Adjusting Expectations for Reduced Mileage (Read 84 times)


    Since graduating from college in 2011, I have gotten the itch every few years to start training for something and have turned in some performances that I'm pretty proud of (50mi in 6:43 in 2013, Vermont City Marathon in 2:47 in 2016).  I usually run at a much lower mileage in between these bigger efforts but when it comes time to prepare, I have been willing and able to put in the miles, usually in the 70mpw range.


    Now I'm feeling pretty good after recovering from a hamstring injury earlier in the year.  I am starting to get the itch to train for something big, possibly a marathon.  I have a two-year-old now and I don't want to take too much time away from him so I'm pretty much running as much as I am willing to during the week.  I could run more on Saturday and Sunday (naptime!), especially in getting my long run up from the 13-14 mile range.


    This isn't a post about how to run fast without putting the miles in... what I want to know is how much slower over a marathon should I expect to be on 40-50 mpw?  Is there anything I should be ready for?  Would I be better served pursuing some other goal?

    an amazing likeness

      40 - 45 mpw puts you in middle of the hobby jogger category, along with the rest of us.  3:40 - 3:45 for that. Then you get credit for being young, and lightweight with a speedster history...so 3:25 at VTCM, assuming it's not a whack weather outlier day (aka 85F). A bit slower at Green Mountain for the dirt road toe off impact and that friggin' hill on the return at mile 24.


      I have absolutely no data or logic to back this up...but you asked.

      Acceptable at a dance, invaluable in a shipwreck.

        You might check out this marathon predictor. Unlike McMillan et al, it factors in your weekly mileage.


        SMART Approach

          You can do it just fine but you won't be running 2:47 however 3 - 3:10 may be within reach. A lot depends on your training plan, fitness, weight, age etc. but you can certainly run a very good time with smart training and smart racing.

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

          Structured Marathon Adaptive Recovery Training

          Safe Muscle Activation Recovery Technique


            Here are three data points.


            I ran a 3:49 marathon at age 59.  My training was 45 MPW with no speedwork.


            A young (30ish) coworker ran a sub 3 hour marathon with less mileage than that.  He was a 5K runner that did not like to run long distances, but thought he would do just one marathon, partly because he worked with three other marathoners.


            And then there is the 24 year old woman that ran a five hour marathon on no training at all.


            RIP Milkman

              As someone who just ran a 2:44 off of 60 mpw so we are somewhat similar, I can tell you that I ran a 2:54 off of 55 mpw and a 3:12 off of 45 mpw. However, that's not a perfect predictor because that 3:12 was also off of only one marathon cycle. I can guarantee you I would run much faster than that off of 45 mpw now.


              So given you have a history of faster times and a big mileage base, I would say it's reasonable for you to shoot for low 3's, with the potential of breaking 3 if you put up a solid block of 50mpw.

              5K: 16:37 (11/20)  |  10K: 34:49 (10/19)  |  HM: 1:14:57 (5/22)  |  FM: 2:36:31 (12/19) 


              Next Race: NYC Half (3/19)



                as someone who has dealt with a wimpy hamstring for several years now, you should definitely factor in your recent hamstring injury, it could for sure slow you down, partly because you might struggle to get up to 40/50 miles per week (as in, it might take you longer to build mileage) and also speedwork just does me in, i have to be super careful and very cautious as i build in speedwork cause my hamstring likes to get sore and strained really easily, i do hamstring work/rehab every week....so just another thing to think about in addition to the lower mileage


                  Thanks for the advice.  My gut was saying about 3:10-15 range which lines up pretty well with the (more-or-less) average of what everyone is saying.  I think my hamstring is in pretty good shape. I am still doing my physical therapy exercises for my hamstrings and I'm already up to 40 mpw with 1 or 2 workouts per week and a long run.  Thanks for the feedback, everyone!