Mileage For Marathon Training | Tips to PR Faster and Gain Confidence

Mileage for marathon training doesn’t guarantee you success at any distance.

There is always that question in the back in the mind that asks ‘is this going to work’. What I have to tell you from my own experience is you have to try.

mileage for marathon training

You can’t look back at your life years down the road and question if you did enough or too little.

The only way to find out is to give it your best shot.

Sometime is works, other times it may fail but being afraid to fail will stop you from seeing your true potential.

I was coached by the 1985 Boston Marathon Champion, Lisa Rainsberger. She taught me higher mileage doesn’t guarantee you faster performances.

I chose to experiment with my mileage after running a small marathon personal best at the 2007 Grandmas Marathon. My time was 2.40.02. So, I felt that trying 140 mile weeks may take me to the next level.

Of course, I failed miserably that day but learned much. Lisa told me ‘well you had a descent first half’.

140+ mile weeks left me exhausted, stale and running poorly. That being said, I ended up breaking 2.20.00 on 90 mile weeks.

You must stay hungry, stay foolish – Steve Jobs

Do Not Be Afraid To Fail

It isn’t how much mileage you are running but how you are running the miles.

You have to experiment. So, find out what works best for you.

I certainly feel there is a point in training where you get a negative return on your investment. So, the running more mileage isn’t always the best strategy.

Remember, there are runners training at 50 miles a week who get better results than those running upwards of 100 miles per week.

Base Mileage

The general rule for mileage is never to exceed more than 10% per week. It is a good step in the right direction. That being said, everyone is individual.

So, do what works for you.

Mileage for marathon training should be setting you up for success, not the other way around.

Remember, best runners in the world are not calculating every mile they run. In addition, are not concerned with going over the 10% rule.

The key is finding what works best for your body and making adjustments as you go.

I start off very slow when I take time off from training.

I value that time away from training to re-charge the batteries and get back into heavy marathon preparation.

Allow yourself time to re-charge and re-group because you are going to need it when it comes to the marathon.

It matters with all race distances.

Base mileage should consist mainly of easier mileage..

You don’t want to start too fast into a training block.

It takes time for the body to adapt to the stress you place on it.

The hardest part early on in training is wanting to run your miles as effortlessly as you ran them in past training build ups.

Take your time, you will get back to that level.

running a faster marathonThe body does adapt. So, being a great runner is having the patience to let your body adapt to the stress you are placing on it.

Stay Positive Throughout

So, staying persistent is essential for success.

Yes, it is about progression and having the patience to continue to build 

The body takes approximately 21 days or 3 weeks for any physiological adaptation to occur.

So, you can’t be in a rush but know that you are in control.

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I’ve never been what you’d call a real high-mileage runner. Some people think I should be. But there’s a fine line between knowing what works for each individual.- Meb Keflezighi – 2004 Olympic Marathon Silver medalist

Have the patience to persist. Give yourself sometime to get back into feeling great again.

Don’t let the early build up make you feel as though you will never get back to the fitness you once had.

You will!

How Much Is Enough?

The proper amount of mileage depends on what your goals are.

If you are training to lose weight simply running more miles can help you do that.

In addition, helps your body burn excess calories throughout the day. How? Well, by increasing your metabolic rate by training in the morning.

What you don’t want is to get diminished returns while training. So, if you are feeling overly fatigued, you need to back off your mileage.

Take Time Off

You will not lose any fitness taking a day or two off if need be.

The truth is taking some time off is exactly what is needed.

I had to know if running 140 mile weeks was going to take me from 2.19 to sub 2.10 in the marathon.

Running 7 days a week, 20 miles per day didn’t equate to sub 2.10.00 marathons.

I learned quickly that it wasn’t the answer but I had to know.

I run better at 90-120 miles per week.

The 40% Rule

What you have to do is start slow. I usually try to start off around 40% of my highest mileage week. 

Remember, what works for me may not work for you. So, evaluate your past training. Ask yourself. What did work and what can I do differently to create a breakthrough this year in my racing?

Keep in mind, it isn’t how many miles you are running but what you are doing with those miles. Are you practicing your goal race pace?

Are you running recovery days easy enough to recover or running everyday harder than you should?

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.-Albert Einstein

These are vital questions that you have to ask yourself. Writing down your goals is important.

You can train at marathon pace and achieve new personal bests but part of that comes form knowing how much is enough, how often and having the courage to back off the pace when you know you should.

So, what is the proper amount of mileage for marathon training?

The purpose of this post wasn’t truly to answer it but to make you answer it for yourself, to make you think about your past and consider trying something new you can start today that will impact your future racing.

If this resonates with you and you’d like to share this post.

Please do.

If you’d like to leave a comment and tell me what has hampered or really helped your training and racing, I am all ears.

Make sure to visit and subscribe to the RunDreamAchieve YouTube channel. I create new videos there each week to help runners like yourself get better results.

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