I do not claim to be an authority on all things “running,” but I have been around the block a few times. So people often ask me some questions. “How much do you run?” is the most common question. If asked by a runner, then the reason is mostly to learn and apply it to their own running.
It is a complicated question to answer since it differs for me. It depends on what I am training for and how long before that event will happen. It depends on my health and on any injuries or pains I may be nursing at that moment. It also depends on the person asking the question.
The goal behind my answer is to help you reach your goal while minimizing the chances of an injury before or during the race.
- There is a simple rule of thumb. You have to roughly run double the distance that you are training for in a week’s time. If your race is a 21k, then you have to aim for 42k in a week. (This rule does not apply to ultra-distances since it would not be possible to do…)
- If you are currently running less than that, increase your weekly distance with no more than 10% in a week. If this means that you will not reach half the distance before the race, then you know that running the race poses some risk of injury. If you walk a lot and take it slow, you may still make it, though.
- Have a stretching routine that you follow every day. (There is a lot to be said about that, but we can leave that for another day)
- For marathon (42k) races and up, you have to peak about a month in advance. For shorter distances, peaking two weeks before should be fine. What I mean with “peaking” is doing the longest long run. For a marathon, it should be around 33k. For 21k that should be about 17k.
- After the peak, you should taper and rest more. Say you want to run the Daily World marathon on 8 April then you would peak on the week of the 11th of March with a long run and 85k that week. The week ending 18 March would add up to 72k. The week ending 25 March you would run 62k. The week ending 1 April you would run 50k. The last days before the race you would jog only to stay loose and continue stretching.
This is the ideal and life does not always work like that. You may get sick, or something else prevents you from running. Count it as rest, which is also necessary for optimal performance.
There is so much written about this topic already. However, this is what I follow, and it works for me. By following some common sense and by the grace of God, I am still running which is my goal. I love running, and if I get injured, I will have to stop.
Take care and keep running.