Increasing the miles you run should be done gradually and here’s why.
If you’ve been running for a while, are finding the miles you run to be an easy workout and think it’s time to increase the distance you run, what’s a safe way to do it? For some people, they’ll just add a few miles a week and think that will work for them. Several injuries later, they’ll be surprised when it doesn’t. Sure, you could add extra miles every day without thinking it through and you might be lucky and not get injured. But, do you really want to take that chance? Follow these few simple tips though and you might not have to.
The big secret to injury-free mileage increase is to take it slow. Don’t add too many miles a week to the distance you run. It might look easy to add three or four miles extra on every run. Chances are it will end up more difficult than you thought, you’ll have a nasty accident and you’ll spend the rest of the running season sitting on the sidelines instead of running that big race.
Adding just one mile per run during the first week will prevent this from happening. If you add one mile extra for every run you do in a week, by the end of the week you’ll have added an extra four to six miles (I recommend one day of rest). Once you’ve run a week like this, make sure you do at least a month at that same level before you increase your distance again. If you try to increase your mileage per day too soon, you could end up right back where you started or worse.
Also remember, if you’re training for a marathon, build up to it slowly using the same plan. Don’t start out at five miles per run, be up to fifteen miles on week two, and then at full marathon distance by the end of the month. As crazy as it sounds, some runners do try to do this. Most of them however don’t actually end up running a marathon. They end up burned out or nursing a pulled muscle or other injury and wishing they’d taken it slower.
Remember, running longer distances requires smart planning and follow through. Only then can you be sure that you’re taking the best possible care of your body and also running smart. A smart runner is a healthy runner. Runners who forget this do so to their detriment.