There is no such thing as junk miles.
Junk miles have been talked about for years with various perspectives on them. Often junk miles are viewed as running for the sake of running, with no particular target or goal in mind for that run. They are the fillers around the speed sessions and long run. For me those fillers are not junk. They provide and important function by adding to your aerobic base, if carried out correctly.
To say that a run is junk is to say that it adds noting to you from a physiological and psychological standpoint. Unless you are running on an injury, then any run will induce some positive adaption’s. Even at a slow pace it will increase your aerobic capacity. Knowing that you are out there on the road, country, track where ever, will have a positive effect on your confidence, resolve and determination. With this in mind. Don’t be too worried or hard on yourself for just enjoying a run once in a while with nothing in mind for it.
There are however miles that could be put to better use. If like me you write a weekly training plan based on a larger more general one, you can break your sessions down and figure out what you want from each session. If it’s a long run to build aerobic endurance, then make sure it stays aerobic (slow) or else it’s doing something else. I highlighted the long run as this is a common mistake I see all the time. They are ran at too quick a pace to develop your aerobic capacity.
Take Home Message
Don’t worry if you don’t have a particular focus for every session, just make sure you do for most of them and ensure you are hitting what you are targeting. You don’t have to make it complicated. Simple is best. Understand what you want from a run and do it!
For more on junk miles see this article published in Runners World 2015.