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Shah Alam Lake

5 Run Training Tips

Where to start with run training is a common challenge. Too often runners overlook the basics. These five training tips provide the basis for a successful running program. Read More…

What would be a good distance to extend my run by?

A question from Twitter

A question from Twitter

How far and how quickly to increase your run is a popular question. Unfortunately too many people don’t ask the question and give up from frustration, injury or both.

When you are clear on what is achievable you clarify your expectations and set the foundation for avoiding injury. @danwin01 has taken a big step forward to successful and sustainable running by asking the question. (and giving us a great blog topic – thank you).

There are three key aspects to answering the questions “What would be a good distance to extend my jogs by?” These are:

  1. Defining your run goals;
  2. Following the 10% rule; and,
  3. Using run/walk.

As the question was posed using twitter the 140 character answer is “Set a goal and increase your distance using run/walk by 10% each week until goal met”.

A Twitter response to a running question.

A Twitter response to a running question.

 
If you want the more detailed answer then please read on. The three key aspects apply to new runners and to veterans. They apply if you are attempting your first 5km or your first 100 miler.

Defining your running goals

Being clear on why you are running and what you want to achieve is a good place to start. Many runners change their reason for running and related goals overtime. It is a bit like running to the top of a hill, the view changes, confidence builds and you seek out more hills to run.

To clarify goals we recommend our 7 F’s approach. Are you running for:

  1. Fun – to enjoy yourself;
  2. Fitness – to improve your health, energy and appearance;
  3. Friendship – to improve your relationship and/or enjoy the social aspect of running;
  4. Funds – running for a cause;
  5. Focus – for time out, relaxation, thinking and a form of meditation;
  6. Find – to see what you can do, personal development and finding yourself; and/or,
  7. Fast – to improve your speed and achieve a time goal.

From here you can set your goals. In terms of time and distance we see several milestones:

  • Running for 30 minutes – don’t worry about distance run for time.
  • Running for 5km – this may take more or less than 30 minutes so not relevant for everyone.
  • Running for 60 minutes – once again run for time not distance.
  • Running 10km – this may take more or less time than 60 minutes so not relevant for everyone.
  • Beyond the 10km – maybe a 14km event or even a half marathon or marathon.

Each distance has advantages and you can maintain fitness and health by being a regular 5km or beyond runner.

For many people we think the 10km distance is a good sustainable run. The time required is manageable for most yet it provides a great challenge, is very good for fitness and provides a nice exercise break from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

The 10% Rule

We love this rule and swear by it. The 10% rule says you should not increase your weekly distance by more than 10% in any one week. We go further to say you should also apply the 10% increase to your long run. We have found through personal experience and with many of the runners we coach and advise this is a rule to follow. Ignore it at your peril.

The 10% rule does not mean you will never get injured if you don’t increase by more than 10%. It does mean that for many of us the chances of injury increase considerably when we increase by more than 10%.

Another way to view the 10 % rule is to focus on the positive. You can increase your weekly distance by 10% each week. Use this calculation to plan your training and work out how long it will take you to reach your target time or distance.

You can use the rule for both time or distance. For example a long run of 60 minutes this week becomes 66 minutes next week. A long run of 10km this week becomes 11km next week.

Walk/Run, Run/Walk and Run

A great way to start, increase distance and stay injury free is to use walk breaks. You can use these in different ways at different stages of your running career.

At the very beginning you might walk 5 minutes and run for 20 seconds to a minute. Doing this 4 times and you have a 20 plus minute walk/ run.

At the next stage you change the ratio of your walk/run each week. For example walk 5 minutes and run 2 minutes. In time you are walking 5 minutes and running 5 minutes.

Shifting to Run / Walk comes next. Run for 5 minutes and walk for 2 minutes. In time this becomes run for 10 minutes and walk for 1 minute. If you increase to half marathon, marathon and marathon walk short walk breaks are great for increasing distance and running injury free. They are a vital training component. Many runners can go faster over the marathon distance using short walk breaks as they assist in running the same pace throughout the race and in many cases going faster in the second half rather than slowing down.

Regardless of the Run/walk ratio you use or if you eliminate walk breaks all together we suggest you always start and finish with a 300 metre or more walk to warm up and cool down. It can make a big difference to post race soreness.

 

Looking forward to your questions.

Good luck with your training.

Yours in the long run

 

Sue and Andrew

Do you have another tip for increasing your run distance?

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