Saturday, November 26, 2011

What the Hell Are Junk Miles?

Lately, people in my local running club have talked trash about junk miles. Don't run junk miles. Garbage miles are useless.  You're wasting your time if you run too much, too slow. Rest, don't run. Quality over quantity. Blah, blah, blah. I believe all running miles are good miles.  No such thing as junk miles. If you enjoy the run and remain uninjured, those miles are good miles. We often run too fast and race too much...that's what will get you injured.  If anything, those miles are junk.  Lots of easy aerobic runs are good for the soul and will boost your running capacity. You'll be a better runner with more miles. Here are some articles on the topic:

Rethinking Junk Miles (Running Times)

Junk Miles (Slow Twitch)

Here's the what the hell you want to run and do whatever makes you happy.  All of those miles will be "quality" miles and not junk. If you find yourself criticizing other runners and their training plans, then you might take a look in the mirror...good chance you are unhappy with your own running.  Pulling others down won't make you feel better.  Support each other and embrace every single mile as a blessing.  No garbage miles allowed. Every mile is precious.

NOTE:  My running streak is now at day 3 of 100. Only 97 days to go! No junk miles in the streak...just good miles.


Richard Stewart said...

Completely agree Chris.

I just found you blog recently and I can resonate a lot with your position in various areas most of all this.

Enjoy the miles whichever way you want. It's your run.

trice said...

Well written. Completely agree.

Chris said...

Richard and Tom,

Glad you guys agree. Sometimes it's hard to find people that just enjoy running. Too many folks want to pressure themselves (and others) to only run fast. I like to run fast occasionally, but usually just nice and easy.

ed said...

I agree with you. I myself don't mind being a junkie.

I admire your resolve to start this streak, especially this time of year. I know with your past experience that you'll be the one to know if it's really fun or if you've become a "slave" it. Now go & have fun!

jeff said...

I've run junk miles before, like after doing a long 20 miler on sunday to finish the week with 98 miles, then run 2 more in evening to get to 100 for the week. of course that was a long time ago. but I still do the same type thing. I love junk miles.
now, I'm trying to keep this streak going with a sore hip from running too hard/fast.
To Ed, enjoyed hiking jefferson memorial forest sat siltstone trail. nice!!

David said...

I ain't making the Olympic team in this lifetime, so if I don't like a particular workout, I'm not going to do it. I love long and slow, but run fast when I feel like it.

Marathon training plans with their intervals and tempos are all great at helping you achieve your fastest possible time, but running 100% 'junk' and listening to your body is a better way to make it to the starting line. You're not going to PR if you're too injured to race. My marathon times have only slowed by about 1 or 2 minutes since I cut out the 'risky' workouts, so I certainly am doing what works for me at least.

Chris said...


I agree! Although I had a dream the other night that I made the 2012 Olympic team...maybe I should drop my "junk" miles and concentrate on pure quality! ;-)

Mike said...

I think the belief on not running junk miles is that they offer a tiny incremental increase in fitness (since they are slow and short distance), and a relatively larger increase in the likelihood of injury.

For what it's worth, rather than run "junk miles" on my off days, I do a more intense cross-training workout (either a bike ride or a swim). It has worked out well for me.

Chris said...


Rigorous cross training is a perfect way to increase fitness and hopefully reduce injury risk. I just hate most other exercise. It's running or nothing for me.