Bob Gump (quality vs. quantity miles)

Distance: 12mi

Miles to go: 1281

I’m not sure what possessed me to run hard last night (4 mi at Traknight) and then turn around and run 8 miles this morning, but I did it.  And as I struggled through the last two miles I realized that I was having a debate with myself.  You know, those random thoughts and arguments that almost seem detached from conscious thought?  I almost feel sometimes that I have wandered in on my own conversation, startled by what I am thinking about.

This particular debate seemed to be about quality miles vs. quantity miles.  I seemed to be upset with myself about running 8 miles today instead of my intended six.  I wasn’t pleased with myself for what I considered forced miles, just for the sake of running “more”.  The quantity side seemed to be arguing that since I was feeling pretty good, there was no reason NOT to do a couple of extra miles.  That I was managing my mileage well enough that a couple of extra was good for me.  The quality side was saying “SEE!  You’re pooped!  Your form is breaking and you are stumbling.  You are tired and fatigued and these aren’t “Good” miles.  You could hurt yourself.

And so it went…

The conscious me can see both sides.  I did feel great this morning and was running easy pretty much the entire time (yes, even the last two miles).  I averaged 8:07 miles for the run.  However, I did struggle at the end.  I’m not sure how much good those last two miles did me and I was fatigued.  I know this because I do stumble a bit when I’m tired.  My arms were tight against my chest and I didn’t have much leg drive at the end.  I’m tired now, which I shouldn’t be.

The quality vs. quantity debate has raged on for some time and will continue on.  I think there are times for both during the year.  In the spring when you are building back up your base, adding extra miles is the only way.  However I think this peaks around mid summer and should (speaking purely for myself) taper off toward fall.  In the fall and winter I trade quantity for quality.  I run shorter, focused miles where I am working on something.  Pace, consistency, form, intervals, speed, hills, etc. are all good uses for runs in the winter.

So why did I run the extra miles this morning?  I believe Mr. Forest Gump put it best… “I just felt like running”…!

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