Ta da . . . I got my 55 miles the week past with a very easy 5 mile run Sunday morning. This run was what I call a “massage run”. Reasons for running this pace include; long run recovery, race recovery and double-run days. Sometimes I joke that one of my strengths as a marathoner is my ability to run slow. Some runners just do not have the temperament to run those slow miles that boost total mileage and total fitness. Their view is that running that slow is well, not really running.
Often times mileage accumulated this way are disparaged as junk miles. Defined so if one takes a narrow view of training methods as a quantity versus quality. High mileage programs may essentially be the same as the low mileage quality programs except for the addition of those extra easy and very easy runs which at the 100 mile a week level might give you an extra 15-20 miles a week. At the peak of my training in years past I ran 11 times a week, with 4 days of double-workouts with most of those second runs falling into the very easy or massage pace zone.
What do those additional miles do for a runner? Some like Matt Fitzgerald author of Mind, Body Running suggest that high-mileage training is one of the factors that improve running economy. Anecdotely, I’ d agree that at the end of those high-mileage weeks the body is very motivated to find the most economical way to keep on moving. You also in the most gradual of ways increase the strength of the musculoskeletal system and gently improve aerobic conditioning.
On the subject of real easy, non-running style here’s a quick recap of some of the things I’ve been up to in the past week or so that I have done while not running. We went to a couple of theatre events, the first a sketch comedy production called All Grown Up by Asiansploitation a troupe we’ve followed for the past couple of years. The other Kim’s Convenience, voted best play at the Toronto Fringe Festival. One very hot afternoon we escaped to the movies to see Cowboys and Aliens. I also watched The Fighter on DVD for the second time. Really enjoyed that one, a classic sport redemption tale which I give ****1/2 out of 5 stars.
As for eating, we very much enjoyed a lunch at Pizza Libretto on Ossington avenue which included absolutely amazing vanilla ice cream and the best pannacotta I’ve ever tasted. I was very proud of the Chap Chae, a Korean noodle dish that I made for an international pot luck dinner last night. I made this with two very recently arrived acquaintances from North Korea in mind.
Tonight due to a late departure from work we ate at the Caledonian, the only Scottish pub in Toronto where I took pleasure in one of my favourite dining out meals, a burger with fries. Eat to run, run to eat . . . it is a good life.