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How to Safely Increase Your Running Mileage

Running How-To: Upping Your Mileage Without Exhaustion

If 2009 is your year to run a half marathon or a full marathon, you're probably upping your weekly mileage, but you want to be smart about it. Increasing your weekly mileage too quickly leads to overtraining, exhaustion, and overuse injuries — things we are definitely all trying to avoid. Here are a few guidelines to follow as you train for your goal race:

  • Increase your weekly mileage by no more than 10 percent. A gradual build-up is best for acclimating your body, lungs, and ligaments to the added distance.
  • Add only a mile a week to your long run. Your training regimen should include one endurance run a week, but don't be tempted to up mileage. Remember to keep your long runs easy, slower than your anticipated race pace. Once again, I think a heart rate monitor is a great tool for this.
  • When adding mileage to your regimen, make sure to cross train and run every other day. Spinning or working out on an elliptical is a great way to increase your cardiovascular fitness level without straining your joints.

To find out about rest days, just


  • Rest days and recovery weeks are important. You should have at least one complete rest day a week or even two. These are great days for walking or working on your flexibility training with some yoga. Yoga and running are wonderful complements to one another. Recovery weeks should come every three to four weeks in your training schedule. During these weeks decrease the mileage on your long run and your overall number of runs. Don't think of yourself as slacking on these weeks — you're taking care of yourself.


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runningesq runningesq 7 years
I've run three marathons and several halves --- here is my $0.02: 1. follow a training program! it really doesn't matter which one - they all are very similar. check out hal higdon or jeff galloway. both are v. popular, and have free online plans :) 2. remember to take the rest days incorporated into your plan. it's better to be 10% undertrained than 5% overtrained. 3. practice with EVERYTHING you intend to use on race day -- that's: - nutrition - clothing - hydration 4. have fun!!!
karina2244 karina2244 7 years
Good tips - keep them coming! I'm thinking about training for my first half marathon... scary :\
miss-malone miss-malone 7 years
Good tips! :)
syako syako 7 years
If your long run is 4 miles, 10% of 4 miles is 0.4, so you should only increase to about 4.4 or 4.5 miles the next week. (That's my understanding of it).
TidalWave TidalWave 7 years
Can someone give me an example of the 10% rule? I read it over and over and over but don't know how to implement it into my training.
aimeeb aimeeb 7 years
Great tips! (and reminders)
syako syako 7 years
:froggy: Have a good rest day tls!
tlsgirl tlsgirl 7 years
I hadn't heard of recovery weeks before either, but I'm determined to enjoy my rest day today. I have a tendency to feel guilty even though I know they're necessary
syako syako 7 years
I'm starting a training program TODAY for my first half marathon. Wish me luck :fingerscrossed: (Can you tell I'm really excited!) Thanks for the tips Fit. I've never heard of recovery weeks before, so I will definitely try to incorporate them.
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