Posted by: Ingrid | October 29, 2012

High Mileage Experiment

I have completed 5 weeks of higher mileage.  As someone who has often said that 25-35 miles is comfortable and that I don’t like to run more than 5 days a week, this felt like a bit of a stretch.  On the whole, however, I have been pleasantly surprised at how… (not easy, that is decidedly NOT the right word), perhaps uneventful is more along the lines of what it has been.  I flip open my book, see how much I’m supposed to run, and usually do it.  This has led to five weeks over 40: 46, 40, 46, 42, and 50.  I have taken one or two days completely off and cross trained on other off days.  This week I am pulling back and doing somewhere between 30 and 40 miles over 4 or 5 days.

Since this intensity of running is foreign to me, having never done cross country or any other running type sport competitively it’s been interesting to see what running more has changed.

1.  I don’t get to read as much.

I miss multiple days of cross training only because it allows me to double up and exercise while reading.  The one day a week I bike or elliptical I barely remember working out since I get to lose myself in a book.

2.  I run more with people when I run higher mileage.

Sometimes meeting people is the sole motivator for getting out the door or getting up at 5:30.  As a fairly self-motivated runner, this is new to me.  Some evenings as I text various running friends I will admit to feeling a touch of desperation.

3.  My jeans don’t fit.

None of my various brands in various sizes actually fit anymore, simply because of how my body changes when I run more, which I had sort of forgotten.  I checked measurements too, and they were down as well, even though my weight has been stable at the lowest end of normal for me.  My knees even look different and I find that a little bizarre.

4.  I don’t make time for lifting.

When I am running this much I stop getting in two lifting sessions a week and usually settle for half a wimpy session every 10 days.  In my head, at least, I think I would love some sort of intense cross-fit type workout that I could do for strength training in my own home.  I would, of course, follow this with an hour of yoga while my children played angelically together… 😛

5.  I have actually done yoga several times.

I dislike yoga because I am incredibly inflexible despite 7 years of ballet long ago.  There is not much gratification when I am told to place my hands on the floor and the best I can do is reach below my knees.  But I firmly believe that doing a 25 minutes yoga video that I pulled up on YouTube has helped me feel better when I have been achy after a run.

6.  I (apparently) have the metabolism of a teenage boy.

I saw my lowest adult weight (by about a pound) two weeks ago.  Then I opened a bag of candy corn and all was lost for nearly two weeks.  I was surprised today to find that not much damage has been done.  I am not exercising longer now that I’m running more instead of cross training, but maybe my body expends more energy running than on the elliptical?  I’m not sure, but I think I need to stop testing the “teenage metabolism theory” for the time being.

7.  It’s more mental than physical.

My fear in running day after day is that I will gradually get slower and slower until by day 5 I am unable to do anything but walk 15 minute miles.  This has not been the case, and I feel like part of that has been learning to look at some runs as recovery time.  If I pull back and run eight miles one day at a 9 minute pace I may very well find that the next days “easy run” will feel effortless at an 8 minute pace.  I have found it interested that running and a recovery day can actually go together, leaving me ready to run faster the next day.

8.  I run hills.

I have mostly avoided hills since my injury healed up last February and I started training.  I find, now that my focus is on running more and less on running a particular time over a distance, that I like hills.  They’re really kind of fun!

So I am enjoying my experiment even though my reading for this month has dropped to an all time low.

Best lesson learned so far?

Don’t try to run timed fartlek intervals for the first time in the dark.

Running song of the day: Pink – Ave Mary A



  1. If you are anything like me, I tend to read and zone out of the elliptical. It doesn’t burn as many calories… not at all. Running is by far the most efficient. The stair stepper is up there near running. Biking on a spin class type bike with your butt out if the seat, leaning forward burns a good deal of calories. Also, leg workouts. Lunges, squats, etc. Gets your heart rate up there which surprised me. This is anecdotal from my 2 weeks of wearing a heart rate monitor…

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