If we are planning to increase our weekly running distance and improving our overall fitness is how much running distance and exercise we do per week.
If you’re training for a long-distance race, like a marathon or Ultra, it’s still very important that you do long continuous runs, and build them up in a safe, progressive way, so your legs are ready for the distance and duration of the race.
When preparing for a shorter race, like a 5k or 10k, research suggests that you should get in your kilometres however you can, but to perform shorter race distances training, is to focus on training for some fast pace, to add some speed training 3 times per week.
The Higher Distance Training Method
One method we could use to increase our distances, is to increase our kilometres for a few weeks in a row, by a larger amount, then maintain it. This method allows for time for our body to adapt, get stronger, to run longer distances and faster.
An example of increasing our kilometres using this method would be to jump from 32km to 48km for 4 weeks, followed by rest week 37km, and the following week, to jump to 56km.
Research has found that bones are actually weaker for the first month after a new stress like high-impact exercise (like running), while they resorb tissue and make a change to the bone structure.
The high-distance training method gives the bones time to become stronger before we increase the kilometres again.
Rest Week Recommendation
To safely increase kilometres is by increasing our kilometres each week (using an 8-12% increase), but making sure that every 4 weeks, we take a “rest week” where we reduce our distance significantly before moving on with the progression.
Training Recommendations For Longer Distance
For Shorter Distance Runners
Week 1: 32km
Week 2: 37km
Week 3: 42km
Week 4: 48km
Week 5: 37km- Rest Week
Week 6: 56km
For Longer Distance Runners
Week 1: 70km
Week 2: 75km
Week 3: 80km
Week 4: 85km
Week 5: 75km- Rest Week
Week 6: 90-100km
Many elite and high-distance runners use this method to build their distances without risking injury. This helps our body to recover and prepare for future increases, and long-distance races.
This training plan gives the bones time to adjust to new stress. There is not an exact formula for how many weeks to go before taking a down week, so it will require some testing to fit our body, and making sure we support muscle health to avoid injuries.
Some runners can keep increasing the kilometres every week and are able to run injury free for the majority of their running lives, but if you have any symptoms of overuse injuries or overtraining, progressing your weekly distance safely is extremely important.
Appreciate Running Longer Distances, Increasing More Kilometres, Feeling Stronger, Faster Pace, And Enjoying Longer Runs!