Miles needed to maintain fitness (Read 150 times)


Overweight per CDC BMI

    I just completed my running club's race series for the year, beating my half marathon PR by 8 minutes. I am very happy with this time and I can certainly say I am in the best shape of my life. Besides running a 5k with my wife in a month, I don't have any other big races planned until another half in March.


    Since I have only been running/training seriously for about 2 years or so, this series over the past 5 months has been pretty grueling for me and I am looking forward to taking a bit of a rest. I have improved a lot over the past year and want to know how many miles per week I need to keep up for the next two months to maintain the fitness I have gained. I have been running 25-35 miles per week the past 6 months and will start training hard again beginning of January.

    Memphis / 37 male

    5k - 20:39 / 10k - 44:59 / Half - 1:36:58 / Full - 3:38:10


      I've heard a rule of thumb that doing an exercise at least every two weeks, will maintain the level of strength/fitness.


      This has worked for me.


      I'm not a long-distance runner, but I've heard some talk that long intense runs are taxing and require a long period of recouperation.


      Maybe take what you run now peer week, divide that by 2 and run that per week?

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      Overweight per CDC BMI

        Yes, I was thinking that maintaining at least half my weekly mileage (15+ miles) would do it since I am fairly new and will still have a lot of potential gains in my training over the next few years. I will be very busy with work and traveling over the next two months but I feel like my lower body could use some recovery time from the tough training regiment.

        Memphis / 37 male

        5k - 20:39 / 10k - 44:59 / Half - 1:36:58 / Full - 3:38:10

        an amazing likeness

          Aerobic fitness can be built and maintained in all sorts of ways -- elliptical, biking (indoors or out), etc.  But running fitness -- the body's adaptation to work of running itself will fade quickly and takes more than an every-now-and-then workload to maintain. My intuition (no data to support, other than experience) is that heading out the door once or twice a week will likely mean you'll run harder on those workouts, and be a greater risk for nagging injury.


          I've chatted with a few top level (local) runners about their approach and the trend is they take a few weeks off at the end of their target racing season, enjoy the downtime, do some cross training, put on a few pounds, whatever -- then the start back up slowly with a focus on base miles and heading into the spring healthy and rested with lots of easy miles.

          Acceptable at a dance, invaluable in a shipwreck.

          Seattle prattle

            ^^^ I've heard that, too. Take anywhere from 2 to about 5 weeks off, then start back in.

            The cut-back approach of a couple of runs a week just sounds a little non-committal. NOt a real break and not a training program either.

            A guy in my running group is taking two weeks off shortly. That makes a certain amount of sense. I couldn't do it, but i see the logic.

            SMART Approach

              Run at least 20 miles per week and cut back some intensity and miles off long run. You will bounce back. Over next 2 weeks just do slow shorter runs to get the body back a bit.

              Run Coach. Recovery Coach. Founder of SMART Approach Training, Coaching & Recovery

              Structured Marathon Adaptive Recovery Training

              Safe Muscle Activation Recovery Technique




                Keep running but drop the training.  Find ways to keep getting out for fun.  If you take a break, it will be very easy to keep adding days of no running.  So hard to start back up from scratch.  Maintain a base so it is easier to jump into a race if one pops up.

                I don't know, maybe 20 miles per week with a few interval and strides.

                12-22   Last One Standing  - dnf 37 miles

                1-23  Sun Marathon - 3:53

                3-4-23  Red Mountain 55k - 7:02

                4-15-23  Zion 100 - 27:59



                  my personal experience is about 15-20M a week to keep a base level of preparedness for starting "serious" training again without much difficulty. You don't maintain performance fitness at that level, but you don't get very messed up and fatigued when you start back doing 35-60M a week. Going cold turkey for several weeks, even a little first run of 3 miles feels like a huge effort.

                  60-64 age group  -  University of Oregon alumni  -  Irreverent and Annoying


                    I have improved a lot over the past year and want to know how many miles per week I need to keep up for the next two months to maintain the fitness I have gained. 


                    I don't think this is really what you're asking. To literally maintain the same level of fitness that you gained you need to keep running just about the same amount and doing the same quality work that you were already doing.


                    As others have said, what you probably really want is to maintain a base level of fitness that will let you smoothly dive back into a training regimen to get back to where you were, and beyond. That base level is going to be somewhere less than your peak. That's OK.

                    Running Problem

                    Problem Child

                      After a race I like to take a week off to enjoy whatever it is I did before I started running. To maintain fitness through November and December I'd just keep running 30-40 miles per week with your Saturday long runs. I feel like doing those long runs is harder to get back into after taking a break off. If they were 90 minutes long then just run for 90 minutes, or at least an hour. It's amazing how much easier it is to skip a long run or think "man that's so much time" when you haven't done it for two months. You could also start experimenting with weights or cycling or some kind of other fitness activity now that racing season is done. Just don't take up couch surfing.

                      Many of us aren't sure what the hell point you are trying to make and no matter how we guess, it always seems to be something else. Which usually means a person is doing it on purpose.

                      VDOT 55.2

                      5k18:xx | Marathon 2:55:22


                      Mother of Cats

                        I'm struggling to answer this question.


                        And I guess that's because, IMHO, you do not want to maintain fitness year round.  It's ok and even good to get out of shape for a few weeks 1-2 times a year (I refer to it as "shedding excess fitness") - taking that step back enables you to take two steps forward.


                        When I take a break, it's generally anywhere from 5-10 days of nothing except yoga, pool-running, and swimming, and I only do what feels fun.  Then I start some easy running.  After a week or two of that, I shift into doing hills and also some aerobic longer interval work, but stay off the track and just have fun on the roads.  After a few weeks of that, I return to the track and serious training.

                        Everyone's gotta running blog; I'm the only one with a POOL-RUNNING blog.


                        And...if you want a running Instagram where all the pictures are of cats, I've got you covered.


                          Taking a break is a good idea in most activities. Rethinking what you're doing, maybe try a different tack.


                          I was trying breathing on every 2nd stroke and every 3rd stroke today swimming, I actually liked both. And this is a kind of playfulness I got because I was just doing deadlifts, pull-ups and swimming today.


                          Instead of the long, standard program.


                          If you don't have a coach, I guess these off periods can be a good place for coach-like thinking.


                          My experience in life is that it is difficult to do some thing and be critical/objective of the same thing, at the same time.

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