We had a few days of mild weather this past week, giving me a chance to get some outdoor exercise. I took advantage by running almost 6 miles on Monday. That’s my longest run in years.
Back in 2004, I ran 8 miles as my last long run before running the 7.1-mile Lake Mingo trail race. But since 2008, which is as far back as my current exercise log goes, this run (5.83 miles in 1:11:35) is my longest.
I started at the Savoy Rec Center after taiji class, and ran all the way home. Here’s the route:
It was probably a bit further than I should have run. It left my knees kind of sore the next day. I’d gone 4.6 miles on Saturday—a much more reasonable distance for my current abilities, and probably part of the reason Monday’s 5.83 was too much. But knowing that I might well not get another chance to run outdoors for months, I couldn’t resist the urge to overdo it.
I never had any particular interest in extreme endurance runs. (I had no ambition to run a marathon, for example.) I ran for two reasons:
- Efficiency—I wanted to get enough exercise to develop and maintain a basic level of fitness with the least amount of time, effort, and money devoted to the effort.
- Capability—I wanted to develop and maintain the ability to be able to run if it was necessary.
Both those goals are easily satisfied with a weekly mileage of 10 to 12 miles—a long run of 5 or 6 miles together with two or three runs in the 2 to 3 mile range—which is where I’m at right now.
There’s certainly no reason to run further for health. If I wanted to devote extra time and effort to improving my health there are a hundred better things to do (starting with eating better, but including things like improving flexibility and core strength). Running more is probably a negative for health—my chance of injury just goes up from here. The only thing running further would improve is my ability to run further.
Even knowing all that, I find that I always want to run a little further. Once I’ve run five miles, I want to run six. Once I’ve run six, I want to run seven. I hesitate to follow that progression to its logical conclusion. And yet . . . .