7 is not 16

Have you seen the addition of a race to my race calendar on the right? —->

Well it’s more like down and to the right

I registered again for RnR LV!!!!!

After last year’s craziness I was unsure whether I’d want to do it again, but after thinking more about it I realized that it’d be a great excuse to organize a 30th birthday weekend bash in Vegas and run the race again 🙂 As a 2011 participant, I was sent a special coupon so I got to pay significantly less than the actual price (which is still pretty damn high if you ask me!).

Did you run RnR LV last year? Are you thinking about running this year? You can find my race recap, which was also featured on My Race, My Storyhere.


I’ve slowly returned to running after the debacle where I had a severe reaction to an Orthovisc knee injection (a lubricant that is similar to synovial fluid, a substance that occurs naturally in the joints). After complaining for the past 2 weeks about not being able to run I was sooooooo ready to get back on track.

Instead of being at my 16 mile long run distance and instead of running the Charlottesville 10 miler, which I had to miss this past Saturday, I am barely able to run double digits (safely, without inviting further injury). On Monday my doctor wrote out a “return to running” prescription, but also said just base it on how I am feeling. It is geared toward getting back on track for the Alexandria Half Marathon on May 27.

 So kind of him to lay it all out, but I still think it’s a wee bit conservative (someone out there in blog world just send me a digital slap. I get into these problems because I don’t follow my doctor’s advice!).

I was chomping at the bit so I drove right over to the gym and thought I’d do a nice “shake out” run and see how I felt. I ended up going 7 miles.

7 is not 16, where I should be at this point. But really, after 2 weeks of not running at all, who am I to be ungrateful? THANK YOU body for letting me get into the rhythm of running, to feel the endorphins, to feel like myself.


Ok, that post-run smirk is just creepy.

Anyways, that 7 mile “return to running” run got me thinking. We’ve heard over and over again that the safe way to increase mileage is to only up it by 10% per week. If you’ve been around my blog long enough, you know that I’ve pondered this before. Although I’ve been sitting around like a blob of jello for 2 weeks, technically my muscles (what’s left of them) are trained and ready to go. It’s been a little over one month since my half marathon (6 weeks since my last 15 mile run) and 2 weeks since my last 10k. Do I need to be so conservative as to follow the widely held 10% rule?

I set off in search of some info on the matter and ran across a New York Times article from summer 2011 titled When Running Up Mileage, 10 Percent May Not Be the Limit. I’ve posted the whole thing here just in case you want to skim through it. Basically it argues against the 10% rule for runners who aren’t necessarily beginners (like me!)

According to this article there is no good scientific (read: empirical) evidence supporting the 10% rule. But what we do know is that many runners get injured, especially those new to the sport. And 30-40% of beginning runners give up because of injury.

So the jury is still out on how fast runners can safely increase their mileage. And my case is even more complicated because I’m trained to run at least 25 miles per week and am not coming back from an injury per se. Bottom line is I hope I can quickly build up to at least a 12 mile long run  in the next few weeks.

If you are new to running, how slowly do you build your weekly mileage and/or long weekly run? 

If you are an experienced runner that goes through different training cycles per year, like me, how quickly can you build your mileage? 

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11 Responses to 7 is not 16

  1. Kendall says:

    Hi, long-time reader, first-time commentor here! I just read a really inspirational article in the NYT today about a 60 year old runner who is breaking records and generally doing awesome things: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/02/sports/runner-kathy-martin-60-is-speeding-through-records.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20120402. I ran a few years back – the big accomplishment was running the Cville 10-miler – but regularly got such terrible shin splints that I was consistently limping around and finally decided it wasn’t worth it. Reading about your trials and tribulations with running definitely sounds like no fun, but overall between this blog, my fanatical runner boyfriend, and a few other running friends, I’m starting to think it might be worth trying to take up again. I’m wishing us both luck. 🙂

    • Oh wow, what an inspirational story thanks for sharing (and thanks for commenting!! 🙂 ) I’ve found that the funny thing about running is most people have a love-hate relationship with it. Almost everyone deals with some injuries at some point (some of us deal with nagging injuries often, like I do and it sounds like your shin splints), but once you’ve been running consistently long enough you almost can’t give it up. The hard part makes it great! But I didn’t get into it right away either. I ran off and on for a few years and dealt with nasty runner’s knee probs before finally sticking with it for good. Good luck with your running!! And if you’re around Cville and want a training partner let me know 🙂

  2. I will be the first to admit that I don’t always follow the 10% rule, and I do sometimes get injured (nothing super serious though!). I like to go by feel. I sort of feel that I’ve been doing this for long enough that I have a good idea of what my body can handle. I’m not an expert, but I think I know what too many miles feels like. For me, anyway 🙂

  3. Brittany says:

    Hey! I just started reading your blog and when you pointed out your upcoming races I saw that you’re doing the Marine Corps Marathon! I signed up for that one too!! Although this is my first marathon..so that will be interesting haha 🙂 Good luck!!


    • Awesome!!! It will be my first time running the MCM too (5th marathon, but I haven’t run 26.2 in awhile). I heard it’s such a great marathon, especially if it is your first time 🙂 SO excited for you, nothing compares to your first one!!!

  4. Melissa says:

    You are too funny. No, I agree, 7 is not 16. I’m not going to tell you to play it safe because hello! Pot calling the kettle black! But, I will say that I’m trying to keep my pace slower. No speedwork just yet and slower than usual pace. The goal right now is just to be able to do it, not to achieve any speed records. But distance? Yeah, I’m going to go ahead and go for the distance. (Bad influence, what???)

    • You are and I are too similar Melissa!!! I think that’s why we’re friends 🙂 Although, let’s be real, you could smoke me in a race (the 2011 Monument 10k doesn’t count for either of us).

      Speaking of DISTANCE and RACES, you wanna go to Vegas in December to drink & party? Oh, and run the RnR race. There’s that…

      Come one, it’d be perfect to do the half a few weeks after the NYC Marathon!!! (no pressure…)

  5. Pingback: 10 Miler and “Return to Running” | Let's Go on a Living Spree

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