My weekly mileage and ‘speed’ go hand-in-hand. I have increased my mileage from 30 up to 80 from 2012-2016. In turn, I have been able become a faster and more efficient runner. Majority (70-80%) of these weekly miles are run at an easy pace which is close to 90-120 seconds SLOWER than my half marathon PR pace.
Why does running more make you faster?
1- improved running economy: running economy is how efficiently your body uses oxygen while running. The more you run, the better your body becomes at utilizing oxygen while running. This means you can run for longer/ at a faster pace.
2- Increased Capillary Development- More ways for the blood to make it to your muscles to aid when muscles are fatigued. Your body physically makes more capalaries as an adaptation to running more easy miles.
3- Increased Mental Stregnth: How many times have you heard, “running a marathon is mental”.. There is a lot of truth to that. Simulating your training to make you mentally tougher with high mileage is a good way to feel what you will feel on race day
4- Glycogen Storage: The higher volume you run, the more glycogen your body will store as you are using more glycogen in training. This will allow your body to fuel itself more efficiently on longer runs/races
My PRs and Mileage over time
Jan 2012: 30-40 miles per week 23:30 5k PR
July 2012: 45-55 miler per week – 21:15 5k 1:47 half
Spring 2013- 40-45 miles per week – 21:40 5k 4:09 marathon * reduced mileage
Summer 2013- 50-60 miles per week – 20:45 5k, 3:47 marathon , 1:41 half
Fall 2013- 55-60 miles per week – 20:30 5k, 3:43 marathon, 1:41 half
Spring 2014- 65-70 miles per week – 19:56 5k, 3:27 marathon, 1:35 half
Fall 2014- 70-80 miles per week- 18:56 5k, 3:19 marathon, 1:33 half
Spring 2015- 80-90 miles per week- 18:36 5k, 3:14 marathon, 1:29 half
Spring 2016- 60 miles per week – 19:30 5k, 3:23 marathon, 1:32 half* Reduced Mileage
from 2015 to 2016 I cut my mileage significantly, and I have noticed a decrease in performance. (it’s hard to find time/motivation LOL)
How to Increase your Mileage:
1- Only add 10% per week! If you ran 40 miles last week, try running 44 this week then 48 the next week. 10% is about the highest you want to do. This can help avoid injury
2- Run more EASY miles! No need to make these extra miles “fast” or “workouts”. You don’t want to increase both intensity and mileage at the same time! You can find your easy pace here: Calculate your easy pace here!
3- Consider starting with doubles: I think doubles are an easy way for people to jump up in mileage! It help get your body used to running at the higher mileage, and it can be easier on your body in some aspects
4- Cut Back every 2-4 weeks by 25%! : your body NEEDS to recover. The adaptations happen during your recovery phase, so make SURE you cut back by 25% every week 2-4 weeks so your body can recover!
5- Everyone needs and “off season”– No one runs their peak mileage year round! After training for a specific event, it’s very important to take time OFF or at a very low mileage! I often cut down to about 50% of my peak mileage after big races. This will allow your body to recover properly 🙂