How to increase your RUNNING DISTANCE

Running Coach Arj coaching runners on a track drillsThe idea of increasing running mileage is a very tempting one. If you do a quick google search you’ll probably be overwhelmed by the amount of different opinions on the matter.

This is a principle that has worked for me and my athletes, from novices all the way to elite athletes.

Adapting Mileage

Running mileage can be adapted in several different ways, there are a few key rules that we should identify first.

Number one – What is the actual running plan goal?

If you’re looking to improve speed, perhaps you need to address intensity more so, than running mileage.

Number two – Beginner’s, you need to adapt your running sessions to accommodate the fact that you’re not only getting used to running. You’re getting used to running more and more and also looking after your health, to enable you to continue running.

Then finally, Number three – how is your weekly plan built?

We cannot focus on both intensity and duration at the same time whilst avoiding injury, so we need to make sure we control this very carefully.

I have a chat with my athletes, to ensure that their needs and my considerations are included in every training plan.

The basic principles for improving running mileage.

  1. First up if you’re used to running, aim to increase your running volume by about 10 to 15 percent per week, that doesn’t mean that you have to consistently increase though.

You might spend four weeks increasing at the lower value and then plateau or follow a de-load week, so you reduce your running volume slightly.

2. Alternatively, you might find that you build your runs every four weeks, so you have four weeks at a set distance and then you increase that volume ever so slightly for another four weeks again at that set distance.

3. There is another method which involves working at just one mile increments every single week. For those who are beginners rather than increasing every week, they simply increase those increments every three weeks.

These are all variations but the main principle is not to overwhelm your body with too much stress that will lead to injury. It happens all the time, particularly in those who haven’t completed a long period of training under their belt.

Managing Load

Bear in mind, I would consider a runner of less than 12 months, consistent running experience a novice. They haven’t necessarily got the bone density nor the tendon strength to allow for substantial changes in their training

volume and intensity. Therefore they’re more vulnerable to injury – you must think of it this way,

“If you can avoid injury, that means more time running. Even though it might take you a little bit longer to achieve the higher mileages, it will actually allow you to train more and improve your long-term performance.”

It’s a bit of a paradox but it really does work and I’ve had athletes avoid injury for entire years. When they do pick up little injuries, these are things that we can manage and still get them running

just by being a little bit smart with their programming. If you have the temptation to increase your mileage, be wary about the intensity at which you cover distances.

I set limits on the amount of high intensity work, repetitions and intervals that my athletes complete in a week, as a percentage of their running volume. It’s largely recommended that long runs, only amount to 25% of your weekly volume.

Now, we all have individual differences and therefore your plan might be more than this, that’s okay just make sure you monitor how you feel. Sometimes you’ll just need to drop that day, sometimes you need to drop the total volume. Don’t feel guilty about that, it will still work for your development, long runs don’t actually have to continually increase.

I increase my athlete’s long run by about one mile per week and every now and again we drop it right back down.

There is method to everything I do as a running coach and although science and data underpins all of my decisions, a good coach is about understanding how the athlete feels. So if you’re coaching yourself, take a moment to think about how you feel.

Do you feel any pain?

Do you feel you’re making progress, if not reflect and evaluate your training plan?

Or, get in touch with a coach, someone like myself and the Performance Physique Team, to help you out.

Hopefully this, will help you plan your training. Don’t hesitate to drop an e-mail to with your questions!

Plus, if you’re ready to train, let get a free consultation booked in ==>

Train Hard,
Coach Arj

Like this article?

Share on facebook
Share on Facebook
Share on twitter
Share on Twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on Linkdin
Share on pinterest
Share on Pinterest

Leave a comment