Ten Percent Rule

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This topic contains 10 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  flightless 13 years ago.

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  • #5382

    For those who don't know, the ten percent rule states that one should not increase their weekly mileage by more than 10% at a time in order to stay injury free.  More can be read about it at Runner's World.

    In general, what are people's opinion on this rule?  Do you follow it?

    Specifically, how do you go about rounding?  For instance, lets say that you've run 56 miles.  What's the most that you will do?  61, 62 or 61.6?

  • #21045


    Well, I don't think it's any secret what I think. Simply put, it's a myth propagated by RW for those who are unwilling to think for themselves, listen to their bodies, and determine how much they can increase. There's nothing special about 10%. Many people will have troubles well short of 10% for even a week or two, others will be just fine going well beyond 10% for short periods of time.

  • #21046

    Two words: urban legend.

  • #21047

    My take on the 10% “rule” is that it's probably a good rule-of-thumb for new runners and maybe if you're approaching new all-time highs in mileage.  However, if you're mileage has “been there” before and you're building back up, you don't need to be as cautious.

  • #21048


    Zeke, I would actually suggest that around all-time highs in mileage is precisely when 10% would very possibly be too much. Think about this. Think of your all-time highest mileage week. Now, imagine running that week again. Now, imagine running that plus 10% the next week. Then, imagine running that plus another 10% the following week. I don't know about you but, for me, that seems like a daunting task and that's only for two weeks of increases.

  • #21049

    Yeah, but not all of us have 140+ mile weeks in our history.  If someone is in the 30-40 mile range, 10% doesn't seem like that big of a jump.

  • #21050


    For someone who has never run more than 30-40 miles a week, a 3-4 mile jump may seem significant, though. Just like a 7-8 mile jump may seem significant to someone who has never run more than 70-80 miles a week and a 16 mile jump seems insane to me if I were working off the highest volume I've ever done.

    A 3-4 mile increase off of 30-40 miles per week seems like nothing to you and me because we've probably averaged more than 30-40 miles per week for several years by now. However, if you can remember the time, think back to when you first ran 30-40 miles per week and picture an increase of that amount back then. Maybe it would have seemed reasonable. Maybe not. That maybe not is evidence that the “rule” is at best flawed even for this scenario.

    (FWIW, when I was first at that point, an increase of even 1-2 mpw was a very big deal. As I progressed, increases off all-time highs of 10% became more unrealistic all the time until they seem absolutely insane now.)

  • #21051


    I think you already know the answer.  If I average 50 miles a week year around, I never had a problem of going to 70-80 right away.  If I was tired I took a day off.  Just get out the door and be ready for Al's.  I'm expecting great things from you……again.

  • #21052

    I think the 10% rule doesn't take into account types of miles.  I can do 90 mpw easier than some 70 weeks…..if the miles are slogging.  70 mpw with 3-4 miles of speedwork, a tempo paced 10k, and marathon-pacing for 12-16 miles will take a far bigger toll. 

  • #21053


    Another good point by sueruns. If one were to be backing off intensity, a simultaneous increase in volume may come very easily. On the flip side, if one were to be increasing intensity, even maintaining volume could be too much.

    I hope I understand your point correctly. That's what I'm getting from it.

  • #21054

    It really depends where you are at in your training cycle.

    After a November marathon last year I took two weeks very easy, then jumped from 40 to 63 mpw, and then added 7-8 miles a week every week until I was back to 100, did another 100, and then added another 7 miles. The approach of adding a mile a day, or 1-2km a day works well for me if I'm building up mileage.

    The past six weeks after a taper for spring races my mileage has gone 60, 72, 82, 90, 100, and this week I should hit 112. My goal has basically been to add 10 miles a week, but I'm returning to levels I've run before. Oddly, it has felt even easier than the steady 7 mile a week increase in winter.

    My bottom line suggestion for increasing from a high point is just think in terms of adding 5-10 minutes a run. Distribute the increased load pretty much equally over the week, making sure you are recovering.

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