30 Days of Gratitude – Day #20, Another Year of 3000+ Running Miles

gratitude

Continuing with my 30 Days of Gratitude, I am thankful for the joy of all those boring miles I run!

Day #20 – As I have said – BORING!

One of my earliest blog posts from over a year ago was called “Mostly the Miles are Just Boring” (I did a ‘from the archives post here), where I talked about my thoughts about blogging:

Back when I started this blog I was conflicted – I was planning to talk about running and ‘healthy living’, but wasn’t planning a hardcore running or foodie blog. At the time the blogs I most enjoyed were ones written by runners with more to discuss than just running.

At this point I have stopped doing weekly summaries, occasionally do monthly summaries, and generally just keep track quarterly. I do like looking back over time and see how I have been feeling and what I have been doing in terms of runs and running. And of course I love getting comments and feedback and getting to read others’ insights.

Oh, and this:

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I mean, because hugs are always good, right? Even sweaty, gross, post-run hugs! 🙂

Most of all … I just love running. Not racing, ‘training’, talking about running … just getting out and running. Not running FOR something, TOWARDS something, or whatever … just running.

And this week I have once again passed 3000 miles for the year!

I really thought that last year with 3150 miles (2012 was just under 2000 in 9 months) would be my peak, but this year I managed to keep up my mileage all summer in spite of not doing ‘doubles’ and never running on a day Lisa and I were both off from work.

But this past week I was reading comments on a running forum, I was reading some posts that were criticizing some running bloggers … and in particular a theme emerged about miles – that they need to have a PURPOSE, work towards an OUTCOME. Basically three opinions were formed in the comments:
– You should be getting much faster
– You should be building endurance to run longer distances without crashing
– Or … WTF, knock that crap off running those useless miles!

I can see their point – assuming we each only have so many running miles in our legs, why not put them to specific use? And it was pretty clear that the people with very strong opinions were young (20s or maybe early 30s), race-centric and very competitive. So the idea of ‘junk miles’ is clearly unappealing to that crowd. In that ‘junk miles’ post I had the following thoughts:

There are also three REALLY good reasons to focus on maximizing your training efficiency in fewer miles : injury, burnout and frustration.

If you are injury prone, or recovering while training for a new event, every mile can make you more prone to getting injured. And if you are getting stuck in a rut of doing the same thing again and again, chances are you aren’t improving and might be getting burned out and lose interest in your training. None of this is good.

So my advice would be to ditch someone else’s definition of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ miles, figure out based on your own personal experience what YOUR balance of ‘quality vs. quantity’, and develop your own optimal training plan … regardless of how someone else would judge it.

And for me … even as we had three days with air temperatures in the ‘teens’ this week including a sub-zero wind chill day, and once I got myself properly bundled up – I was happy to get out and run my miles. Yes, I am still doing a minimum of 7.5 miles per day, generally 6 days per week, long runs on the weekends and so on. And I still love running – it is not work, not a chore … and that is part of the reason I never consider myself ‘training’, because that sounds hard! I’d rather spend my weekends on an 18 mile fun run with hill repeats than on TRAINING …

How do you feel about reading running-specific blogs? Do you feel miles must have a ‘purpose’?

Um, yeah … you’ve probably never heard THIS one before (based on the number of Run ### Run blogs, anyway … )

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21 thoughts on “30 Days of Gratitude – Day #20, Another Year of 3000+ Running Miles

  1. I think that its definitely a personal thing, and can change based on your current goals as well. If I am training for something then yes, my miles should be more focused to help me get to my race prepared and healthy. But otherwise, running should be something enjoyable, and way to exercise and clear your mind in whatever way works best for you.
    I was hoping to get to 2014 miles this year, but I have recently realized that it won’t happen. Im just under 1800 right now and its not very likely I will run 200 miles in December:) Im not really disappointed because its just a number, and overall I had a really good running year and still ran a lot more miles than 2013. 3000 is just amazing!!

    • Exactly agree – totally personal. And I think if you took my approach to things you would be nutso going into this weekend. It is really all about finding out what works for us.

      And that is the thing – it IS just a number! Who cares?!? That is why my goal was 2000 miles again this year – and will be next year. I don’t want it to really be a ‘goal’ as much as just something I will do by running my normal stuff.

      • I think the whole frowning-upon of “junk” miles is really more for people who are bemoaning their plateaued performance. I think running just for the sake of running is enough of a goal. Heck, you barely ever race, but you love to run.

      • You might be right … but it all comes across awfully judgy rather than helpful. Instead of advice about things, it is put out there as an absolute. Ugh.

  2. Now i’m completel curious to see my own mileage for the year so far! I had originally wanted to hit 3000, But i don’t think i’m going to get there. However, I will say that I am MUCH faster than I was last year so I think that is definitely some thing to be excited about, and the mileage total matters LESS to me than it did last year.

    I agree with all your thoughts on “junk miles” and “quality vs quantity” Every Body is completely different and while some people NEED to run less because of injuries, i have found I’m not one of those people. I like to just run long, too, “just for fun” like you. I don’t care if people think I’m crazy because on any given saturday i will go out and run a 20 miler, but hey, that is ok because i like doing it for ME , just like you do!

    • Exactly – if you are disappointed with the year you’ve had … I would definitely give you ‘a look’ 🙂

      And you are so right about balancing for injuries … loads of runners would be in serious trouble trying to do mu running routine – and that isn’t bragging, because chances are they are faster runners – it is just that I can handle the miles and hills and punishment pretty well for an old guy 😉

  3. It’s funny, I love so much giving gross, sweaty, post-run hugs to anyone, but I have noticed that the only people who like receiving them are also gross, sweaty and post-run. It is kind of nasty when I’m all ready for work and I get a gross sweaty post-run hug from my husband, which basically means I need to change clothes. But it’s good because it gives me an understanding of why he gives me the stiff arm when I’m gross, sweaty, post-run and going in for a hug!
    I’m a big fan of junk miles, but largely because I think miles are king, and those junk miles help with quality miles, and the quality miles are what build endurance and speed. I’m definitely someone who’s best with a goal ahead. I certainly love running (or when I don’t, I love my running buddies, and that’s enough to get me out there), but I like having a goal I’m working toward.

    • haha – I have to laugh, because my younger son in particular still loves hugs (as a 6’3″ high school junior, no less!) … so I will come in from a weekend run and offer up a hug. Sadly he never accepts 🙂

      And I definitely get the ‘goal-oriented’ approach … and really on a ‘micro level’ I do that as well – through my ‘runs with purpose’ approach, giving me stuff to push for, appraisals of how I feel and so on. I do hope to have a few races in 2015 to push for … but right now we’re entering ‘getting out and running is a victory’ season! 🙂

  4. I love junk miles. As soon as I was done with the TC Loony Challenge, I couldn’t wait to be off a training plan so I could run whenever and however I wanted, or choose to skip a run and stay in to do some cozy yoga instead. My mileage definitely went down the last month or so (and I’m not a super high mileage runner to begin with), but I still get out there on a regular basis – including when it’s dark, when it’s cold and windy, hours after a wintry mix blew through the area…though having the right clothes and gear helps ;). So I don’t really need an end goal in mind. My next race isn’t until May; I’m looking forward to some peaceful snowy runs around the neighborhood with no objective other than to scope out the Christmas lights in a couple weeks.

  5. I’m one of young people that likes to have “purpose” for my runs in that 95% of the time I’m following some sort of training plan. It’s what motivates me 🙂
    But I’d never say everyone has to be striving for something with their running. If the thought of getting outside for some fresh air is all you need to motivate you to put on your running shoes, more power to you! The more runners this planet has, regardless of if they race or aim to “do something” with all the miles the run, the better!

    • haha – the difference is you are inwardly motivated, it is what works for YOU. What I was reading was being put out as some type of ‘absolute truth’. That was what put me off – I always feel we should be encouraging runners of all types to enjoy the sport rather than bullying those who ‘aren’t doing it right’ … whatever that means.

      And I totally agree that the more runners, the better!

  6. Interesting question. I think the purpose is in the eye of the runner. I am not one to judge how others log their miles…if they want to have every run have a specific purpose..cool. If they never race and just want to run at a steady state all the time, not caring about pace, etc…good for them.

    For me personally, I am relating to your comment of getting burnt out on not having a plan for my running. I’m in a place right now where I am logging miles with no real purpose and that doesn’t work well, for me. I am injury prone so I can’t log a ton of miles like a lot of people, so I like my runs to have a specific purpose and that is actually what motivates me, checking off a specific goal for a run on any given day.

    Anyways…congrats on hitting the 3k mark, that is incredible!!! Have an awesome weekend!!

    • Thanks Sara, and I totally agree with everything you say! I had written about ‘if you only had 1000 runs’ a while ago, and how that would change things up tremendously. For those who deal with injuries, it is a similar thing – how to efficiently work on running goals without ending up injured. Obviously after more than 25 years as a non-injured runner my perspective is warped, much as I imagine is true for someone who ends up injured nearly every year.

      Thanks and I hope you have a great weekend and vacation!

    • I think that is a great attitude (maybe just because I share it? 😉 ) My thing is always to take a step back to gain perspective – unless you are an elite you don’t HAVE to run, so appreciate the gift you are given, or if you truly don’t enjoy it … stop.

  7. 3000 is just wow, that’s awesome. I’ve noticed I do better with junk miles or easy miles. I got stuck in the trap of all runs must be fast in order to count earlier this year but I think I am finally pulling out of that. That said, I do need some form of “loose” training plan to keep myself on track. It’s funny because my post today was about my training reassessment. But, again, 3000 miles is awesome!

    • Thanks Fallon! I do like that I can just go for a run, that I love going out, and that I don’t need any plan or external motivation. I know I am not normal or typical in that regard, but hey – THAT is nothing new! 😉

  8. Congrats on hitting 300 miles–that’s amazing! I’ve said this before, but I’m still so new to this that for me, there are no “junk miles.” Every run accomplishes something because sometimes it’s miraculous that I pry my butt off the couch and get out there at all!

  9. Pingback: 30 Days of Gratitude Revisited | Running Around the Bend

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