Mileage

I was in high school when I learned that the best runners were doing high mileage weeks. I had no idea what I was doing. It was hard and fast if I was feeling good, and easy and slow if I was sore which isn’t a HORRIBLE way to do things, but there is a better way. I would jump from 20-30 miles a week to 50-60 miles per week, get injured, and then cry about how I was always injured. I didn’t track my mileage, but I kept increasing my mileage (I would just run more than I had run the previous week, without knowing specifically how many miles that was.) I would also raise the intensity and paces of the workouts and then get injured–then I would cry. It was the same vicious cycle until I read Daniels’ Running Formula and realized I was making some serious mistakes. There are a lot of opinions of how to do mileage right, but here’s the one I go with. It has worked well not only for me, but for teams and individuals of all ages who I have coached:

Keep weekly mileage consistent for three consecutive weeks before increasing. After three weeks, increase mileage by one mile per workout you do per week to a maximum of 10 miles per 3 week period. Here’s a sample 24 week plan I just made for my sister:

Rachel’s training plan:

Week Mileage per Week Mileage per Day
1-3 18 miles per week 3 miles per day
4-6 24 miles per week 4 miles per day
7-9 30 miles per week 5 miles per day
10-12 36 miles per week 6 miles per day
13-15 42 miles per week 7 miles per day
16-18 42 miles per week 7 miles per day
19-21 42 miles per week 7 miles per day
22-24 42 miles per week 7 miles per day

I have her starting out at 3 miles every day, 6 days a week and that’s what she does for 3 consecutive weeks. She’s running 6 days a week, so she’s doing 6 workouts, which means she should only increase by a maximum of 6 miles total weekly mileage every 3 weeks. If you were doing doubles every day, 7 days a week for a total of 14 workouts you would only increase by 10 miles every 3 weeks because the recommended maximum increase is 10 miles. I also have her maxing out at 7 miles a day during this base-building training cycle. You may want to max out at a lower or higher amount based on your previous training cycle. Or in other words, if you have only consistently run 3 miles per day, you may only want to get up to 5 miles per day during the following season.

Another example would be for someone running 3 days per week. Let’s say they’re running 3 miles per workout, and it feels good. They’ve been doing it a while and they’re ready to challenge their body, but not get injured. That’s a current total of 9 miles a week. For 3 consecutive weeks, that person could add 1 mile per workout, or a total of 3 miles to the overall weekly mileage. The next 3 weeks would look like this: 3 workouts/runs per week, 4 miles per run for a total of 12 miles per week.

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