Being in several online running groups, I see many people brag about the high number of miles they put in running (or jogging) each week. Running and jogging are technically the same thing, so I'm using the terms here interchangeably for search purposes, but I prefer to use the term running. Anyway, today was my last run of the month. As it turns out, I ran 35 miles for the month. Personally, that's right in the area that I aim to keep it at.
So what does the research say regarding how much you should run in order to gain benefits? As it turns out, the research points to the fact that those who keep the mileage down actually benefit more than those who amp it up and take on big mileage goals. In the February 2015 issue of The Journal of the American College of Cardiology, researchers set out to test the association of jogging and long term, all cause mortality. Following joggers and sedentary nonjoggers, they looked at such things as pace, frequency of jogging, etc.
What they found from their study was that the light and moderate joggers have lower mortality than sedentary nonjoggers, whereas strenuous joggers have a mortality rate not statistically different from that of the sedentary group. They report that jogging between 1-2.4 hours per week is associated with the lowest mortality. The optimal frequency for jogging, according to the report, is 2-3 times per week, and the optimal pace is slow.
Keep this in mind the next time you feel you may not be measuring up with those who are boasting about running 6-7 days per week, getting 7-minute miles, or running 100 miles per week. The research is regarding longevity and lower mortality falls on the side of those who keep the mileage lower and the pace slower. I'd say that my 35 miles per month falls right in line with the optimal conditions. I run 3 days per week, around 3 miles each time, and at this point it takes me around 35-36 minutes each time I head out to do a run.
There are benefits to running slower and keeping a steady and consistent running program throughout the year.