Ask A Coach: Increasing Mileage

Q: “What or how is the best way to increase mileage? Is it by increasing a mile every week tacked onto my long run? Or if I run every other day, do I increase each of those runs? Or none of the above!?”

A: From Tony Banovich, Executive Director of Run Wild Missoula

Great question.  The general rule is to increase mileage by no more than 10% in any given week.  To be even a bit more conservative, you may think about no more than a 5% increase.  As an example, if you are currently running and/or walking 10 miles per week, increase to no more than 10.5 to 11 miles next week.  Then to no more than 12 miles the week after that and so on.

On top of that, every 3rd or 4th week, back your mileage down to your baseline (in the case of our example, 10 miles per week).  As in any type of training, you also need to give your body time to rest and to adapt to the increased training load.

So, how do you add that mileage?  I would suggest adding miles to your shorter runs or walks first.  As your mileage begins to build, you can also consider adding another shorter mileage run or walk during the week.  Don’t add too much mileage to your longer efforts until you feel like you are handling the new mileage okay and are showing no signs of injury.

Be sure to always listen to your body.  If you feel any niggles or pains as you increase your mileage – back off and rest.  It is all too common to pick up injuries as you increase your mileage.  The keys to successfully increasing mileage are to stay conservative and to pay attention to how your body handles the additional distance.

Tony is the Executive Director of Run Wild Missoula.  In his 40 years of running, he has run 9 marathons, hundreds of shorter races and over 90,000 total miles.