How to Run 80+ Miles Efficiently

I get a lot of questions on the blog in regards to training but this seems to be most prominent:

How on Earth do you have enough energy to run 80 plus mile weeks?

Point blank-I eat and fuel enough and also recover. Plus not all (or even half of my runs are fast).  My half marathon PR is at a 6:40 pace.  When I say that, people tend to get the idea that I always run my runs at that pace or even around a 7:00 minute pace.  No.

As I have said often, I recovery runs are done normally around 8:30 or maybe even higher.  I don’t time most of them because (as I constantly say) your pace does not matter on recovery runs.  The faster you go when your body is not feeling it,  the slower your speed workouts or races will be.  Who cares if you raced yourself in a recovery run and dropped 30 seconds per mile…wouldn’t you rather drop that time in a race?

Yes and why I don’t care about recovery runs. 

Second, I fuel myself for my activity level.  I’m never hungry.  I’m not losing weight and having great runs to boot.  My legs feel tired when they need too and fast when they need too. 

I’m going to stand on a soap box for a hot second and say to those who email me or comment that I’m not eating enough…you are obviously wrong. (and how can you possibly make that judgment from my blog?)  I haven’t lost weight from high mileage training or not eating enough.  That is probably the biggest pet peeve of blogging, because how on earth would you know…but anyways I eat enough to the 80+ miles I’m running and more than enough because I’ve had great races.

So I recover and have energy to race and run.

Finally, I get a lot of sleep.  I am not afraid to go to bed at 9 or 9:30.  My parents accept it, I don’t have a social life (duh…no real life friends) means I’m not missing very much.  Or when I do, I don’t need to stay out until midnight or 1am to have a good time.  I do not (at all…not one little bit) function on less then 8 hours of sleep and that is something I put for and foremost.  I will get my sleep. 

I personally know I won’t feel good when I run ever if I’m tired.

So in short to run 80 mile weeks (and by uninjured)

1.       You must eat enough

2.       You must sleep enough

3.       You must not worry about pace except for speed workouts and races

Questions for you:

1.       How do you maintain your workouts?

2.       What is/are your biggest pet peeves of blogging? 

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  1. Love this post. Running at an appropriate recovery pace is something I need to work on so badly… I try to go to bed earlier (I wake at 5.30) but I just CANNOT sleep. My body feels fine functioning on 6 hours of sleep… though, I do take naps in school during recess. I find it works fine for me and I still have tons of energy. Granted, I’m not doing 80+ mile weeks but I sure won’t mind doing that in the future!

  2. I agree on the food thing. I really don’t like the idea of someone judging what someone eats based on a blog. For one thing, they are just pictures- you could have eaten other things unpictured that day, or not eaten ALL of what is pictured. Anyone can take a post a picture of food. You know what you’re doing for your body and are an adult so you can make the calls on what to eat, how much, working out, etc.

    And yea- sleep is so important! My workouts and runs go much better when I’m rested.

    1. Oh so true. Anyone can take a photo of food and not eat it. If only more people would realize that. It’s why I never really compare myself to any bloggers or people in general.

  3. Stay on that soap box girl! You are so right! If you weren’t doing what you need to be doing in terms of fuel and recovery than there is no way you could be running as well as you are! Don’t let those people with stupid comments bother you..they are just projecting their own insecurities on to you.

  4. Great points on recovery runs. I started ditching the watch on them during my last training cycle and going entirely by feel. It’s definitely better than letting the watch dictate your pace. Plus I remind myself that I get to go as fast as I want for long periods of time on race day.

  5. You’ve nailed it 🙂 I miss the days when I could get a good 8 hours in though. Now I always seem to have some stray man climbing into my bed in the middle of the night keeping me up.

    What? Inappropriate??!! Don’t worry, they’re all under 50 inches and really super cute and just want snuggles 😉

  6. Im still amazed at your 80mile a week runs, that is very impressive! sorry some comments don’t support you or ask why you don’t eat enough! (I guess people have too much time on their hands to worry about what others eat)
    I love reading about your runs- it gives me motivation!

  7. ahh so true, it pisses me off to no end when people try to tell you you’re not eating enough! they’re not even thinking – if you were undereating, you’d get injured REAL QUICK. They’re probably just jealous, or insecure about the amount they eat or whatever. silly. Anyway yeah sleep and recovery and fuel are so important! I’ve never consistently done more than 60mpw, but even that takes quite a bit of food and chill runs and more sleep than most college kids get!

  8. I am so with you on pace. Easy runs must be easy if you want to really get something out of your races and workouts. Sleep is so important too. I remember last year for track for the first half I was getting 5 hours of sleep a night because of school work, then for the second half I was getting at least 8 hours and I dropped 40 seconds on my 2 mile. It makes a huge difference!

  9. Hi Hollie, thanks for stopping by my blog! You are an amazing athlete, I don’t even think I could run at your recovery pace! I am gearing back up to getting in shape after a few months off due to a broken foot. When I am in the groove, I just make it part of my every day routine, usually first thing in the morning–it’s not negotiable! Re blog pet peeves, I hate the double validation where you have to type in the letters/numbers and then also be approved. One filter is enough! I just approve the first comment by anyone new and then it ‘s a free for all!

  10. Completely agree with your approach about not keeping track of pace for recovery runs. It seems to me that a lot of injuries are the product of being a bit too enslaved to garmins/pacing during runs that would benefit from being untimed!

  11. That is so annoying that people comment on your food intake – you know what works best for you & its not like you post everything you eat on this blog…which is why I adore reading your post 😀

    Sleep = key to success in my opinion

  12. It’s so annoying when people judge other people’s intake! Everyone has different needs, some days we’re hungrier than other days and I doubt most people post every bite that makes it into their mouth every day so a lot goes unaccounted for. If what you’re eating works for you and you feel great, more power to you and you shouldn’t be judged for it!

  13. All I can say is: good for you. You obviously know what it takes to bust out an incredible half marathon time (and from that 19 miles you did a couple of months ago I think you’d run a brilliant marathon too if you ever wanted to – 80mpw is more than enough!) and it’s great that you have confidence enough to stand up to judgemental remarks about your diet.

    I suppose I try to do the same as you, only my sleeping (and possibly eating haha…not so similar then!) are out of whack. I’ve never needed more than a couple of hours (3ish?) max to function so I just tend to go without. Sadly when I was pushing for the 100 mile weeks back in March-May I also wasn’t really sleeping much at all – it’s a miracle I didn’t get another stress fracture back then (although there’s still time :P) I also run waaay under my race pace (although I do run shorter stuff at just above marathon goal pace). Trying to race every run landed me with shin splints, then IT band issues that I’d rather not repeat back in 2010.

  14. Yes. I love how simple your “formula” for running 80 miles a week is. You’re so right too… you just have to follow a few simple steps and your good to go typically :). I agree with your pet peeve in blogging.. everyone wants to judge.. crazy!

  15. Recovery-runs are key to increased mileage! I never knew I could run as many miles in a week until I listened to my legs and slowed down, now I enjoy watch-less runs 🙂
    the combo of sleep/eat/foam-rolling is keeping me healthy, I’m also trying to drink more water now that we are running in “hot-boxes” 🙂
    I hope you’re having a great wednesday!!

  16. Ha. To those people who think they know what you’re eating…how? I mean, you don’t blog about your food. *eyeroll* Morans.

  17. Great post! You’re awesome Hollie, I love your attitude. I try to just run my miles by feel and let my body do what it wants. Eating and sleeping are among my favourite things to do, so I do them a helluva lot.

  18. Well written and great post Hollie. I wish I would sleep that much!

    My biggest blogging issue is just doing it! Uploading pictures take forever and my internet connection sucks

  19. The sleep part is where I sometimes find myself lacking… and I can honestly feel it in my workouts if I drop below 8-9 hours/night.

  20. It’s been a while since I’ve logged 80+ week miles. I really enjoyed that time, but I’m not sure if I will ever get back to that level. I am happy and grateful to hopefully be past my stomach issues and my latest injury. Hopefully staying healthy will be something I can keep going for the rest of this training cycle. Good luck with all of your training!!

  21. Great post!! You got it right for sure. Yes you run alot, but you also sleep, eat, and rest alot too. A great runner cant really have a super exciting life. They save the excitemrnt gor tge race. 🙂 keep it up!! Any negative comments are pointless and prob just jealous.

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