Gaining Mileage, How A+B Does Not Always Equal C, and the Importance of Recovery
Gaining mileage : Pain + Strength + Recovery
My background is not in running. Running half and full marathons wasn’t a norm for me, until I started working at Big Peach I didn’t even know there was such thing as a Cross Country Spike. It wasn’t until 5 years ago that I dove in and fell in love with my feet on the road.
15 miles. it was late summer/early fall and the first time I had ever conquered that many miles in one swoop. Making my way to the door I barely had the energy to turn the handle only to collapse on the floor and crawl towards the kitchen. It was a long time coming, physically and mentally drained I was anything but a pretty sight, however it changed everything. The ability to push through thresholds, to go further, to be stronger than I could have ever imagined.
In college, we would cross-train with running, agilities, or stadiums but the switch wasn’t immediate post-swimming. So how did I go from swimmer to marathoner? I walked 1 mile.
My parents have this very convenient loop around the front part of their neighborhood that so happens to equal one mile from driveway to driveway. So we walked it, together as a family most nights. But then as we started going longer and further I decided to set a goal: a 5K at a park nearby.
Sometimes all it takes is setting a goal.
So I started to run that mile, and do that several times a week. It is NOT a quick process. The rule of thumb is add 10% at any given time, a hard rule to follow I know, but it can save you from injury in the long run (ha, get it). Run 1 mile several times, consistently, then slowly work your way up. Please don’t decide to go from 4 to 9 miles at one time, but be ok pushing yourself, being in pain (the right kind of pain), because that’s your body getting stronger and breaking down barriers.
However, it’s not that once you get to 9 miles you just stay there, NOR do you just keep going up and up and up. When I’m training for a half or full my mileage stays between 4-7 – 2 days a week with track or cross-training sprinkled throughout, and then a long run Saturday which looks more like a roller coaster Here’s what I mean:
Week 1: 8 miles
Week 2: 9 miles
Week 3: 7 miles
Week 4: 10 miles
Week 5: 8 miles
and so on and so forth.
Why take yourself on a mileage roller coaster, and only run 3 days a week? One word: RECOVERY.
I learned my lesson the hard way, trying to run 6 days with no strength or stretching involved (a week that more looked like 3 miles, 6 miles, 4 miles, 6 miles, 3 miles, 10 miles, rest) and I paid the piper. Now stretching, yoga, and strength are staples in my week. If you need a good stretch or strength workout checkout these youtube vids here. They can be a little cheesy, however you can do them anywhere at any time.
So all this to say: you might have wanted a quick fix to start doing more and more miles, but it’s the three Rs of running:
Repetition – buid a base foundation and mileage and stay with short gains for a consistent period.
Resilience – as you go further and further push your body a little past your threshold each time, it will make you stronger, faster, and overall better physically, emotionally, and mentally.
Recovery – give your body rest that it needs, stretch, and refuel with the correct nutrition. It’s ok to only do one long run a week and only gain mileage every other week, and Lord willing I will be able to speak into specific nutrition SOON (exciting news ahead) and you can always go to my resources page for Runner Cookbook Inspo: Runners Cookbooks
LAST, don’t forget to SET A GOAL it’s going to be much easier to push if you have a goal in sight!
I hope this helps, if you have something specific you want to ask email me at firstname.lastname@example.org