4 Things To Know About Increasing Your Mileage

More miles may help you reach a PR but there are some things you should know before running.

Courtney Dredden with other runners
Photo: Eat Pray Run DC

I’ve shared that I’m training for a goal half marathon with a new to me training plan: the Hansons Half Marathon Method. The hallmark of this plan is cumulative fatigue – basically the idea that you are getting your body used to running on tired legs. I am in my fourth week of this plan and so far I think it’s working. My legs are tired most days. I’m running more mileage than I ever have. With that I’ve already learned a few lessons.

  • Food truly is fuel. Of course this is something I’ve always known and it’s not a secret. But now that I’m running more than I ever have, making sure I get the right kind of nutrients has been exponentially more important. I can tell when I haven’t had enough protein or simply not enough to eat – and it makes a difference in my running. I’m still figuring out optimal nutrition but I’ve definitely been more intentional about what I’m eating and when.
  • Recovery is just as important as the run. My plan gives me one full day off running each week and I’m keeping that day sacred. By the time my rest day comes around, I’m ready for it. I’ve been giving my muscles lots of love with Epsom salt baths and the foam roller.
  • Cross training can not be ignored. Even with all the running, I’ve been very intentional of getting to at least two Pure Barre classes a week. I need that cross training to keep my core, back and hips strong and ready to run. Plus, let’s be real here—there’s no way I’m doing push ups and planks on my own at home with any consistency. Thank you, Pure Barre!
  • I can do hard things. If you’ve read my blog, you’ll know that I was (and still am) terrified by this training plan. It’s more running than I’ve ever done, both in terms of days per week and mileage. When I decided to use this plan, I wasn’t sure I could do it. I’m still not entirely convinced, but I’m getting there. I’ve learned that I can do hard things – I can do hard workouts and I can push myself beyond what I previously thought was possible. Of course, I still look ahead to some of the workouts on my schedule (gulp, 3 mile repeats???) and think that there is no way they are happening. But I’ve also learned not to discount myself. I’m taking each workout and run as they come and that’s the only way for me to get through this plan. 

Has your training plan taught you anything about yourself lately? Am I the only one who sometimes fears their plan?

Note: I’m not a doctor, trainer or running expert. Running more mileage is not the best plan for everyone. I’m just sharing my experience.