Author Topic: Runner's World and the 10% myth  (Read 4037 times)

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Offline Ryan

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Runner's World and the 10% myth
« on: September 20, 2012, 12:54:54 PM »
My opinion on the 10% myth is no secret. Still, this myth lives on and is purported to be the best advice anyone can be given in regards to increasing volume. Countless "experts" constantly advise following the "10% rule" and you wouldn't believe the emails I get telling me, sometimes in very colorful language, how wrong I am and that the "10% rule" is the gold standard.


So imagine my shock when Runner's World reported on how research proves the "10% rule wrong. No, I'm not the least bit surprised at the results of the research. I am surprised that a publication that for so long has pushed this myth on anyone who would listen would share research saying they've been wrong all along.


I just wonder, will Runner's World stop pushing this myth?

Offline Andrew A.

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Re: Runner's World and the 10% myth
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2012, 08:58:12 PM »
The question that your subject line answers: what are two things I stopped putting any stock in a long time ago?  8)
I believe we both recognize that RW has been building their readership by way of advocating low expectations, praising mediocrity.  The overall tone is likely to hold to that standard, despite occasional items that seem to contradict it.
Why dink around? Go for it, be the best. It is worth whatever risk there is even if you fall short. You will be better.
‎"There is no such thing as an overachiever. We are all underachievers to varying degrees." - John Wooden.

Offline Charlene

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Re: Runner's World and the 10% myth
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2012, 09:12:47 PM »
I would assume that next month they will again promote the 10% guideline.  I guess that I will never know as I let my subscription expire.

Funny too that they need an actual study with test subjects to figure out something that can be easily disproved with some simple math coupled with common sense.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2012, 09:18:02 PM by Charlene »

Offline Ryan

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Re: Runner's World and the 10% myth
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2012, 07:37:21 AM »
Andrew, you win Final Jeopardy. You and me both. I don't even remember when I let my subscription expire but I believe it was 15+ years ago by now. As for the myth, well, let's just say the first link I offered was also written quite a few years ago. Part of why I was so shocked to see that article is because it's precisely the kind of junk that led me to letting my subscription expire in the first place. Imagine my surprise when I saw the subject on Twitter, then realized it was linking to RW.

Charlene, right. They will be right back to promoting the 10% myth in no time. I have no doubt about it. They have never in the past let studies proving them to be wrong change what they promote. The interesting thing now is that there is hard evidence that they know they are full of it when they go back to promoting the myth.

Offline Andrew A.

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Re: Runner's World and the 10% myth
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2012, 10:02:41 PM »
Lest I come across as a hater, I do read content from RW, though it is essentially restricted to what comes across via the twitter feeds of Amby Burfoot and Alex Hutchinson (that latter of whom's latest seems a bit of a stretch).  I recognize the magazine (as opposed to scholarly journal) genre for what it is, chiefly fluff designed to engender and enable interest in a hobby or lifestyle.  I would not expect RW to deviate from this basic premise, certainly not given the recent trends in print media.  As a current subscriber to Running Times, I would freely admit that there is plenty of content in that magazine which I routinely skip.  At any rate, just reflecting on what I realize as RW's constrictions and what leads the editorial content decisions.  It does nothing for me, so obviously I would routinely skip it - I suppose I just do not care what they claim and figure that the audience for such claims is chiefly self-selecting.
Why dink around? Go for it, be the best. It is worth whatever risk there is even if you fall short. You will be better.
‎"There is no such thing as an overachiever. We are all underachievers to varying degrees." - John Wooden.

Offline Ryan

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Re: Runner's World and the 10% myth
« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2012, 11:34:54 AM »
Indeed, I'm a frequent reader of Hutchinson's blog and often find myself perusing Burfoot's. Had I seen this posted on Hutchinson's blog especially, I probably wouldn't have thought much of it. To find it elsewhere, though, was a surprise.

I wouldn't consider myself an RW hater, no matter how much I may sound like it here. They simply target a different market and, for the market they target, safer is better. For the target reader, the message of no more than 10% is safe. Problem is, for competitive runners, it's at times too safe.

Offline Double

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Re: Runner's World and the 10% myth
« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2012, 06:30:24 PM »
As an occasional dispenser of advice and fodder I don't neccesarily have a problem with the 10% rule based on the receiver.  There are so few I run across who really come to you with the kill or be killed training mentality.  40 miles a week is large in most eyes...even lots of ultra folks.  The 10% rule is nothing compared to the questions regarding weekly yoga and weight lifting sessions and how they merit success.  I have found I have learned so much about what fits me over 30+ years that it does not translate well.  Which always circles back to you must have great talent/genes/etc.  I was not and never will be by any standard a "really good" runner by any stretch of the imagination.  I saw guys in truck loads in my day who I wasn't fit to tie their shoes.  If there was only a polite way to say get 60,000+ miles under your belt and see what happens.  To me it has always been and will always be one thing...the simply act of going for a run.  I put zero stock in anything else.
"What are you training for?" "For life."  (Barry Duncan)
"What race are you running?" "The human race." (Clement Grum)

Offline Ryan

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Re: Runner's World and the 10% myth
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2012, 02:44:39 PM »
Double, I don't disagree with you. Actually, only half of my problem with 10% is that it's sometimes too conservative. The other half is that it's sometimes too aggressive. I've seen people say "I was following the 10% rule, I was even increasing by only 7%, why did I get injured?" Following the "rule" gives them a false sense of security. They got injured because the right increase for them may have been 2% or maybe they needed to stop increasing for a while.

You're absolutely right. The most important thing is to just get out the door consistently. Do that, throw in a workout or two per week, add a few tune-up races and you'll do pretty well. The question becomes, when first building up or after a layoff, how do you build up to get to the point of doing that consistent volume? For some, 10% is unnecessarily restrictive. For others, it's too aggressive. As I always say, the key is to not let arbitrary rules get in the way but to instead listen to your body.

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