For the past few months I have been running 50-55 mpw, with 4 hard workout days, 2 days easy, 1 day off. I'm a freshman girl in high school and I have heard a lot about "saving gas in the tank" for college.
I recently developed an ankle injury, which sucks. Once I'm healed, if I go back to 45-50 mwp with 3 hard days, will my times drop? I don't want to get hurt again and I want to have something left for the future.
Basically, do I have to keep ADDING stuff to get better? I know if someone went from 35-45 miles they would obviously get better, does that mean going from 55-45 will cause detraining?
I would say 4 hard days in a week is to much, I am not a coach. 3 days with recovery runs and a long run (which should be counted as a hard day should be fine). When do you have some down time after Cross Country before track or do you run Winter track? Summer miles are important for Cross Country but most miles thru early summer are just base miles with not a lot of speed work. Bottom line your body need to heal/recovery some part of the year with reduced miles/speed work. Good luck don't burn out.
The mileage you're at, quality assumes increasing importance. What you're doing on those hard days and how you arrange recovery/easy days matters. (It also helps reduce the chances of injury.) Like BOSNPM, I'm not a coach. If you don't have access to someone you trust as a coach, you can find a lot of info online at places like mcmillanrunning.com and halhigdon.com and books like "Daniels Running Formula" (Jack Daniels) or "Advanced Marathoning" (Pete Pfitzinger). I know you're not a marathoner but there's a lot of stuff about periodization and planning workouts in the Pfitzinger book. Periodization basically means your training runs in cycles throughout the year and during each cycle you concentrate on a particular phase: base-building, strength, speed, endurance, etc. The goal being to peak for your racing season toward the end of the cycle.
Like the others I'm not a coach, but I think we need some more information. What type of running are you doing (speed ,distance interval)? How is your milage spread out (10,10,10,20 or 5,5,5,5,30)? Upping milage does not mean getting better speeds. If you change how you train you might be able to drop your milage and boost your times. Short 5-7 speed training runs a couple of times a week, hitting the gym a couple of times for stregth, and one long run a week could droop your milage down to 30-40 miles a week, but since you are training smarter your times could pcik up.