This article was originally posted by Ryan at the original HillRunner.com Blogs.
After posting about the 10% myth earlier this week, I thought it would be good to discuss the primary argument I’ve received over the years against my view on this "rule".
To paraphrase, the argument goes something like this: Sure, you could increase by 15% or 20% for a week or two but that isn’t sustainable. 10% per week is the maximum sustainable rate at which one could increase their volume.
I usually respond with the question of how long one thinks you can sustain a 10% per week increase. I’ve yet to hear a response.
If you increase by 10% per week for 8 weeks, you’ve increased your volume by 114%. If you’ve been running 50 miles per week, you’re now at 107 miles per week in about 2 months. If you increase for 12 weeks, you’ve increased your volume by 213% and your 50 miles per week base has in 3 months turned into over 150 miles per week. By 15 weeks, you’ve topped 200 miles per week. Is this sustainable? Of course not. Depending on your circumstances, you’re doing very well if you are safely running 73 miles a week in a month’s time.
The argument I’m making is that we shouldn’t focus on numbers. Focus instead on how you’re feeling. At times, you might find yourself increasing by 15-20% or even more. At other times, you might find yourself increasing by less than 5% or even holding steady for a while. Forget about the numbers and focus on how your body is responding to your increases. Your body will lead you to far better results than some arbitrary formula.
Any other questions, concerns or comments about the 10% rule or why I feel the way I do about it? Don’t hesitate to ask.