Mur­phy’s Lore

’ve been break­ing a few run­ning rules. I ran a marathon re­cently, a fort­night af­ter my long­est race in over three years – that race con­sti­tut­ing my long­est train­ing run for said marathon. I could pre­tend it was a strate­gi­cally placed test of en­durance – a

Runner's World (UK) - - IN THIS ISSUE - BY SAM MUR­PHY Sam Mur­phy tweets @ Sam­mur­phyruns

Sam finds run­ning joy on a jun­ket

Jour­nal of Sports phys­i­ol­ogy and Per­for­mance com­pared two groups of run­ners who logged over 30 miles a week. Half fol­lowed an 80/20-style pro­to­col (77 per cent of their mileage was at a low in­ten­sity) while the oth­ers ran only 46 per cent of their miles at low in­ten­sity, with a fur­ther 35 per cent at a mod­er­ate pace. Both groups im­proved their 10K time af­ter 10 weeks but the 80/20 group im­proved by an av­er­age of 41 sec­onds more. This model isn’t about hav­ing no struc­ture to your train­ing, of course, but it cer­tainly lends it­self more to run­ning an­cil­lary miles for fun.

So, do junk miles ex­ist at all? I think they do. By my def­i­ni­tion, miles run when you’re un­duly fa­tigued, un­well or car­ry­ing an in­jury are junk be­cause they have no use­ful place in your sched­ule. They feed the weekly mileage but at a cost, and with lit­tle plea­sure to be gained. The mileage equivalent of a limp, greasy burger, if you like.

That’s not how I see my slightly chaotic but joy­ful sum­mer of no-rules runs. So I’ve come up with a new la­bel for those. Not junk miles, but jun­ket miles.

Care to join me? My newly penned jun­ket char­ter states the fol­low­ing: jun­ket miles can't be planned or sched­uled be­cause they are led by your heart, not your brain. They must be run purely for plea­sure, not pur­pose. And by rack­ing them up, you might, just pos­si­bly, be­come a bet­ter – and hap­pier – run­ner.

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