3 Things to Consider When Increasing Mileage
Fall marathon season is in full swing, and the weekly mileage is starting to creep up. Don’t be alarmed — be prepared to tackle the increases in distance. Here are three things Coach Michael Conlon considers essential when it comes to managing increases in mileage.
1- Never increase total weekly mileage by more than 10-15%.
For marathoners in particular, this is a pretty standard percentage (I’ll be interested to hear what our ultra experts say). Why? Endurance training is all about the culmination of training; it’s not about what you do in one day or even one week. Introducing too great of an increase in mileage at one time can lead to injury. If you are looking to introduce more volume, consider other forms of cross-training (cycling and swimming are both good options) as opposed to immediately adding more miles.
2- Build awareness so you can understand your own threshold.
Endurance athletes are notorious for pushing through pain. News flash: this is not always a good thing! For example, if you know your body begins to break down after 2.5 hours of running, modify your training so you don’t consistently go past that point. It’s one thing to do it in a race – and another to do it week-in and week-out during training. There are other ways of adding volume to a training plan (back-to-back long days, double days, an extra day of running in the training program, cross-training) that don’t involve taxing your body.
3- Always take one complete rest day.
Respect the distance when it comes to recovery. No running, no cross-training, nothing. Not even a rec league flag football game. Your body needs time to repair the microscopic damage to muscle fibers and the surrounding connective tissue caused by repetitive movements and daily stresses inflicted over a long training period. If you have a hard time doing nothing, opt for an active recovery day that involves dynamic stretching, self-myofascial work, hydrating, eating quality foods and getting extra sleep.