I spent Thanksgiving weekend in Portland, where I grew up, and found myself running a lot. In just 4 days I ran 50 miles (which of course included my long run- not in the evening!). When I began adding up the miles, I realized that was more mileage than I’d run in any given week back when I lived in Portland.
Milage and injuries have a strong correlation so my low milage is no surprise. After breaking my foot in high school the recovery was slow. Very slow. It actually took about two years to get all of the way back to where I was previously. Time wise, I could run decently, but I was weak and the running was not pain free. I used to think about the “What Ifs”: What if I hadn’t broken my foot- would I have gone D1? - would I have run faster, sooner? - would my short distance PRs be better? or would it be something more like - would I have burnt out sooner? - would I even run today? - would I have run a marathon competitively?
When you are in high school injuries seems like the worst thing in the world. As I said just this season, injuries still seem like the worst thing in the world... but they are not. Injuries are just asking you to bring your training down a notch. Listen to your body and you will only be out for a week or two; don’t listen and it could be a year or two.
Increasing mileage is a long process. After having a baby two years ago I began that process from scratch, and to be honest I am still in the process. My mileage is far better than it was for Cal International last year, but I couldn’t have asked my body to run like this a year ago. Long runs left me stiff and sore for days at the peak of my 2010 training; now I shake it out over the course of a day. Everybody is different, but my experience leans to a slow, steady building of weekly mileage. Give yourself time to reach your goals and keep building. I would imagine the guys at Runner’s World would agree with me!