GO AHEAD, CHUCKLE SET WEEKLY MILEAGE

Runner's World (UK) - - Old Ways, New Ways -

all you want at pho­tos from the 1970s and 1980s of con­fi­dently hir­sute run­ners, sin­glets tucked deep into shock­ingly short shorts. And, sure, gig­gle away if you must at the loud, shiny track­suits (ac­tual track­suits!) and ‘fu­tur­is­tic’ shoes of the 1990s. Yes, mod­ern reader, it’s easy to mock – and fun, too – but let us also ac­cept that run­ners from every era have some­thing to teach us to­day (though prob­a­bly not about what to wear in pub­lic).

Elite win­ning times are faster to­day, but the av­er­age run­ner back then was con­sid­er­ably quicker than mod­ern mid-pack­ers. There are no long-for­got­ten train­ing se­crets to ac­count for this dis­par­ity; back then, the sport sim­ply drew a smaller, more se­ri­ous crowd, who racked up mileage that seems in­sane to­day (see Setweekly Mileage, above right). To­day, run­ning is far more relaxed, en­joy­able and in­clu­sive, and that’s to be ap­plauded. At the same time, it’s im­pres­sive that so many run­ners got it right when it came to train­ing and rac­ing in the ‘old days’. That’s why smart coaches and run­ners to­day of­ten bor­row from the rule­book of yes­ter­day, even as they up­date it. You can ben­e­fit from some old-school wis­dom, too, just as older run­ners can ben­e­fit from a few lessons from the new school. Here’s how to com­bine best prac­tices from dif­fer­ent eras to im­prove your run­ning life.

THE OLD WAY It wasn’t un­heard of for am­a­teur run­ners to hit 100 miles in a week. Astonishing.

THE NEW WAY Th­ese days, the av­er­age Run­ner’s World reader logs fewer than 100 miles in a month.

THE BEST WAY Mileage isn’t every­thing, es­pe­cially for run­ners who come to the sport sim­ply to get health­ier and to en­joy them­selves. Log­ging a few miles a few times per week – and de­vot­ing equal time to car­dio work, cross-train­ing, strength train­ing and/or yoga – can de­liver more bal­anced fit­ness than sim­ply run­ning alone for a long, long time.

How­ever, if you’re build­ing up to a half or full marathon, weekly and long-run mileage mat­ter – though still not enough to merit triple-digit weeks. Nor­man says his half-marathon run­ners peak with a week of about 25 miles in to­tal, in­clud­ing an 11-mile long­est run, while his marathon run­ners build to 35-plus weekly miles, with a 20-mile long­est run. ‘Grad­ual mileage in­creases, with a cut-back week every two or three weeks, al­low your body to prop­erly adapt to the stresses of run­ning as your car­dio fit­ness and mus­cle, ten­don and lig­a­ment strength im­prove,’ he says. Grad­u­ally build­ing up also helps to keep in­jury risk and men­tal stress low.

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