In the last four months I've been averaging around 20 miles per week. This is quite a change over my mileage last year, when I averaged about 50 mpw. At the height of my marathon training, I was doing around 80 mpw. However, since the 2016 Chicago Marathon in October, my energy levels have been low, so my overriding goal has been to take things easy. I'm doing this by getting more sleep and running no more than three to five miles per day. Cutting back on the mileage has hurt my endurance, but at the same time its done wonders for my legs. They aren't constantly sore and stiff like last year, and I'm getting some great turnover in them. So much so that I've rediscovered some short distance speed that I lost when I was marathon training last summer.
One big contributor to my leg speed is due to my two dogs. Since I now have more spare time (since I'm running less), I'm taking them on longer daily walks to the park. Once we're there, we do quite a bit of all out sprinting for 50 to 100m every few minutes as we chase their tennis ball, which I throw out in front of us while we're running. Last year when my legs were trashed, I was never able to do these "intervals" since I was so burned out from my training volume. Now I can give those pups a run for their money!
How will this relatively low mileage mixed with daily "speed work" translate into say a 5k race time? I'm certain that with my current training regimen I won't be anywhere near as fast as I was last year when I had a huge weekly base mileage and could start a race at a relatively fast clip and simply hold on for the remainder by tapping into my huge endurance. Now that my endurance is (mostly) gone but my legs are fresher, I might be able to at least have a decent final mile topped off by a killer 100m kick at the finish line.
I still haven't signed up for any races this year except for the Shamrock Shuffle (which was free) and it's kind of a nice feeling of not having the looming pressure of getting in lots o' miles for a goal race. However, if I see a 5k (or shorter) race that is somewhere near where I live, I just might jump in and see how fast I can kick.