In Defense of Running Lower Mileage (Just Hear Us Out)
Runners may get caught up in the idea that in order to see gains, you have to do more.
However, experts say that running is an individualised sport, and the volume and intensity to perform optimally depend on fast-twitch and slow-twitch muscle fibre predisposition.
A 2020 study found that runners with more fast-twitch muscle fibres were more likely to suffer from short-term performance dips after periods of higher-volume training. It means that if you’re a fast-twitch athlete trying to push the same training as a slower-twitch athlete, it may actually make you get slower.
To find your specific muscle fibre ratio, plug a recent 5K time into a race equivalency calculator, then compare it to your marathon results.
Most people aren't suited for higher mileage. Professional athletes go home after their workouts; they're eating well, they're stretching and sleeping.
The average person with a full-time job is likely not sleeping enough and knows it's unsustainable to put that much volume in their running. Furthermore, pushing higher may result in getting broken down and injuries.
Examples of lower mileage training plans:
Expert trainers advise you don't need to supplement your days off with another form of cardio to cross-train. Cross-training sessions depend on your schedule and motivations. Other experts believe it's better to let your body fully recover on days you're not running.
Regular strength workouts is a key component to strong performances.
For example, a combination of weight-lifting and plyometric exercises, such as 5 sets each of barbell squats, weighted box jumps with dumbbells, and non-weighted box jumps, as well as separate 20-minute banded exercise sessions.
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