“What’s your weekly mileage?”
This is a common question that Mike asks me regularly.
My standard response which I’m sure frustrates him to no end is a lackadaisical “I don’t know…”.
Ironically, analyzing numbers is something I do at my job. I thrive on it, make recommendations to clients based on them. But when it comes to my running? I prefer to step away from over-thinking mileage and paces because it stresses me out too much. Don’t get me wrong though, I do track my mileage. I’m pretty diligent about it, too. It’s just that I don’t pay much attention to the sum of miles each week and I only really track it for the benefit of my coach so he can see where I’m at and make any necessary tweaks to my program each week. I don’t ask him for a specific amount of mileage to get up to each week. I don’t request to do a long run at x pace or x distance. All I am asking him to do is get me to the start line of my race feeling well-prepared, uninjured, and confident (the confidence thing, I’ve come to accept, is something that can really only come from me).
I see a lot of runners who go out there and run based on feel:
“I felt great when I started so I ran way faster than I planned”
“I was aiming to do 10K, but I felt great so I ran 16K instead”.
That’s great for them. I admire the fact that they are so in-tune with their bodies. But me? The only thing I do based on feel is run way slower than planned when I’m feeling tired. I’m still a baby in training years. Okay, maybe I’ve graduated to “toddler” status (my training age is 6 years). If I didn’t sign up for goal races and just wanted to run for fun, then my approach would be a lot different. If I had been running for longer and was more confident in my ability to assess where I’m at each day and how that will affect my week/month/training cycle then I would definitely do things differently.
But for now? I’m happy letting someone else tell me what to do. I’m happy feeling confident that someone’s got a plan to get me to the start line as long as I follow it and trust in the training. Of course there have been days where I’ve questioned my fitness, obsessed about pace, and wondered if I was doing “enough”. But over the last week, I’ve been feeling like the answer is yes. I feel like I’m doing as much as my body can handle for now. It has held together relatively well, and I wouldn’t be surprised if trying to do more than that would have led straight to injury — or mental burnout. I love running, but I don’t looOoOoooOOOoOOOOve running so much that I have the desire to lace up every single day or run for 1+ hours each time I do get out there.
So no, I have no idea what my weekly mileage is. I am not aiming for any amount, specifically. I know each week, I’ll do 1-2 interval / speed sessions, 1 long run, and a bunch of easy runs in between. And that’s completely fine by me.