4 min read

7,378 miles

7,378 miles

What I learned running 7,378 miles in three years.

The past seven thousand miles has taught that to get better at running you must run consistently. Consistency requires commitment, but commitment alone is not sufficient.

I've been a committed runner for almost twenty years. But, I'm only getting better at running by running consistently. The only way to run consistently is to avoid injury and illness. Injury and illness are more likely to occur as a result of over training. Running too hard does not make you stronger; it makes you vulnerable.

There are pace calculators all over the internet that make it easy to work backwards from an upcoming race into various workout paces. Do not do this. These numbers tell you what your ego wants to believe.

At least 80% of your runs should be easy. Honestly, 85%. It should be comfortable to have a conversation throughout all of these miles.

Once your volume is above 30-40 miles a week, you might start incorporating speed work into your running diet. Instead of racing your workouts, do your workouts at a 7 or 8 effort.

Remember what is at stake. When you run too hard, you are jeopardizing your consistency. Do you actually think that running slightly slower than max effort is not going to improve your fitness?

Do you know what results in zero training gains? Not training. Running slower than you think you can on a workout isn't being lazy. It is prioritizing long term consistency over ego.

At the end of a workout, you should feel tired, but not so tired that you can't run the next day. If you slow down over the course of a speed workout, you started too fast. If you speed up dramatically at the end, you are letting your ego jeopardize your health. If your brain is broken after a workout you made a mistake and ran the workout too hard.

That's the rant. What follows is a reflection on how I came to these ideas about training.

May 2021 - 2022 (2,335 miles)

2022 is the year I got fanatical about running. Never before in my life did I run the kind of consistent high mileage I did at the start of 2022.

May 2021 - 2022

A. July 2021 - Shin splints side lined me for about a week and a half.

B. September 2021 - I got sick.

C. October 2021 - The Boulderthon marathon was my worst race ever. I went out at an aggressive 8:36. By mile 11 I had slowed to 9:17 and at mile 18 I crossed the 10 minute mile barrier. I finished in 4:11. This was a jolt. It told me that my training was wrong.

D. May 2022 - I put together about 6 months of never dropping below 45 miles in a week. I was consistent. I had a great half marathon race in April where I broke 1:40, which made me think I was on the right track. But, I was running my workouts too fast and not recovering. I over estimated my fitness, which bit me in my next marathon.

May 2022 - 2023 (2,354 miles)

I re-learned how to run the marathon.

May 2022 - 2023

A. June 2022 - My first marathon in 2022 was Revel Rockies. I finished in 3:44, which was about 20 minutes slower than I had hoped given my consistent training. The truth is, I over trained. I wasn't recovered. And the steep downhill race exposed me.

B. October 2022 - A summer of solid training seemed to evaporate with a sudden and unexpected health incident. I still managed to run the second running of the Boulderthon marathon.

C. December 2022 - I had spotty training due to the aforementioned health incident, but I ran CIM for the first time. While my training wasn't great, I had an accurate picture of my fitness and raced really well. This was a redemptive experience. The last time I ran a solid marathon without blowing up was the Tucson marathon in 2019.

D. Winter 2023 - I trained consistently and treated every fourth week as a down week to help me recover and consolidate training gains.

E. I got greedy and went after too many miles in too short a time and then skied some incredible powder. But, this led to some shin pain that meant I needed to all but stop running for two weeks.

May 2023 - 2024 (2,689 miles)

My best year of training. It feels like the last scene of the first Matrix, where Neo sees the green code. I understand my body more than ever before.

May 2023 - 2024

A. After a fun Bolder Boulder, it was time to train. I doubled down on the four week cycles. I listened to my body. When the body felt tired, I cut out speed work.

B. Six months of solid training prepared me for CIM 2023, my best race since the 2015 NYC Marathon.

C. I've had another six months of solid training. I've added strength training twice a week. I've learned to skip the strength training on my recovery weeks to allow my body to fully recover.

The goal is to put together another back to back sixth months of training and run CIM 2024. I aim to beat my marathon PR of 3:24.