Saturday is “long run day” for me as it is for many runners. That’s the day I push further than usual. During the week I vary my miles from two to five depending on the day, but this time of year, on Saturday I could set out to do six, seven or eight miles. The problem is now that the weather has started to at least resemble Spring (40 degrees is a start) I want to push further. This past Saturday was a perfect example. The training plan I’m following to get ready for a late May 10k called for eight miles on Saturday. I was on the road before 8:00AM and feeling good. I went through downtown Royal Oak, past the coffee shops where early risers were reading their newspapers, past the grocery store where SUVs were already jockeying for parking spaces and past the golf course where small piles of snow were still visible in the shade of the bushes. Four miles out I turned and started back but my mind was already telling me I should go further. I felt good, the weather was clear and dry, and I had time. As I got closer to home I was very tempted to add a mile on to the end of the run. Or maybe go for ten. But, I knew from articles in Runner’s World as well and from past personal experience that would be a mistake. Whenever I increase my mileage by more that about ten percent in one week, my knees ache the next couple of days. And as I get older the pain is worse and lasts longer. So, as much as I wanted to press on and add mileage, I decided to listen to the experts (and my body) and stop after eight miles as planned.
The next day when my knees were fine I was glad I had been patient. Increasing mileage slowly over time is not always easy to do but it is good advice.