Me again. More from my sister tomorrow, but here's something I wrote a while ago that tied in with my sister's post yesterday.
A lot of runners - hugely successful runners - agree that a key to success is high mileage. Look at the training programs of the elites, and almost all of them run high mileage. (Lots of Lydiard in the linked article, if you're into that, and also lots of photos of Shalane Flanagan if you're into that. She's running New York this year, just like me!)
I've always been a low mileage runner. Part of this is my speed: even at my peak training back in Philly with my beloved training partner Tamara, if we ran 60mpw it took us at least 10 hours. Someone who runs 8mm could have done 75m in that time frame. Lately, a good week is when I inch toward 30m, and of course my marathon training should take me beyond that. (Key word at this point: should.)
Some of it is my physiology, or at least my caution. Having had the two stress fractures for no other reason than overuse/high mileage, I don't want to risk that again.
And yeah, I'm lazy.
I remember vividly one summer when I was in maintenance mode. It was the first time in years I'd worked a steady 9-5 and I wasn't running as much as I wanted. I told a friend that I was down because I was barely running 15mpw and that most of my running friends would consider that low mileage. He said to me, "Well, if this really bothers you, maybe you don't need to run more so much as you need to get new running friends."
Obviously he was half-joking, but I'm constantly amazed at how much variation there is with runners' mileage totals. Some people I know race a 5k or 10k every now and then with little to no preparation and are proud to identify as a runner. Other people I know put more miles in than many runners, but they see it as part of a larger fitness program and so demure at the thought of being considered a runner. A friend and beginning runner was given the advice that he should be doing something every day, if not running then cross-training; another friend openly swears by the specificity of training principle and advocates that "only running will improve your running."
Just some thoughts. No conclusions. Now that marathon season frenzy is in full force in New York, I'm amazed at the variety of training plans, from near-elites with their triple digit weeks to the beginners with long runs of 6m or 8m or 10m. Some of the super-low mileage runners will beat me. Hell, some people with next to no training will beat me! So I guess that is the conclusion, then: I want to run more miles than I am currently running and I see that as key to my improvement, but everyone is different and individual.
Anyone feel like confessing their mileage?
On I went, out of the wood, passing the man leading without knowing I was going to do so. Flip-flap, flip-flap, jog-trot, jog-trot, curnchslap-crunchslap, across the middle of a broad field again, rhythmically running in my greyhound effortless fashion, knowing I had won the race though it wasn't half over, won it if I wanted it, could go on for ten or fifteen or twenty miles if I had to and drop dead at the finish of it, which would be the same, in the end, as living an honest life like the governor wanted me to. -Alan Sillitoe, "Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner"