How should I build up mileage?

Qualified running coach and former GB orienteer Dave Troman ( outlines the principles of planning a training schedule

runner on the beach

by Dave Troman |

The biggest improvements come from a steady build-up of volume over years and it’s a common mistake for new runners to do too much too soon and become injured as a result.

Coach Dave Troman says: “Implementing progressive overload into a training plan without getting injured or fatigued is made more difficult by the fact that your cardiovascular system adapts to overload far quicker than your musculoskeletal system.

“The first thing we should do is to use ‘training load’ as a measure rather than miles. We should consider the terrain and elevation over which we run; uphill has a higher cardiovascular load, downhill has a high musculoskeletal load.

“To increase your training load, you should first ensure that you are coping with the current load; have you sustained that for at least two or three weeks?

“Then take five to seven to days to recover before increasing the training load. Remember it is wise not to increase intensity and volume at the same time.”

He adds: “Probably the safest way is to spread the increase across the whole week rather than just adding a big chunk on one day. Again, spend a couple of weeks at this new level of training load before another gradual increase. When building training load after a lay-off, it is especially important to remember your musculoskeletal system will lag behind your cardiovascular system; the training might feel easy but you are at great risk during this time.

“A good rule of thumb is to have three weeks for a training block, with the third of those weeks as the highest load, followed by an easier recovery week, before the next cycle.”

Dave Troman is a running coach and former international orienteer

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