Having spent the last 20+ years doing endurance events I have had lots of personal experience with adding mileage to my weekly runs. I don’t typically keep track of how many miles per week I run – I just know what I need to do for my long runs and adjust.

Usually I am following a plan for a big race (for me big equals 70.3 distance tri or longer or a running event longer than 13.1) and I adjust the plan to fit my life. These plans take into account a moderate mileage increase so I don’t have to think about it.

For my own mileage building, I make it a point to schedule my workouts for the next week in my calendar. My scheduling may have to change but at spending time figuring out when I’m going to get all my workouts done so helps me make sure they happen and I don’t get “too busy”.

However, over the last 20 years I’ve had many many friends and training buddies ask my thoughts on adding mileage. So here it is – 10% per week keeps you healthy, un-injured, and is sustainable. Period. Increasing your total mileage by more than 10% may work for a while but eventually you may encounter overtraining (seriously, be smart – don’t overtrain!) and/or illness due to a stressed and weak immune system.

Starting Slowly?
If you are new or coming back to the road after a not-so-brief hiatus take it easy. Here’s a starting plan that begins with a total weekly mileage of 6 miles – that’s walking or running 2 miles 3 times per week.

You can choose to run, walk, or run/walk interval style through the plan. The focus is on distance, not time (looking for programs to improve your times? Check out Run Less, Run Faster). Not sure about the run/walk thing? Scroll down…

At some point, take a half-week!
While this is a 7-week plan at some point you may need to have a “half-week” where you only do 50% of the miles done the previous week.This may be due to family scheduling, work, or maybe your body is just tired and you feel you need to back it off a week. The ‘half-week’… well that’s my own little phrase; you may hear it called a recovery week, same thing. Cut your mileage from the previous week in half.

Whenever that week happens keep your runs/walks on the scheduled days and just run half the distance you did the week prior. EX: after week 3 if you need a rest week run/walk 1 mile on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday and then run/walk 4 miles on Saturday.

Already have a solid running base?
Can you do a weekly “long” run of at least 5 miles? If so, then start here. Follow the same rules about the half-week.

Don’t forget to Treat Yo’ Self!
I’m all about a little reward here and there so when you make your weekly mileage treat yourself. Read here for my 2 cents on rewards.