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Here’s why the rule of 10 will level-up your running consistency

The rule of 10 is the game-changer you need to try

Runners hear it all the time: consistency is key. The rule of 10 (committing to just 10 minutes) can be a perspective shift for those days when putting on your shoes and getting out the door seems like too much, and you’ll still build consistency.

We know that logging the simple workouts and easy runs day after day is what creates strong runners and initiates breakthroughs–but what about when the excuses are coming in fast and furious and you just aren’t feeling it?

Person relaxing on couch
Photo: Unsplash/Adrian Swancar

10 minutes is an easy commitment (and I have an even smaller one)

Ultrarunner and writer Nicolas Triolo writes about the rule of 10 in trailrunnermag. “10 minutes is the time it takes for me to fold laundry. To take a powernap. To grind, brew, and enjoy a pourover,” he says. “To scroll Instagram and come out the other side wondering if I remembered to breathe. 10 minutes is a blip, a negligible unit, hardly anything at all.”

Guaranteed you’ve probably wasted ten minutes sitting on your couch, staring at your shoes and pondering the weather, your slightly tight calf and whether that taco salad you just ate was a good choice pre-run. I certainly have. I have an even smaller commitment I’ll make to myself–get my running clothes on. In the summer, that’s fairly simple, but in the winter it is a bit more effort–determining how many layers to wear, whether I need a headband or gloves, trail shoes or road.

Woman running in winter

If I get my stuff on and I still don’t want to run, fine–that means a rest day is in order. I sincerely cannot think of a time that actually occurred, though. Once the clothes are on, getting out the door seems much easier.  If you can’t commit to 10 minutes, just commit to running clothes.

Even if you stop after 10 minutes you’ll reap benefits

Renowned coaches David and Megan Roche have a phrase they share with athletes: “just give us 10 minutes.” If life throws a curveball at an athlete and they can’t manage to fit in their run, 10 minutes of movement still counts. It still builds consistency and creates physiological adaptations that pay off in the long term.

morning runner on road
Photo: Unsplash

Roche explains that his running career began with 10-minute runs and he owes those short runs everything, as they initiated the adaptations that enabled him to continue to run longer, harder and faster.

The key to getting better is getting out there, 10 minutes at a time

“Consistent reinforcement is key, and even short runs do the trick. Add some intensity like hill strides, and running economy can go through the roof relatively quickly,” Roche says in trailrunnermag

Not only do runs as short as 10 minutes pay off, but they help you train your brain to continue your running routine. There should be many runs that you’re enthused to head out the door on, but lacking motivation on occasion is normal. The more you get out the door and log a run, even a short one, the easier it is to continue to do it. One foot in front of the other, 10 minutes at a time.