The 10 Percent Rule: Fact Or Fiction?

  • By Jeff Gaudette
  • Published Oct. 30, 2013
  • Updated Nov. 2, 2013 at 8:10 PM UTC
One study has debunked the 10 percent rule that runners often follow while training for a race. Photo:

Consider More Than Just Mileage

If mileage were the only training element runners had to worry about, the world would most certainly be a happier place! Unfortunately, when discussing how to progress training volume, a runner has to consider many factors: intensity, pace, frequency, surface and weather, to name a few. All of these elements can be a factor in how easily and safely you can, and should, progress your training.

For example, in the tepid fall weather, an experienced runner might be able to increase mileage by as much as 30 or 40 percent each week for a month if they are running nothing but easy miles on soft surfaces. On the other hand, runners attempting to tackle a 12-week 10K training plan in the winter will need to be more cautious with their weekly mileage progression since new workouts and different stimuli factor into how much training they can safely handle. So be sure to listen to your body and consider all the elements of your training plan, not just mileage.

We all love the strict and explicit “rules” of training we can easily find in books and magazines because following a strict set of rules makes running simple. However, approaching your mileage build-up in a more holistic manner might actually result in better results. Give it a try.

RELATED: Maintaining Speed During Marathon Training

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Jeff Gaudette

Jeff Gaudette

Jeff has been running for 13 years, at all levels of the sport. He was a two time Division-I All-American in Cross Country while at Brown University and competed professionally for 4 years after college for the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project. Jeff's writing has been featured in Running Times magazine, Endurance Magazine, as well as numerous local magazine fitness columns.

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