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How To Run More with 10 Percent Rule?

December 6th, 2011 · 2 Comments ·


Whenever we first started to jog, we always impatiently want to run more.  Whether the goal is to lose weight, build stamina or to train for marathon, many want to see the result quickly and without knowing, they actually do it at the expense of getting injured.  This injury occurs if you run too much too soon.  Instead of running 3 miles for one session and 3 sessions a week, I have seen beginner running for 5 miles once and 4 sessions a week in their second week.  The numbers may have been exaggerated, the point is that people tend to go over the limit of their body.

Let me will share with you the 10-percent rule which is commonly practiced.  It helps runner increase the mileage over time.  10 Percent Rule states that athlete should not increase training volume (distance or time) more than 10 percent per week.


Actually, nothing is unique about this 10% rule.  It is a gradual adaption for human bodies.  With that rule, you can train to get stronger and better. For example, if you run a total of 10 miles a week, you may want to run 11 miles next week.  You increase your total millage by 10% every week.  You may think it is a slow progress, but after 10 weeks, you will be running 23.7 miles a week, which is 137% more than week 1! If you really can run 23.7 miles after 10 weeks, by then, you will complain that it is a lot of running.

Total Weekly Mileage
Week 1 10 miles
Week 2 11 miles
Week 3 12.1 miles
Week 4 13.3 miles
Week 5 14.6 miles
Week 6 16.1 miles
Week 7 17.7 miles
Week 8 19.5 miles
Week 9 21.5 miles
Week 10 23.7 miles

So, making 10 percent of progress is a slow but sure way to win the race against the rabbit.


Now, you may ask, how do you do that additional 10 percent?

Say, on the first week, you do 10 miles over 4 sessions with 2.5 miles each.

Second week, according to 10% rule, you can do 11 miles over 4 sessions.  You can do 2.5 miles each for the first 3 sessions and do the remaining 3.5 miles in your last session.  You should not do 5.5 miles x 2 sessions even though the total distance covered is also 11 miles.  It is simply because you will have to run for longer period for each session.  It does more harm than good to your legs.

Some people may defy that rule.  In my experience, if you do not run that much, you probably will not appreciate it.  As novice runners do more mileage and when they break the 10 percent rule, they are more likely to get injured.  Even if they do not have any injury after 1 or 2 week does not mean that they will not develop them later.  Some injuries take few weeks to develop.


Having said that, some runners are able to increase their level of training by 20% and to 50% weekly.  I have to admit that 10 Percent Rule is not a scientific.  So, while you can use it as a guideline, it is equally important to “listen to you body” while you train.  If you find that your limbs are in pain, especially after 24 hours of your training, you may want to rest or reduce your intensity of training.  While it is important to exercise, I do not want you to carry out your workout with a sore or stressed out legs.

When you see people concurring Mount Everest or swam across English Channel, they have spent much time in training and they did not achieve it overnight.  Even if you are preparing for a marathon race, do no push yourself too far, too hard, too quickly.  Go easy and you will make steady advancement eventually.



Category: Health

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2 responses so far ↓
  • Capn John // Dec 6, 2011 at 11:21 PM

    Another way to avoid injury is to NOT be competitive, especially if you’re just starting to get back into running.

    Take me, for example. I’m 42-years old, and in my prime I could, and did, run marathons. But now both knees are shot, and I have a torn hamstring that 20-years later is still not fully healed (and by now never will be). I simply cannot run like I could 20 years ago and I need to accept that.

    Sure, I can still run. I can do 2 miles inside 19 minutes and not pay for it the next day, but I’m not going to be running any marathons any time soon, and if I do I won’t be finishing in the Top 10.

    So I shouldn’t hit the track and try to impress the cute cheerleader (whose half my age) by trying to outrun her.

    I shouldn’t try to keep up with the footballers who jog the curves and sprint the straights.

    I shouldn’t even try to outrun the old man who was plodding solidly away when I got there, and who is still going strong an hour later when I leave.

    I should run to both my age, and my own ability, because I’m not running to impress the cheerleader, or to show the footballers “I’ve still got it”. Even the old man doesn’t care about me; to him I’m just another body on the track.

    Run for yourself.

  • Mun // Dec 6, 2011 at 11:27 PM

    Well said, Capn John! Run for yourself.

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