Does ‘mileage memory’ count for anything?

If I hadn’t locked my keys in the car at the gas pump on Friday, this would’ve been my first 40+-mile week since my marathon training at the beginning of the year.

By the time I got that situation ironed out, it was too late to fit in our scheduled session of hill repeats (and the weather was nasty anyway), so I finished the week stuck on 39 miles, 3 miles ahead of my sister since she didn’t run the Rat Race.

Logic says we just aren’t accumulating enough mileage to be training for a marathon, let alone a 50K. Though we’ve been doing at least one 12-mile run  a week for a month now, our weekly mileage totals have typically  been in the low to mid-20s.

This kind of freaks me out. On the other hand, Traci and I have done some kind of crazy distance project every fall for the past three years – 90 miles in nine days, cycling 90 miles in just over nine hours, and a 50-mile run/walk last year – and in every single case, our training has been nowhere near recommended levels.

Does this mean we think we can get away with inferior training? No, not exactly. But it does give us confidence that we can summon the mental toughness to keep grinding away when logic would suggest otherwise. Though we have yet to set foot on the Huff course, its three 10-mile loops have a familiar feel in that we started off last year’s 50-miler with a similar format.

Knowing we plan to take walk breaks (though not nearly as many as in last year’s 50-miler) is another major confidence boost. After vowing to run the whole way of my first marathon earlier this year – which I did, only to get beat by several run-walkers – led to a series of followup experiments that convinced me what they said was true:  Walk breaks can actually improve your time because you wind up going faster during your run sessions.

In the Huff, we’re just looking to finish. Our time doesn’t really matter. We’re planning to ramp up our mileage totals in November, and I hope it’s enough. But even if it turns out to be less than ideal, I’ve got a feeling that the mileage totals that really matter at this point are the ones stores in our memory banks from past endurance events.

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