The mileage bucket

January 8th, 2017

My number for last year was 2770. That’s the total number of miles I ran in 2016. It’s an increase of over 600 miles from the previous year, which is good. A couple of years ago, I went through old running logs and added up annual mileage over recent years. The numbers revealed a positive relationship between increased annual mileage and faster marathon times the following year. This was somewhat surprising to me since I previously judged marathon readiness only on run volume from the 12-18 week period before the race. This new information confirms that patience and consistency are required for marathon success. What matters is not just what you’ve done the three months before the marathon, but what you’ve done the previous year or longer.

Year                 Miles                     Marathon time year following

2004               2700                      2:45 PR

2010                3195                      2:41 PR

2013                3743                      2:37 PR

All miles matter in marathon training. Fast or slow, more miles are better. I pretend there’s a bucket of miles on the floor inside my front door. Everyday after each workout I throw in a coin for every mile run. As the days, weeks, and months go by the bucket gets heavier. For me, it represents the engine I will use during my next marathon. It inspires me to remain consistent and get out there. I’ll get up earlier here, or run an extra mile there. Even if it’s only two slow miles on the treadmill after work, it will make my bucket a little heavier. Remember this, regarding the marathon there are only two types of pain: the pain of discipline and the pain of regret. As you plan your next marathon you may want to have a full bucket!