What’s your weekly mileage?

“What’s your weekly mileage?”

This is a common question that Mike asks me regularly.

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Usually I make this face when Mike asks me what my weekly mileage is.

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.

alison

The first bike ride of the summer

This morning, Mike and I went for our first long bike ride of the summer. On September 1. We rode to one of our favourite cafes in the east end of the city to have a coffee and a savoury muffin. It was bliss. We used to do this ride almost once a week last summer.

In fact, Mike proposed at the end of an eventful bike ride early last year.

This summer? Not so much. I can count the number of bike rides we’ve gone on together this summer with one hand. Part of it is circumstance - we’re both working full-time hours again which limits the time we have in the mornings before work. The other part is the fact that more often than not, we choose to spend those limited morning hours before work running and/or strength training to help our running.

I don’t know how I feel about this. On the one hand, I love that we’re both finally in a place where we’re running relatively injury-free. We both realized this year would likely be a “base building” year, where the main goal was to train as consistently as possible and avoid taking big training breaks due to injury. I’ve stayed as true as I can to my promise, without upping my weekly mileage too much and trying not to go “all out” all the time on my training runs. I can’t say that I don’t care about getting faster or racking up a few PBs along the way. But, I’ve *tried* to not make that my main goal.

On the other hand, I miss our bike rides. I miss going farther than I ever could by foot and exploring different neighbourhoods that I wouldn’t normally go to. It’s easier to keep up with Mike on the bike than it is out on runs.

blue mountain

The infamous selfie (or ‘runfie’): It’s REALLY hard to keep up with Mike when we run together. Especially when we’re running up 4kms of Blue Mountain at the beginning of our long run.

I don’t really have a point to this post, I guess I’m just reflecting. It’s been a great year so far, and an even better summer, despite it being cooler than usual. (Actually, I don’t care that it hasn’t been a particularly warm summer since I hate training in the extreme heat & humidity). I’m happy that Mike is hitting a nice groove with his running. That man is ambitious, but his body often refuses to cooperate. As for me, I’m also satisfied with the progress I’m making. The main goal of staying injury-free and training consistently has been successful so far, and I’ve managed to pick up a few mini PBs along the way in the process.

I owe almost all my PBs this year to Mike. I cherish every run we do together, even if I'm grumpy when he tries to push me.

I owe almost all my PBs this year to Mike. I cherish every run we do together, even if I’m grumpy when he tries to push me.

If all this success with running must come at a cost of cycling, then I’ll take it. I know it’s good to be balanced, but spending more of your time doing what you love most has always made the most sense to me. When I loved yoga the most, that’s where I spent my time. And last year, when I was really into cycling, I spent more time on my bike than in my running shoes. This summer, the first thing I want to do when I wake up in the mornings is to go for a run. So more often than not, that’s what I do.

But this morning, the only thing I wanted to do was to hop on that bike and take it out for a spin. Luckily, Mike was up for it. So that’s what we did. Good things happen when you listen to your heart. :)

alison

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