Does anyone know of a rule of thumb, in longer distances, on how more miles impacts performance. For example, if someone were to run a 1/2 in 1:30 training 50 miles a week, what benefit could be expected by increasing to 70 miles a week (assuming speed,tempo remained constant). I assume that this pattern will take the form of a curve. Additionally, I assume that there is some type of "injury cap" to the amount of miles a human body could actually complete in a week. I realize that everyone is different, so maybe empirical evidence would have the most value. Thanks.
The best empirical evidence is the number of elite male
and female Japanese distance runners putting in the big
Does anyone know of a rule of thumb, in longer distances, on how more miles impacts performance.
If someone were to actually give you a number, would it mean anything to you? Would you actually believe it? More importantly, what good would it do you?
I'm not slamming you. I realize you want to know how much to increase your mileage, but the truth is there is no way to answer your question. The only way to really find out how many miles to do is to try it for yourself. If there is a curve, it is a different curve for everyone. The best evidence is anecdotal.
Uta Pippig and Bill Rodgers used to regularly run obscene mileage week after week (we're talking like 150+ mpw). If the stories about Gerry Lindgren are true, he made those two look like weekend joggers with his sick totals. The Japanese runners do that kind of work and more as well (albeit likely slower than Pippig and Rodgers).
So clearly there are some bodies that can take it. But some bodies can't go over 70 a week. You've got to try to increase your mileage until you find your limit. And after you've been at your limit for a while and gotten used to it, try more.
At any rate, 70 mpw is very likely better than 50 for a half marathon. Don't know how to quantify it, but I'd say at that point, you likely could still double your mileage and see improvement, assuming your body can take it.
I would think that one should run faster than 1:30 on 50 miles/week; which shows how milage alone is a poor predictor of race times.
My personal experience was about an :06/mi. improvement after one year moving from an average of about 40mpw to 60mpw. This was the average improvement across an 8 race xc series run on the same courses both years.
Don't be a snob. Everyone has different capabilities.
But yes, going from 50 to 70 will improve your time in the 1/2 and if you're currently under 1:35, you're giving yourself a great shot at this barrier. It'll feel terrific when you do it. Go for it and train smart.
As a rule of thumb, everything else being equal, you will run faster off more mileage than less (particularly for longer races).
I have read that after about 50-60 mpw you are at about 95% or so of you maximum potential. After this point, one starts to encounter the danger zone of increased chance of injury and the like. Obviously some people can handle more, but for a decent amount of people this is roughly their max give or take 10/15 miles. A good friend of mine runs best on about 70 mpw. If he strings together more than a few 75-90mile weeks he becomes tired and is more injury prone. Basically to run your best, do the highest mileage possible that you can perform consistently.
consistent 60/70 mile weeks for a few years is likely to be more beneficial than a few months of 90 mpw, than a month off or severe cut back due to injury.
Your first sentence came from Runner's World. If you "CAN'T" run more, it probably really means you (or your... ahem... "friend") have not spent adequate time building up. Obviously (duh) being injured is not good. Train well so that you avoid negative effects of not training well, and you will improve as you run more miles.
If this does not make sense, you have been brainwashed by the 90s and RW. In that case, there is nothing I can do for you.
see what Adam Wallace, ultra-high college runner, has to say on the issue on trackshark.
personally I think the law of diminishing returns plays a factor. Moving from 50-70 in high school improved me a lot more than moving from 70-90 in college, but I also younger then and less physically developed.
Well duh.... Let's say I make $50K/yr and get a promotion and increase to $75K. Wow! That 25K when not making so much is a big deal (very easy to see the difference).
Now let's say someone makeing $500K gets offered $525K. Big improvement percentage wise? Not really. Improvement? Yes.
By increasing to 70 mpw you will be able to run a 1:26. This comes from formula that I'm sworn to secrecy on. You know my info.
In my experience there is no magical built-in max that limits the mileage a person can handle, rather it is all a question of how much training you have done in the past and how long your body takes to adapt.
When I first started running, if I ran more than 3 or 4
times a week, I would develop ITB problems that would force me to stop running. My "max" was about 25 miles per week,
so I stayed there for several months. Then I started
increasing my mileage until I found that if I ran more
than 6 times a week or did too many longer runs, I would
develop achilles problems, so I had to back off - my max
at this point was about 50 miles per week, so I stayed
there and focused on speed work for a while (after my
achilles healed). 3 months later when preparing for my first half-marathon I upped my mileage again, and this time
got to 70-75 miles per week, before I started getting chronic pain in my hips which forced me to back off. Etc. etc...
I now am running over 100 miles per week, but I do find that if I don't back off every 3rd week, I start to break down, so every 3rd week I only run about 70. But guess
what, in another 3-4 months, I suspect that this "limit"
will be gone too.
The moral is this, you may find that there is a limit to
the mileage your body can safely handle at any point in
your training, however that does not imply you have reached
some built-in limit, simply that you have reached the limit of what your body is ready to do right now. In time you will be able to do more.
Right after college I was averaging 40-50 mpw and thought 65 was going to break me. Ran a 2:52 marathon. A year later I was up to averaging 55-65 and thought 80 would break me. Ran 2:37 at Boston. A year and a half after that I was up to 70-85 and thought 100 would bust me. Ran a 2:29 (this fall). Now I've run 3 of the last 4 weeks at 100+ and don't feel too bad, I'll probably be averaging 110-120 by summer.
Obviously the increased miles have led to big improvements for me (I feel out of shape below 70 mpw now). But I made my biggest improvements going from 40-50 to 55-65. I've added another 40 mpw since then to get the same percentage improvement that a 15 mpw increase got me then. Diminishing returns, my friend...