Sunday, 23 January 2011
The Art of Empty Miling
As a teenager, reared on schedules where every session had to count and even easy runs were for 'recovery' not enjoyment, I soon became disillusioned. A PB in the 5k or 10k would be cool, but at what expense? I liked to run long, off-road, easy. And so I started to substitute short, track, hard for long, off-road, easy in my training. My times suffered, but I looked forward to every run. Years later, after turning my back on that early promise and failing to fulfil any potential I had, I met a runner I'd known from those times. 'He could have been really good,' he told the friend I was with, 'but he didn't like the hard work. And he ran too many empty miles.'
I raised my eyebrows, laughed and replied, 'Yeah, you're right - too many empty miles.'
Fast-forward to the present day and a lifetime of running based on empty miles. I've had some success, but not a great deal. But it's been a blast, and will continue to be so.
Whether spending a day on the Lakeland Fells, running a 30 mile loop in the Lincolnshire Wolds or jogging down to the bridge and back with my young lad, empty miles continue to dominate my running. I could train 'smarter.' I could include more structured speedwork into my training. I'm sure I could improve my PB's in distances from 5k to half-marathon. But, then again, they're not really important to me. And, anyway, most travellers would agree that enjoying the journey is more important than arriving at the destination.