If you have ever seen a running plan, you have probably seen that the plans change from week to week, but stay relatively similar within the week. When they do change, you don’t see huge changes, unless it’s the first to second week and second to third, the reason being that beginners skyrocket in power and endurance (which is true for every sport).
Then, the 10 percent rule slowly kicks in. This rule states that you shouldn’t increase your weekly mileage by more than 10% if you want to stay healthy. There is no reason to increase it, ever.
Is This Rule True?
Well, most people swear by this rule, but like any rule, it has lots of exceptions and they are people who recover quickly and eat well, sleep well and use supplements. You get the point? Some people recover way too quickly and they are not close to their maximum, meaning that the 10% rule can hinder their progress out of fear of injury or rather, listening to peers and the running society. Blindly following such guidelines isn’t going to cut it for all runners, which is why you should train and test your own progress and recovery.
You can attempt more than 10% per week, but keep it conservative if you don’t want to risk an injury.
A General Rule, But One That Makes Sense
Beginners should ignore this rule because they can push their maximums with ease. In the first four weeks, beginners increase their distance typically by 200% or something similar, but often at least 100%.
Experienced runners who are going long distances like 60 miles, could benefit from this rule. After 60 miles, your body is very tired and increasing to 80 would probably give you lots of pain, but 66 miles you might be able to run without injuries.
Listen to Advice and Adapt It
When the whole running community is talking about this rule, then it obviously makes sense to listen to them. They have been running for decades, or centuries, collectively. They have experience and have been injured multiple times.
Listen to their stories and adapt the rule to serve you and your goals.
The 10% rule is a great warning for experienced and long-distance runners, not to increase their maximum mileage any more than 10% weekly.