After particularly difficult hill workouts in college, with our legs trashed and our lungs searing, we’d sometimes run a surprise “maintenance mile.” Before this final mile we’d write down our guestimated time to compare to our actual time. More often than not, we’d run quite a bit faster than we thought we would. Running the maintenance mile was more about perceived limits than adding to the workout. After all, what would one more mile add after already running a five mile tempo warm up, five continuous hills on a ski hill, followed by a 3-5 mile farklek?
I hadn’t thought about that aspect of training in a long time, but watching Galen Rupp’s workout after setting the American indoor 2-mile record (8:07) sure brought it back. We can can always do more; we set our own limitations. And for the record, Rupp after race work out was 5 x 1 mile (4:21, 4:20, 4:16, 4:16, 4:01).