Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Love-Hate Relationship With the 10% Rule

I have always read that it is best to only increase your runs by 10% each week. Whether it is distance, or speed, you should always gradually build upon your previous weeks' success.

However, I often struggle with this rule. Some days the stars align and I am running like a pro (minus actually running like a pro) – I feel great, I am not bored, the perfect songs are coming up on my ipod, I am maintaining a great pace, and my hair is staying perfectly out of my face. Then, there are other days. You know the ones. It is a perfect storm of badness – I don’t feel like running, my body doesn’t feel great (am I sore? I should definitely sit and watch Real Housewives of who-knows-where…with chocolate), I have nothing new on my ipod, I feel permanently out of breath and my hair is so in my face I fear I may resemble “Cousin It”.

When I have great days, it makes me want to push myself farther than just 10%, because I know they can be rare. However, when I ran in college, I definitely didn’t go at running gradually, and I know my knees will always crunch a little because of it.

Therefore, I am trying my best to stick to the 10% rule!

What are your thoughts on the 10% rule?


  1. A big push can be good, especially if you are moving into ultra distances.
    The first time I ran 25 miles, I hadn't previously run more than 12; the first time I ran 50, I hadn't previously run more than 25. When I had made a big push, I then consolidated it by not going further for a while, just repeating it and enjoying how much easier it felt after a few times.
    I think this approach promotes a more adventurous, less fearful attitude.

  2. Thanks, Jason!
    I am trying to change my thinking to look at my whole week rather than run by run. If I feel great, I am trying to let myself go for it and take it easy on another day that week so that, over 7 days, I am only increasing my efforts by 10% over all.

    Maybe one day I will get to 25 miles...but to be honest, I am still intimidated by 10.

    Thanks for offering your words of wisdom!

  3. Rules are made to be broken, listen to your body, it will let you know... :)