Thursday, February 24, 2011

Quantity or quality?

Today's run (street): 4 miles

I sometimes see references to "quality miles" and "junk miles" in running magazines and I'm still not sure what that means. I've always believed that any run that doesn't contribute to injury or lead to exhaustion (and illness) are beneficial. Perhaps for people who run 20 miles per week (like me) every mile is a "quality mile." Miles gained on hills or doing speed work may be of even higher quality.  It could be that for 70+ mile-a-week runners that an extra five or 10 could be considered gratuitous, with little extra benefit.  If I ever get to running 70 miles per week I'll know if that's true.

My thinking about quality miles started this morning as I considered my run. I've run or crossed trained every day since last Friday and my average distance per run has been longer during this vacation because I've had more time to run. We're expecting rain and heavy winds starting tonight so Friday's workout will have to happen indoors. I decided to get in my last outdoor run before the weekend on the streets of my neighborhood since the residual snow has rendered most other venues un-runnable. After a fairly average start I began to tire at the 2 mile mark. I've been concerned that my success building my base closer to 8 miles toward the end of last year has eroded due to the lack of opportunity for longer, wide open runs. Darn this snow!

As I ran around the local roads today I thought about the benefits I was gaining from this four mile run. Like yesterday, I completed my route feeling spent, but unlike Wednesday, I didn't run all that fast. I guess I'll consider today's workout a "maintenance run." That sounds a lot better than calling it "junk miles."

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