I love it when coaches say that athletes need to give 110%. What they don’t usually realize is that they’re just asking people to up the game a little by the rule of progressive overload.

The rule of progressive overload (one of the principles of training) is to up the ante by about 10% each time you alter the training program. So, last week when I hit the under 9:00/mile mark on my run, I decided to give 110% again instead of just going for the next longest route I had mapped.

Since I started trying to run 4x/week (which has been hindered by weather and illness in February more than any other time), my run distances have gone like this:

1.42 miles and 1.44 miles (depended upon which way I ran this route)

1.55 miles up almost 10%

1.67 miles

1.71 miles up a little more than 10% from 1.55

1.89 miles up a little more than 10%

and now 2.09 miles up a little more than 10%

This was the first time I’d jumped over 2 miles and I surprised myself by hitting the under 9:00/mile on both Friday and Sunday. I’ll hopefully be headed out for the third run of this route later today. If I make it again today I will jump to 2.29 miles on Wednesday’s run. Why is all of this important? Well, because it is going slow, but steady. Remember the tortoise?

A lot of people think that when they start a training program that they need to progress quickly, but you don’t. I started these runs at the end of November and it’s now the end of February (3 months later). I haven’t even added a whole mile to my training distance, but I have been able to maintain the pace that I want to have when I get to longer distances. I have maintained the enthusiasm to keep running without quitting. I’ve also avoided any real injuries by taking it one step at a time….all ways in which I would measure success at this point.

My runs will jump higher and faster as I follow the 10% rule. After 2.29, my next distance is a 2.55 mile route. That’s a big difference from the hundredths of a mile jump I was making.  Come follow me and my runs at MapMyRun!

Do you give 110%?

How often do you vary your training program?

What’s the hardest part of progressing slowly for you?

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