Sunday, July 31, 2011

Quantity vs. Quality

For most runners - especially those like me, off/rest days drive you crazy.

You think, "Why am I not running today? I've got to get my miles in. I can't just do nothing. I NEED TO RUN!"

Or at least, that's how I feel.

I still can't believe how much I've fallen in love with running. Back in high school, I HATED running. Like the popular t-shirt reads, "My sport is your sport's punishment." And for me, running was punishment.

In high school, I was on the track team but only competed in field events - shot put and discus.

(OK, once in high school I ran in a 200-meter dash at an open meet. Let's just say I wasn't first and leave it at that.)

Fast forward to present day, and I can't get enough of running. The humidity was 100 percent this morning when I went out, and I loved it!

I don't know how to explain it other than running makes me feel alive. So, off days are hard on me mentally. I feel like such the slacker.

But after comparing my last two months of running, I am rethinking that logic.

In June, I attempted to run every day. While I didn't meet that goal due to traveling a couple of times, I did run 26 different times and posted a then-personal best 110 miles.

July was a different story. I took the first three days of the month off, not even running until July 4. However, I ran on 21 different days and racked up 122.5 miles, running 11.3 percent more miles than I did in June.

I averaged 4.23 miles per run in June but averaged 5.83 miles in July.

On a closer inspection of my numbers, I only ran 5 or more miles in June nine times, rant a 10K three times with my longest run being 7.5 miles. In July, only five runs were LESS THAN 5 miles, plus I had an 8-mile and three 10-mile runs mixed in.

Sure, I got a lot of runs in in June. And it was good to get the daily workout like that. However, my runs were much better in July. The days off allowed me to attack my next run harder and go farther than I would otherwise. I remember in June wanting to do long runs but not feeling I had the legs for it. That was not the case in July.

Yes, there are some people who can run 77 days in a row and post over 200-plus miles a month like it's nothing. (I'm looking at you, Dave Parsons ... LOL) However, most of us can not do that. Running is great, but rest days are necessary.

It's great to have a high quantity of runs, but I'll take quality every time.


  1. It looks like you're putting together some great runs. The more I run, the more I realize the importance of both quality and quantity. They both have their place, and they both go well together. Glad to find your blog - I'll add you to my Google Reader so I can keep up! (Also, thanks for using the #runchat tag on Twitter - that's how I found it.)

  2. David - I agree. Both have their place. The key is finding balance. As much as I'd love to be able to run every day, I know I can't. Plus I really enjoy my long runs.