Junk miles or yards is basically training that’s meaningless and has no purpose. And is therefore not an effective use of your training time.
The problem with junk miles is that it’s just adding extra volume to your training plan and could contribute to injury, illness or it’s just not helping you get any fitter.
Here’s a junk mile check list
- Does your training session have a purpose?
- Are you doing it just because a training plan says you should? Or because you know the training plan is right for you.
- Are you doing it because you read somewhere you should be running 50 miles a week in order to get a 3hr 45 marathon?
- Are you trying to reach an arbitrary annual mileage target or weekly volume? E.g. it’s cool to ride 6,000 miles a year? Channel swimmers swim 20,000 metres a week so I must do that. Or to increase last year’s annual mileage by 10%?
- Are you tired, stressed, demotivated and a little bit injured – but the training plan says you should do a session so you’re doing it anyway?
- Are you doing the session just because someone else is? Or you’re trying to keep up with someone else’s pace even though it’s too fast or too slow for you.
- Are you doing the extra 2 miles to round up your run to 20 km? Or 20 miles? For no specific reason.
The reason and purpose for your training session can varied and doesn’t have to revolve around pure fitness metrics. It could be as simple as enjoying some fresh air and seeing a friend.
Or getting in some aerobic endurance for a long event or of course building speed with some intervals.
But if you don’t know what the purpose of your session is then it’s in danger of falling in to the junk miles and training category.