Steps to Increase Mileage and Stay Injury Free

Step to Increase Mileage and Stay Injury Free

During the last sixth months, I’ve upped my mileage as well as added more speed workouts.  I’ve been able to stay injury free throughout the process.

Steps to increase mileage and stay injury free

But how?

Step 1. Slow and Steady Wins the Race
If you increase your mileage too quickly, you will get injured and be sidelined.  Follow the 10% increase of mileage.  If you ran 40 miles last, adding 10% will give you 44.  I’m normally pretty good about this rule.

Step 2: Decrease with your Increase
This step has multiple parts.

First every few weeks, it’s important to take a recovery week.  It’s the golden rule, but your body must rest and recover to build muscle, speed and endurance.  Personally, I like to add 1-2 more rest days and drop out of 1 or both of my speed workouts.

Here are a couple of articles:
10 Laws of Injury Prevention
The 10% Rule

Step 2.5 Decrease Your Speed with Increased Mileage
Reducing speed is an important but overlooked fact.  You can’t run the same speed when running 10 miles a week or 100.  Sprinting a 100-mile week will result in massive fatigue, exhaustion and ultimately injury.

While I didn’t run 100 miles, it was the reason of my first stress fracture.  For example, I don’t worry about my pace on easy days.  Sometimes I run with a watch and sometimes I don’t.  You must pick and choose which runs are fast.

Step 3: Know your Limits

Injuries don’t typically come out of nowhere.  Know your personal weak spots. Running is a lifelong process, and it takes months to build a strong base.  Don’t rush the process because you’ll be sidelined with a minor or major injury.

Other Running Posts I’ve Written Lately:
Why Training for Shorter Distances Will Make You a Better Distance Runner
There is no Perfect Running Shoe
Deep Tissue Massages

Tweet: Steps to Increase Mileage and Stay Injury Free via @fueledbylolz

Questions for you:
How many miles do you run weekly?
How do you stay injury free and healthy?


  1. On an average week 30 – 40 miles, unless I am training for something then it could be 50 – 70 depending on the race. To stay injury free I pretty much follow the steps that you just laid out, making sure to get that much needed rest.

  2. Sounds like you have taken a smart approach and it’s paying off with PRs from 5k to 13.1. I’ve been able to slowly up my mileage over the past few months by adding lots of short, easy runs – even if it means doing double runs a few days a week.

  3. Ugh I’m getting back into running after taking a bunch of time off of training…. And I am so NOT patient!! Plus I hate treadmill running, so I’m going to have to learn to enjoy running in snow…

  4. Thanks for writing this Hollie. It’s so hard not to push that envelope and think you can add mileage up or avoid cut back weeks and keep pushing. We all think we are invincible until something goes wrong! This is a good reminder to stay safe and healthy.

  5. While training for my first half marathon, I didn’t get that every run wasn’t supposed to be fast. Each run I would try and beat my pace from the previous run. Luckily I didn’t get severely injured, but I know that if I kept up that habit I most likely would have. These are all great reminders!

  6. so important, and so hard to do. for me cross training (especially squats/lunges) is key to not getting injured. usually when you up your mileage you stop doing other things, but if i want to not get injured I have to keep up the strength work.

  7. It is so important to increase mileage slowly. We put our bodies through a lot running, and need to ease them into the added activity.

    You have some great tips here!

    I have a big goal for this year, and am so lucky to have a coach creating my training plan. My training plan now has me running six days a week (as opposed to the four I was used to). Getting through this year injury-free relies on me not just jumping into the added mileage.

  8. I’m just running a couple times a week right now and focusing more on strength training. I try to be diligent about stretching and taking rest days when my body is exhausted to avoid injuries.

  9. This post hits home! When I was marathon training I did the 10% increase and escaped with no injuries. But when I was Ultra training, I ramped up from 6-10-18-20+ in 4 weeks and got horrible plantar fasciitis and serious exhaustion from so many hours of running. SO MANY HOURS. Right now, since I’m not training for anything, I’m running about 20 miles a week plus biking, barre and yoga and I’m feeling great on my runs. 🙂 I love how informative your posts are.

    1. Pf is one of the most painful injuries. I had a bad case a long time ago and I can completely relate to your pain. I’m glad you are healthy now and enjoying other things.

      Thanks for stopping by Mollie, I always appreciate your insight and comments!

  10. Thanks for the great information! It can be hard to scale back when you are feeling great but its so important knowing that can change quickly if you get injured because of it. The 10% rule has worked well for me too! No injuries!

  11. This is another reason why I love training for triathlon! Training for three sports at once, gives me the variety I need to stay injury free…most of the time 🙂 You have great points and obviously are practicing what you preach so PREACH!

  12. Thanks so much for sharing. I need to remember that when I increase my mileage have to also change my pace 🙂

  13. i love this–looking back at training logs, there is a glaring reason why i couldn’t increase my weekly mileage past 40 without getting hurt. I was running most of my runs WAY too fast. I am much better about slowing down and taking easy days ridiculously easy.

    1. I think we definitely all go through this phase as runners. I’m glad you are healthy now!

  14. All great advice! It seems like many of us know we should do this stuff, but are innately driven to do the opposite. We always want to go harder/faster/longer/etc. and discount the importance of rest and recovery. That’s why it’s good to get reminders like this often. : )

    1. I definitely agree. There always seems to be a “pressure” to go harder than yesterday or longer but I truly believe recovery and easy mileage is one of the most critical parts of staying healthy.

  15. Great tips. I’ve gotten good about increasing mileage safely, but I struggle with adding in speed. I either do too much and get hurt or too little and show up unprepared!

  16. Foam rolling after each run has made a huge difference for me. My muscles feel so much better during “quick” workout turnarounds, i.e. running at night and riding the next morning.

  17. Great advice! I remember in my coaching training that we talked about how intensity, not volume, is most likely to cause injury, and I really like how your tips emphasized that. My weekly mileage significantly depends upon what distance I’m training for. If I’m not training, I stick to 25-35; for a half, 30-45, and for a full, 40-55.

  18. The 10% rule! I needed that. I’m currently trying to work on pushing myself out of my distance comfort zone (5k), and it’s been tricky to figure out how much more I should add without pushing too far and getting injured. Great tips, Hollie!

  19. Hi Hollie,
    Thanks for writing this post. I will remember this as I slowly increase my miles post injury, especially the part about rest days!

      1. Thank you! I had my first pain-free run yesterday! I have had runner’s knee for a long time. It started after a bad fall off a horse and then started up again after running more than a few miles at a time. I think I’m finally kicking it though 🙂

      2. I’m glad to hear that Emma! My brother suffered from Runners Knee for a while so I can see how frustrating that can be. Good luck with your training.

      3. Thank you! Yeah runner’s knee can stick for a long time. I’m trying to really change the way I run. Has your brother been able to kick it for good?

      4. Is career actually doesn’t allow for a lot of training so he isn’t able to run as much as he was. I do know it’s a lot better.

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