Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The "No Plan" Plan

Even though we have a few more of the GRTC Freezeroo Series races on our calendar, Mike and I aren't exactly training for anything right now. We haven't been training for anything, with a plan anyway, since our half marathon in October. It didn't help that I was sidelined for awhile because of my injuries either.

You are evil cold-hot pack

I've seen the term "junk miles" thrown around in the running and blogging community a few times and I guess most of you would say that Mike and I are running some right now. I, politely, would have to disagree. I actually disagree with the entire term "junk miles".

Unless you are running so many miles that you are injured every other week, can't complete any training run or you aren't running at all (zero miles), I don't comprehend how a mile can be junk.

I don't really like to get caught up in other running terminology either, like fartlek, tempo, progression, speed work (even though I do say that one every now and then), hill repeats, etc. Mike and I do that stuff all the time without needing to label our training runs. As a side comment - I think as a society we get way too stuck on labels in general, but that's just me.

Well before sub-10 minutes per mile was my pace (and hey sometimes it's still not), Mike pushed me to run the last 3 miles of our first 7 mile training run at 9:42, 9:44, 9:54. If that's not a 3 mile tempo, I guess I don't really know what that means.

Right now, we are running without a plan and even though I am type-A to the max, I'm actually enjoying it. Don't think that our miles are junk, though.

Today we ran 5.6 miles (finished up the half marathon of KDUB's 70.3 Birthday Challenge in 2:08 total) in 20 degree weather. We ran the first 3 miles together and then Mike picked it up in the end and ran ahead of me, so I guess you could say he ran a progression run.

My stats:

Lap 1 - 9:35 pace
Lap 2 - 9:29 pace
Lap 3 - 9:43 pace
Lap 4 - 9:45 pace
Lap 5 - 9:38 pace
Lap 6 (.6) - 9:38 pace

Total Time: 53:55
Average Pace: 9:38 minutes per mile

Friday we are going to run somewhere between 4.5-6 miles (last week we ran 4 miles on our later in the week run). This weekend we will run 10 miles for our long run. Next week we might add in some speed work depending on how we feel about it.

We might possibly run in a half marathon in March and the mileage that we are putting in now will definitely come in handy to help us get across the finish line! Junk or not.

How do you feel about the term "junk miles"?


  1. I am totally agree that no thing should ever be called a junk mile! They all keep us going, all the time!

  2. I'm with you, any miles I'm running isn't junk!! I count em' all.

  3. Don't really think there is such a thing as junk miles- at least, I never really considered that I did them- I guess people just say that if they are trying to get their weekly mileage to a certain amount and add a few miles every once in awhile. What half are you thinking of doing in March? And, in the winter months, sometimes not having a 'plan' is not a bad idea- you're just out there putting in the miles! Last thing... you guys have sure picked a good winter(so far) to have as your first running one- that's what happened the first couple winters I ran... not too bad weather!!!

  4. Thanks for the encouraging comments! It was so great to see them, I really need them today.

  5. For me there is no such thing as a junk mile. Every mile, or part of a mile counts! Those junk mile folks are NUTS! You just keep doing what works for you & enjoy the run :)

  6. I don't like the term "junk miles" either. You have to build up your base/endurance somehow so I agree, every mile counts even if it's 1 or 100. You're off your booty doing something that a lot of others aren't!

    Also agree with you on labels, plans, etc. It's great that we hold ourselves to the highest of expectations but sometimes things just don't work out - something happens and we can't get in a run for whatever reason - and I think that puts a lot of performance pressure on someone. Then we feel guilty and it all spirals downward.

    You are totally on track to do a half in March. I think you should go for it. :) - Kristin

  7. Great comments everyone!

    The half marathon in just a small one in Olean, New York on March 18th. It's only $10 so we most likely are going to do it!

  8. Loved your post.... for years I ran and didn't train but did every one of the different types of training runs without realizing it sometimes no plan is still a plan!! I agree with everyone else there is no such thing as a junk mile...each and every mile counts!!!

  9. I agree-- those miles are not junk. You're maintaining a base which is crucial to running strong the rest of the year. I'm type A too, but I know what you mean about enjoying some less stringent training time. The training cycles will come around again before you know it! :)