I need a reality check (Read 229 times)

    I have a 3 man training group. We are training for a late November marathon. Our elder statesman is 50 (I am 49) with a dozen marathons under his belt, including a half dozen Bostons and a few sub 3s from his 30s/early 40s. We have about the same marathon goal. The other guy is 10 years away from being a college XC guy. He is a 2:50 marathoner. They are both on me about running too much.


    For example, we did a modified 6 mile MP run last night consisting of 6 x 1 mile repeats at MP or faster with a .25 recovery (old guy says to do it that way, i.e., with the recovery, to save our legs a bit for Thursday speed work). For the last mile ex-college kid did a sub 6, old guy did about a 6:30 and I did a 6:55. So I got dumped on for not running 6:30 too. Old guy missed our 14.5 mile long run Sunday and did nothing except cross fit since.  I ran the Sunday run. I also ran 3.5 Monday morning, another 6 (I think) Monday night and 3.5 more Tuesday morning (all super easy).  So my legs were pretty beat going into last night's run, I was happy with my effort.


    They are both planning to run no more than 40 a week with a few 50 mile weeks close to the end. Both guys say quality over quantity and telling me to cross train instead of running some of my junk miles. I run about 10 times a week and shoot for 65 miles. For a little more info, I have hit all my training goals in this cycle, my speed work is right on my goal times and my long runs have also been right on (yeah, I normally have a little less in the tank than the old guy over the last two miles but I hit my goal pace).


    Some of the guys and girls I follow in this forum are everyday runners, and have good results, so that is what I have based my training on.  So keep on doing what I am doing or cut back?



      They are both planning to run no more than 40 a week with a few 50 mile weeks close to the end. Both guys say quality over quantity

      Old guy, 51 years old. Those kind of miles only got me 3:40ish marathons. More miles, 70 avg got me to a 3:05. Quantity for me.


      Others I run with, quality over quantity. Depends on the runner.

      Get off my porch

      Feeling the growl again

        I'd stick with what you are doing.  Except for the injury-prone, I'm not sure why they expect to do better running less.  You're doing the same amount of quality as them, it's just that you are not running those faster things QUITE as fast as them because you are carrying a higher training load.


        I guess it depends on your goal....do you care more about your performance in practices, or in the actual race?  Smile


        Yeah, if one is running less of course they will do a workout faster.  That's why we taper before big races.  But that doesn't mean you are getting more out of the workout.

        "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


          I would say most people will respond better to higher volume than higher intensity but it really is not an either/or question. I hate calling it quality vs. quantity because for a lot of us quantity IS quality and to reach your full potential you obviously need both. The definition of "high volume" will be different for everyone but no matter how you slice it the marathon is a 26.2 mile race.


          Personally, volume has to come before intensity. I can handle harder workouts without breaking down when I'm running higher mileage.


          If you're doing work at marathon pace, and you're adding 400m recovery jogs to "save your legs" for Thursday's intervals, then doing them at 6:30/mile (if your'e not a 2:50 marathoner) defeats the whole point of saving your legs. That's just dumb. At that point, doing a 6-mile MP run at your real MP would be a lower impact, more valuable workout.

          Runners run.

            IMHO - 40mpw with a few 50mile weeks thrown in there just seems too low to me for the average person to be able to achieve the times you reference in your post.


            You would need to be naturally fast, and be doing some extreme speedwork in order to have a shot at this.   For me, it's when I push the speedwork too much that I always tend to have injuires.   While the injuries themselves rarely happen during the actual speedwork, I can pretty much always see the pattern where the injury occurs in the day or days following workouts that I have been really pushing the pace.


            Again, this is just what works for me, so I would say to stick to your plan.   I am more like you now, and based on this I am going on over 3 years without any kind of injury at all (big knock on wood with that last statement, as I am 3 1/2 weeks out from my next marathon).   Prior to that, I couldn't last 6 months without a sore IT band, or a pulled calf muscle etc.   Not to mention my Marathon times have improved.


            Good luck in November!


              I think I'm one of those high mileage people who've had good results. Smile  For my first marathon cycle, I think I did about 50-60 mpw.  For the last few, I've maxed out in the 70-85 mpw range.  I feel like my body just responds really well to high mileage.  It's like something clicks after 2 hours of running and I feel really in a groove.  I've been told a few times that I'd have even better results if I cut back but I'm not totally convinced.  But, I did experiment with the idea a little for my last two marathon cycles.  I tried not doing long runs over 20 miles after reading all the rave reviews about the Hanson plans and arguments that anything over 2.5 hours isn't very productive.  I also tried doing cruise intervals instead of long tempos thinking they wouldn't beat me up as much.  I still had good results but I didn't feel it made much of a difference.


              You're hitting you goal paces, so I would ignore them as best I could.  I think high mileage people can make lower mileage people feel anxious.  I know I freak out a little reading about people doing intervals when I'm 10 weeks out and still haven't started sharpening, yet.


              I guess it depends on your goal....do you care more about your performance in practices, or in the actual race?  Smile 




              I love telling the story of the first organized training program I did.  We all had the goal of running a 10K in under 50 minutes.  Every week, I was the straggler on our long runs and I felt like such a slow poke...  Guess who ended up running the fastest 10K at the end?  That's right - this girl!  Turns out, they weren't very consistent with their running during the week (which explains why they had fresh legs on Saturday) while I was pretty much doing everything the coach told us to do.

              “What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight – it’s the fight in the dog. – Dwight D. Eisenhower


              My blog is JT Running DC.  It's awesome.

                I'm putting my money on the Jaybar approach.  Lots of easy miles will give you a leg up, so to speak, on that marathon.

                Well at least someone here is making relevance to the subject. - S.J.

                  I don't have nearly the experience that many of these posters do, but I can give you my story.


                  I have been running fairly consistently for about 4 years now.  My marathon training for the first few tries consisted of a peak of 40-50 MPW and that got me into the 3:23 - 3:30 range.


                  Last year I bumped that up to 45-55 MPW and had a fall marathon.  I had a bit of an injury and was basically unable to run at all for 3-4 weeks prior to the race (how's that for a sharp taper?) and still managed to go sub 3:20.


                  This year, based primarily on advice from this forum, I am peaking in the 55-65 MPW range.  I cannot tell you what a difference it seems to be making.  My legs have never felt so strong and I am supremely confident that I will take 5-10 minutes off my PR when I run in early October.

                  2016 Goals

                  2000 miles

                  Get ready for my 2nd Boston Marathon

                  No race goals, just stay healthy and work on flexibility and strength. 


                    Another Old Guy - 52.  I prioritize lots of running over hard running, if that hard running would limit my mileage.  I tend to err on the 'easy' side when I do workouts.  Maybe if I were younger it might be different.


                    MTA:  Among many factors I think it also depends on how much you race (not marathons but other distances).  I tend to race a lot, probably too much, so I think the 'easy' workouts I do are balanced by all the racing I do.  I don't think I'd do as well in marathons without the shorter more frequent racing sprinkled in.

                      I also vote to continue your plan.


                      I myself haven't run over 56 mi a week, however, I could feel the benefit when I went from 40s to 50s. Reading those fast guys' log on RA, they all run a lot. I would like to go for 70s, which was my plan after the marathon in May, but I lost my enthusiasm at the moment.


                      Good luck

                      5k - 20:56 (09/12), 7k - 28:40 (11/12), 10k trial - 43:08  (03/13), 42:05 (05/13), FM - 3:09:28 (05/13), HM - 1:28:20 (05/14), Failed 10K trial - 6:10/mi for 4mi (08/14), FM - 3:03 (09/14)

                        Make sure you have a way of measuring progress at the same effort. Use certain runs that are done on the same course at similar efforts, combined with what you're body is saying, to help you know if your training load is too much, or too little. For example, you should be getting faster at the same aerobic effort and also around your anaerobic threshold. For example, if you were measuring heart rate during certain runs, your pace at 70% MHR and 88% MHR should be getting faster, or conversely, your heart rate should be getting lower at the same paces. If not, and your progress has plateaued then you've either peaked, your training load is too much, or you're over-reaching and heading to a state of OT. If you're seeing regression in pace, not good.


                        If you're good at measuring perceived effort, then you should be getting faster at the level 4 and level 8 (just examples). Combine this with how you're feeling. Are you injured and exhausted and not sleeping well? Or are you feeling healthy and energetic?  I use the MAF test whether I'm base-training or in a period where I'm doing intervals and tempos or racing hard.  I also use my pace at cruise interval heart rate (my anaerobic threshold heart rate). If my pace at AT and MAF is getting faster, so is my marathon pace. Find a way that works for you. Research it and see how others measure progress, plateaus, and regression.


                        One more thing that can help from day to day is measuring your resting heart rate. I got the idea from Paula Radcliffe's book (it wasn't her idea, it's been around). Measure your heart at rest every day. If it's 5 beats or more (or less) than your normal, take the day off or run really easy and brief.  For example, if normally your RHR is 48, and one day's it's 58. Take a rest. Same if it's way too low (43 or lower). Some runners will have lower resting heart rate the day after a hard long run or race. It's not lower because you're suddenly 7 beats fitter, it's lower because you're body is exhausted in one way or the other and needs recovery. If the RHR is telling you that you need recovery, and you take the day off and miss a quality workout, don't try make it up. Just resume your schedule as fi you did the workout.


                        Good luck! Cool

                          How do your training partners define "junk miles?" I'm wary of anyone who starts throwing that term around.

                            They are both on me about running too much.



                            Running too much?  While training for a marathon?  Too much?  A marathon?


                            Stay with what you are doing.


                            I'm going to assume you're planning on running more marathons after this one, so I think you need recognize that the high mileage isn't just going to help you for this one, but for all the other marathons down the line.  You need to keep stacking these training blocks on top of each other time after time, year after year.


                            If you're happy with your "effort", be happy with it.  Effort and times are different--don't get caught trying to run others' times.  You have a late November marathon, it will take time for you to see the full gains of your training.

                            There was a point in my life when I ran. Now, I just run.


                            We are always running for the thrill of it

                            Always pushing up the hill, searching for the thrill of it


                              I don't believe in junk miles. All miles are good, provided you're getting at least some degree of recovery.  In fact, I don't even think I know what a quality mile vs a poor-quality mile is.   Just run.

                              HTFU?  Why not!

                              USATF Coach

                              Feeling the growl again

                                How do your training partners define "junk miles?" I'm wary of anyone who starts throwing that term around.


                                +1.  I've only run two weeks ever where I felt I was logging miles to log miles and I would have been better off (from a training perspective) to run less....140 and 147 miles.

                                "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