Friday, September 21, 2012

Will Increasing Weekly Mileage > 10% Cause Injury

How much further can you increase your mileage before getting injured? Can your weekly increase in mileage be more than 10%? Please read on if you would like to find out.

All runners out there would have heard of the "don't increase your weekly mileage by more than 10%" rule/ guideline to prevent injury. Let's see if there is any evidence behind this "sacred" rule.

In a just published research paper (Nielsen et al, 2012) that I chanced upon, 60 new runners used GPS (or Global Positioning System, something which I never used) to record their running weekly mileage. The new runners who got injured had an average weekly mileage increase of 31% (13 runners were hurt)

The remaining runners who logged an average increase of 22% in their weekly mileage did not get injured. Now, this 22% increase is definitely higher increase than the recommended 10% increase.

Of course weekly mileage alone is not the only reason for causing injury. Overall fatigue levels which takes training volume, intensity, outside life stressors (such as your job, wife, kids etc), plus other factors into account are much better at giving you a better guide as to how much to run, rest etc.

So the evidence shows that motivated runners can increase their weekly mileage by more than 10% if they are careful and listen to their body.

Personally I feel that the 10% increase guideline is good to hold too eager runners in check. We live in an instantaneous society now where you snap your fingers and you want to be a great runner. Many runners expect to just improve their times with short periods of training and doing too much too soon.

With running becoming so popular in Singapore, we've seen many cases of runners in our clinics who have never run in their lives, decide one day they wanna run a marathon, start running regularly only to get injured quickly.

So, you can ramp up your weekly mileage, but be aware (22% increase seems to be safe) and listen to your body.

For those of you who are keen, I have a Self Monitoring Sheet which we gave to athletes back when I used to work at the Singapore Sports Council to monitor their weight, resting heart rate, sleep etc to track their training, outside life stressors etc to monitor overtraining & injury. Email me if you want a copy of it.


Nielsen RO, Cederholm P et al (2012). Can GPS Be Used To detect Deleterious Progression In Training Volume Among Runners? J Strength & Conditioning Research. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3182711e3c.

*Picture by richseow from

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