While out on my long run of the week the other day, I was thinking about about all the times I have heard the long run referred to a “junk miles” lately. We have been innundated with all of these so-called experts who keep spouting out how to “hack” everything. People love to hear someone tell them that doing something that is difficult is not necessary. Rich Roll has a great blog post on this here. This is what gets people coming to your site and getting publicity too. It is like those crazy headlines you read in the checkout line at the grocery store.
Well, I hate to break it to you folks, but you are not going to run a good marathon or Ironman without putting in those rides and runs and the hard work that goes with it. Every weekend I push myself that extra 10-20 minutes further than the previous week until getting to or close to that ultimate distance I need to cover come race day. When I get to that distance, then I can step back and increase the pace a bit to try and cover it in less time.
The real “junk miles” are the ones done with no purpose. When you set out on a workout with no intention, you are just spinning your wheels. Literally and figuratively. Whether you set out to run a fast mile or a slow, zone 2 3-hour run, if you are completing the workout with an intention to accomplish a specific goal, then they are never junk miles.
I ran across this short post by Coach Jay Johnson called Stop undervaluing the Long Run the other day which kind of sparked some thoughts I had a about this topic. I love my long runs and bike rides and would not trade them for anything. It is one of the things that keeps me coming back to Ironman every year.