’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
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.