Experts have devised a set of guidelines called “The 10% Rule.” Simplified, this rule recommends an increase in training mileage at 10% per week and no higher. The motivation behind this rule is to avoid training errors which occurs when the human body is subjected to sudden changes in running intensity and mileage.
The body requires a recovery period so that it can respond well to the demands of training. Rushing the body may result in muscular and soft tissue injury. Experts in sports, biomechanics and kinesiology all agree that pushing too hard is not the answer to advancing forward. On the contrary, it can even delay successful achievement of running goals.
The best approach to training is to increase the monthly and weekly running mileage total based on the 10-percent rule. A person who is injury prone must also consider a lower target such as 3% or 5%. Even top runners base their training program on this rule and they apply the same principle when they engage in interval training, trail running, and hill running as well as other training activities. This approach is also helpful to a runner who wants to gauge their personal training threshold.
It pays to be sensitive to what your body is telling you. If there is pain anywhere, pay attention to it. Do not dismiss it, but take appropriate action. Don’t drown the pain in medications, but instead take decisive action to determine what’s causing it. Even at the slightest sign of discomfort, it is best to lower the running intensity for a while or even substitute other lighter activities such as walking or bicycling. It is important to remember to return to running only when absolutely pain-free. A consultation with a sports medicine specialist is the best way to go.
Remember that running is a physical activity that puts immense amounts of stress on the human body. Although it does not involve lifting weights, the lower limbs still receive repeated high impact loading. Be a smart runner and include injury prevention in your training program.