How much do MILES matter...




In this blog we will dive deeper into the realm of mileage and why they do not (or maybe do) matter...


How many miles is enough miles for me is always a question that gets thrown around. Some people run 20 miles or less, some 40, and some aim for 70+ miles a week. The key is how you feel running them. You are going to have a hell of a time training for a marathon on 20 miles a week but if you always get injured trying to get to 70 miles then clearly that should be avoided as well.


This is where I will argue that it is not the total mileage that you run that matters but the time and pace(s) you complete them in. In a couple of previous blogs I have listed the types of runs available and how they should be paced depending on your level.


Instead of looking at the previous week and being like “my goal was 40 miles and I ran 42, therefore I succeeded,” what you really need to look at first are the types of runs completed, paces ran, how you felt, then mileage. The WHY behind this is that 40 miles can look completely different week to week.


If your goal is an 8 min/mi pace in a marathon and your furthest run that week was 12 miles at 8 min/mi pace than you DID NOT have a long run in your week. That type of run would be called a tempo run, a long run would be like 15 miles around 9 min/mile pace. Here’s where it gets tricky.


Example 1:

  • 15 miles at 9 min pace = Long Run

  • 5 miles at 9 min pace = Long Run

  • 10 miles at 9 min pace = Long Run  Total Mileage: 30      Average Pace: 9 min/mi pace

Example 2:

  • 15 miles at 9 min pace = Long Run

  • 5 miles at 9:30 min pace = Easy Run

  • 10 miles at 8:15 min pace = Tempo Run Total Mileage: 30  Average Pace: 9 min/mi pace


The distinguishing factor here was not the miles ran but the PACE you ran them at. You have to differentiate pacing, miles and types of run, they ARE NOT the same. Labeling a run is important so that you can keep track, but no one said that miles were what determined the label.


So as you continue to plan out your weeks (decades) of running make sure that pacing has an equal (or greater) emphasis than miles ran when you determine the why behind it.


*OBVIOUSLY monitoring your weekly mileage is extremely important and you should always do so. I wanted to present a scenario where maybe why and how you are monitoring them is misguided*

Andy Wegman M.S.ATC