“An unaimed arrow never hits it target”
This is also true when it comes to running and a structured plan to get the most out of your running mileage is important. Increasing running mileage helps develop your aerobic capacity so you are better able to handle harder sessions and also run faster over longer distances. Increasing running mileage helps you translate times over shorter distances to longer races. Theoretically if you can run 20 min for 5km you should be able to run a 3:15 marathon, however this doesn’t always happen and building aerobic capacity over time is what can make this a reality.
Benefits of more mileage
- Building your aerobic capacity
Building your aerobic capacity means building your endurance. The most important factor in becoming a better distance runner. Most running programs feature a lot of aerobic running with harder workouts littered through them. Building aerobic capacity is the number one thing you can do to improve your running and the best way to do this is to increase your mileage at an aerobic pace.
- Increasing running efficiency
Improving your aerobic capacity will like help you run more efficiently, meaning you’ll be able to run further or faster using less energy. The more you run the better more efficient runner you’ll become. Increasing running is not the only factor in improving running efficiency but certainly one.
- Prepare you for fatigue in race
When you increase your mileage you deal with fatigue regularly when you train. Your weekly long run even when you are not in a preparation phase for a race is the best run to prepare you for race fatigue. You’ll be better prepared to deal with challenging periods of races when you’ve done greater mileage.
- Build resilience and mental toughness
When you’ve done the hard work in training you are better equipped to deal with tough patches in races and become resilient and mentally tough. When it’s time to dig deep in a race it takes mental toughness to convince yourself you can still run your best. Mileage in the bank helps prepare you to be mentally tough.
- Race faster
Quite simply the result of all the benefits listed is better racing results.
How to increase mileage
- Have a structured plan
Think about the time you have available to run and structure your training around this time. Give yourself the best opportunity to fit running into your schedule.
- Consistent long runs
Even when you are not in a race preparation phase you should complete a weekly aerobic long run. The most valuable run you will do to increase mileage and your aerobic capacity.
- Increase runs by 5 – 10 minutes
Increasing your easy runs by 5-10 mins may give you 1-2km per run more which adds up over time. Will it really affect you if you set the alarm 10 minutes earlier.
- Run an extra day per week
If you can fit an extra run into your schedule if you can. Keep this run as an easy recovery run rather then a rest day. The miles will help you in the long run. If you can’t fit another day in thats ok too.
There is no magic number on miles that every runner should be doing, this is individual and there are too many factors to list. However almost everyone has the ability and can benefit from a small and measured increase in miles. Run well.