Monday, June 7, 2010

Increasing Running Mileage

I'd like to introduce you to a blog friend, Alycia, who just finished her first 5-mile race over Memorial Day Weekend.

Here's the sweaty proof of just how hard she was pushing herself in the race (she's in the middle).

Recently, Alycia started running longer distances and she has learned quite a few valuable lessons along the way.  She has offered to share her wisdom with us in this post!  Take it away, girl!


Hey guys, Alycia here from Fit n Fresh, the place where I babble about the fit happenings and fresh eats in my crazy life! When the lovely Miss Ali requested guest bloggers for Redhead Reports - I was only too thrilled to oblige!  My post is going to focus on how to increase your running distance. Being fairly new to running, I didn’t really think there was much to it before besides, well, you know, running.

Oh how wrong I was! There is much much more to long distance than I originally thought. Here are a few tips I’ve uncovered to get you out there and upping your mileage in no time!

The Golden 10% Rule

This is probably one of the most important things to remember when increasing your mileage: Never increase more than 10% at a time. This means if last week, you ran 10 miles total then this week you should max out at 11 miles. If you ran 20 miles last week, this week you should max out at 22 miles. This is key to safely increasing your distances. By doing too much too soon, you greatly increase your chances of fatigue and injury and, trust me, nobody wants that!

Give Your Legs A Break

It is never beneficial to workout the same muscles two days in a row and the same is true for your legs. They need a break in order to rebuild muscle tissue and repair tears so try not to run too many days in a row. Normally, I run four days a week. On Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. I always make sure that my Thursday runs are easier on my poor, tired legs!

Mix It Up A Little

When building up your mileage, it’s better to alternate between long and shorts runs than to run the same amount every day. This helps you build up to making your long runs even longer. I do my short runs on Mondays and Thursday and my long runs on Wednesdays and Saturdays. It’s always good to have fresh legs for your long runs and to aim for your longest run to be your last running day of the week.

Be Comfortable

I can tell you from personal experience - running SUCKS if you’re not 100% comfy! A couple things I always make sure I do before a run:

  • Put on good running sneakers. Sometimes the shoe is what’s really holding you back!
  • Wear light, breathable clothing and a supportive sports bra.
  • Pin my hair out of my face (I absolutely hate when my bangs hit me repeatedly in the eye!)
  • Hydrate aplenty during the day so that I’m not dehydrated during my run
  • Strap on my iPod for some serious jam sessions and musical motivation

Just Keep Swimming

Come up with a mantra! Something to keep you motivated when your runs get hard. I’m constantly psyching myself up, especially on long runs and during races. My personal favorite: “You can do anything for five minutes!” And normally five minutes is all it takes to get me back in the game. Another secret of mine? Sometimes - I just start counting. I’m not really sure why I do it, but it helps to draw my focus off of what’s going on around me to what’s going on inside me. Try it next time! I promise it helps.


Retaining a positive outlook through your runs is crucial to completing them. I once got a fortune that said “If you think you can’t, you can’t. If you think you can, you can. Either way, you’re right.” The Chinese are wise for a reason, people. Running is often more mental than it is physical. If you think you can do it - you will do it. Never sell yourself short.

Body Language

Listen to your body. All of these other tips are great, but there’s a difference between pushing through a hard workout and pushing through PAIN. If it’s pain you’re feeling, never hesitate to take a couple days off. Remember: you’re running to improve your health, not worsen it!

Reach For The Stars

Set a goal for yourself! And when you complete it, set another one! There’s no limit to how far you can go - I have a cousin that just finished his second 100 mile race!! The only person that could ever keep you back would be y-o-u. So go show yourself what you’re really made of. (:


I hope this has inspired you guys to get out there today and go for a nice, long run - but not too long! I’d like to thank Ali for letting me do this guest post and all of you for reading it! Oh and check out my blog sometime if you’re feeling up to it, I’d love to see you there (:

Happy running!


  1. Great tips! I think it's easy to get really excited when you first start running and want to amp up the mileage. I love the reminder of the 10% rule.

  2. Lovelyyy post, but then again I may be a little bias (;

  3. My just keep swimming tip is to find something--like that tree a half a mile away--and tell myself "you can take a walk break then." But when I get to the tree, I do it again with something else farther away. I don't know why it helps, but setting smaller goals during the run is a must for this gal. I'm going to try counting next time!

  4. I agree w/ all the tips! My baby sis decided she would jump from 6 miles to 10 one day. Bad idea. She was recovering for WEEKS! Thanks Alycia!

  5. i love that u say just keep swimming. i try to tell myself "this pain is impermanent".. i'll try anything tho when im feeling like im not gonna make it lol <3

  6. Great advice. I would add that sometimes we need to remember to take our own advice because a lot of times it is easier said than done!

  7. taking it slow is key-- injuries are NO fun!

  8. @Just Keep that's so much like me! There's this one hill--every time I get to it I sing this song in my head "Little by little, inch by inch, by the yard it's hard, by the inch what a cinch, never stare at the stairs.." and so on. It really helps! And you said you start counting sometimes? Well, I recite the alphabet. That is so interesting to me.