10% Rule

Discussion in 'Coach Talk' started by Barefoot TJ, Jun 12, 2012.

  1. Barefoot TJ

    Barefoot TJ Administrator
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    So, this has come up now and again...

    Does the 10% rule that applies to conventional shod running also apply to barefoot and minimalist running?

    Is following or recommending the 10% rule even a safe program for shod or barefoot runners?

    Please describe the 10% rule for those reading who do not know.
     
  2. Last Place Jason

    Last Place Jason Barefooters
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    The "10% rule" generally refers to the amount a runner should increase their mileage each week.

    Interestingly, there doesn't seem to be any empirical basis for the rule. I'm not sure when and where it entered running lore, but it has become a widely accepted guideline for anyone increasing their training mileage and/or long run distance.

    I like the "rule" as a general guideline, much like the "180 steps per minute" guideline. It's not going to work for everyone, but it's a reasonable place to start.

    When increasing mileage, I'd recommend people start with 10%. If they experience excessive pain, back off and increase at a slower rate. If there are no problems, it's okay to increase more than 10%. There is no good formula that one can use. It really comes down to knowing your body and adjusting your training volume accordingly.
     

  3. Robbi

    Robbi Barefooters
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    In general I understand it to be the maximum you should increase your mileage in any given week as long as you feel ready. Feeling ready according to Ken Saxton if I remember right is being able to run 90% of your run easily, and feeling good once you're done.

    Of course at 10%/week you'd be running 129km/week at the end of a year starting at 1km/week if you did that religiously. I'd argue that's a fast track to injury :).
     
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  4. Barefoot TJ

    Barefoot TJ Administrator
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    I've heard others say that the mileage increase is unreasonable too, Robbi. Glad you brought that up. That's why I was wondering what running coaches think of the 10% rule, if it's safe, even for shod runners.

    And I've also read that people interpret that rule to mean 10% clock time, not just mileage.
     
  5. Last Place Jason

    Last Place Jason Barefooters
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    Running 129k after one year isn't unreasonable or necessarily dangerous. Many ultrarunners run 160k after a year of training.

    The biggest issue with barefoot runners and increasing mileage has to do with the paranoia surrounding the transition period. The chance of injury is exponentially higher in the beginning, then tapers off substantially one your body makes the necessary physiological adaptations. After a few months of barefoot running, a runner should be over the major issues related to tendon and bone adaptation.

    The problem stems from the idea that running should never hurt. If you run long enough, you will experience pain. That's unavoidable. Nobody's running a 100 miler (or 50 miler for that matter) without some degree of discomfort. I've helped people that were interested in running long distances, but would stop whenever they felt any discomfort. They were under the belief that they could slowly work up to any distance and not experience any sort of pain because we often tell people "if it hurts, you're doing something wrong."

    The trick is to learn to discriminate between the "I'm getting injured" pain and "this is normal pain for the distance I'm running" pain. That usually takes experience.
     

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  6. Matt

    Matt Barefooters
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    Personally, I like the "no blister" rule of increasing mileage. If I run so far that I end up with blisters, I've gone too far. To me that's one of the big advantages of running barefoot. There is a built-in limiting factor.

    I don't think foot irritation is all related to foot toughness, though. I think a good part of it is related to form. Better form results in a lot less foot irritation. I think when distances creep up then form breaks down, and irritation increases.
     
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  7. Last Place Jason

    Last Place Jason Barefooters
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    Matt- I agree 100%.
     

  8. Barefoot TJ

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    Love the "no blister" rule. Missed you, Matt!
     
  9. mokaman

    mokaman Chapter Presidents
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    The 10% rule never really fit for me, I bump up the mileage or time to what ever feels right then usually stay at that level for awhile till I I feel I've adjusted then think about increasing again...this could take anywhere from one day to 4 weeks just depends and can't follow a plan to know this a head of time...sometimes I even drop back for awhile.
     
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  10. Matt

    Matt Barefooters
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    Thanks TJ,

    I actually took some time off from running (bad idea), and it's been taking me months to get back into a running groove.
     
  11. Barefoot TJ

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    I can imagine. I have a groove I will be trying to get into...hopefully soon. I had that surgery on both my feet in January, and although the surgical site has healed, I am still dealing with the original pathology, and some new issues to boot.
     
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  12. Matt

    Matt Barefooters
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    TJ, Good luck with your continued recovery.
     
  13. Barefoot TJ

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    Thank you, Matt. Still LOVE your kitty!
     
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  14. RunningPirate

    RunningPirate Barefooters
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  15. Matt

    Matt Barefooters
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    And it's impossible to do at both the beginner end and expert end of the spectrum. Obviously going from 0 miles per week to 5 miles per week is a bit more than a 10% increase. But someone doing 60 miles per week might want to think twice before adding 10% to their weekly mileage.

    If we learn to listen to what our bodies are telling us, we'll rest when we need rest, and push things out when our bodies are ready.

    I've had times where I upped my distance a very large percentage, but I also slowed down quite a bit and lowered my intensity, so that overall, my body felt fine.
     
  16. Last Place Jason

    Last Place Jason Barefooters
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    " If we learn to listen to what our bodies are telling us, we'll rest when we need rest, and push things out when our bodies are ready."

    This is a great quote, Matt. As a coach, it's important to get your client to understand this idea. I know of some coaches that essentially give their client an eight week plan with training volume already spelled out. There's no way to predict how someone, especially a new runner, will respond to an increase in mileage. The ideal situation is to teach the client to measure and articulate exactly what you said.
     

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  17. Bare Lee

    Bare Lee Chapter Presidents
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    This applies across the board. I've engaged in lots of different types of training/exercise, and I find that rather than a steady increase, one passes certain thresholds, where seemingly all of a sudden, you can do significantly more of whatever it is that you're doing. Just keep plugging away--your body will know when it's time to bump things up, or push on to the next level. Like Jason said, the best thing a coach can teach is self-awareness. Once you have that, you can do a fair amount of learning on your own, provided you've already been coached in, or have studied, the fundamentals of what you're doing. The coach then steps in to refine and tweak.
     
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  18. RunningPirate

    RunningPirate Barefooters
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    So when this thread first started, I fired off a quick e mail to Peter Sagal, him being a marathoner and all. I figured even if he didn't know, he might know someone who does. He drew a blank, as well:



    So, even NPR doesn't have an answer...
     

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  19. Barefoot TJ

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    I like his reasoning though. I often wondered where the rule came from. Maybe those authors who write about it know. Didn't Jeff Galloway or someone like that write about it?
     
  20. RunningPirate

    RunningPirate Barefooters
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    Dunno...hopefully the next time they're at an RW mixer, he'll ask :)
     

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