How far will 20 - 25mpw get me?

That is the distance I am averaging every week. I usually do one or two interval sessions a week, maybe a tempo run on a saturday if not a race. Sunday usually a long run at slow pace. Also one steady run a week aswell, so I run 5 times a week. I'm a youngish runner, early 20's and my race times are not bad for the average joe.

My 5k time is around the 20 minute mark, so don't know how you can judge off that.

I hate not being able to improve though. It does actually feel like training is progressing very slowly at the moment. Do I need to up the weekly miliage, because I feel that I have a good mix of training with Intervals, steady runs, long runs, hard runs including hills, trail etc.

 Some guys on here put in 60mpw, but I'm astonished how they fit in all those miles. Was thinking myself of only having one rest day, or fitting in two runs a day. What would you suggest?



  • 20 min for 5 k is pretty whizzy.

    Depends on what your targets are? 5k / 10k / marathon?

    Depending on your targets are your avaialble time will restrict (possibly) what you can get out of 25mpw. You might struggle if aiming for a marathon for instacne.

    However, putting in hard runs while focussing on 10ks, with 25 mpw you should be able to make some headway, although stepping upto 30-35 mpw would help.

    I tend to focus on longer races - so mileage tends to be 60-90/week (ideally)....most of which is slower, so im pretty crap at the short fast stuff.

    SOmoen else will suggest something I am sure....but there are probably some schedules/ideas in the training section if you have a looksie.

  • One of the most contentious issues in running training is over the question of volume of mileage. Some coaches have enjoyed great success based on high mileage training eg Arthur Lydiard had his middle distance runners covering 100mpw during the off season. Other coaches would support a basis of shorter and more race specific training year round.

    I would suggest that you are unlikely to run your best times with 20 miles per week training. However, the decision of how much mileage to run is dependent upon many factors - what distance do you want to race over, how much time you have available to train, how much time you have to devote to active recovery between training sessions, what you want to achieve through your running........and probably many more.

    Many road runners enjoy racing regularly (at least once a month) and need to fit their training around this. Others will devote a longer block of time to progressively building towards a goal race and aiming for a PB there. I would suggest the second approach if you want to achieve your ultimate performance.

    One of the greatest injury risks for runners is through increasing mileage. The greater volume of mileage required to achieve your best performance needs to be balanced against your ability as an individual to sustain a level of training without getting injured.

    I would suggest that you can still achieve a good level of performance in distances up to 10k while only running up to 25 mpw but if you want to achieve your ultimate potential as a distance runner, you will probably need to run a larger volume of mileage each week.

  • Hi Nick thanks for the advice given. I've used the training tab but it doesn't really appeal to me, the program they give isn't what I'm looking for.

    I'm not looking to compete in anything over 10k at the moment. Obviously 20 minutes 5k means something like a 42, 43 minute 10k, but my targets for now is to drop my 5k time as much as possible, then when the time is right take part in a 10k race and hope for sub 42

    My program is;

    Monday - Rest
    Tuesday - Intervals (shorter intervals, more reps)
    Wedensday - 40 minutes steady
    Thursday - Intervals (longer intervals, less reps)
    Friday - Rest
    Saturday - Race or hard run
    Sunday - Long slow run up to 12 miles

    Thinking of having a double session but can't find any space in that program to fit one in. To the average joe 20 - 25 mpw sounds a lot, but really it's nothing. I may add in a recovery run on Monday to make up the distance, and maybe add in a few extra reps on Tuesdays & Thursdays?

  • about 20 - 25 miles per week, at a rough guess
  • ...i was thinking of that too Candy!

    IF you are only wanting to focus on upto 10k, then stick in more of the faster stuff. Perhaps your 12 mile run shuold be upto 10, the first 6 being steady the last 4 being brisk.

    Get up early in the morning and stick in a 20-30 min brisk run too??

    I have never used a shcedule so dont like to comment on them for others as its something I dont really know anyrthing about.

  • Thanks for the ideas though guys. Sure there are some runners who don't like to run over 10k that could help me out, even though each individual is different.

     That's what I'm thinking though, maybe keep the same miliage but put in more faster workouts Nick.

    With double sessions I know it's best to have easy run first then the hard run in the evening, I may do this on Mondays but really got to see how I can fit it in. Not wanting to tire myself out as intervals on Tuesday usually. The days are too short!

  • Well, one guy I know doesn't compete over 10k, mostly 5000 and 1500m, and he does 90-100 miles a week. Then again, his 5000 PB is 13:20-ish.
  • I've heard people say you shouldn't even be adding speedwork until you're at least at the 60-70mpw mark! The debate rages on...
  • No I don't believe that. Middle distance runners do speedwork and I'm sure most of them don't cover 60-70mpw... where did you get that from?

  • There's a body of thought that states that you shouldn't do any more than 10% of our weekly mileage as speedwork.

    However, where the problem occurs is what you define as speedwork eg is running at 10k pace (which is 80-90% aerobic) speedwork?

    Twixbar, from looking at your typical week, it seems that you can make some easy increases in mileage without resorting to training twice a day.

    Mon  - rest

    Tues - 2 miles warm up

                 4 x 800m @ 5k pace with 90 sec recoveries gradually decreasing to 30 sec recoveries

                 2 miles cool down - total 6 miles

    Wed - 40 mins steady - 4 miles

    Thurs - 2 miles warm up

                  8 x 400m alternating 90 sec laps and 120 laps (continuous variable pace run)

                  2 miles warm down - total 6 miles

    Fri -  rest

    Sat - personally, with your total mileage, even an easy 12 would count as a hard run so I wouldn't run hard on sat as well - so 40 mins steady - 4 miles

    Sun - 12 miles easy.

    Total for the week - 30 miles

    Not a great variation on what your are doing now.

    As you get closer to a race, I would focus on doing more sessions at your target race pace. Alternatively, you could start with shorter distances at target race pace and then gradually increase the distance eg to run a 5k @ 6 min miling, start by running 5x400 in 90 secs with 2 mins rest. Once that is easy, progress to 5 x 600 and so on. Once the race pace becomes comfortable, gradually decrease the rest period.

    Just a few ideas. However, any changes you do introduce should be slow and incremental. The biggest cause of injury is a substantial change in training over a short peirod of time eg large increase in mileage, switching from 3 road sessions to 3 track session a week etc.

    Good luck.

  • Hi guys, thanks very much for your replys and advice I can't explain how gratefull I am for that!

    Right Yifter, Usually on a Sunday I'll do around 10 miles at the moment as I'm still coming back into it. So 10 miles on a Sunday, 3 miles on a Tuesday not including warm up or warm down (I do about 3 laps or so of warm up and 2 laps of warm down on a 400m track)
    Wedensday I do a steady run about 40 minutes so I'll cover over 5 miles, is that too much?
    Thursdays I'm going to start doing the longer distance interval sessions. Hopefully cover about 3 miles of intervals but will need to sort of the warming up and down bit. Saturday is usually just a short hard run around 3 miles but sometimes more.

    But from what you said, would it be better to ditch my tuesday and thursday interval sessions and build up a base? If I ditched these sessions would my times start getting slower or not? Thanks mate.

    Marathon Warrior, I'd love to run 5k @ 6 minute miling but I feel that's way off for now, as I'd need to drop 2 minutes which would be massive! How long would it take with good training? Anyway not looking that far ahead yet, thanks for your reply looks good. Maybe I need to do more of a warm up to increase my weekly miliage, however I don't really count warmups as distance covered because I do them slowly but maybe I should do 2 miles warming up and 2 miles cooling down on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8min/miles?


  • long mileage is over-rated.

    Check out the McMillan calculator on race paces and you will find that for a 20 min 5k your mara time will be well below sub 4.  Shorter weekly training mileages may mean you won't achieve the predicted mara time, but you will go sub 4 if/when you switch to mara specific training.  just been talking about this on another thread.  Long distances/week are the recipe for injury (IMHO).

    Will now back out of this thread as above comments are bound to attract the attention of Trolls. image

  • Hi Yifter, I'm sure I could manage 50mpw of base, but I don't know a program for it. I won't jump to it yet, but I'll look into doing it as my base is actually quite weak at the moment.

    There are some road events coming up in the summer that I would like to take part in, but I'm not going to be a serious competitor this season just try and explore the events seeing which one suits me best. Obviously I'm going to give my all, but I'm not going to train specifically for any event this year.

    I've been running for about 9 months now and have seen some big improvements, only in the first few months though but since the new year I've not really improved but a month out of training left me quite rusty so just getting back into the swing of things for the last month.

    What would a 50mpw base program look like?

  • i agree with yifter, you are not doing enough steady milage, you need to increase your base i spend 3 or 4 weeks hitting the miles in, before doing sessions or races, then increase the intesinsity of sessions each week on a rota base depending on what races im doing.  i have just been helping a friend with his training, he was running 35 miles a week at very most and had run 33.50 for 10k, we did not change any of his sessions just increased his mileage over a 2 month period, he is now on 50 a week with a 15 mile sunday run, he just ran under 32 for 10k last weekend.  The difference in the race he said was he just felt stronger.  
  • So would you guys advise me to ditch my interval sessions and any hard runs/races for just pure base build up? I read on that site about periodization training and it says the more you spend time on building your base the better it is for the long term as you'll be a much stronger runner.

    I wouldn't actually mind dropping interval sessions for the sakes of being a better runner as a whole. I feel that short distances I can do well, but come the 2nd rep I'm totally out of gas. Honestly, if it's for the better to concentrate on base then that's what I'll do, but I've never really concentrated on base fitness I just came into running doing 2 milers, 3 milers, 4 milers all best effort and it helped at first but then progression stops at a certain level.

    After the 3 months of base work would my 5k, 10k times be slower than what they are now? Or about the same?

  • The view of periodisation the guys have mentioned is a traditional view ie build a base through a larger volume of lower quality raining first and the increase quality as quantity decreases. However, there are other options too. There is currently a view that reverse periodisation is easier for the body to adapt to. With a lot of runners I coach, they want to race all year round and are not preapred to dedicate several months of the year to lower racing performance or no racing at all whilst building a base. I use a system of wave or undulating periodisation with them.

    It all depends on what you are trying to achieve....ther's more than one way to skin a a cat!!! 

  • Well it's the track and road season now, and I do want to be racing. I was thinking, get experience in some events this spring/summer and concentrate on my base properly come the XC season? Therefore I should have from around October/November - January/Febuary to focus on my base. It's just my own idea, but don't know how much I'll benifit from it that way.

    I'm still looking to improve on my base now, I just want to keep some of the speedwork in. Any suggested programs?

  • Long mileage might be overrated, but high mileage isn't.

    From my personal experience:

    10k pb @ 25mpw with speedwork - 41'47"
    10k pb @ 45mpw with no speedwork - 39'36"

    That's quite a big difference.

    Someone who used to post on here who regularly did 120mpw and beyond was putting away 27 minutes and under for 5 miles... and he NEVER did speedwork.

  • Can I ask why you gave up speedwork? Does it do you bad or something?

    Like you, my favorite distances is anything up to 5k/5miles. Isn't speedwork essential for that distance? What is your program like now, and do you count your warm ups and warm downs to your weekly miliage?

  • If I ignore speedwork, I can run 7 days a week without any complaints. With speedwork, it's a little too hard to manage it without hurting a lot the following day...

    That's not to say you should NEVER do it... just maybe try and go a little further with mileage alone before introducing it.
  • I'm not introducing speedwork, I've been at it for 5 months now. It helped my fitness massively though I had 5/6 week off from running and I am finding myself off the pace a bit.

    I've never really gone above 30 miles in a week, but maybe I'll be able to fit some kind of slow recovery runs in my program.

  • I did speedwork for 9 years... my point is that my fastest ever 10k time was achieved when I was doing no speedwork.
  • The discussion is fairly pointless without actually defining what speedwork is. Unfortunately, it is an imprecise term and someone saying that they do no speedwork could be running sessions that someone else would class as speedwork!

    One of the most basic principles of training is that of progressive overload - in order to progress, the body has to be subjected to a greater level of stress than it is currently used to and then given chance to recover and adapt. At the most basic level, this is what speed work is - an overload where the body is stressed beyond its current comfort limit in order to provide a training stimulus. As I mentioned in a previous post, the danger with this is that any change in training brings about a risk of injury. Many runners have sustained calf and achilles injuries at the beginning of the track season when changing to running on the track has led to an alteration in running styles and a stress the body has been unable to cope with.

    You may continue to progress without doing any speedwork (by which I mean running at a pace which is faster than your steay state run) but you will not maximise your potential without it. Too many road/distance runners though go to a running track, blast away with 200/400 metre reps and then are so sore they cannot run for the rest of the week. This would not help you progress.

    As I mentioned previously, you need to base your speedwork around the distances and paces that you want to race. (Another very important rule of training - specificity) So, to improve your 5k races over the summer, your speedwork needs to be based around running longish reps at or around your 5k pace. An example that I have used with runners I coach has been, after a warm up, to run half a mile at 5k pace immediately followed by half a mile at half marathon pace, then another half mile at 5 k pace etc. Continue for a total of 3 miles. This should not result in injury from providing too great a stress as it is running at paces you are already comfortable with and should prevent the situation squall describes of being too sore to train on following days. After you become comfortable with this type of session, you could progress to a session like 1 min hard with 2 mins rest - starting at 6-8 reps and building up to 12 reps over the course of several weeks. The pace of this should be between your best pace for 5k and your best pace for a mile. The session is aimed to boost your lactate tolerance.

    Many 5k racers will do some pure speed/sprint  sessions during the course of the season as well. This is an area where I would advise caution and ideally to get a qualified coach to assist you. You would need a thorough, dynamic warm up prior to starting and someone to provide feedback over your technique. You also need to take much longer rests between repetitions eg it would not be unheard of to run a session like 3 x 300m  with 15 mins rest between each one if you were running a session for speed endurance.

    To sum up,

    I would define speedwork as anything run faster tha your steady state run

    I would advise you run at least one race pace session a week throughout the year

    I would suggest that you identify what your are trying to achieve first before looking at how you are going about it

    I would always have a clear idea of the purpose of every training session before you start.

    Very best of luck!! 

  • This is a good thread.

    I am currently on 30mpw now but I still feel that I am doing too much quality for someone who is fairly new to running. Though I have speed as I am young, I don't really have the aerobic capacity that most runners have.

    I've done 4 miles easy this morning, but thinking that wasn't enough. Temped to go on another run this evening, but is it worth it? Usually I'd do some sort of speedwork on a Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. That's 3 days of quality and I'm not injured in any way, but still wondering if this is aiding my progression?

    I would like to subsitube one track session for maybe a road session, but I don't want all my miliage to be 8 minute miling. I do want some quicker training, maybe a hilly 6/7 mile run insteady of Tuesday or Thursday track session.

    Yifter? MW? Squall?

  • What about a bulk of 8 minute miling with 2 threshhold/tempo runs a week? And once a week do 10 x 110yd wind sprints or strides?
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