First post. Maybe a few other runners can shed some light on, comment on, or learn from this. I'm in my 30's and I've been running higher mileage (55-60 mpw) for about 2 years and managed to hit some 17:3X times in the 5K. However, in the local running scene I'm always getting beat by this guy in my age group (35-39) who runs anywhere from 16:20-16:50. I've tried to stay on his shoulder during some races and he always pulls away. Getting fed up with losing, I stalked the web and was able to find his running log to see what he was doing that was giving him the edge over me.
Here is what his plan looks like. Mileage varies on some weeks but he's pretty consistent and follows a strict regimen. He also only runs 40-50 miles per week!
Monday: 4 to 5.5 miles at 8:00 to 8:30 pace. This seems to be his recovery day after long runs.
Tuesday. 2 mile warm up, 6-7x1000 at 5:26 pace, 1 mile cool down. Other weeks it's 3x1 mile at 5K pace (w/ 90 second standing recoveries). Sometimes he's doing a hard 3.5 mile tempo at 5:55 pace. Regardless, these are all vomit-inducing, difficult workouts.
Wednesday. 8-10 miles at 7:20-7:40 pace.
Thursday: 6-8 miles at 6:20-6:30 pace. He calls these "uptempo".
Friday: 2 mile warm up, 10 minutes of hill repeats, 1 mile cool down. Other weeks it's something like Daniel's 800-meter runner workout. An example of this was 600m-400m-200m (x 3) at mile pace. Some of his 200's were anywhere from 32 to 28 seconds!
Sunday: 10-17 mile long run. Some of shorter long runs were at 7:20 pace and dropped down to 6:50 for the last two miles, while a few of the 17 mile runs were done at 8:00-8:10 pace. Hmmm.
The differences between him and I was the amount of quality he put into each week. I rarely run more than one hard workout per week, and he does 3. I'm never covering more than 12 miles on my long run and he's doing 17. While my overall mileage is usually more, he's cutting out a lot of the junk mileage I do and using his time off as recovery. I'm also feeling that he has more innate ability than I do.
Anyways, I just thought I'd shed some light on mileage and training and what works for some people. Opinions or quality vs. quantity are welcome.