Lattice Blog

What is Junk Mileage?

Do You Really Understand Junk Mileage?  

“Junk training results in wasted time and poor results”

What do we mean when we use the term ‘junk mileage’?

The term ‘junk mileage’ is a useful way to describe how some types of exercise might not be worth your time, even if you tried hard and leave the gym feeling tired.

Use of time = ↑

Energy required= ↑

Value of output = ↓

Your junk mileage may not be another climber’s junk mileage. Nor may junk mileage in the winter also be junk mileage for you in the summer! 

It doesn’t work if you don’t apply specificity…

It all comes down to what specific ‘result’ you want to see from your training.

If a form of training is an inefficient use of your time and/or the output or adaptation is limited or less relevant to your goals, then this training might be junk mileage!

But it really depends on what you’re hoping to achieve!

Junk mileage for you ≠ Junk mileage for everyone

One person’s junk is another’s treasure!

Think of it this way.

A climber completing their base period of endurance training is completing all of their endurance in that zone where they can just about control the pump for 15-20 mins. It’s hard work, but they just about manage to stay on the wall.

They fail to complete any low-end continuity or high intensity interval training for weeks on end as they focus on just ‘getting pumped’ and working ‘hard’ for their preparation cycle.

That climber has failed to work across the entire endurance spectrum and, at the same time, completed the form of endurance training that requires some of the longest recovery times during sessions. As a result, they had completed less strength training and also at a lower quality during that period. 

Base endurance training = probably junk mileage 

Question: But when is it not junk mileage?

Training with goal specificity 

If that same climber was heading into a ‘peak’ part of the year and their project involved 15-20 minutes of hard climbing where they didn’t need to complete any particularly difficult crux moves and the climbing was continuously pumpy, then that same endurance training from the previous example would not be termed junk mileage. The specificity element controls this! 

If specificity high in peak training = not junk mileage

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