If you have been running for more than five minutes,chances are you have heard of the phrase “junk miles”.
Now I have ran thousands of miles,some up,some down,some fast ,some slow and some down right shit.But never a junk one!
They are a myth!
Elites often and regularly run upwards of 100 miles a week,so why are they not running junk miles yet you are?
The term junk mile,much like the offside rule has been misunderstood. It isn’t the fact that if you run too much some must be junk,no no no.
Pace Dictates Junk !
Let’s take my mate,let’s call him Dan. Dan runs every session at exactly the same pace:
Recovery run- 8 min/miles
Easy Tuesday– 8 min/miles
Tempo run- 8 min/miles
Long run – 8 min/miles
You get the picture. Dan has become a one paced Walter.
If you always run at one pace,guess what? your body will become very good at only running that one pace and become stale! We need stimulation to improve,Dan has performed a load of Junk PACED miles this week!
So anything apart from intervals,fartlek,hill sprints and tempo sessions are junk?
Easy runs are an essential part of your training,these are your ‘engine building runs’ There is a reason the kenyons run 10 min/miles on easy days!
The key is variation of pace.
Dan would be much better with :
Fartlek- 30 mins
Easy Tuesday– 8 min/miles
Tempo run- 7 min/miles
Long run – 9 min/miles
Same amount of days training but a mass of variation!This keeps the body guessing and adapting.
Dan could add another two days training or even double days if he so wished and as long as MOST of the added miles were at a true easy pace and not
*Strava easy pace.
Non would be a junk mile!
Junk PACE can also work the other way round as well.
Track session or hard hill reps on Thursday?
Weds ‘easy run’ at 6 min/miles is nothing but junk as now you can’t hit anywhere near the intensity on Thursdays planned session as you are knackered!
Easy runs can never be too slow!
I like heart rate training to keep ego’s (mine included) in check. How many times have you seen ‘easy run’ on Strava and then checked the HR data and they are in zone 4!
People remember when they first started running,you could do nothing much apart from run a bath and still hit a 5k PB at the weekend!
Those were your beginner gains,wave those goodbye just like The Black Pearl,that ship has sailed!
Now we have to train extra hard to find seconds not minutes!
Train for yourself,not for kudos.Who cares if someone else’s easy run are two min/mile faster than yours,keep being a one paced walter and they always will be.
Junk miles don’t exist,the poor Mile and lesser Kilometre are just misunderstood.
They want to be your friend.
They will make you a stronger and faster runner but if only you use them correctly !
Don’t become a one paced Walter/ Wilhelmina
*Strava easy pace- A run you know is far from easy but you need those Kudos from the bro’s.