Thursday, July 30, 2009


The general definition of junk miles is mileage or workouts that serve no purpose. Most of the time I've seen it referred to slow mileage. I generally disagree with that since slow mileage does two things for me: 1) accumulates total mileage for a good foundation to work from and 2) recovery. However if running lots of slow miles is at the expense of (or instead of) quality work then I see how those miles could be classified as junk.

Junk is relative to each of us and it's relative to where you are in the training cycle. So in my case, today's workout not only did not serve any useful purpose, it will end up being at the expense of the rest of this week's quality.

You see, today's run was too fast, too slow, too long, and too short. Pure junk. I didn't intend on running junk, it just ended up that way. And that's the silver lining. At least I learned something and that's always a good thing.

What did I learn? I learned that I wasn't recovered from Tuesday's great tempo run. And now I'll have to wait until next Monday or Tuesday for my next quality workout.

After a good foot soaking last night, I felt motivated this morning to run 20 miles at around 6:45 pace. Or basically 2hrs 15mins which is what was on the schedule. A little more or a little less mileage wouldn't make a difference. The goal was general. The foot felt good and I felt ok but not great. The fog was thick, the air a humid 60 degrees, and the sun was sleeping in. So for the first 5 miles I did not have any splits and was running by feel alone. This can be a good thing so you don't press for arbitrary splits.

As I was running, I was clipping along at a good pace and it felt fast - faster than 6:45. In fact, I was pondering just backing off slightly so I wouldn't ruin the second half of the run. But overall I felt good. The wind was light and occasionally gusted from my left. Completely manageable.

So when I got to mile 5 where I could finally see my watch, I was just a little pained to see that I was exactly at a 6:45 pace - when I thought I was running a little stronger than that. And then the shocker came when I turned and found a very healthy wind had been blowing at my back the whole time and now was full front.

The run suddenly was a lot of work to maintain pace and by 7.5 miles I knew I was just working too hard. My legs were not recovered from Tuesday. So I pulled the plug and jogged it home.

I ended up with 10 miles w/7.5 @ 6:45 pace. I can't count it as recovery because that's too fast. I can't call it easy since I was working too hard. I won't classify it as one of my aerobic workouts because it wasn't far enough. And running easy tomorrow won't provide enough recovery in time for my planned intervals on Saturday. If I had known or suspected as much, I would have run recovery today and Friday and then ran quality on Saturday. But now I can't. So junk is what it is.

The bright side is that at least I won't try to run quality on Saturday in spite of this. That would lead to getting stale and inhibiting improvement. I'll know for next time that I need a longer recovery from a good tempo run (for now).

On a lighter note:

I have a rule at the office. It's a simple one. When I show up, I liked to be asked, "How was your run?" Then I get to talk about it. The staff humors me.

Yesterday, they decided to humor themselves. When I got back from lunch the vandals had been in my office -

It might be time for new rule.

10 miles: 1:09:31.


Blogger Rachelle said...

I think I would like your staff.

7/30/2009 7:21 AM  
Anonymous Ernesto said...

I like that illustration of junk. Helps underscore the productive nature of recovery miles and differentiate between those and other types of workouts. Hope your foot feels better soon!

7/30/2009 7:36 AM  
Blogger Love2Run said...

What does the little sign say? I love ???? Will you be wearing the dress for Trevor? 10 miles at 6:45 pace is not junk!!

7/30/2009 8:55 AM  
Blogger Grellan said...

Close enough to MP junk miles.

If junk is defined as runs that don't go according to plan most of my junk miles are in races.

Pink might clash with your hair colour.

p.s. If I could run as well as you I wouldn't boither with the swimming and biking.

7/30/2009 12:51 PM  
Blogger bill carter said...

6:45 pace?? That is a rough one for anybody. I am shoooting for a 2:56 in September and I will only do a couple 18+ mile runs at 6:45 or better.

You seem to do quite a lot of quality if you ask me.

Take care.

7/30/2009 1:24 PM  
Blogger Ewen said...

They're saying you run like a girl (who loves fish)?

At least "junk" won't kill you - unlike your local drivers. I was expecting that story to end with "next thing I had to swerve to miss a moose". Take care on the bike.

7/31/2009 4:55 AM  
Blogger lindsay said...

is that your everyday running outfit or your dress clothes for work? very stylish.

i'm not one to lecture about being hard on yourself since i do it all the time, plus you know your body and training the best. though i do have agree that 6:45 for 7.5 sounds good to me. i think you're just feeling deprived from the lack of daily 20-milers this week.

7/31/2009 7:04 AM  

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