More is not always better. Actually, that statement isn’t accurate – the majority of the time, more is not better. The fact that you’re reading this means there is a good chance that you are either a) type A, b) have some serious type A tendencies or c) you’re not type A, but when it comes to running you’re type A. You want to do more. Great. That drive and that intrinsic motivation to improve are beautiful qualities and we want to keep those strong and intact. But the idea that if you ran 45 minutes for your easy run last week then you should run 50-55 minutes this week is probably wrong. Your easy run just needs to be an easy run – something that bridges between a workout one day and a workout in the next day or two. There will come a time when you do bump up the duration of your easy day, but that will be after several weeks or months of training, after you’ve shown that you can handle the duration and the intensity of both the workout and the long runs. I often move people from 45 minutes to 50 or 55 minutes on their easy days, but never in the first month of training.
When you are doing repetition workouts, don’t think that one or two more reps more than the assignment is going to help you. If you are supposed to do a four mile threshold run, and the first couple of miles don’t go well, don’t decide that you now need to go five miles to get in the right stimulus. What you should probably do is shut it down and just jog the rest of the workout, as you’re obviously fatigued. The goal of a threshold run is to run just a touch under your threshold, which means controlled running.
If you are in a marathon build-up and you have a 14 mile run assigned for the week, yet others in your training group are running 16 miles, don’t join them. Trust your plan and stick to the assignment. Doing more in a situation like this simply means that you don’t have trust in your training plan and/or your coach.
Doing more over the course of months can be a way to gain fitness, but doing more than the assignment on a single day is, to put it bluntly, stupid. And you’re not stupid, so make sure you don’t let your mind fall into the trap that more is better.