In my perusal of exercise/running related blogs last week, I came across a post that really ruffled my feathers.
The subject of the post is “Running Lingo 101.” In the post, the blogger in question kindly defines some common running terms for those new to the sport and/or just unfamiliar with the terms she frequently uses on her blog. For the most part, it’s an informative, informal run-down of some common running related words and phrases. Fair enough.
One of those terms just doesn’t sit right with me: Junk Miles. The blogger (I am purposely not identifying her or her blog because I don’t want to point fingers or make anyone feel bad) defines “junk miles” as “low quality runs used just to get your mileage for the week higher.” Um, excuse me? Hold up. I take issue with this. Hence…
TCT #7: Is there such a thing as “junk miles?”
To be fair, the blogger is not alone in her description of “junk miles.” Traditionally, there have been enough runners who subscribe to this notion that it has wormed its way into the lexicon. However, the times, my friends, they are a changin’ and this idea of “junk miles” is being exposed for the hogwash it is.
Just from a quick google search, I found valuable articles here, here, and here that serve to debunk the myth of “junk miles” and finally set the record straight: all kinds of miles are valuable for various different reasons.
I don’t care if you’re doing speed training, logging distance runs to increase endurance, or just running cause you’ve got nothing better to do – if you’re hoofin’ it, you’re hoofin’ it. Period.
Who’s to say that if I run “just” to clear my head, enjoy a beautiful day, or spend time with a friend that the miles I cover on those particular runs are “junk?” Did those miles work my muscles? Yes. Did they exercise my cardiovascular system? Yes. Did they burn calories and benefit my overall health? Yes. Most importantly, did I enjoy myself on those runs and feel good afterwards? Yes. Call me crazy, but that doesn’t sound like “junk” to me.
This doesn’t just apply to running either. Any time you choose to move your body rather than sit on your tush it’s a good thing. A 15 minute walk is better than 15 minutes on the couch. Biking to run errands is better than driving. Walking to your co-worker’s office to ask a question is better than emailing. Heck, dancing to a live band at a bar is better than sitting on a bar stool.
Any kind of activity that reduces the amount of…ahem…junk in your trunk is worthwhile. The motivation behind your exercise should not define its overall value. It doesn’t matter if you’re running to train for a race, lose some weight, or just kill time. You’re running. That’s it. And that’s not junk.
Your turn, dear readers: do you believe in “junk miles?”
What are your two cents?