Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Mileage Challenge

"Just run miles," my dad and uncle said to me.  "Let's pick a number," they continued.  "Let's say 400 miles in two months.  It's time to build the sword.  We can add the edge to it later."

I doubt all the crushed paper cups had been swept away, the clocks barely stopped, and the roads simply roads again, their mile markers long since packed away, before I'd started planning.

The pain from Boston still lingered, but I was already in an empire state of mind.

I did the math in my head: 200 miles a month, roughly 50 miles a week or some combination therein, 45s, 55s, *gulp* 60s.  Broken down, those 5s and 6s run every other day that I did to just simply get to the line at Boston weren't going to cut it anymore....

"You've got to start by resting," they said.  "It's a rest for your body and a mental rest"  So...I rested.  I ran when I felt like it.  When it was hot, I took the bike out instead and discovered the joy of covering mileage in half the time, but also the torture your quads can feel on the steep (or gradual) climbs.  I went to the gym and started lifting legs, realizing that the snarky answer I gave to my orthopedist when he asked if I did any weights for my lower body ("I run hills," I snickered) was naive.  I slept on weekends. I drank beer.  I ditched the watch.

I used to be hungry for food, now I'm hungry to run again.

I feel fresh, antsy, and remember what it's like to go out for a run without any nagging pains or lingering stiffness.

Suddenly, 400 miles, well, it doesn't sound easy, but it sounds more doable.  It sounds like I could start from my house and run to Detroit, MI according to www.timeanddate.com

I'm a Greg McMillan junkie, the self-proclaimed Arthur Lydiard aficionado.  What does that mean?  It essentially means an eight week prescription of pure mileage. THEN you hone that foundation with the speed work as the marathon draws near.  I'm hoping to be a mileage monster by the time I hop in the car to drive down to the ZAP Fitness mini-marathon camp in Blowing Rock, NC the first week of August.

The Challenge
400 miles between June 1 and July 31

The Plan
  • Steadily building mileage in June before cranking it in July
  • 3 up weeks with 1 down week
  • 5 days of running with one to two doubles thrown in
  • Strides to end 2 runs each week
  • 2-3 days in the gym
  • Daily general strength sessions to conclude each run for flexibility and strength
At the conclusion of the base phase, I'll add in the speed workouts that we've come to love (and hate) during marathon training: mile repeats, long tempo runs, 20-milers....

I hope to be a stronger, smarter runner come Nov. 6 when I toe the line at the NYC Marathon.

Until then, the mileage count reads: 0/400.

Confucius said, "Every journey of [400] miles begins with a single step." The first steps start tomorrow.  Who's with me?

Are you up for the challenge?  Pick a mileage number to hit by July 31 and come along for the journey (and challenge) with me.


  1. July 31 is 8 weeks + 5 days (so you're going for the standard quarter lap of 440, right?)

    I know you know there are 1000s of different online training logs, but DailyMile has some cool community features. Notably their "Challenge" feature. You can create Virtual Race, Most Distance, Distance Goal (i.e. 400mi), or other challenges. As runners log their miles every day, their mileage automatically gets tabulated into the Challenge and you can see where you and others sit on your way to whatever goal you've set for your friends. Just thought I'd throw it out there for you. Perhaps with a strong response to this challenge on RW, you'd maybe want to give it a try. Or not.

    Anyway, goodluck with your challenge. Shouldn't be too difficult I logged over 200 miles/month for Jan through Apr. I may try for 700++ miles by July 31st!

  2. I don't think I would want to post a mileage goal up here...I certainly couldn't get to Michigan in that time.

  3. Danny,
    Thanks for the idea. I'll definitely check that out. I've been on daily mile but haven't done much with it, though that sounds like a good idea to get folks to sign up and keep track.

    @Hetzel, it'll give you something to work toward...even if it's not Michigan :)

  4. Its amazing the cool stuff out there on the web. We (I) don't even know the half of it!


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