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How to increase your weekly mileage (with minimal effort)

Here's an easy trick for running just a little farther

woman running

When trying to add to their weekly mileage totals, a lot of runners jump immediately to longer long runs and bigger workouts. But this may actually do more harm than good. For a number of reasons, lengthening your warmup and cooldown are likely the safest, and easiest, ways to add extra mileage. 

First, the warmup and cooldown are done at a slow, easy pace. If there’s anything we’ve learned from runners like Eliud Kipchoge or Molly Seidel, it’s that you have to run slow to run fast. These runners do up to 80 per cent of their mileage at a very slow pace, which helps them run more without increasing the stress on their bodies. By increasing the length of your warmup and cooldown, you’re increasing the time you spend on your feet without stressing your body with more hard running.

Should your warmup and cooldown count as mileage?

Second, it’ll help you better prepare your body for your workout. If you’re like a lot of runners, you probably cut your warmup and cooldown a little bit short in favour of just getting the workout done. We get it–sometimes you just want to get on with it, and when you’re tired from a hard workout, cooldowns can feel like cruel punishment. But they are both important aspects of training, since they help prepare your body for the work ahead (the warmup) and helping kick-start the recovery process (the cooldown) so you’ll be ready for your next speed session.

feet running into the distance

Finally, the warmup and cooldown are a great place to add mileage because, other than the extra time put in, you’ll hardly notice the change–it’s like free mileage! Simply start by adding five minutes more of easy jogging on either side of your workout (on workout days), and you can gradually continue to add to your warmups and cooldowns in this way until you’re satisfied with your weekly mileage total. While it sounds like a small amount, the extra kilometres add up.

You’re not doing workouts, you say? If you have race goals, at some point you should be doing speedwork. There are many ways to gradually introduce speedwork without getting injured. (But if you’re really not ready, you can still increase your weekly mileage by simply adding five minutes to the start and end of your runs.)


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