How To Safely Increase Mileage

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Happy Monday! This weekend was MUCH better than last weekend in terms of weather, don’t you think? In fact, the sunshine might encourage you to run longer and increase your mileage. Have you considered how to do this safely? Increasing your mileage too suddenly can lead to painful injuries, like shin splints. And no one wants shin splints!

There are two common methods used by runners to safely increase mileage. The first is the 10% rule. The second is known as the equilibrium method. Neither method is right or wrong; it depends on your own personal preference and what works best for your body.

The 10% Rule

This rule recommends increasing your weekly total mileage by 10%. It’s up to you where you incorporate the extra distance. You can opt to make one run longer to give your routine some variety. Or, if you prefer to run the same distance each time, you can distribute it evenly per run.

Let’s say you run 20 miles per week. Your 10% increase over 8 weeks would look something like this, depending on how you choose to round the numbers. I rounded to the nearest half:

  • 20, 22, 24, 26.5, 29, 32, 35, 38.5

The Equilibrium Method

The equilibrium method involves a 20-30% increase in one week and then remaining at that mileage for a few weeks before the next increase. Starting at 20 miles per week over 8 weeks, at a 25% increase this method will look like this:

  • 20, 25, 25, 25, 31, 31, 31, 39

As you can see, both methods bring you to a very similar total mileage by week 8. Each just takes a different path. Some of you might choose to forgo both methods and base your increase solely on how you feel. However, I would not recommend that for new or injury-prone runners. Has anyone used one of these methods before? Share your thoughts/experiences below!


3 thoughts on “How To Safely Increase Mileage

    Brian Fanning (@brifanning) said:
    April 9, 2014 at 6:26 am


    Interesting. I’ve used both of these before (10% increments and slow, plateauing progression) but didn’t know that there were actually names for them. Learn something new every day.


      Amanda responded:
      April 9, 2014 at 1:55 pm

      Hi Brian,

      Glad I could provide you with some names. I used to just wing it- NOT recommended. Then I learned about the 10% increments a few years ago and it made sense so I stuck with that. Sometimes I mix both methods depending on how I’m feeling.


    Training for your first 5k « A Lazy Runner said:
    May 9, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    […] Increase mileage gradually.  […]

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