How can I safely increase my weekly mileage without injuries?

How can I safely increase my weekly mileage without injuries?

On this episode of the Ask Coach Parry podcast, I’m Brad Brown with Lindsey Parry joining us once again. Lindsey, another great question in this time, it was on Facebook as well, from Jenny Groenewald, Jenny said, how can I safely increase my weekly mileage without injuries and tiring myself out completely. Jenny says that she finds when she does do runs a few days in a row, by the third day she doesn’t run particularly well.

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So I think it’s a fantastic question and one that a lot of people, particularly when they’re starting out, the mistake that they make is try to run consecutive days and too many and they do pick up niggles and feel rubbish.

Lindsey Parry: I think even experienced athletes make this mistake. Obviously the more experienced you are, the longer you’ve been running, the more of a build up your body will handle.

You can build up a little quicker, but often, for example, people ran Comrades and then they rest for 3 weeks. They were fit enough to run 89km two weeks ago, so they think it’s fine to just start with a 10 or even 15km training run and they go straight into running, 40, 50 and sometimes more kilometres a week. Even if you are experienced, you should always start out conservatively.

My first run back from any major race that I hurt myself in, be it a marathon or a 21 or a Comrades, is never more than 20 minutes.

It’s just enough as a leg loosener, but also it’s short enough that if I do have a lingering injury or a niggle or any problem from that race, I can stop and walk home, and then I gradually build that up over time.

Build your running mileage slowly

Now, obviously the more experienced you are, the quicker you can build up, but the less experienced of a runner you are, the stricter you need to be in that build up. So The Lore of Running that Tim Noakes wrote, no one has really come up with a better formula than this. I’ve used it through my entire coaching career and it’s worked really well and I have a really good success rate at people not picking up an injury.

When you’re starting out with people, you do not want to build your mileage at more than 10%, your total volume more than 10% per week, so I try not to increase any single run by more than 10% and that usually means that I keep my weekly total under 10% because I don’t increase every single run every single week.

Avoid very long training runs

Finally, the other thing that you should try to avoid and this gets a little harder deeper into the training and especially training for a race like Comrades, but at the beginning it’s important to stick to this quite strictly, and that is not to have any single training run taking up more than 30% of your total weekly volume.

For the first couple of months of the training program I would also stick to that fairly closely, but obviously once you’ve got a bit more experience and also when you’re training for a race like Comrades, there will be a couple of weeks where your long run, if you’re running a marathon as training for example, that’s obviously going to make up more than 30% of your training week, but as long as you don’t do that every week, then you should be at a nice low risk for injury.

BB:  Awesome stuff. Jenny, I hope that helps, thank you so much for your question, Lindsey, thank you for your time today here on the Ask Coach Parry podcast, we’re back again in just a couple of days’ time, until then from the two of us, it’s cheers.

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