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Increasing Run Mileage

Feel free to skip to the last sentence (or all of it) if you don't want background and excessive verbiage before posting your hilarious reply

I was going to direct message @SeanH because he commented before (here or "elsewhere") that increasing his run mileage over the off season made a big impact on his performance, however I figured there might be others with input or looking for input too so here it goes.

I am hoping to spend this off season trying to improve my run. I have much to gain across all three sports, however the run is my weakest leg and least time intensive area to work on. For the very short term, I have dropped the bike all together due to travel and am just swimming some and slowly increasing my run mileage. I am at 35, 38 miles the past two weeks looking to get to about 40 mpw. My active average (had a lot of unplanned time off this year) was around 23-25 mpw and prior to that I was pushing to hit 10 mpw. I have been doing this all on 6 pretty easy paced runs sort of akin to the BarryP plan (3 short, 2 medium, 1 long). The short are 4-5 miles, the medium is 6 and my long is currently a double run that this past week totaled 12 (8 and 4). Getting my two medium runs to 7 or 8 will get me to 40 mpw. All my running thus far is easy pace while I build mileage. On just the increased mileage alone, I saw my triathlon 5k drop to about 19:2x. Prior to this season I had never broken 21 minutes.

I have no targets for next year (currently) other than to just be better than this year and to be a bit more open to just hopping in events for fun with no expectations (try a 5k, do a mountain bike event, cyclocross, etc.). Triathlons/duathlons will likely be short course based on the available races nearby. Might throw in a late season longer race (70.3ish), but not sure - Redman is on my radar. Escape Des Moines might be a fun race to target to see if I can win the free Alcatraz spot, however I would need to cut 5-6 minutes to beat the local Nebraskan in my AG should he decide to show up again (which is likely).

I have never done "speed" work or planned "tempo" running outside of races due to fear of injury (and a hatred of running). Once I have reached 40 mpw and am comfortable there, I am not exactly sure where to go next. Is an increase to 40 mpw enough to really see some improvement or do I keep going? Should I introduce tempo and/or speed work or wait until closer to next season? I will re-introduce the bike soon which will make time a little tight to do too much more volume, however I will be limiting my bike to pretty low volume at 3 sessions a week (2 harder 1 hour and 1 longer ride if possible on the weekends). I am not a great biker, but am confident I can get my swim/bike form back to the same level it was in time for next season.

So basically, after all my babbling, the question is what next once I hit my arbitrary target of 40 mpw?
simonsen77Sdoghaywarmi

Comments

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    I'm sure there's wisdom in base miles, but I've never been slower than when I tried to Maffetone an off-season marathon. Keep the speed work in.
    RashMamaCheetah
    ______


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    40 mpw if that is a new high is a great place to aim for. I am a low mileage runner myself, maxing out at 70 kilometers per week but normally around 50 kpw. When it comes time for speed work (and I would do some) the easiest way to plan is to aim for a week that is at least 80% easy running. Then at most 10% of any kind of speed work (that would be 10% at speed, not the warmup etc...). So a max of 4 mpw of intervals and a max of 4 mpw of tempo. That will help reduce the chance of injury a lot.

    When it comes time to add speed work, i would aim for one kind first. Tempo will develop high speed endurance and race pace, intervals work on form and upper end speed. I like intervals first, especially short ones. Do them hard and fast and get good at run form. Other like tempo stuff first to build endurance.

    Regardless, build gradually, pay attention to any nagging aches that won't go away, and treat every run like you should be recovered to run the next day. And aim for at a min 4 times a week of running.
    simonsen77MattRashEvanMamaCheetah
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    @IanL What should "hard and fast" intervals look like in your mind? Are you talking 200's, 400's, 800's (or 30, 60, 120 seconds on )?
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    Rash said:

    So basically, after all my babbling, the question is what next once I hit my arbitrary target of 40 mpw?

    Um, run 45? And then 50? This shit ain't rocket-science. It's just science-science.
    Just remember to stop before you break your leg.
    AaronWebsteyMattEvanTad_MachrowiczMamaCheetah
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    I have found that I can do 40 plus miles a week of running with lots of long slow distance and I have had no problems with injury. It has hurt my speed a bit, but i can grind out a lot of distance in training, the plus side is no injuries, i feel good racing 70.3's. But after a few years of training this way I do realize that I need to put a little more speed work in.

    Yes, its all one big experiment. Have fun with it.
    Rashhaywarmi
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    I'll start by saying I'm not an expert in the matter but I hang out with some guys that know their stuff. 40 miles per week is certainly a respectable amount but leaves room to go higher. I'd echo some of the comments of some of the posters above that suggested adding some speed work in, at 40mpw you have established enough base to include intervals or if you have trouble with injuries include some hills which can help improve speed but are often a little less taxing on the body. Even if you aren't training for a race it might be worthwhile to follow a build schedule that includes different workouts and give you some structure. I've included a link to one of Higdon's marathon plans that starts around 35-40mpw and goes up from there. http://www.halhigdon.com/training/51141/Marathon-Advanced-1-Training-Program
    RashSdog
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    Once you're consistently running 4-5 times a week (or more) and hitting mileage goals, do more. Run 6-7x a week and hit 50. Then, once you've settled into that, do more. Renato Canova once told me that he felt that you reached your "maximum aerobic potential" at around 70mi/week. If you ran that much, each week, aerobically...you'd essentially (eventually) max out your aerobic capacity. To get faster you either had to incorporate speed/quality or run a LOT more, aerobically. So yea, more is more.
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    Rash said:

    @IanL What should "hard and fast" intervals look like in your mind? Are you talking 200's, 400's, 800's (or 30, 60, 120 seconds on )?

    Either of those options look good, pick time or distance and be consistent so you can check improvement.

    I would personally start short and build form. So 200 and maybe 400 to start. 200s we basically long strides, so just giv'r.
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    Run Faster from the 5K to the Marathon: How to Be Your Own Best Coach
    Brad Hudson Matt Fitzgerald
    I think this is the book .... read it. Essentially when starting out speed work to avoid injury do short steep hill sprints.
    Matt
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    +1 to @MamaCheetah I use this book constantly.
    MamaCheetah
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    Thanks @MamaCheetah. Book ordered.
    MamaCheetah

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