How New Runners Can Safely Build Their Mileage

Slow and steady wins the race! Especially when it comes to building your mileage.

When I first started my running journey in October 2019, I made the classic mistake of adding mileage too quickly. After a few weeks of running three times a week, with about 2-3 miles per run, I was getting restless. “I can do more. I’m ready to see how far I can run!” My competitive spirit took over, and I had the genius idea of running as far as could, just to see how far I could go.

STOP YOURSELF from going down this road. Don’t make my mistake!

I ended up running 6 miles, which was three times what I should have run that day. And boy did I pay for it. The next morning, I woke up with the worst hip pain I had ever felt. My IT band was a wreck and the pain lingered for 6 MONTHS. All because I was impatient and added mileage too quickly.

So how can new runners safely add mileage?

  • Follow the 10% rule. After my IT band injury, I realized slow and steady increases were the best for me. This may seem small, but 10% adds up quickly! Example: If you run 10 miles this week, increase to 11 miles next week.

  • Run easy. I run 80% of my runs at an easy, conversational pace. I do one speed workout per week (I added speed training to my plan after I had been running for 10 months / once I had a solid base).

  • Be consistent. Once you decide to run, keep going. Start with 2 easy runs per week. If you keep that up for your first month, add more days.

  • Start with walking. No shame in the walk / jog game! Especially if you are just starting your fitness journey. Remember this new runner mantra: Run when you can, walk when you have to.

What advice would you add to this list? Share here!

More mileage-building tips:

The 25 Golden Rules of Running, Runner’s World

How Far Should Beginners Run, Map My Run

How Running “Easy” Makes You Faster, Map My Run