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6415 Views 12 Replies Latest reply: Aug 19, 2012 2:32 PM by JamesJohnsonLMT
AmyRosatoNovak Amateur 8 posts since
May 7, 2012
Currently Being Moderated

Jul 27, 2012 8:45 PM

how do i increase mileage?

hi. i run about a 10-10:38 minute mile depending on the day..

i can run 3.4 miles and then, i cannot go further....its been this way for about 3 months...running 3x a about 10-10.5 miles per wekk

i would love to do a 8k...what do i need to do?

  • Jasko123 Legend 461 posts since
    Apr 18, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Jul 28, 2012 1:39 PM (in response to AmyRosatoNovak)
    how do i increase mileage?

    Hi Amy,


    Why is that you believe you are unable to run past the 3.4 miles?  This sounds like a psychological block of some sort, so it might be helpful to alternate your route because familiar landmarks sometimes become familiar measures (mental cues that we need to stop). 


    Here is the thing:  You can go farther and you will, so try a walk/run/jog routine to slowly push out the miles.  When you reach the 3.4, walk 400 meters and then start running again, so pattern broken and you are still moving for additional time and building endurance. 


    If you have the opportunity, do several 5k events prior to the 8k.  The short answer is speed training at the the 4-mile level and a long-run schedule of 6 to 7 miles for the 8k, but it sounds like your priority is to move beyond a particular training routine, so I would focus on just extending the miles first and the speed with follow with time. 


    Believe that you will get there...that is 75% of the battle...

  • SergeStorms Amateur 14 posts since
    Aug 5, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. Jul 29, 2012 5:23 AM (in response to AmyRosatoNovak)
    how do i increase mileage?

    I am far from an expert, but try slowing down on longer runs.  On 1 run a week, slow down and add .25 miles...

  • jtstar12 Rookie 2 posts since
    Jul 30, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Aug 1, 2012 4:55 PM (in response to AmyRosatoNovak)
    how do i increase mileage?

    Try positive affirmations while you run, such as 'I can do this' 'I can run 8 kilometers' 'I love more. I live more. I run more.' See yourself being pushed by a loving angel. That or just starting walking once you can't run anymore. Get your body used to going the full 8k, even if you have to crawl. Good luck!

  • NuRunnr Amateur 15 posts since
    Aug 1, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    4. Aug 1, 2012 5:14 PM (in response to jtstar12)
    Re: how do i increase mileage?

    I agree completely with the above posts.  Think positively.  If you do need to walk for a short distance after your 3.4 mile run imagine yourself walking past the water station and you are getting your 8 ounces of nice cool water then start up again.


    I'm a new runner and was kinda stuck at 10 min miles until someone suggested I mix half sprint, half jog and then I was doing 9 min miles.  Meaning do your normal pace for the distance between two light/telephone poles, then sprint to the next, then normal pace, etc.  Eventually you'll be able to sprint the entire distance.  Or, in your case you want to add distance, just add some more 'poles' to your run but add some stragetic walks to break it up.  I bet if you just add one or two walks you could easily do 4 mile next time.  Then keep adding more until you can easily do your 8K then 10K.  As your endurance builds up then remove some or all of your walk-breaks.


    Good luck.

  • Hari Srinivasan Rookie 1 posts since
    Mar 16, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. Aug 9, 2012 10:13 PM (in response to AmyRosatoNovak)
    how do i increase mileage?

    Hi Amy,


    I was in the same situation like you are a couple of months ago. I was running 5K in about 32 minutes, 3-4 times a week and stopping after that. I was struggling to add on my miles. One day I decided to give it a go and chose a different running trail that was 5.5 miles long. Once I was into the trail there was no looking back. The first day was hard but slowly I got used to it. Last week I ran my first 10K. It is totally possible - just set your mind to it and I am sure you can do it. Focus first on increasing mileage and then you can focus on speed.


    Good luck!

  • MarcusB092 Amateur 75 posts since
    Jul 28, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    6. Aug 10, 2012 4:14 AM (in response to AmyRosatoNovak)
    how do i increase mileage?

    Just run as much as you can whenever you don't need recovery.

  • TonyaSvoboda Rookie 1 posts since
    Apr 20, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    7. Aug 10, 2012 8:34 AM (in response to AmyRosatoNovak)
    how do i increase mileage?

    I agree with what others have said and have had the same types of issues at different "milestones" (groan), such as getting past 3, 5, 8, etc. My body was just simply done.  I did the grunt and bear it thing through 3 and 5 miles, but it was a long process to be comfortable and not feel worn out afterwards. When I got to 8 miles, my "just grunt and push through" wasn't working. I was not enjoying myself and felt like I was going to die. So one day I just split the run in half - ran 4 miles, walked 1/4 mile,  then ran another 4. It was  piece of cake and I felt so good the next time I was planning to do 8 that I did 9 miles. So that is what I do now every time I am increasing mileage or haven't run over 8 in awhile, I just cut it in half and walk a bit, has worked great every time, and now 5 to 7 miles is a nice little everyday run. I never thought I would get there.

  • KrisWenzel Amateur 10 posts since
    Oct 21, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    8. Aug 10, 2012 1:38 PM (in response to AmyRosatoNovak)
    how do i increase mileage?



    If you're hitting a wall running, I would consider looking at a training plan.  I think if you just go out and run three miles three times a week, you'll find your body adapts to that level of effort and you don't increase your fitness.

    In order to run longer you need to put a little stress on the body so it adapts and makes you stronger.

    I typically do four types of runs:

    • Long Run - My longest run of the week.  It is run at a very slow pace, one where I could talk with a running partner.
    • Easy Run - Same pace as the long run, but shorter in length.
    • Tempo Run - The pace is amped up on this one... I'd say about 75-80% effort.  It should be uncomfortable, but not killing you.
    • Interval Run - Rapid pace with rest breaks


    Lets say you're trying to break the 5K barrier, let's try this for a couple of weeks and see what happens:

    Week 1:

    Sunday:  Long Run - 5K real easy pace.

    Tuesday:  Easy Run - 4K

    Thursday: 1K at 90% effort (you're breathing really heavy), 400m walk or jog.  Repeat three times.


    Week 2:

    Sunday:  Long Run - 5K real easy pace.

    Tuesday:  Easy Run - 4K

    Thursday: 5K tempo Run.


    Sunday - Long Run - 6K (new distance PR!) 

    GoRunAgain - Experience running from the point of view of one who has rediscovered the sport. I'm not as fast as I used to be, but I'm surely more passionate!

  • Lochbain Amateur 36 posts since
    Apr 23, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    9. Aug 11, 2012 8:33 PM (in response to AmyRosatoNovak)
    how do i increase mileage?

    Find a new path that is longer that you want to try and run. Find a 5 mile green belt or a nature path and decided to run it. That's how I was able to jump to the 9 mile mark. Also watch your nutrition and hydration. If you feel like you have no energy then try an energy gel (side note to that is to try different brands to see which one works best for you. Personally I love Powerbar energy gels, but cramp right up with cliff gels). If you are not carrying water then grab a fuel belt, fanny pack, or camelback and carry some with you so you can stay hydrated.

  • wisenhimer Rookie 7 posts since
    Feb 26, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    10. Aug 15, 2012 12:24 PM (in response to AmyRosatoNovak)
    how do i increase mileage?

    Hi, You didn't say what type of course you run on but several of your responders mentioned "cues" that lead you to want to stop running.  A likely one is running past your house.  It is very hard not to want to stop and go inside. So, here's something that has worked for me:  Have someone drive you 4 or 5 miles and drop you off then you will have to run back.

  • Swanderer Rookie 1 posts since
    Aug 16, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    11. Aug 16, 2012 6:12 PM (in response to AmyRosatoNovak)
    how do i increase mileage?

    Two suggestions: (1) try running for time instead of distance;  start adding 3 more minutes, 5 more minutes, etc. and the mileage will follow.  (2) try to find a group run at a running club, running shop in your area.  The social aspect of group running and the likelihood a different route (as mentioned by other posters) will help you with both distance & pace.   And every couple months our local Nike rep buys the first round at the local watering hole after our group runs - Bonus!



  • JamesJohnsonLMT Legend 1,282 posts since
    Aug 23, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    12. Aug 19, 2012 2:32 PM (in response to AmyRosatoNovak)
    Re: how do i increase mileage?

    There is nothing psychological about the shift from burning muscle sugar (glycogen) as your primary fuel, to stored fat as your main source of energy at the 30-40 minute mark (around 3.5 miles at your pace). This shift is uncomfortable for many, and one of the main reasons why 5ks are so much more popular than marathons among newbie runners. Burning fat in this way is not something a new runner is accustomed to doing, and it feels very different from normal daily running.


    Aerobic fat-burning requires more oxygen, and it is the first of two "walls" you will typically encounter in marathon training. The other wall happens when you start running out of glycogen, which is still necessary for running muscles, and the primary fuel for your brain. Since most people carry enough glycogen in their muscles and liver to last for a couple hours of high output exercise, it is the first wall (fat burning) you are encountering at 3.4 miles.


    Much of the sport supplement industry has us believing that ingesting carbs in the form of sports drinks and gels will help with this energy deficit, but you already have more than enough sugar stored in your body for 3.4 miles. During most exercise, you want your liver dishing out glycogen, not storing it. Even the USDA comprises its food pyramid primarily of starches, but it is the ability to quickly convert stored fat to energy that separates a good endurance runner from the rest of us. Since you did not mention shortness of breath, this ability to burn fat may not be sufficiently well-developed in you to handle the subtle preference for fat as fuel when the miles pile on, and you may feel like you are running out of gas. In a way, you are.


    There are many methods out there for developing the ability to quickly burn fat as fuel, even throughout the day. They vary in strategy from low-carb or trendy "keto" diets, to fasting and short anaerobic workouts. the supplement industry targets this area, too, but my money is on the right timing and content of foods and exercise. The ideal strategy for you will depend on your individual physiology, but in a nutshell, the more time you spend burning fat instead of sugar, the better you are likely to get at it. After years of healthy eating and marathon training, I switched from being overweight with a paunch, back to my high school weight, apparently no matter what I eat. I don't even need to exercise as much any more, because I am now very good at burning fat 24 hours a day.


    One thing I want to make clear is that low-fat diets are not what you need. They are an incentive for your body to convert more carbs to fat, and to convert less fat to energy, since many of your physiological processes depend on fat to function. Fail to ingest it, and your body will need to conserve it. After years of exercise and looking trim, I dropped nearly 10 pounds when I began consuming more fats and less carbs. Once your body has learned to rely less on the ingestion of sugars/starches for energy, the road beyond 3.4 miles will become less traumatic.


    (A word on this process: Once your blood sugar begins to rise after ingestion, your pancreas produces insulin to transport sugar to your muscles and liver, resulting in a lower blood sugar level, triggering fatigue and hunger. This occurs particularly early in the day after breakfast, when insulin spikes are more dramatic. This of course doesn't mean more is better, but the deficit can affect your run depending on the timing. The important part I'm trying to drive home is to rely less on ingestion for energy, and more on what is already stored. After a few miles, that will be the rapid conversion of fat, which isn't usually necessary during the day when there is a steady supply of carbs. Relying more on stored fat throughout the day will make the transition to fat more natural during your run. After a couple hours or less of exercise, your glycogen will run low, and carbs will be your friend again.)


    If, as I mentioned above, there is a problem with getting enough oxygen during this switch, that is another subject entirely. In that case, you might need to look into insufficient iron levels or red cell count (anemia). Good luck, but remember that luck is only opportunity. Opportunity + Hard Work = Success. The hardest part of the hard work is learning as much as you can about how your body works, and what you are asking it to do. The running will be the fun part.


    Message was edited by: James Johnson LMT

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