Over the weekend, I figured out what was “wrong” with my Speedy 5K training plan.  As I wrote last Friday, “I need to find a way to get over the hump – I feel a little stuck at my current level.  I know I have it in me to be faster and run longer without feeling as winded, but I’m struggling to find it.  No matter what I do each week; it just doesn’t get “easier,” and I’ve never encountered this problem.”


I consulted my running buddy guru, Megan, for some advice.  She easily identified what I was doing wrong.


According to Megan, I’m simply not running enough miles per week to sustain a speedy 5K.  “You’ve got to run far and run fast to break your 5K personal record,” she said.  And after staring at my running log, I knew she was right.


A breakdown of the last seven weeks:


  • Week 1: 5.0 miles <— Post-Century bike ride
  • Week 2: 12.1 miles
  • Week 3: 14.0 miles
  • Week 4: 10.35 miles
  • Week 5: 10.5 miles <— moving week
  • Week 6: 7.5 miles <— wedding in Pennsylvania week
  • Week 7: 14.87 miles


Now, I’ve never been particularly fast or a serious long-distance runner, and I’ve usually squeaked by on the minimal safe mileage required to do my races.  Why? Well, running is hard.  :)  Even for my marathon, I only had 3 weeks out of 22 that I ran more than 30 miles, and I peaked at 36.5 miles per week.  And I was totally fine the day of the race – but I wasn’t running for time.


As a newbie to any race distance, I DEFINITELY think it’s fine to only run the minimal safe weekly distance (check out Hal Hidgon’s plans for some ideas). If you’re learning to run and want to do a 5K, it’s fine to do 9 – 12 miles per week total towards the end of training.   But when you want to improve your times, you’ve got to put in the mileage.


So, I’m going to extend my weekly totals to 20+ miles per week by adding an extra 4 – 5 miler (which I ran yesterday). Additionally, Megan suggested I drag out my warm-up and cool-downs on speedwork days to add an extra mile or two.  This is also good because it will allow me to prepare for two half marathons I have planned in September and November.


On that note…


Today was a speedwork day, which meant writing my plan on my arm in marker.  :)  Yes, I know I can program this into my Garmin 305, but I’m not really sure how AND I’m lazy.  Markers are cooler.


Because of a blister, I had to cut my run a little short (the moleskin came off)!  But I still ended up with a GREAT speedwork session.


  • Distance:  4.75 miles
  • Duration: 44:03


I did as follows:


  • Warm-up: 1,600 meters (1 mile) at 10:00/pace
  • Sprints: 400 meters (0.25 mile) at 8:00/pace with 100 meters rest in between.  Repeat times 8.
  • Cool-down: Approx 2,000 meters (1.25 miles) at 9:00/pace


Pre-workout snack was some cinnachip bread crack that I dug out of the freezer (the only place it’s safe):


And post-workout lunch was a vegetarian refried bean wrap + parsnip fries.


The wrap included arugula, feta, and tomatoes


Parsnip fries!  I missed them.


Question for the runners out there:


How many miles do you run per week? How many miles do you think as “required” to run a fast 5K?  Do you have a personal “burnout” mileage that you never get past per week?


*TWSS = That’s What She Said.  Don’t lie – you laughed at the title.



  • Freya @ Brit Chick Runs July 14, 2010, 2:40 pm

    Aaah what Megan said makes sense!
    I think I run between 25-40 miles a week…I’m not sure! Anymore than 40 and I think I start to burn out :s
    As for amount needed for a 5k – no idea! I’d be interested to know 🙂

  • Evan Thomas July 14, 2010, 2:44 pm

    You’re right; I totally laughed at the title
    I think I run around 50-60 miles a week, but I’m not very good about keeping track.

  • Julie @ Peanut Butter Fingers July 14, 2010, 2:45 pm

    just bought parsnips for the first time today!!! mental note: must make those fries! 🙂

  • tmart July 14, 2010, 2:45 pm

    I love that you are so introspective about your training/looking to improve! I think that Megan provided some good advice, but I also think that it is very individual. How much were you training when you set your 5K PR? Perhaps look at times during your running history when you were running “more speedy” to see what you were doing then differently.
    As for me, I love high milage/running in general, and I don’t cross train as much as you so I do about 85-100 miles/week currently (while training for marathons). But again, I think this type of thing is a personal choice.

    Good luck! Lunch looks yummy too! 🙂

    • caitlin July 14, 2010, 5:00 pm

      I’m not sure – maybe 20 to 25 miles.

  • Callie July 14, 2010, 2:47 pm

    I have to admit I laughed at the title too. 🙂 I only run about 11-12 miles/week right now, but I’m working on increasing that!

  • Therese July 14, 2010, 2:49 pm

    I’m like you, my weekly mileage is pretty low mostly because I only run three days a week, it’s just the only way I can run, cross train and strength train in a week without it interfereing with work and school. My half marathon training is based off of this but it’s my first half marathon so I’m not too worried about speed right yet!

  • Kelly @ Healthy Living With Kelly July 14, 2010, 2:49 pm

    I run about 40-50 miles a week but my burnout number is 60! I can’t ever seem to get that past that hump!

  • Dorry July 14, 2010, 2:50 pm

    I’m a new runner and still trying to figure it all out – but this post really helps! I’m probably running 12-15 miles/week right now. 3 miles/3-4 days/week. 🙂

  • shelby @ eatdrinkrun July 14, 2010, 2:53 pm

    I’ve been in the 50s lately (marathon training) but dropping back a bit – I’m starting to push in to injury territory when I get close to 60.

    When I’m not training for a marathon, my weeks are more like 30-40 miles. Were I training exclusively for 5Ks, I’d probably be inclined to drop it down to 25 or so, focus on quality and speedwork, and up my strength training a bit with all of that extra free time 🙂

  • jvegegirl July 14, 2010, 2:54 pm

    I’m probably around 45 mpw at the moment, though I’ve peaked around 65 before. I don’t run 5k’s anymore, but I drastically decreased my HM time with a boost in mileage without much speedwork. I’d say if you’re eating a high-calorie alkaline, vegan diet, have no pre-existing injuries, are getting lots of sleep and stretching, and most of all aren’t increasing stupidly fast:), mileage increases are not a problem.

  • Kelly July 14, 2010, 2:56 pm

    I’ve never been good at running long distances. I was a sprinter in high school and I think I still have that mentality now that I am trying to run again (my daily runs are probably closer to your warm ups!). Some of the above weekly distances just seem incredible to me!! Maybe pushing myself to run longer will help me get over my hump too!

  • Samantha @ Health, Happiness & Skinny Jeans July 14, 2010, 2:56 pm

    I run about 20-24 miles a week on average. I’m a little confused though. If I want to get better do I need longer runs (say 12-15 miles) or overall distance accumulated or both? I’m training for a 1/2 and I want to have more endurance and speed.

  • Stephanie July 14, 2010, 2:57 pm

    I have found that I set PR’s in shorter distances while training for longer races. Your body gets so used to running 10,12,15 miles that to only run 3 miles super quick (albeit painful) you can handle pain for 3 miles when you have handled it for 15.

    When I was strictly training for 5k and 10k pr’s (2 weeks apart) I was between 25-33 mpw and alternated a lower week with a higher week to keep it in check since I was putting in 2 speedowork sessions per week.

    I typically land between 30-40 at this point which is comfortable and ramping up into marathon training. My body can handle up to about 60mpw but as the mileage goes up I have to cut some of the speed sessions for general mileage, I find it a tricky art to find the balance of speed and mileage.

  • Kacy July 14, 2010, 2:57 pm

    I don’t run very many miles per week right now, and honestly I don’t even track it. I guess I’ll pay more attention to it when marathon training starts, but since I won’t be running for time I’ll probably run at the low end of what’s required to avoid injury since I’ll be running way more than I’m used to.

    I think Megan’s so right though and I bet you’ll meet your goal in no time now.

  • Jessica @ How Sweet It Is July 14, 2010, 2:58 pm

    I did laugh. 🙂

  • Jen July 14, 2010, 3:01 pm

    When I was training for my 15K I ran 20-25 miles a week which was actually more than what my training plan called for! I’m starting Half Marathon training soon and I’m also going to stick to the same milage per week because I think it helps push me along for some reason. 🙂

  • Karen @ Not Just Celery July 14, 2010, 3:04 pm

    Your wraps always look delicious, and I know you’ve done a post on how to wrap a wrap, but mine never come out right, lol!

    As for running, if I am not training for anything, I try and run 10-15 miles a week. I am training for a half marathon starting soon and plan to run 4 days week – as I get into the double digit runs, those weeks I plan to run 16-23 miles/week.

  • Jess July 14, 2010, 3:06 pm

    I do about 45 miles per week running and more walking.

  • Tami July 14, 2010, 3:06 pm

    FIRST program is what i used for my marathon training, they offer up 3 days of running and the others as cross training days. now that i have added tri training into the mix the 3 days of running fits in perfectly with my swim schedule. i think if you have quality runs than running 3 days is fine. and you are using your garmin to track your pace etc? is there a specific mile that drags you down, do you start off your races too fast so you have nothing left? tempo runs have improved my speed so much. finding someone who is faster than you to run with will help too

    • Morgan July 14, 2010, 10:25 pm

      I use this program too! I love it thus far-it doesn’t take over my life and if I miss a workout, I have 4 other days to get it in! Plus, with the tempos and speedwork AND distance, you cover it all! (Hills are assumed for me-Central Park is one hilly bitch)

      A friend recommended this program-she used it and qualified for Boston!

  • Anne @ the doctor takes a wife July 14, 2010, 3:07 pm

    I’ve been struggling with this lately too… In order to run a half marathon (my first!!) I need to up the mileage…

  • Erin July 14, 2010, 3:08 pm

    I think Megan is on to some thing. This was an interesting article from running times that says to be really competitive in a 5k you need to run 40-70 mpw and a long run between 10-14 miles. http://runningtimes.com/Article.aspx?ArticleID=19997&PageNum=1

    I don’t think that many miles are necessary for people that aren’t trying to win, but i notice a big difference in performance if I race shorter distances than I’ve trained for.

    • caitlin July 14, 2010, 5:11 pm

      That’s a great article – thanks!

    • Caroline July 14, 2010, 9:22 pm

      Erin, I get Running Times too! I think it’s a great article in terms of showing people how they can maximize themselves by going shorter and faster!

  • Laura@FindingAHealthyBalance....after a 100+ Pound weight loss!!! July 14, 2010, 3:09 pm

    I typically run around 10 miles a week! And, think that is fine to train for a 5K, at least it was for me. However, I am currently training for a 15K and my weekly miles will be increasing every week until September for that of course.

    Thank you for the Speed Work information, I needed it as I had no idea 1,600 meters was a mile (sure I could of looked it up online but never did) and so forth…….I plan to do some Speed Work soon and the information will really help. =)

  • Peggy July 14, 2010, 3:09 pm

    Hi Caitlin! I raced 5-6ks in college, and I always felt that a large mileage base was crucial to speed training. I did best on around 60+ miles per week–but I’ve always been a mileage hog. Marathon training I like to get in 3-4 80 mile weeks. But many girls on my xc team in college did well, even better, with less, but (unless they were injured) nobody ran less than 35 or 40. Long runs get the body used to running while exhausted, and that is so valuable in that last half mile of a 5k. Good luck!

    • caitlin July 14, 2010, 5:10 pm

      You are a beast! In a good way! 🙂

  • Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg July 14, 2010, 3:10 pm

    I definitely noticed when I was training for my first half that the weeks that I put in well above the minimum required miles (doing, say, 25 instead of 18), I could TELL a difference– I felt stronger, faster, and overall more prepared.

  • Estela @ Weekly Bite July 14, 2010, 3:10 pm

    That title did make me laugh 🙂

  • Julz @ freshman5k July 14, 2010, 3:10 pm

    I’m building a base right now, and so far I’m at 45 miles. I tend to burn out high 50s, so I have to be careful and have learned to take rest days. I think you definitely need at least 20 miles per week if you want to race a good/fast time. Running longer distances will make 3.1 seem like nothing! It always makes me smile when I tell people I race 5ks, because they’re more amazed that I can FINISH 3.1 miles, whereas my mind set is to just run it as fast as I can, I don’t think twice about being able to run that distance.

  • Tara July 14, 2010, 3:11 pm

    I run 25 to 30 miles per week during the summer when I’m home. When I am on vacation I try to get at least 10 (for example, I’ll be in Spain for the next to weeks, so I will try to get in three 3 mile runs). I continue running 25 to 30 miles per week, but when it comes to peak in racing season(usually around late october/early november) I focus on lower milage with more short speed workouts.

    I race 5k’s, and so far 25-30 miles works well for me.

  • Amanda @ Eat to Live, Live to Run July 14, 2010, 3:12 pm

    I usually run between 20-26 miles per week. I read recently, “if you want to run fast, you have to practice fast”. I can’t remember where I read or heard this, but it has stuck with me. The same source talked about eliminating trash mileage from your routine stating that it does nothing to improve your speed or endurance. Just make sure those miles you are adding are quality miles and not trash 🙂

  • Gracie @ Girl Meets Health July 14, 2010, 3:16 pm

    I’m that person that says TWSS to pretty much EVERYTHING (which, I think makes it even funnier because it doesn’t even make sense).

  • Nicki July 14, 2010, 3:17 pm

    I am currently running between 25 and 35 miles a week. Last week – I ran a 15K race on Sunday – I ran 26 miles. I was also traveling last week so it was a bit more difficult to get the longer runs in. Plus I did have a time goal – nothing spectacular – that I wanted to reach for the race.

    Yesterday, I started my first day of marathon training. I am modifying a Higdon program to help me decide on training distances and such. I have 12 weeks. I will finish and hopefully with a decent first time.

  • Sarah July 14, 2010, 3:18 pm

    i can’t believe some people run 60 plus miles a week! that is amazing to me! personally i do 10-18 right now and i am not training for anything. my work day takes up 10-12 hours a day (i commute 60 miles a day) so it really isn’t possible for me to churn out crazy milage…not worth it to me! it is harder for me to run in the summer too…i don’t do well in the heat!

  • kyla July 14, 2010, 3:20 pm

    I’m training for a marathon right now(I’m using good ol’ Hal’s training program! He really is the best) so my miles covered over the week is now into 30+. I am looking forward to working more on time once this is over but I think somewhere in the 20’s is very reasonable for a 5-k.

  • Heather July 14, 2010, 3:25 pm

    Hahaha, that title is too funny, good one!

  • loreejo July 14, 2010, 3:25 pm

    okay, i’m trying not to let these commenters freak me out! i’m just now working up to 10 miles/week and trying to stay consistent with that—I started running last October! HA it’s amazing to see all the mileage adding up in these comments! and I have to tack on here that your blog is one of the few that I read the comments on….i like your commenters and/or how you get the convo’s going. thanks for all the info!

    • caitlin July 14, 2010, 5:07 pm

      haha dude i could NEVER RUN 40 or 60 miles a week, nor am I sure I would want to.

      thank you!

    • alissa July 14, 2010, 9:00 pm

      I’m right there w/you = )
      I’ve only been running since February and am still thinking I am awesome when I run over 3 miles at once (especially in the FL heat)! I probably only run 10-12 miles a week. I am just in awe of those that are running even 20+ miles/weekly.

      And I agree..LOVE your blog Caitlin. Yours is one of 4 I check everyday (okay, several times a day 😉 and the comments are always worth reading. Love it!

  • Ashley July 14, 2010, 3:29 pm

    I’m averaging about 40ish miles a week right now, but I cross train as well. I think adding mileage well over what you’re trainin for definitely makes you faster. I definitely found that I got much, much faster over the last year by adding mileage. While training for a marathon this year , I decided to do the half instead and pr’d at 1:49min 35 seconds, my previous time was 2:03. I’ve never raced a 5k though so i’m not sure what that would require, but i would recommend two runs a week twice that distance to make the 5k seem easy.

  • Tina July 14, 2010, 3:29 pm

    Your title certainly made me giggle. 😀

    I’ve never gotten into serious running or training plans, but what she advised you does make great sense. I hope it works out well for you. Looks like it already is though which is awesome!

  • Jason @ Cant-Coach-Desire July 14, 2010, 3:34 pm

    I usually run 40-45 miles per week with a couple of cross-training days. Anymore than 45 and I become injury prone more than burning out. For a 5k, I’d say 20 miles with targetted training is plenty for a fast 5k.

  • KatieTX July 14, 2010, 3:39 pm

    TWSS is the best joke ever. I am doing tri training right now so I am only running 5 miles a week! BUT I did train for a speedy 5K back in January/February. I was doing 2 4-5 mile runs a week, plus shorter speed drills, similar to yours a couple times per week. I did more ladders, like 800m, 400m, 200, 100, repeat. I did a freezing cold 5K in 24:30, my goal was under 25 minutes! Accomplished! I know you can accomplish yours! I think the longer runs are important because it makes the 3.1 seem like a piece of cake, then you just have to focus on speed and going all out! Shorter all out bursts of 30 sec to 1 min should help. What are you doing your 400m sprints at? I know to finish a sub 25min 5k mine needed to be 1:30 to keep me on track.

    • caitlin July 14, 2010, 5:06 pm

      my 400 m sprints are done at an 8:00 mile pace

      good job!!

  • Heather @ Side of Sneakers July 14, 2010, 3:40 pm

    I always squeak by on the miles too- I get scared if I do a whole lot I’ll get hurt, so I keep it on the low side. Of course, I’m one to talk, since I’m injured now anyways. So I’m no help 😉

  • Heather July 14, 2010, 3:40 pm

    good call on the not running enough miles per week. I am trying to build up my mileage too, so i feel your pain!

  • Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) July 14, 2010, 3:43 pm

    Ahhh, “that’s what she said”, best TV one liner in a long time 🙂

  • Stacey @ Tipping the (Kitchen!) Scales July 14, 2010, 3:44 pm

    Glad you’ve figured out a plan for your sppedy 5K. Love the way you right what you’re going to do on your arm – it makes you look hardcore!!

  • Stacey @ Tipping the (Kitchen!) Scales July 14, 2010, 3:46 pm

    Edit to the above post – I of course meant write, not right! Why can’t I write properly when leaving comments on blogs! All spelling and grammar seem to go out the window.

  • Ashley M. [at] (never home)maker July 14, 2010, 3:47 pm

    Miles don’t matter as much as the quality of your workouts. I’d suggest just doing one longer-ish run per week. But you could totally do it on three days a week. Adding more miles def. doesn’t guarantee speed or anything, really. Just listen to your body. You’ll get there!

  • Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) July 14, 2010, 3:54 pm

    I am not a runner, but I envy those that are! Now, that bread does not seem to be safe in the freezer either! That wrap looks delicious! Enjoy your afternoon!

  • Rachel July 14, 2010, 3:54 pm

    I like running but I like to do lots of other fitness activities too! It seems like I have to do ALL running to improve or at least maintain my running abilities, or do brick workouts constantly if I want to do other activities.

    Its all about finding balance. I was attempting to PR at my 5k on August 6th, but I feel happier when I’m doing all kinds of different workouts (walking with a friend, cycle class, lifting weights). Its a trade off. I feel mentally excellent and stay very active (which is my priority), but I don’t improve in any venue (I don’t get stronger, my running doesn’t improve, my yoga practice doesnt see increased flexibility). So I’m not sure where that leaves me!

    It seems like if I want to improve in an area, I’ll have to put my focus in one arena at a time.

  • Lauren @ merrymishaps July 14, 2010, 3:55 pm

    When I’m not marathon or half marathon training, my weekly mileage is probably 15-20 miles. I never specifically train for 5Ks anymore since I’m always prepared for the distance … but incorporating track intervals has really helped me speed up!

  • Tracy July 14, 2010, 3:56 pm

    I typically run between 20-25 miles per week. I’m not training for anything at this moment either. If I were training I’d probably be running closer to 30-35 miles per week. I think for 5K training it is perfectly fine running 20-25 miles per week. I think that in order to get better speed some time longer runs are needed to get your endurance built so that you can push harder on those shorter runs. Good luck!

  • Beth July 14, 2010, 4:00 pm

    right now i average about 25 miles a week, but will peak at around 35 (i’m training for my first half marathon in september).

    on one of my shorter runs (i typically have one three-miler per week) i allow myself to substitute the elliptical if my legs are just not feeling it. it kind of breaks up the running a little bit, and keeps things interesting, so i’m not always running, running, running.

    i’m pretty slow, so i’m not sure how many miles you’d have to run aw eek for a “speedy” 5k but my guess would be at least 15-20, with some quality speedwork thrown in.

    i live in chicago, so if you want a running buddy when you are here for HLS, let me know!!

    • caitlin July 14, 2010, 5:05 pm

      You should come to the fun run on Sunday!

      • Beth July 14, 2010, 5:07 pm

        i wasn’t able to get tickets to the summit (major frowny face) and am not a blogger…just a reader. does this matter?

        • caitlin July 14, 2010, 5:13 pm

          nope 🙂 fun run is open to everyone. there will be info on the website – come up to me and say hi!!!

  • AngelaOSG July 14, 2010, 4:03 pm


    If I run more than 25 miles a week I break and will poof into thin air.

  • Candice July 14, 2010, 4:05 pm

    I’m embarrassed to say I’ve been wondering what TWSS means! Thank you! lol.

    I’m so glad you figured out what was going on. Onwards and Upwards, right?!

  • Kim July 14, 2010, 4:19 pm

    I run about 30-40 miles a week. It’s been hard for me to maintain over 40 miles, although I’d really like to.

    I think adding in a little extra mileage will help you out, too. Even if you’re not running it fast, it’s training your body, which will definitely help.

  • Mama Pea July 14, 2010, 4:32 pm

    I did NOT laugh at the title…you are so immature 😉 🙂 😉 And your workout sounded like it was fast, long AND hard.

    • caitlin July 14, 2010, 5:04 pm

      just the way i like it!

      • loreejo July 14, 2010, 9:23 pm

        badness. just badness everywhere! 😉

  • Cynthia (It All Changes) July 14, 2010, 4:34 pm

    I’ve never run more than 30 miles in a week. But I wish I could run more.

  • Heather (heather's dish) July 14, 2010, 4:40 pm

    markers are WAY cooler 😉

    i used to run 50-60 miles a week, but since my knee injury i’ve toned it waaaaaaaay down to about 10 or so 🙂

  • Katheryn July 14, 2010, 4:42 pm

    I run 20-25 miles a week. I’ve never gone over 35 miles in a week. I love to run, but my body seems to need a day off from running in between running days.

  • lisa July 14, 2010, 4:53 pm

    I cross train a lot so it’s hard to fit in a lot of running. I run 2-3 times a week and that’s my max.

  • Molly @fuelherup July 14, 2010, 4:59 pm

    When I ran cross country at a D1 school, (I’m retiring myself this year lol) we ran 40-60 miles/week during 5k-7k season.Obviously, that’s a different situation- our times were all under 20 minutes, so it takes A LOT of work to improve.
    In high school, however, Mon.-Fri. we would do speedwork Mon, Wed, and Fri, and run 60 minutes on T and Th, plus an easy run over the weekend. It seemed to work!

  • claire July 14, 2010, 5:03 pm

    I definitely remember running around 20-30 miles per week while training for 5K’s in high school and college. Now, I don’t really have a set amt. per week but I am working on a plan!

  • Ellen@FIrednFabulous July 14, 2010, 5:07 pm

    I went through a period where I was running 25-30 miles every week, but recently it’s been more around 15. I want to get my mileage back up, and also work on my speed too. I pulled a muscle in my glute, so I’m going to keep taking it easy and doing my yoga, but I hope to get back into it soon! Running is actually more *fun* when you push yourself. I think!

  • Sara July 14, 2010, 5:17 pm

    I run about 40-45 miles each week, on 110% weeks I bump it up to 50. I just graduated college where I ran cross country and track, where I focused on the 5k. I agree that long runs of at least 10 miles are crucial to giving your body the endurance it needs to race a 5k fast. It helps you not burn out in the last mile!

  • Angharad July 14, 2010, 5:25 pm

    I run about 12-15 miles per week at the moment but I’m not really training for anything. I think it’s a personal thing too and you are always very good at outlining that any big fitness/food decision you make are done so because they work best for YOU – I like that 🙂

    I’ve heard conflicting advice about increased mileage. I think it’s important not to add “junk mileage” and what I mean by that is to give your speed and easy workouts real distinction i.e. give it everything you have on speed days and force yourself to go slowly on the easy days to make sure you’re fully benefiting from both workouts.

  • Emilie July 14, 2010, 5:30 pm

    So glad you wrote that post about mileage. It seems like a really simple solution to the issue (which I have been having as well) but it never crossed my mind. Instead, I added more interval training, which hasn’t made me much faster! I think my mileage has been dropping off because of the heat we’ve been having in my area… Im unconciously cutting it off because I’m SO HOT! Thanks for all the great info.

  • Christina July 14, 2010, 6:06 pm

    Hi Caitlin! This is my first comment, but I love your blog!

    I live about an hour outside of Charlotte and I am training for my first half-marathon in September. It is at the National Whitewater Center in Charlotte. Is that one of the races that you are doing?

    • caitlin July 14, 2010, 9:46 pm

      Hi! 🙂 Thank you!

      AND YES – we should meet up!!

  • Maria (realfitmama) July 14, 2010, 6:10 pm

    Right now I’m working on hitting about 18-20 miles a week. 3 miles mon-thurs and 6-8 miles on sat!

    I really hate strength training, but have devised a quick 15 minute routine that I do 5 times a week before bed.

    Right now with my schedule and two girls under 10 years old this is about all I can fit in, but I’m still hopeful I can run my first half marathon in October.

    We’ll see!

  • Gavi @ GaviGetsGoing! July 14, 2010, 6:11 pm

    I typically average between 20 and 30 miles per week, and I usually feel pretty good and strong. Some weeks I average less and make up for the miles with swimming, cycling, and lifts. Speed workout have REALLY helped me get faster, though, and I think they’re a great part of a training plan for your 5k. Good luck with your plan!

  • Liz @ Tip Top Shape July 14, 2010, 6:13 pm

    haha, gotta love twss jokes. I finally saw the Office episode it came from. LOVE that show!

    I’m not much of a runner so I unfortunately do not have much to add to the running discussion. All I can really say is good luck on adding the miles and I’m sure you’ll get over your hump soon 😀

  • Jen July 14, 2010, 6:24 pm

    In my experience, the only way I’ve gotten faster is by doing hill-work. I went from 8min/mile to 7min/mile after running on on a pretty steep incline on the treadmill for about a month. I would do that 1x or 2x a week. I was probably averaging about 25 miles a week at that point.

    • caitlin July 14, 2010, 9:47 pm

      Interesting! Well there are lots of hills here for me to practice on!

  • Catherine July 14, 2010, 6:27 pm

    I’ve never trained for a 5K, but training for my half marathon (training to simply finish) I try to do 12 miles or more a week. I’m not on a super strict training regimen which might come back to bite me in the butt, but so far I think I’m on track to finish the half marathon in September. I might be doing a second race in January, and will possibly,maybe be aiming for a time goal then. Maybe?

    PS. really enjoyed the TWSS 🙂

  • Alyssa @ Bride To Be Fit July 14, 2010, 6:29 pm

    I trained for a half marathon, and did the same as what you mentioned… I never really pushed myself to run more miles then what was required. Now, I’m going to be running a marathon relay in September, and really want to work on my speed! I wasn’t sure how to really go about doing this, but what Meghan said makes sense. I’m going to try to up my mileage too…. grrr. Fitting that in is difficult, but I guess neccessary!

  • Erin D. July 14, 2010, 7:08 pm

    Hi Caitlin! I’m the same way with my mileage. I keep it between 20-25 when training for a half marathon (and have been successful at improving my speed by quite a bit at that level) but when I’m not training for something specific, I’m lucky if I get in 15ish miles since I prefer cross-training over strictly running. The important thing is running the mileage that keeps you feeling good, meeting your goals, and staying injury free!

    • caitlin July 14, 2010, 9:47 pm


  • Erin D. July 14, 2010, 7:09 pm

    Oh and for me, speedwork AND tempo runs are key to running fast!

  • Kelsey (Nourishing Noshes) July 14, 2010, 7:16 pm

    I finally know what TWSS stands for!!! Don’t judge :p

  • Cee July 14, 2010, 7:20 pm

    Wow, some of your readers are MACHINES! I typically run 25-35 miles/week. I would love to run more, and often squeak into the 40-45 miles/week territory – but I’m quite injury prone and a few weeks of that is basically asking for it!

  • emptynutjar July 14, 2010, 7:21 pm

    I ran in university (and was pretty serious about it…as in, got fast). 5 K’s were the college race distance, but outside of that I did many races like 8k, 10k, half-marathons, etc..
    During in-season training, there would be 3 “training” practices (fartleks, intervals, brutal hills , etc..including lots of miles running also), 1 long run (1:30++), and 2 just moderate paced semi-distance runs.

    I miss those days…considering my body only allows a walk now. But yeah, it depends on how devoted and serious you want to get into it. Never underscore how much u do anyway. Your a champion.

  • Sarah July 14, 2010, 7:22 pm

    Even though there are about a million comments already…I’ll add my thoughts, too! I am training for a half marathon now and doing 20-25/week to start. I ran my best 5K this spring after only running for about a month after taking time off due to a hip injury and doing physical therapy. While taking a break I took time to strengthen my hips and legs and supporting muscles. I did the race at about 6:40 min/mile and I think it was because I had been lifting and strengthening. I hate lifting, but I think it is worth every bit as much as a training run.

  • Megan July 14, 2010, 7:41 pm

    I am just 4 weeks out from having a baby. I started running a week ago and ran I think 7 miles last week. I hope to work up to 10-15 miles in the next few weeks, and then it’ll go up to about 25 per week as I get closer to a half marathon in October.

    I think I peak around 25 when I am about 3-4 weeks out from a half (my longest distance so far, done it twice).

  • tmart July 14, 2010, 7:50 pm

    I would say if you were doing 20-25 miles/week before, you should aim for that to start. Maybe the high end, so 25-30 per week?
    Plus, I know that you mentioned this in another post, and I thought it was a really good point- the fact that if you want to get faster is WILL hurt sometimes. If you don’t want that, that’s cool and all. I know some people just want to go out and run for fitness at a given pace and enjoy it and I completely respect that. But, if you have a goal to get speedy-er you need to put more in. I for one love the distance and can bang out 90+ mile weeks, but am totally scared of speedwork. I’d rather do a 20 miler than a tempo run. But, I know that tempo’s and speedwork make me a better runner and get me closer to my marathon PR (sub 3:18). So I try to make myself do them. Having a speedwork buddy helps too. I know you just moved, but perhaps you can get Kath to run with you? You mentioned that she was fast when you guys ran together and sometimes friends + fast = making you better while having fun!

    OK, much too long of a comment! 🙂

    • caitlin July 14, 2010, 9:48 pm

      I definitely need some speedy running buddies!

  • Lisa @ bakebikeblog July 14, 2010, 8:03 pm

    What awesome tips 🙂 And love those parsnip fries!!

  • Janna (Janna's Keeping it Real) July 14, 2010, 8:12 pm

    I typically shoot for around 25 (give or take…usually more take). I find that much past 25, and i begin to majorly dislike the sport.

    I’ve never really trained to get speedy, but it is something I want to work at. I’ve gradually been shaving a few seconds here and there off my time, and it honestly seems that it has been with the addition of mileage (I’m coming into the end of a half marathon training schedule). I think Megan may be onto something! :0)

  • Lauren July 14, 2010, 8:15 pm

    Wow, I just breezed through some of the comments and almost hit the floor. How are these girls running 65-70 miles per week? Hell, I have a hard time fitting in 30 during training season. I like to shoot for 30 a week but I’m content some weeks with 25.

  • Gracie (complicated day) July 14, 2010, 8:21 pm

    My weekly miles vary depending on if I’m training and what for, but I usually get 75 – 100 miles in per month. I can double that near a marathon, though.

  • Michelle @ Give Me the Almond Butter July 14, 2010, 8:30 pm

    I’m glad you figured out what was going on! During the late winter and early spring I will start training for a 5k again.

  • maria @ Chasing the Now July 14, 2010, 8:43 pm

    Right now I am only doing between 9-10 running miles per week. I’m fresh off a stress-fracture injury and not pushing it. But I am training for a 5K in the middle of August. That’s enough for me and I’ll probably keep it around that even after the race for a few months. Priority is on not reinjuring myself.

    But, I also bike or walk to work–that’s another 20+ miles a week.

  • Jen July 14, 2010, 8:46 pm

    I’m super impressed that you can do your speedwork outside!

    I’d much rather cross train than go above 35 miles per week. It amaezs me people are able to run such high mileage!

  • Camille July 14, 2010, 9:07 pm

    I usually run between 7 and 25-30 depending on what I am preparing for (and also my mood!).

  • BroccoliHut July 14, 2010, 9:13 pm

    I run 5-6 days a week for a total of 35-40 miles. I burn out on anything more than that.

  • Caroline July 14, 2010, 9:20 pm

    Caitlin, I know that this does not fit in your schedule, but I am training for division 1 cross country and I run about 50 miles per week when not injured. I think about 60 is going to be important for me to run my fastest 5K but I think I will have a hard time going over 60. I might do 70 mpw if I get permission to run 10K.

  • Katie July 14, 2010, 9:23 pm

    Lately school and work have been CRAZY so I haven’t been running as much – but when I was training for a half marathon this spring I was running around 20 miles a week or so. First time to comment here, been reading for a bit now and may have lucked into a HLS ticket – so if I get to come (fingers crossed), I’ll look for you at the fun run!

  • Jessica July 14, 2010, 9:26 pm

    I’m training for a fall marathon, so I’m running 40-45 mpw right now, which drops down to 30-35 on rest weeks, and my plan will peak at 55 miles. I’m kind of nervous about increasing from 40-50 just because I feel it a lot more in my joints when I hit 40+ miles. I also do a good amount of cross training, especially yoga, strength training, and boot camp-type classes.

    My 5K PR (even with wind and sub-freezing temps)came 3 weeks before my first half marathon, after I had upped my mileage from 15-20 to 30-35, even though I was doing much less speedwork. That PR was from February, and I haven’t raced one since, but I’d be interested to see how I do with my marathon training mileage!

    So I think it’s all about balance. Get in some quality speedwork to work those fast twitch muscle fibers, but get in the mileage to increase your endurance!

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin July 14, 2010, 9:39 pm

    No matter how old I get, TWSS jokes never seem to get old. 😉

    I probably run about 15 miles per week. I used to do more, but I’ve started switching up my workouts this summer.

  • Chelsey July 14, 2010, 9:51 pm

    I think I run somewhere in bewteen 20-25 miles a week. I am just starting to do speedwork as well – I did it today, but didn’t write it on my arm! I should have though, my memory is bad 🙂

  • Michaela July 14, 2010, 10:12 pm

    I run between 20 and 25 miles per week. Given your history of problems with your knees, don’t forget what causes most injuries—-too fast, too far, too soon. Slowly increase your mileage to be safe! A common rule is to not increase your weekly mileage more than 10%. I’m sorry if this has already been mentioned. I didn’t read all of the previous comments. I think doing too much speedwork is what has screwed me multiple times so I would hate to see it happen to you.

    There’s this GREAT book about running called Run Right Now by Joe Henderson. He’s a former editor of Runner’s world. It has excellent tips on improving your ability as a runner, no matter what your experience level is. It has really changed my perspective.

  • Theodora July 14, 2010, 10:20 pm

    I’m training for the Chicago Marathon (ahh! my first!), and I’ve been really slacking on my during-the-week runs, and this post totally motivated me to get out there tonight. I’ve been running around a 9-minute mile for shorter runs, but I ran through the discomfort (the annoying kind, not the painful kind), and busted out THREE MILES IN TWENTY-FOUR MINUTES TONIGHT! And I’m going to try to stick as closely to my training sked as possible going forward.

  • Amber K @ sparkpeople July 14, 2010, 10:56 pm

    Ahh I love funny titles.

  • Alison July 14, 2010, 11:34 pm

    Great workout, Caitlin – you rocked it!

  • John July 15, 2010, 12:41 am

    I’ve been running 18 miles each week but starting this week my low weeks will be 26 and my highs will get up to 36. Training for a marathon in October now. I haven’t got to my burnout mileage yet but not sure I ever will as I only run 3 days a week.

  • sarah (the SHU box) July 15, 2010, 5:25 am

    i run in the low-mid 20s/week. i used to do MUCH more but had so many injury issues! i supplement with 1-2 days of elliptical so if you’count’ those miles, i typically end up a bit over 30.

    i do agree that more mileage helps speed! but it also can lead to injury so be very careful with how you increase and listen to any pain signals that come along 🙂

  • Lyndsey July 15, 2010, 8:54 am

    I’m totally currently losing my comment virginity to the healthy tipping point blog! Moving on, lol, does anyone on here deal with shin splints?! I had bad asthma as a child and shin splints but lately I’ve been trying to work through it, Excedrin before runs, ice after, etc…but do you or anyone else have any tips on how to up the mileage when dealing with such a painful re-occurring (dare I say) injury?!

    • caitlin July 15, 2010, 9:10 am

      Hahah yayyy!

      I would say it’s best to go ridiculously slow as you try to progress. The usual standard is a 10% increase per week (so 10 miles one week and 11 the next) but I think it’s best to go really, really slow when you’re prone to injuries… Also, pay attention to what paces and/or surface types irritate your shin splits and avoid that!

      Also, definitely check out http://healthyashley.blogspot.com/2010/02/kick-shin-splints-for-good.html

  • Wei-Wei July 15, 2010, 9:32 am

    LOL TWSS! I find those so funny… maybe I’m just immature 😉 I think you should try running with Kath more often. Didn’t you say she was fast too? 😀


  • Jenn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) July 15, 2010, 2:18 pm

    That cinnachip bread looks amazing! I need to make fries out of other root veggies besides potatoes. 🙂


  • Mer August 9, 2010, 8:03 pm

    I have run 48 miles in a week before. Much, much, too much. for the level of running I’m training for. Which is 5k. I then injured myself for 8 months afterward. I currently run about 30-35 a week.

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