Increase Run Volume

Question from From Stuart

I’m currently six months out from an Ironman, currently I am running three times a week with an average of 40 minutes of running per session. I would like to increase my run volume as I build towards the Ironman and was wondering your advice on how to increase the volume safely.


We’ve all heard about the 10% rule ware you increase volume by 10% each week. I’m not sure where this came from but there are better ways of increasing weekly volume.

First up there is no real magic number. Your body will tell you that number each time you run. But if I was to give it a number, I would say approximately ten minutes per week on your long run and around five minutes per week on your weekday runs.

So let’s take the long run for example. You go out with the aim to run one hour but if you only get forty minutes into the session and you are feeling not right, then you need to shut it down and go home. On the other hand if you get to an hour and you’re feeling really good you can keep going just as long as it does not have a negative impact on the next five days of training.

If your average runs have been approximately forty minutes per session then it’s safe to say you will need to work on your aerobic Fitness before increasing intensity.  I would make all your runs for the next three months at a moderate effort (you should be able to hold a conversation whilst running) and also include some Rolling Hills. In around three months you will be able to assess if you can start adding intensity or keep runs out of moderate effort.

In regards to how far your long run should be, this would depend greatly on what pace you run at. However I can’t see any real value in running longer than 32 km in one hit all longer than 3 hours.

If you feel like you need to put a marathon in the legs in the lead up to your Ironman for  extra confidence, I would recommend making it a double run day for example running 32 km in the morning, resting for six to eight hours, and run a easy 10 km in the afternoon.

I would also consider adding walking within your long runs. Something like nine minutes of running, one minute walking or thirty seconds of walking per ten minutes of running or twenty seconds of walking per five minutes of running. There are a number ways you can do this but this will help you increase volume safely.

  • First: Get the volume in
  • Second: Get your recovery in through the volume
  • Third: after you get the first two right, add intensity


Tim Egge

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