How to safely increase mileage for a long workout

When you just start running, and even 5 km seems like an amazing achievement, it can be difficult to understand what it is like to run a half marathon, a marathon, or even further.

Every time you run more than ever before is a daunting step into the unknown. For this reason, many aspiring runners avoid longer workouts, staying within their known physical capabilities. It’s safe, but you’re missing out on many of the benefits of running as the fun begins when you step out of your comfort zone.

Increasing your mileage on long workouts is easy. But when trying to “accelerate” the distance, especially when enthusiasm and motivation are high, beginners often fall into common traps that can lead to failure or injury.

Simple ways to increase long-term

Method 1

  • Set aside one day a week that you plan to run for a long time. You don’t need to increase the rest of your runs and cross-training this week.
  • Analyze your training history and find your longest run in the past six weeks. Think over the route so that you can run another 2 km (10-15 minutes).
  • Run at an easy, comfortable pace, and if you come across steep climbs on the way, you can go to a step. The rest of the runs in the week should also be at an easy pace.

For safe progress and prevention of injury, you only need to change one variable at a time – increase either the pace or the duration.

  • Next week, increase the long distance by another 2 km, do the same in the third week.
  • The fourth week will be a week of rest: shorten the long distance to what was your starting point (or even slightly less). This will allow you to recover and adapt to the received load.
  • Next week, pick up where you left off in week two and continue to increase your long run by 2 km.

Here is an example of long workouts for weeks (the starting point is a distance of 10 km):

  • 1 week – 12 km
  • 2 week – 14 km
  • 3 week – 16 km
  • 4 week – 10 km
  • 5 week – 14 km
  • 6 week – 16 km
  • 7 week – 18 km
  • 8 week – 10 km

And there it is not far from the half marathon.

Method 2

Here, all the same rules are observed as in the first approach – a comfortable pace, lack of high-speed training and gradualness, but every second week falls on rest, and between them there is a stepwise increase in mileage.

Here is an example of long workouts for weeks (the distance of 10 km is taken as the starting point):

  • 1 week – 12 km
  • 2 week – 10 km
  • 3 week – 14 km
  • 4 week – 10 km
  • 5 week – 16 km
  • 6 week – 10 km
  • 7 week – 18 km
  • 8 week – 10 km

In the end, at the end of the 8-week block, you will make the same progress regardless of the method used. There is no right or wrong method, choose the one that suits you best and fits into your training schedule.

Method 2 is more often recommended for runners who are prone to injury or are returning to the ranks after suffering injuries, as well as for older athletes.