I have never been what I consider a high mileage distance runner. I realize that everyone probably has a different definition of what they consider “higher mileage” but to me this involves consistently logging in over 60 miles a week.
In college I raced the 1500, 3000 or 5K distance. I never ran more then 60 miles a week. I think it was actually closer to 40 mpw. I never had the desire to run any more than what my coach told me to do.
Fast forward one decade to the fall of 2011. When I started training for the Houston Marathon I was trying to increase my mileage safely after my recent stress fracture. I knew my body wasn’t ready to handle a lot of miles. My marathon training consisted of running 3-5 days a week (cross training 1-2 days) and typically hitting 30-45 miles max. I did have one week in the 50’s and one in the 60’s but for the most part my mileage was on the lower end of the spectrum. I tried to make every run count and looking back on my training I have no regrets. My body needed the lower mileage. I did not overtrain and I remained injury-free which was my number one goal. I learned so much from the Houston Marathon and the Little Rock Marathon and am very thankful for both experiences. They helped me grow as a runner.
I am now training for two back to back marathons (the New York City Marathon on Nov. 4th and the St. Judes Marathon on Dec. 1st) and I find myself trying to figure out what mileage feels right for me now. The schedule I’m following generally ranges from 50-65 miles a week. It’s taken me 7 weeks but I finally reached 50+ miles (56 this week) and I must say that it feels so good! I actually ran 6 days in a row (which is something I do not normally do) and my knee is feeling good. I realize I still have 11 more weeks to stay healthy but I am telling myself that I can do this.
What is the right number of miles to run when your are training for a marathon? Whatever is the right amount for you. I love reading other running blogs and learning how others train but I decided a while ago that I would not compare myself with others. Last year I needed to run less to be safe. This year I am upping the mileage but it is still not what I consider high. I will not be running 70 or more during this training cycle. Will I ever run that much? Maybe someday but I am not ready for that at this point in my life and I am ok with that!
Do you have a hard time comparing yourself to others? How did you find the right mileage that works for you?