Monday, August 30, 2010

The incremental distance conundrum

I covered more than 20 miles last week, putting me about three miles ahead of my normal weekly total. The long run on Saturday accounted for almost a third of my week's distance and it really underscored the fact that while I run often, I usually don't run that far. I've concluded that the progress I've made on speed has not helped to increase my stamina. I really need to improve my endurance if I want to run well at my next race. Looking at my history on Garmin Connect I see that my average run length is about 3.5 miles but my median distance is slightly less than three. This is no surprise because many of my runs happen in the early morning hours when I hit the streets at 4:00 AM and have no more than 25 minutes to get in a run. Best case, were I to push my speed to 8:30 (a reasonably fast pace at 4AM) I would only cover 2.94 miles within that time. I do want to increase mileage and I think it will take some combination of the following:

- Earlier rising to get out sooner, providing more time to run.
- Sleeping in my running clothes to reduce amount of prep time before I run.
- Running faster.
- Giving up some post-run recovery time in favor of more run time.
- Running on my rest day (Monday).
- Running on my cross-training day (Thursday).
- Doing no less than 5 miles on my weekend runs.
- Focusing on adding a mile every week from my prior week's total.

I'm sure doing these things will help increase my weekly distance total but not every option is practical. In reality, it's not adding the incremental fractions of a mile that will make a difference, it's increasing the frequency and distance of my longer runs. My friend FS said that a focus on time running, rather than specific distance or speed, may be the key. That's good advice. I'm hoping to get three 50+ minute runs in this week. It's a start.

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