Spring is in the air! Like many of you, this is my favorite time to run. What is it about Spring that sends us outside ready to hit the pavement? Is the abundance of races we have to chose from, the nice weather, or the fact that we've been stuck inside on the "dreadmill" for months and now we can finally get some fresh air?
For me, it's the renewed sense of energy and crisp weather that creates this urge I can't fight. Regardless of how my "Winter training" (if you can call it that) went, I will be outside running with the best of them. The downside to this uncontainable urge to run, is doing too much too soon.
Safely increasing your distance is crucial for preventing injury. Most of us have heard of the 10% rule, this is when you would increase your distance or mileage in increments of 10%. So, if you're running 20 miles each week, increasing to 22 miles the following week would be recommended. This the safest way to increase.
What the 10% rule does not take into account is...1. Beginner Runners 2. Coming back from a long break
For beginner runners, the key is to run consistently (3-4 days/week) for about 3 to 4 weeks. During this time, your body is building endurance and adapting to the activity you're doing. Once you have built a consistent foundation, you can add on.
For those of us coming back from a long break, the good news is you are not starting from scratch. For example, if you were running 20-25 miles per week consistently and took a 4 week break. You can easily begin your mileage around 10-15 miles/week and go back to 20-25 miles in a 4 week period.
The focus should not necessarily be on increasing, but being consistent. The more consistent we are, the easier adding miles will be. For more info on this topic, visit Strength Running Blog.