Weekly mileage

I think that doing 100+ miles per week is too much for elite athletes who want to do well in marathons. Why be tired before you are on the start line!

Has anyone got any thoughts on this topic?



  • One thing we have to take into consideration about elite athletes and their heavy mileage is they can often train twice a day and REST in between each run.

    I would like to be able to try (not possible)a schedule for an elite athlete just to see how it would work for an average runner. To do so I would not want any other responsibilities to worry about for the training period and to have professional therapists on hand for regular physio etc.

    Would it make me an elite runner? IN MY DREAMS!
  • If they didin't do such mileages combined with speed sessions etc they wouldn't be competitive. Simple as that really.

    Do you honestly think they'd do it if they didn't need to.

    The only reason I go out in all weathers to train is to be competitive in races. That's the problem with running there is no easy options.

    I'd also like to try the elite life but I'm 20 years too old and nowhere near talented enough
  • I guess it depends on the individual, but Paula Radcliffe seems to do all right in marathons on over 100 miles a week!

  • Their bodies have adapted to do 100+ miles a week , and therfore don't find it tireing to do so. As Hilly says they have no other outside influences as we normal folk do.

    They get up train, see the therapist, go back to bed for a couple of hours, train again, relax & then go back to bed. Apparently they sleep for about 13 hours a day. Giving their bodies ample time to recover.

    Having said that, one of the guys at our club works shifts and still fits his 100 mile a week in. He's not elite, but although over 40 can still finish in the top 50 at the FLM.
  • Look at swimming from 12 years old they swim every evening bar one and two mornings from 5.30-7.30. Try that for size
  • I would not consider doing a marathon off of less than 100 miles per week. I want the best out of myself & this works for me. I've followed Cliff Temples elite marathon traing plan. That goes up to 140 mpw I did that whilst going to work. It followed after running 2hrs:01min for 20 miles & the hardest part about it wasn't the running but eating enough food was really really difficult!!!
    I ran 2:49 in the tough Madrid Marathon.
    Yes I am Mad.
  • In the weeks leading up to the FLM I increase my mileage to 70-80m/week.This years FLM I ran in 2:47 & next year I am aiming for under 2:45. I feel sure if I could fit in 100+ miles/week my times would be much better.But now age 41 & 2 young children there is a limit.
  • Big Tam and Pete, 2 diferent mileages, both with incredible times. If Big Pete reduced his mileage by 20 miles, and Pete increased his mileage by 20 miles. Would the outcome for both of you = better times. Why not try this? I am training for the Pafos (Cyprus) Marathon which is in March 03. I'm doing about 60-70 miles per week. I will adjust the mileage accordingly after my first one. I want to be fresh at the start line.

  • All very interesting stuff and food for thought!
  • Wolfy its Allan. I cannot understand the athletes who go beyond 100+ miles per week. This is an old method, and still people run these incredible miles.

    Train smarter not harder.

    I coach a cross country team and marathon team, the marathon team trains at 90 miles tops. 3 weeks before the marathon race, my athletes are down to around 35 - 40 miles a week.I will produce a winner in the Pafos (Cyprus Marathon in March.

    My methods involve the "Train Smarter not Harder" approach.

  • I have just done my first marathon and in the final couple of weeksI was up to 48 mpw, then tapered for 2 weeks but found the run a lot harder than i anticipated.
    For my next marathon in March I am hoping to up my mileage to a peak of around 65mpw, I find the train smarter a good thought to follow. How would you advise on training twice a day a couple of times a week? Running am and pm or not? Or just better quality sessions.
  • EEK
    this does not fit in with an 80 hour plus week at work, and one nights missed sleep
    100 miles
    Cant even think about it
    Ive done one awful marathon, probably why
    Good luck to you all
  • Sarcy,

    Training twice per day once a week, lets say you have a good 8 week of base training for a marathon.
    Atypical training plan could look something like this for 2 days of 2 sessions a week:

    Tuesday AM- 11-13 miles at a hr of 72-75% maximum heart rate.
    PM- 8 miles on the road at 75-77% Max hr. After 4 miles do 2-3 1 mile eforts (5 to 6 mins) at 85% max, 2 mins easy after i mile efforts.

    Thursday AM- 7 miles steady no steep hills.
    PM- Medium gradient hill or 10% incline on treadmilll. Run with good technique for 2 mins to a heart rate to no more than 85% max. walk recovery at the top. Run down fast and efficient on the way down. Try running down dropping your head a little, or moving your upperbody towards the ground. Experiment. Running down hills is an art, it can save minutes in a race with NO effort. Do this 3 times and increase to a maximum of 8 after 6-8 weeks.

    Safe running
  • i really want to get myself a good marathon time in the next few years...i was wondering how much you guys reckon i could knock off my time long term by increasing my mileage... a few weeks ago i did 3.30 on about 30 mpw in the few months before the marathon (injured) and 40 mpw before that. i found the marathon easy and my second half was 10mins faster than the first ...
    the reason i'm asking is my dad (an ex 2.30/100 miles a week man) keeps on at me that if i trained "properly" i could do really well...
    what should i do?
    i've got a good for age place in london next year, so i daresay my training schedule starts now...
  • Alice,
    There is always a great potential there do do 3 hours or below if you want too. Run because you want too, not by peer pressure. Your dad is right by saying "you must train right". Training must be specific, fun, rewarding,challenging,adaptable.

    Running is the best, you must look after your body and work hard and rest well. You could do a 3 hour marathon with 75mpw.

    My coaching method is "Train Smarter Not HARDER"

    If you want advice ask me or any other marathon runner for advice. I am a coach and an exercise/remedial therapist.

    Have a nice run today
  • Fluffa,

    I say go for it. If your dad is still fit tell him he you'll do it if he does.
  • Allan, I must admit to agreeing with you on this. Maybe the elite athletes run 120+ a week purely because they can(ie. full time job) and perhaps it does give them the edge at that level. When you are talking about producing a winner @ Phapos are you suggesting that you will have a winner who is Paula Ratcliffe standard?
  • Allan,
    any cahnce you could put up a 12 week schedual for us to look at?
  • The UK's current crop of 'elite' male marathon runners are not, in general, as fast as those from the 70s and 80s.

    The UK's current crop of 'elite' male marathon runners do not, in general, run as many miles as those from the 70s and 80s.

    I wonder if these facts are in any way related?
  • bazza, sounds pretty feasible to me. Very interesting.
  • The RW advnced schedule (for a sub 3.30 marathon) includes no weeks of more than 60 miles and appears to have much in the way of variety so I dont understand what benefit an extra 40 miles per week would give. What exactly is meant by "train smarter"? I'm genuinely interested.
  • My coach continually preaches to me about reducing the mileage and number of runs per week and to focus on quality running. I have always mentally needed to run everyday with the occasional day off but I am very aware of the need for an easy day after a hard one. But I definitely struggle to come to terms with how reducing mileage and running occasions can actually improve performance.
  • You can certainly run sub 3:30 on 60mpw (I ran under 3:00 on about that). However, I'll be amazed if anyone can name someone who's run, say sub-2:15 on that amount of mileage.

    Obviously most of us have to balance our running around family, work and other social committments and we have to take account of all the physical and mental stresses that are placed upon us - in that respect it is usually advisable to have easy/rest days in your training schedule.

    However, the bottom line is that there is no substitute for hard work. If someone wants to reach elite level they have to put in a huge amount of effort i.e. miles.
  • Where's Allan gone? Come on we'd like to know more about 'training smarter not harder'!
  • I'm nowhere near this high mile(age) club but a friend and running partner has run 15 marathons, most recently Dublin in 3.28. He only did 1 * 16 mile and 1 * 20 mile beforehand, and the previous 4-6 weeks only ran 2-3 times a week, probably max 20 miles av. He didn't plan to do so little but it just worked out that way.

    So clearly there are other factors at stake as well as mileage.
  • Laura,
    what had he done in previos marathons? Does he think that doing a few more miles a week would have got him over the line in a faster time.

    Allan ..........
  • Wolfy Im back!

    I will produce a winner, top 3 at least at the phafos Marathon. The standard is pretty good, looking at a 2.40-2.50 for this event, Its along the coast.

    I will train a few athletes on my experiences, with a new concept on training, "Smarter not Harder". So look out for the results in March 02. I keep my word, the only thing to get in the way will be injuries. Thanks for your interest woolfy.
    I will send a 12 week programme for you. What level of fitness are you at? Are you male/female. Are you a club level athlete? What is your aim? How many sessions a week can you do? Ill keep you informed and the rest of the crazy runners.

    Have a good run today.

  • Surely if you build up your mileage steadily and you have no injury worries as a result, then if you can get big mileages in say around 75+ a week before a marathon then all the better for you, and it would give you a psychological benefit too having done all the hard work.
    I reckon the problem comes from someone going out and doing a few days of big sessions with their body not being ready for it resulting in injury, lost training time, motivation and worrying constantly thereafter it is going to happen again.
    Big mileage is ok if you build up to it sensibly.
  • Thanks Allan I would be very interested to see the results in March.

    I am looking for a 3:15-3:20 in FLM 2003. I am planning to use a Hal Higdon schedule which incorporates a fair amount of speed/hillwork. My previous best is 3:41 but I felt that I had lots left in me it was caution that prevented a faster time. I do like to run daily (not always flat out obviously) but the buzz of running has a very positive affect on my mental state!!!!! I am female (so I'm told!) aged 33 and have a good base fitness and am aiming for the above in FLM next year but would really like to get closer to the 3 hour mark say over the next 12-18 months.

    Thanks for your help.
  • Sarcy: you mean like Mr Wolf??? I agree with the gradual build up definitely.
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