In the previous post we discussed the first step towards running faster. By increasing your frequency, we increased your volume with very little overall stress. I’ll discuss how to increase your volume by increasing the length of a few of your runs with this post.
If you have been running at least five times per week for the last 4-6 weeks you are ready to take the next step. If you have struggled with the higher consistency or have missed several of these runs give yourself at least two additional weeks of consistent running before beginning this step.
We are going to add in another 20 minutes to your total weekly running time for this next step. You will need to choose two runs to split this time between.
In endurance sports, there is no life hack to gaining lasting fitness. It may be best to look forward and consider your long- term race goals more heavily than your short-term race goals when you choose which two runs you want to increase.
That could mean choosing your longest and shortest run or choosing your two of your shortest runs. The good news is there are no wrong answers at this stage. Just choose two runs and stick with that choice.
You want to take the extra 20 minutes and split it equally between two runs. Add 10 minutes to Run A and 10 minutes to Run B. You are just extending the duration of these runs, not the speed. It’s really that simple, just run further.
Your volume and therefore your fitness will increase simply as the product of increased duration. In the first post we increased your frequency which increased your volume. In this step we added some time to two runs which will give you a further increase in volume.
Let’s explore what this means on a weekly basis by looking at what this does to our hypothetical runner’s mileage. If you think back to the beginning our hypothetical runner was running about 8:00 minutes per mile and approximately 17 miles per week. They originally added in two 15 minute runs per week for a total increase of 30 minutes per week which equated to about 3.75 miles. This brought them to about 21.75 miles per week. Adding in 20 more minutes gains them an additional 2.5 miles each week bringing them up to 23.5 miles per week.
Our hypothetical runner is running about 10k more per week over their beginning baseline. Another way to think about this is they run a marathon more per month. This equates to roughly 315 extra miles per year. Over 52 week period they run the equivalent of 70 weeks at their starting mileage. This is about a 30% increase in yearly running mileage all done at an easy pace and at a low recovery cost.
That’s enough running to make significant and lasting gains in your run fitness, which should also correlate into faster race times.