As you increase your weekly mileage, you eventually reach a point where your mid-week run crosses the double digit barrier. There are lots of ways to add miles (extra long long runs, doubles, no off days), however these tricks will only get you so far. Once you’ve hidden miles in all the nooks and crannies of the week, you’ll be reduced to the the almost-long midweek run. Something that will take around two hours for us mere mortals. A run that used to be considered long back in the day. Well, last week I set my alarm for 30 minutes sooner than normal and knocked out my first mid-week 11 miler of the year.
We all have constraints that are placed on our running. I’m lucky that work and family obligations don’t impact my running schedule too much. I do have two constraints that are self imposed though. The first is that I don’t do long runs over 20 miles. I’ve read that long runs over 3 hours aren’t really beneficial for you. That the extra recovery needed offsets the training stimulus. That sounds pretty good, but the real reason I don’t go longer than 20 miles is simply because I don’t want to.
My second constraint is that I like to take two “off” days each week. An off day for me is just a one mile run to keep my running streak alive (day #3,873 today). Physically, I could definitely run six or seven days a week. I even do this a couple weeks a year, however it’s a very irregular thing. For me, the mental break is more necessary. As much as I love running (and I really love running), it’s not every single day. I’ve found running five days a week to be very sustainable for me. And if it’s not broken. . .
So given the fact that my long runs don’t get over 20 miles and I’m only running five days a week, I’m pretty much forced to go to 11 once I get into the mid-50 miles per week. Here’s how those runs look in my current training plan leading up to NJ Devil.
So week 1 was recovery from DUC 100K, which went very well. I was then back to normal by the second week and I’ve been slowly building from there. I’m in week 6 now and am about to get into the thick of things. Weeks 8 and 9 will be my peak weeks where I’ll add in a second mid-week 11 miler. This will get me up to about 60mpw, which is pretty much the most I’ll do in training anymore.
Over the past couple days, I’ve been debating cutting back to just one “off” day a week. This would be more an effort to spread out my miles throughout the week rather than increasing my overall mileage. Or maybe I will end up maxing out at 65-68 miles in week 9. My training plans any more are more guidelines than plans anyways. I’ll move miles around depending on how I feel; mentally as well as physically.
Good luck to those of you out there also ramping up training for a spring race!