Do you take on any challenge that comes your way?
Are you guilty of ramping up your mileage too quickly?
I’ve made the mistake of trying to do too much, too quickly in the past. However, after ending up injured, I am much more cautious when I decide to take on a new challenge.
As I’m training for my first ultramarathon, I started wondering, “How did I get here? What has my mileage actually looked like in the past few years? Am I ready to increase my mileage?”
I want to make sure that this jump to a new distance isn’t too much for my body. Although I have years of running experience, I don’t have many years of endurance running experience (I have 2 road marathons and a trail 35k under my belt, to be exact).
Initially, I don’t think it’s too much because I have trained for 2 marathons in the past. However, I ended up injured the first time around. And, I had a few issues while training for the second marathon.
Even though I have been running close to 30 years (with a few breaks), I ran shorter distances. I primarily competed in 5k and 10ks. If I had logged my mileage from the past, I would see that it wouldn’t have been anywhere near what it is today.
Taking a look at the last 10 years provides the necessary information and is more interesting to me.
After having my second child in 2004, I was running 3 – 4 miles at a time. I pretty much kept my weekly mileage low (~15 miles a week) as I wasn’t really training for anything.
By 2006, I was pushing a jog stroller and a double jog stroller at times. So, I was in no position to really train for anything other than a healthy life style.
I increased my mileage in 2009. Although I didn’t log my mileage, I would guess that I increased it safely, but drastically. It was in 2009 when I competed in my first 10k after having kids.
2010 was a huge year and I ended up doing too much, too quickly. I didn’t think so at the time, but looking back, it’s really no surprise that I ended up injured. I only have the last 12 weeks of the year logged. This was my marathon training after coming off of completing two 70.3 triathlons (1/2 ironmans).
In 2011, I spent a lot of time rehabilitating and wasn’t able to train until May. My overall mileage for the year was understandably low.
2012 I kept my events to a minimum and increased my overall mileage to an all time high of 46 miles/week while training for my second marathon.
2013 was a recovery year for me. I needed it both physically and mentally for several reasons. In regards to my running, chasing PR’s can take the fun out of running. I needed to rediscover why I love running as well as give my body a break. Originally, I thought I was going to keep the distance to 1/2 marathon or less. But, in the fall, I found myself training for a 35k, a distance I had never run on the trails.
And once I had completed the 35k, I found a new challenge. I decided to train for a true endurance event. I was hooked on the idea of running a 50k in 2014 which meant training started in late 2013.
Although it’s taken several years, 2014 is the year that I hope to take my running to a new level. I plan on getting my weekly mileage up to a little over 50 miles a week (I realize lots of people run many more miles each week). I’m off to a good start as my weekly mileage is already higher than it was in 2013. I just have to remember to take it slowly and to use a training plan.
Overall, what I’ve learned is that everyone’s body is different. I need to focus on what my body can handle, which is to increase my mileage slowly so I reduce the risk of injury. In addition, I need to choose only a few challenges each year. And finally, I need to continue to strengthen my body (upper body, core, and legs) so that I can run for many, many more years. I’m ready for this challenge!