In all the years I’ve been running I thought I had read, seen or heard every possible tip, hint or bit of advice on running. But this one is brand new to me.
Chris Knodel writes a sports column for the Sanford Herald in North Carolina called “Ask the Goat.” He’s a fitness coach and an ex-infantryman, which may explain his unique approach to a reader’s question about junk miles.
Knodel stays safely within the orthodoxy by dismissing the very existence of “junk miles.” The idea of running twice a day isn’t far-fetched either, though only a small subset of runners try it. But Knodel goes two steps further.
For instance, instead of plodding along for my 17-mile long run in a traditional plan, I fracture the distance into manageable “sets” and push through them at a slightly higher power output.
Once I cumulatively meet the miles established for the original run distance, I usually find that I am way under on the time it would have taken me to run the distance at a resting pace, meaning I have run faster, conditioned better and met the desired mileage in manageable time chunks. You can now wake up, run 3 miles, work until break, run 2 miles, work until lunch, run 5 miles, work until end of day, and run 7 miles. And there is your long 17 miles.
I wouldn’t venture to dispute the physiological aspects of such a regimen, but I’d love to see it applied in practice. A 17-miler can be excruciating, but I can’t wrap my head around going for a run every few hours while still maintaining a reasonably normal lifestyle.