue to improve by maintaining that high mileage for some time. As others have pointed out, you need to determine what is best for you but that is hard to determine as you have built quickly and are still improving from just running. The challenge  is mixing the proper amount/intensity of quality work. Some/many may perform better on 75 miles per week with smarter training vs. 100 miles per week of just "miles". You will figure it out. You are doing great. Stay consistent/stay healthy!!!!

                                Those who try, fail! Those who do what it takes to succeed, succeed!!