Wednesday, June 22, 2011

That old 10% mileage building rule?

The NYT has an interesting article that debunks this rule.

Is there anything exercise science has taught me that hasn't been completely or at least partially wrong? 

 I don't think so...of course this gist of the "rule" is a good one..but even 10% doesn't always work..or sometimes more than 10% is ok...

From the article: 

Half the participants were assigned to a training program that increased their running time by 10 percent a week over 11 weeks, ending at 90 minutes a week. The others had an eight-week program that ended at 95 minutes a week. Everyone warmed up before each run by walking for five minutes. And everyone ran just three days a week.
And the results? The two groups had the same injury rate — about 1 in 5 runners.
Maybe, the investigators thought, they might prevent injuries with a conditioning program before the training started. So they did another clinical trial, randomly assigning one group of novice runners to a four-week program of walking, hopping and jumping rope before starting the running program. The others started right in with running.
The conditioning program had no effect. Once again, about 1 in 5 runners in both groups wound up with injuries.


  1. Interesting article. I guess I've always believed in the premise of the 10% rule, since if you increase your mileage or pace dramatically during training runs it seems to increase the injury rate. Not sure if I believe that the exact maximum increase each week should be 10%, but people should not be doubling their mileage each week, that is just asking for injury. It seems like your legs need to get used to going on long training runs, and get used to the pounding. If you are doing huge mileage and fast pace without having your legs being used to the pounding, seems like you likely will get injured. Seems like most training plans follow the increase 3 step 1 in terms of mileage.

    Curious as to what others think, since I definitely am not an expert at all regarding how many miles and what pace is safe to do.

  2. @nelly: Of course you are right..but the point of the research is that the percentage varies wildly from person to person.

    Moral: You need to be listening closely to your body..and even then you may screw up.

  3. You're right - I guess I wish there was a hard and fast rule to follow so we wouldn't have to try to figure it out! =) Being conservative and listening to your body is for sure the right way to go.

  4. I think some people can do it and some people can't. They just aren't built for it. I think I might be one of those people. Conservative is the best thing so far I think.

  5. I don't think I've ever followed the 10% rule...especially with seasoned runners. Of course, I've been injured for a year.... ;)

  6. I didn't read the article (yet!) but how many were in the study? Were they new runners?

  7. I have been known to go way pass the 10% rule. But, I listen to my body...sometimes, I think I listen too closely as I often slow down before an injury happens.

    The Good: I'm mostly injury free (knock on wood).

    The Bad: I sometimes think I ease up too soon during an event.

  8. Confirms what I now believe regarding pretty much anything in need to figure out what works for you. :)


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