There is a time and a place that the aforementioned Junk miles become a whole lot more thank Junk.
We know the science behind the negative aspect of Junk Miles,
(super quick explanation, our body learns from patterns and when we train to a correct structure/pattern it will progress, we are teaching it what we want to achieve, so aerobic training we use our heart rate zones to lock in and develop this, our anaerobic we do the same. This is why junk miles are seen as non-beneficial because there is no set pattern for our body/brain to lock onto, see simple)
but just pause many of the above reason may not apply to you? You may run as a way to manage depression, away to relax from a hard day’s work, escape from the kids or just a way to go connect with nature and believe me it does not matter what ZONE you are in (Heart rate)
The last thing you need when trying to unwind, is that nagging thought of dam it’s a hill I need to be in Zone 2, or was this a tempo or base run, was I meant to be going sub max now?
When we need to escape or use our running for the points I mentioned above, we need simplicity and freedom and not following a training structure gives you this and it means your mind and body gets exactly what it needs. (An escape)
Given the current climate, plus at other times (for example near over training) Junk Miles can help those of us who are training to a structured plan, using zones and all the science etc. Yes, you got it right now we are more likely to need a break or two from hitting the numbers.
So, step up what I call the “free time miles” I say to athletes just go and play, no structure and during periodisation structure we have an off season, but this is not always enough during high stress times.
Junk Miles can stop an athlete becoming over trained, so embrace and use them.
If you want to know more about structured training or more about what junk miles are, drop me an email firstname.lastname@example.org
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