Want to improve the distance that you can run? Is a half marathon or even a full marathon on your fitness goals list? As a runner, you will always be striving to run better, faster and longer. If being able to run longer is one of your goals and you want to know how to build mileage running, here are some pointers.

4 Tips on How to Build Mileage Running

1. Distance

First, if you want to know how to build mileage running, you need to know what you are working with. This means knowing your base miles – the distance that you can run comfortably. It shouldn’t be a stroll in the park but it also shouldn’t be too difficult.

Then you need to identify your goal. Ask yourself, “how far do I want to run?” as opposed to, “I want to run further”.

From there, you can start to increase some of the runs that you currently do, to condition your body to improve endurance and be able to run for longer. There are running programs like C25K, 10K Pro that help gives you proven run-walk programs to increase the mileage at a challenging, yet manageable pace.

The 10% rule is also a popular method in increasing distance. It governs that you can increase your mileage by only 10% each week. It is meant to create a balance between improving your distance while still not putting your body at risk of overtraining or pushing yourself too soon.

However, the 10% rule should not be taken as the only one way to increase distance. There is no right answer for every runner. You know your body best so take it with a grain of salt, and learn how much mileage you can add to your runs each week while minimizing injury risk. It may be more than 10% or it may be less.

Just be careful that while you are challenging yourself, you are not putting your body under more stress than it can handle. Listen to your body.

2. Speed

Another way to build mileage running is to include runs that focus on speed like sprints into your routine. These won’t be at quite near the same distance that you will be able to run/jog at but it helps to build up power and stamina.

Sprint training can assist in how long you can maintain running at a faster speed, meaning that you will also be able to race faster. Ultimately, speed helps with explosive muscle power and power production.

What spring training does is increase the number of muscle fibers recruited in the legs for better power. Having more of these fibers means having more energy to draw from when you are fatigued or tired, so you will be able to run for longer.

It also betters your VO2max. This refers to the ability in which your muscles, heart and lungs use oxygen during your running or exercise session. The higher the rate, the better as more oxygen delivered to the muscles can help you run faster and better.

So be sure to include some speed/spring training into your sessions for power.

3. Frequency

Frequency refers to the number of times you run. Increasing this number is a great way to help build up those miles. However, you also need to be careful that you do not overdo it.

If you increase the frequency of your runs too much too fast, then you risk injuring yourself and that can take you out of the game.

Whether you should increase your running sessions does depend on how intense they are. If you have hill runs, then you may not want to up the number of sessions too much since you will need time to recover.

Just remember – slow progress is still progress.

4. Strength Training

Another way of knowing how to build mileage running is through strength training. Runner-specific strength training helps to work on the muscles used predominantly in running so that you prevent injuries and improve running efficiency.

By building up endurance in the muscles, you are training your body to be able to handle running longer distances.

So next time you are in the gym or workout out, try some compound, multi-joint movements. Great exercises include the squat, deadlift and lunges. Don’t be afraid to go heavy but make sure you do fewer reps if you do.

Zen Labs Fitness offers multiple running apps that are designed to help increase your running distance such as from the couch to your first 5K, or even from 5K to 10K. These proven walk-run plans come armed with an audio coach and a supportive community that can help you learn how to increase mileage running in a simple and safe way.

What other tips do you have on how to build mileage running? What has worked best for you? Leave us a comment below, we would love to know!