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My Rules to Increasing Mileage Safely
I know vague stuff like "Listen to your body" is not what you want to hear. You want clear-cut answers. Well, sorry, there are not many clear-cut answers. Not in life. Not in running.
There are some rules of thumb I use to increasing mileage, which I would like to share with you.
This might help you in setting up your own running program. These are my rules to increasing mileage safely:
Make your body work to make progress. But let your body recover as well!
After a tough week, going back to 75 % suddenly seems so easy. That way, you build up your resources again and you get ready for the next few tough weeks. Build in rest weeks. You need them.
Resting every fourth week might not be enough for you. Notice that you are fatigued? Then try to make every third week a rest week. See what works best for you.
Example of Increasing MileageSuppose you are doing four three-milers a week now. Twelve miles a week is a decent enough amount. But you have bigger plans and want to increase your mileage to 25 miles per week.
What could your training schedule look like for the next weeks? We assume that you keep on doing four workouts every week.
There is not one solution to this question. Using the guidelines I just gave you, a training plan could look as follows:
Wk 1: 3 - 3 - 3 - 3. Total = 12 miles
Wk 2: 3 - 4 - 3 - 4. Total = 14 miles
Increase of two miles. More than the 10 % rule, but that's fine, you are only increasing your mileage on two of your four runs.
Wk 3: 3 - 5 - 3 - 5. Total = 16 miles
Again an increase of two miles. Again more than the 10 % rule. By the way, see the hard/easy principle starting to shape.
Wk 4: 3 - 3 - 3 - 3. Total = 12 miles
Cut back to 75 % of your training load. Twelve miles suddenly feels a lot lighter than three weeks ago!
Wk 5: 3 - 5 - 4 - 6. Total = 18 miles
Increase one of the shorter runs so that your shorter and longer runs don't get too far apart.
Wk 6 : 4 - 5 - 4 - 7. Total = 20 miles
Again an increase in one of the shorter runs as well as in the longest run. Keep in mind that your longest run can be in somewhat lower intensity than the other runs. You are trying to cover distance here, not trying to get there as fast as possible.
Wk 7 : 4 - 6 - 4 - 8. Total = 22 miles
Steadily increasing with 2 miles per week we are already doing ten miles more than six weeks ago!
Wk 8 : 3 - 4 - 3 - 5. Total = 15 miles
Again a significant cut-back in the fourth week. Give those legs a fresher-upper.
Wk 9 : 4 - 6 - 5 - 9. Total = 24 miles
After the rest week you are fresh again and add another 2 miles to your mileage.
Wk 10 : 4 - 6 - 5 - 10. Total = 25 miles
And you have done it. 25 miles per week.
Would You Be Able to Increase Your Mileage Like That?I really don't know. Maybe you need to build up a bit slower. Maybe you need to have a rest week every third week or maybe even every second week.
Maybe you can only get to 20 miles now and in a few months time you can add on extra mileage. It all depends. On your legs, your body, your mind.
Whatever you do, keep in mind : listen to your body !
OK, that's the last time I say that...
on this page :)
Important Last WordsAs a last remark, when increasing mileage, you don't want to play around too much with the intensity of your runs. Don't aggressively add mileage and add speed at the same time.
Further Recommended ReadingThere are many more articles on this website that will be of interest to you. Check out the following links for example:
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