Increase Your Running Distance

Here's the Right Way to Increase Running Distance!

Whether your aim is to run faster, tackle a long-distance race or lose weight, logging more miles will likely help you improve and achieve your goal. When it's time to increase running distance, you'll want to approach it in a way that doesn't create a higher risk of injury or burnout.


Play by the Rules

How quickly you're able to increase running distance depends on many factors, including your age, your training and injury history and how much time you have to rest and recover between runs. While there's no perfect formula, keep in mind a few basic guidelines:

  • The 10 percent rule. You'll probably hear someone make reference to this guideline after you've been running for a while. It's pretty simple and applies particularly to beginners: Every week, don't add more than 10 percent of your previous weekly mileage. For instance, if you ran 20 miles last week, run no more than 22 this week.
  • The mile-per-day rule. Though the 10 percent rule works for many, it may make less sense for advanced runners or those coming back from an injury. Instead, try adding no more than a mile to every day of the week you run. If you run 15 miles per week in three days, for example, add no more than three miles total to your weekly schedule; this could mean running one extra mile each day or adding a three-mile run on another day. If you run five days per week, you can safely add five miles total to your week in one way or another.
  • The long-run rule. Most runners find it works best to designate one run per week as their long run. "Long" could mean an extra five minutes or half-mile — if you run three times per week, run 30 minutes or three miles on two days and 35 minutes or 3.5 miles the third day. It often makes sense to schedule this long run on the weekend or whenever else you have more time in your schedule. When you start adding more mileage, add it to your long run first; however, aim to make it no more than 20 to 30 percent of your weekly total. Once you hit that mark, start adding to your other runs, too.

Stay Tuned Into Your Body's Signals

There might be times when you feel comfortable breaking these rules — after all, they're only general guidelines. The most vital rule of all: Listen to your body. Proceed with caution when you attempt to increase running distance, either for any single run or over the course of a week. If you start to feel unusual aches or pains, keep your mileage constant or back off a bit to give your body time to adjust to your new routine.

While you're at it, sign up for MyNB. When you log all those new miles through RunKeeper, you'll earn points toward New Balance rewards and benefits.


Cindy Kuzma is a freelance health and fitness writer and marathon runner in Chicago. She moved there from Texas to earn her master's degree at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, and once she saw the Chicago Lakefront Trail, she decided to stay. She writes for a wide range of print and online publications and enjoys explaining how research can help everyday athletes improve their performance, prevent injury and live healthier lives


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