A look at Running and the 10% Rule.

For years runners have been told to not increase their mileage by more than 10% per week. This ‘rule’ has come under fire recently. So, herewith, hopefully a bit of light shed on the subject. 10%

Why is running so important?

  1. Running is  simple, easy to start and relatively cheap. All you need is the open road and a decent pair of running shoes, and off you go.
  2. A number of swimmers, cyclists, boxers, cricket players- the list is pretty much endless have used running to augment their particular discipline.
  3. Running is the final discipline you will take part in during a triathlon.

Why is this blog important?
1. Runners get injured.
2. We want runners to avoid injuries, and also to help them should they get injured.

run-happy So, back to the 10% rule.

Runners get injured because running places unique stresses on the body. Give the body enough time and it will adapt and strengthen so as to not run the risk of injury. Most injured runners that I meet have fallen into the trap of ‘too’. They have run too much, too soon, and have picked up speed too fast. As much as people have attacked the 10% rule, I still believe that it holds tremendous merit.

The Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy  put out a study recently that found the following, after studying 873 runners for 1 year; 202 runners got injured during the study. Runners that increased mileage by more than 30% became prime candidates for sore kneethe following injuries:

  • Patellofemoral pain (Runners knee)
  • Iliotibial band syndrome
  • Medial tibial stress syndrome (Shin splints)
  • Patellar tendinopathy (Jumpers knee)
  • Greater trochanteric bursitis
  • Injuries to the gluteus medius and tensor fascia latae muscles.

Importantly, the following injuries did not seem to come about from a too sudden rise in distance and speed:
– Plantar fasciitis
– Achilles tendinopathy
– Calf injuries
– Hamstring injuries
– Tibial stress fractures
– Hip flexor strains.

So, there are a number of injuries that you should be able to side step simply by being patient and increasing mileage slowly. However there are other injuries that can strike unexpectedly and seemingly independently of distance and speed.

What to do if you are injured:

  1. Reduce mileage. Human bodies respond well to rest.
  2. Try and get to the cause of injury. Factors such as increases in mileage, shoes, running gait, muscle strength imbalances etc. will all play a role. Our Runners Leg Assessment should go a long way to helping in this regard.
  3. Treatment modalities such as massage, myofascial release, and kinesiology tape might be indicated.


Mike Roscoe.

About sbrsport

SBR Sport specialises in Swimming, Biking and Running. On the medical side we are able to do intensive bike setups, leg assessments and soft tissue release. Follow us on twitter - www.twitter.com/swimbikerunshop and/or facebook - www.facebook.com/sbrsport.
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