Junk Miles? (Read 780 times)

Interval Junkie --Nobby

    I've read a few references recently to "Junk Miles".  Anyone care to offer up a commonly accepted definition?


    The connotation always seems to be that these are bad, and shouldn't count to "plump up your weekly miles count".  Though, I'm not really sure what that means.  A few people seem to think that 3mi or below are "junk".  But does that count when you do doubles?  If you did 3 in the AM and 3 in the PM, were they both junk?

    2016 Goals: Lose the 10lbs I gained for not having goals

      I personally dont think any miles are "junk" miles.


      3 miles or less on an easy day can actually help you recover from a previous days' hard workout.

      Feeling the growl again

        I really hate the term.  I wish it would go away.


        To people who don't believe that volume at lower speeds creates adaptations that benefit you when you run at higher speeds, a lot of shorter or slower runs are "junk miles". 


        To people who understand training and that running slow can cause adaptations that help you run fast, that is an absurd definition and they wish the term would just go away. Wink


        "Junk miles" would be any miles which do not offer you a training benefit or cause beneficial adaptations.  Every run should have a purpose, and every purpose should link back to a training objective.  Through that lens, you will start to look at "junk miles" very differently.


        Here are some things that are NOT junk miles:

        - A slow, easy recovery jog the day after a hard workout -- promotes blood flow, maintains aerobic ability, helps with flexibility as microtears in muscles repair.  Anyone who has tried it can tell you that a recovery run can make recovery faster/better than not running at all.

        - An easy/short second run when a longer main run is planned later in the day -- Increased work on the muscles, which over time builds strength, and increased stimulus to build aerobic ability (capillarization, cardiac adaptations)


        Here are some things that match my definition of junk miles:

        - Running too friggin' hard the day after a workout and not allowing yourself to recover - inhibits adaptation and sets training back

        - Doing a workout that overall is just too hard and beats you up more than you gain from it

        - The last few miles of weekly doing an 18-22 mile long run when you're running 30mpw, leading to 3-4 days to recover, fewer/shorter mid-week runs, and basically ruining your ability to do anything but just survive that weekly long run.

        "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 am spaniel - Crusher of Treadmills


        hairshirt knitter

          edited: what spaniel said!


            I think we have a winner -  Either no training benefit or a negative training benefit ... But I guess a run could have a light training benefit taken as a single run and still a negative impact to your overall training.


            To me the definition is so broad - A person can apply it many ways.  I have built an endurance and aerobic engine that additional mileage at a slow pace rarely has a negative impact.  For me junk mileage has been more determined by pace of the mileage in question more than the mileage.


            When someone should run an easy run 7:30-8:15 range and runs it at 7:00-7:15 - Not allowing them to be sharp for their next speed workout - This is also junk.


            When the purpose of the run is LAT and you run it too slow or too fast - It still has a training benefit - either marathon pace or closer to vo2 max - Is it junk?


            When I run a 5x5 minute workout at CV (30 minute race pace) and run it too fast hitting 5k race pace and I am so beat down it takes 3 days to recover - Is that junk?


            If someone pursues mileage for a year or 2 or 5 and sacrifices the short term glory of having sharp speed.  They build their aerobic engine big and have great strength - With the goal of them molding this into even better speed ... Is that years of junk?


            My biggest issue with our fast food - give it to me know society is people try a bit more mileage for a training cycle or a year and do not see great results and conclude they do better on low mileage.


            I ran a ton of "Junk" miles in March - But I had 2 goals:  1)  Build up a huge amount of stamina and 2)  to lose weight.  I lost 20 pounds and an aerobic animal - A slow aerobic animal.  I hit the exact training purpose I set out to hit.  If I had dreamt at how the month would go and how I would be and feel afterward - I hit every point I was trying to hit.





            "Junk miles" would be any miles which do not offer you a training benefit or cause beneficial adaptations.  Every run should have a purpose, and every purpose should link back to a training objective.  Through that lens, you will start to look at "junk miles" very differently.

            7/20/17 #247 Comeback #19 ... 10/8 - Glacial Trail 50M




              When I am all out on aerobic engine building - I do not run if I know I will be worse off because of the run. 

              7/20/17 #247 Comeback #19 ... 10/8 - Glacial Trail 50M



              Marathon Maniac #3309

                I'm helping my GF run her first marathon this coming fall in Indianapolis. She's gradually increased her mileage and is up to 40 mpw now, and holding there till she ramps up again.  Two weeks ago she had a mid week 8 miler planned and she said she had to start walking after 1 mile, and then did a jog - walk - run - crawl just to finish her 8 miles. I told her.....don't do that again. But rather call it a day early or just run a few miles instead for recovery. And there's no need to try and make up that sucky 8 miles either.


                Maybe I'm wrong, but that was 8 junk miles feeling that sore and beat up from her steady increase in miles, and learning to run better and  smarter.  


                Of course....what I tell her, I don't do myself - LOL

                Running has given me the courage to start, the determination to keep trying, and the childlike spirit to have fun along the way - Run often and run long, but never outrun your Joy of running!