I’ve had a few more random running questions for her lately so she kindly answered them in-depth again for me to share on the blog today!
These two Ask A Running Coach questions focus on my experiences since deciding to cut back on my mileage. While I haven’t exactly cut that much (somewhere between 5 – 10 miles on average), cutting back even just a few miles can trigger changes, benefits, and differences.
I hope you find these questions and answers helpful! If you ever have a question or topic you want to see covered, please let us know!!
Running Less Mileage = No Longer Feel Need For Long Warm Up?
As I have been running less, I have noticed that my usual need for a 2 mile warm up no longer feels necessary. Most days my legs feel ready to go after just 5 minutes. How did that happen and is it okay to run a shorter warm up?
The purpose of a warm-up is to transition your body from rest to running. A warm-up brings more oxygen-rich blood to your working muscles to prime your body for fast running and reduce your risk of injury. Many runners can feel when they are warmed up. It’s a noticeable shift from being tight and slower to the sensation of effortless movement.
The less training fatigue in your legs, the less time needed to warm up at the start of your run. The more tired your legs are from mileage, the tighter your muscles are and the longer it takes for the tight muscles to loosen up on a run. Many marathoners and half marathoners will tell you that during the peak weeks of training, they feel like they need 2 or more miles to fully warm up before running fast.
The length of a warm-up can be affected on how you mentally feel as well as how you physically feel. If you are mentally fatigued from a harder or longer effort the day before, you may need longer to warm up for the run. The opposite holds true: if you are excited to run and do not feel mentally tired, you will likely need less time to feel ready to run faster.
That said, don’t skip your warm up! Spend at least 5-10 minutes running at an easy pace and complete a few dynamic stretches before starting your workout.
Are there benefits to running less mileage than usual?
More miles are not always better, especially if you are not training for a long distance race such as a half marathon, marathon, or ultra.
Several factors influence how your body responds to mileage such as stress levels, injury risk, personal preference, and goals. Every runner is different in terms of how many miles he/she can handle, and that number of miles can vary from season to season.
Too much mileage can cause excess fatigue, a sense of mental burn-out, and stress. By scaling mileage back, even just 5 miles per week, you can reduce the physical stress and fatigue. Less fatigue means that you will feel fresher on your runs, which in turn can make running feel enjoyable again.
Cutting back on mileage means that you can increase the intensity of some of your runs. Higher intensity can push you out of a plateau if you aren’t seeing progress in your pace goals. If you feel bored with your routine, higher intensity shorter runs can add some fun variety.
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Do you have any questions about running that you would like to see answered?
Are you currently running more/less than usual?
How long do you normally need for your warm up?