What Are Junk Miles Running

As a passionate runner, I am always looking to improve my training and performance. One term that often comes up in the running community is “junk miles.” Junk miles refer to the miles that are run at a slow pace without a specific purpose or benefit to the runner’s overall training plan.

Understanding Junk Miles

Junk miles can be described as the miles that fall into the category of neither recovery nor high-quality training. These are the miles where you’re not pushing your limits, and you’re not allowing your body to recover efficiently. This type of running can be counterproductive and may lead to fatigue, overtraining, and even risk of injury.

The Dangers of Junk Miles

Running junk miles is a common mistake, especially for those who are new to running or are not following a structured training plan. It’s easy to fall into the habit of simply going out for a run without a specific goal in mind. However, consistently logging junk miles can hinder your progress and lead to inefficiencies in your performance.

One of the risks of junk miles is that they can lead to burnout. Without giving your body the appropriate rest and recovery it needs, you may find yourself feeling fatigued and unmotivated to continue with your training.

Moreover, running junk miles can prevent you from hitting your true potential. Instead of seeing improvements in your speed, endurance, and overall performance, you may find yourself stuck at a plateau.

Avoiding Junk Miles

To avoid falling into the trap of junk miles, it’s essential to have a structured training plan. This plan should include a mix of speed work, tempo runs, long runs, and recovery days. Each run should have a specific purpose and contribute to your overall training goals.

Listening to your body is also crucial. If you’re feeling fatigued or on the verge of burnout, it’s essential to take a step back and incorporate more rest days into your training schedule. Quality should always take precedence over quantity when it comes to running.

My Experience with Junk Miles

Reflecting on my own training, I have definitely fallen into the trap of junk miles in the past. I used to head out for a run without a clear plan or goal, simply aiming to log in the miles. However, I soon realized that this approach was hindering my progress rather than helping it.

Since then, I have made a conscious effort to follow a structured training plan that includes a variety of workouts designed to improve my overall performance. By doing so, I’ve seen significant improvements in my speed, endurance, and overall enjoyment of running.


Understanding the concept of junk miles is crucial for any runner looking to make progress in their training. By avoiding the pitfalls of junk miles and following a structured training plan, runners can maximize their potential and achieve their goals without the risk of burnout or injury.