Running and the 10% Rule

Running fanatics love to run, there is no doubt about it. The adrenaline rush kicks in of wanting to get the ‘runner’s high’. You lace up, hit the streets or the trails and fall in love with running. You fall in love with being quiet in your head, working out your stresses and having some time just for you. Maybe you are new to running and trying to improve. Maybe you have some lofty goals you have set and are working to ensure you reach them. Whatever your reason, you need to be careful so that injury doesn’t interfere with your plans.

You may have heard of the 10-percent rule. When you are increasing mileage the rule of thumb is to only increase your mileage each week to a maximum of 10-percent . If you are running a 10km run for your long distance, the following week you should really only jump to 11km. Your 10km run may have felt so good that you want to jump to 15k the next week or maybe your total distance for the week is 15km and you want to jump to 20km. Overtraining will come in to play and injury can occur.

Once you are out, you may be feeling fantastic and get the thought in your head that you can go further. Your head and your body are in two different worlds at this point. You feel good, your breathing is great and your body feels strong. You keep adding distance forgetting that it’s at the end of the run you are going to feel it. Mentally you may not be prepared for it and physically you are overloading your body and not in a safe way.

Your biomechanics could change when you start to feel tired which can change your running gait. You may be more bent over from exhaustion which can throw off how your hips and knees are aligning. Continuing to run in this manner can cause an injury to occur. It may be a minor one or it may be one that requires time off.

Think of the big picture. Assess what your BIG goal is and focus on how you are going to get there. Set some smaller goals that fall in line with the 10-percent increase rule. Let your body adapt to the new stresses that you are putting on it. You will be happier; your body will be stronger and you will reach your goal.