Are 100 mile challenges just full of junk miles?

Out on a run recently and I heard the term 'junk miles' being mentioned. I was kinda taken aback, to be honest. I had never heard of the term but felt that the miles I was doing meant nothing! 

A little debate (whilst running of course) started as to what it might mean.

What is a Junk Mile?

So, I had to do a little research (google) - the first definition I got from Competitor Running was:

 "junk miles" are all of the moderate-pace running that a runner does over the course of a week to reach a certain total mileage target 

So if we say that we are aiming for 25 miles in a week to reach 100 miles in around 4 weeks,  at a "moderate" pace then they are junk miles - is that right?

But hold on, what is moderate pace?

A moderate pace is defined as in between slow pace, where you can easily hold a conversation or a fast workout. In other words, a middle of the road run. But I have also read that moderate pace is a pace that you would adopt for a long distance run.

Getting confused? Me too.

Being active

What about when you consider that national guidelines are to be active for 150 minutes per week - then is doing any miles at a moderate pace better than no miles? 

It gets more confusing when to find that researchers at Copenhagen City Heart Study revealed that moderate running is better for you than fast running!

In the same article, Maureen Talbot from the British Heart Foundation

"National guidelines recommend we do 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week. It may sound like a lot, but even brisk walking is good exercise and if you’re bit of a couch potato this is a good place to start."

So what's best?

I'm no running coach, but I not sure that I do junk miles. 

I have mixed up jeffing (walking & running), now running up to 10k without walking, slowed the pace down and completed 100-mile challenges. I've enjoyed my running, I've got fitter and knocked time off my PB's over the last few months.

Not only that, going out in a group and all sticking together at a pace that suits us all, keeping each other motivated and to keep going for me adds value. It is welcome than always feeling you have to chase down times and speed with every run.

The way I see it is, if those miles I do are junk, I'll happily keep them thank you!

What do you think?

  • Do you run 'junk miles'?
  • Have you heard of it before?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!


Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom from Pexels

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