MarathonMaiden's Blog

June 7, 2010

How [Double] Running Can Rock: Low(er) Mileage, Shorter Runs & Sleep

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 15:00

If you didn’t catch the first few pieces of “How Running Can Rock” I talked about: double runs, carbs and no/low stress.

I have some other idea of why my running (and running in general) can be all happy but they aren’t really anything scientific or something I can really elaborate on. And it just occurred to me how self-serving this post series is.  Like, I’m going to just shout from the rooftops how awesome I am.  Oh well I guess I like bragging 🙂

So in bullet form…

  • Low mileage.  WHOA did I just say low mileage? Yes. And why? Because, if there’s one thing I learned in physics it’s that everything is relative. My mileage right now, while still in the 60s and nearing 70, is nowhere near the level I was at during marathon training.  AKA I’m no longer logging 100 mile weeks.  My legs like that.
  • Optimal mileage. I’m not saying that 70 miles is what you need to do in order to run well.  Au contraire.  For lots of people this may be too much and will lead to injury.  To others it may not be enough.  It’s all about finding the *key mileage* that works for you.  Granted I do have lots of “free time” (or put better: unscheduled time) so I can put in my best mileage and I’m usually just sitting around all day save for my runs.  If you were working, say, a construction job, maybe less miles is for you because your legs will be tuckered out from the physical work of the job.

Again, it’s all relative.

Something else that’s all relative?

  • The length of each individual run.  I’ve been doing several shorter runs over the course of the day and there’s no longer that barrier of mega runs.  Don’t get me wrong: I never really dreaded doing that double digit streak or anything but there’s something daunting about knowing you’ll be out running for 2 hours straight of running.  And that can wear you down mentally (and likely create stress in life).  Not the case with shorter runs and I’ve often found that 30-45 or even 60 minute runs just fly by so fast.
  • Not taking 329423947983274 miles to feel warmed up.  It’s a double edge sword though because I’ve built up that “tolerance” to the endorphins so often after a 4 miler I don’t feel like I’ve done much but I’m slowly getting my body used to running shorter stuff, I’m already cutting back from the typical 3 miles of warm up to 1 or 2.
  • Sleep.  Since graduating I’ve been sleeping really well.  I think this goes hand-in-hand with low stress / not having to be at a specific place at a specific time.  Sleep is really important too as I’ve written about before and I’ve been working my way out of a sleep debt.  And I don’t think it’s any surprise that sleeping well will lead to better running as it clearly leads to better everything.  (If you didn’t want to click that link sleep = Growth Hormone = repairing muscles)

Anyway those are just some odds and ends that are sort of “duh” statements.  At least I think they are.

And they are all true.  Not exactly a trifecta (because obviously there were more) but each one has contributed lots to my running.  Which has taken up all my “free time” aka when I’m not studying / working on my application.

As proof of such I offer up this past week 31-May to 6-June:

  • 16 different runs (5 doubles, 2 triples.  Minimum distance run: 3.2, Maximum: 8.6)
  • 92.3 miles
  • 8:43 average pace

So first off.  HolyMileage!! As soon as I saw that number when I ran the numbers I immediately freaked out.  I mean, running that much is good and fun but….way too excessive for me right now.  After I calmed down a bit (and yes regained the pride of “Hell Yeah I did that during a crazy busy week”) I freaked out over the pace.  But this time in a good way.  In the time that I’ve been recording my runs and data (just about a year now) I have NEVER had an average pace be that fast when

  1. There was no formal speedwork involved. I did have a run in there that might have been pushed just because of time constriction but there was no plan this week to do anything
  2. My mileage was that high.

I think the only other week close to that was my marathon day week when – duh – I was racing

So I’m pumped on that front.  Don’t worry though, after seeing that many miles I’m cutting back.  Which will be good because then I can dedicate more, yes MORE, time to studying (going full throttle even though I have a long way to go) and essay writing (a big huge THANKS to those of you who have read / are reading my essay).

But interestingly enough my body doesn’t feel like it ran 90 miles.  It really doesn’t.  No aches or pains or shin problems (bladder problems are a different story though 😉 )

And thanks for all the congrats on my job.  I’m really excited about it! I’ve been trying to keep it under wraps and downplay it a bit but…yeah I’m wicked stoked.  It’s not really a “real” job though: I joined the AmeriCorps VISTA program.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with the program, it’s like the Peace Corps except for the USA.  The goal is to eradicate poverty.

Which means that I’m taking on a year of service.  At the federal poverty level a very modest income.  I don’t want to share too many details (I know that if someone wants to find out who I am, where I live etc they will do so but I’m not making it easy for them! Plus I don’t really know what I can and can’t say) but I’m working as an IT Development Coordinator at a clinic for patients who do not have any health care.  It’s pretty cool and even though I’m the IT person, I was talking to the current VISTA in the position and she was saying that it’s not heavy tech stuff.  Which is good because I don’t have much tech skillz.  She was also saying that I probably will have more doctor/patient interaction than the position I had initially applied for.  Which is awesome.

Another awesome thing? The fact that I get to go to a Pre-Service Orientation in Philly in mid-July.  That’s pretty awesome but even more awesome? The government is footing 100% of the cost.  Sweet.

Not so awesome? All the paperwork I have to fill out.  Which I should be doing now.  Or studying.  Or something rather than procrastinating 😉

Check out this giveaway from Sarah (The SHU Box)



  1. Don’t know what you can and can’t say, eh? Sure you aren’t joining the CIA? In all seriousness, congrats on the job. I have two friends who have done AmeriCorps and they both loved it.

    Comment by Chelsea — June 7, 2010 @ 16:07

  2. That sounds kind of like a sweet set-up for a job- and holla’ on the free trip to Philly! 😉

    Comment by Amy @ Second City Randomness — June 7, 2010 @ 16:53

  3. Have a blast in Philly. I will be visiting in September, and I’m excited, too! Your training/running is looking really good. I like how you don’t have a specific goal for yourself right now. (Or maybe you do and just aren’t sharing?) Anyway, i think mental breaks are just as important as physical breaks. Downtime is good!

    Comment by Rebecca — June 7, 2010 @ 19:39

  4. Wow, it sounds like everything is going really well! I good job experience lined up and some great runs! It sure feels good when everything falls into place, huh? You’ve worked hard for it though! Keep up the good work! 🙂

    Comment by tmart — June 7, 2010 @ 19:44

  5. Triples??? Seriously I thought we were talking about doubles here! lol Great job though, its nice to have the free time after graduation – I took off 5 weeks and really enjoyed it plus it helped with training!

    Comment by J — June 7, 2010 @ 20:00

  6. Wow, good on you doing such an altruistic job, that’s fantastic. Let me know if you want to go for a run when you’re in Philly! 😀

    Comment by Flo — June 7, 2010 @ 23:52

  7. Very nice translation of the Runner’s Guide to the “Theory of Relativity”…haha, I like it ALOT! Ooh, and congrats on your job! I know you must be excited to be involved in some doctor/patient interactions. Very cool!

    Comment by The Laminator — June 8, 2010 @ 00:03

  8. I know what you mean about feeling daunted to be out for 2 hours of running! There’s something a bit nerve racking about being out there on your feet for so long heh. Sounds like your job will be great, good experience, good cause and good on your CV even if they pay isn’t great 🙂

    Comment by Laura — June 8, 2010 @ 03:41

  9. Oh!! Americorps is great. I know plenty of people who have parlayed their work with Americorps into fulltime gigs (even though you’ll be med-school headed. But you never know!). I also feel a little bad that I have nothing to offer to your double-running posts. Although today I was at the track with a running buddy who said she MUST do doubles to have any solid fitness. It was an interesting idea, and I was almost like, hey, I know this girl…sort of…

    Comment by sarah — June 8, 2010 @ 08:23

  10. Sounds like a cool job!

    Comment by Jess — June 8, 2010 @ 14:12

  11. OH WOW!!! Congrats on your job!!! I think you’re wonderful to join such a program!

    Comment by sophia — June 8, 2010 @ 14:54

  12. yippeee for sleep 🙂

    Comment by tricia — June 8, 2010 @ 15:04

  13. CONGRATS! That’s awesome!!

    Comment by thefoodrunner — June 8, 2010 @ 19:14

  14. Congrats, girl!!

    Comment by Jess — June 8, 2010 @ 20:53

  15. Sleep makes all the difference! great job

    Comment by Katherine: What About Summer? — June 8, 2010 @ 21:31

  16. Girl you are insane with mileage. I am not even sure without kids, house, hubbs, and my job I could get (nearly) 100 mile weeks in! But I have to tell you during the winter snow storms when school and work were cancelled I got in 70+ mile weeks via treadmill and loved it! so I’ll live mega-miles through you and just be jealous.

    Great job getting the miles you love without beating up your body! I love split runs!

    Congrats on the job!

    Comment by shelly — June 9, 2010 @ 14:08

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