"“At 40 to 50 miles a week, I think people are putting their health in jeopardy unless they’re at a higher level,” said Dr. David Webner, director of running medicine at Crozer-Keystone Health System in Pennsylvania. “That’s a lot for the recreational marathoner.”
Dr. Webner recommends that casual marathoners run three days a week, mixed in with non-weight-bearing exercises like elliptical workouts and swimming, to minimize the risk of injury."
I'm speechless. I'm so opposed to so many aspects of this, it's hard to know where to start.
Let's take it in order...
40-50 is NOT a lot if you work to that point gradually. If you spend a few months at 20, 30, 40 miles per week, then you should be able to maintain 40-50 for a training block. The problem isn't the 40-50 miles; it's probably the instant gratification people want by just jumping into that mileage to finish a marathon. If you don't have that running mileage base... guess what: don't run a marathon!
Which brings us to the next point "casual marathoner". WTF is that? You can be a casual runner, but if you don't want running to "take over your life", then don't plan to train for a 26-mile race. Any doctor recommending that someone run 3 times a week to prepare for a marathon is an idiot.
As others have said, a 16 minute PR, when you've started with times in the mid/upper 4-hour range is really nothing - especially when you admit to not training much for those attempts. It's like we're supposed to be amazed she cut 5% off her PR by actually training for a few months and "only" doing a long run of 16 miles.
And as far as "taking over your life". I hardly think running 40-50 miles takes over your life. Either committing to training for a marathon is a priority of yours, or it's not. Either you can brag about your 4:19 because you put in the work, or you can not train and run 5 hours again. You can't have it both ways.