Giving up on high mileage before I gave it enough time to pay dividends. I was the proverbial big fish in a small pond in high school. Had an absolute blast beating up on the competition off of pretty modest 35-45 mpw offseason training. I think I touched 50 once. Went to a D3 school in a competitive conference and proceeded to become a mid-packer. I didn't deal with it very well. Looking back, I was actually one of the top 5 or 10 freshman in the whole conference, but it didn't feel that way because I was still essentially bringing up the rear in the slow heat at conference.
The solution I chose for myself was mileage, baby. Worked my way up to 85 mpw by the middle of my sophomore XC season. I did a lot of doubles and usually felt pretty tired. The other problem is that I was running well over a minute slower for 8K compared to freshman year. It was incredibly disheartening and I ended up "ragequitting" before conference. I just didn't see the point slogging through yet another race only to come up far short of what I had done freshman year. By the time the burnout had subsided, I came back too quickly during indoors and got a minor injury. I never really got the mojo back after that. I really regret how I handled that whole saga. If I could do it again I would've been more gradual in my mileage ramp up and given myself permission to suck while I let the long term effects set in. I wish I had gotten better guidance from my coach, too, but he was all about empowering the individual and sh.t like that. I needed a hardass to tell me to buck up and take my lumps so I could be a stronger runner junior and senior year.
I honestly would benefit a lot from just letting this go, but it's hard. I conditioned myself as a young man to attach a lot of self-worth to my running performance even though in the grand scheme of things I was never gonna be fast. I still love the sport many years later and with that comes dreams of what might have been.