Lindsey Parry answers:
The 10% rule states that we should not increase our weekly mileage by more than 10% and that you do not increase any single run week on week by more than 10%. Simply put, if you are starting from scratch and can manage 10 minutes of running pain free you should not do more than 11min/run the following week.
While this approach is overly conservative it certainly will almost guarantee that you will be running reasonable distances with little chance of injury. My approach is to always have the 10% rule at the back of my mind and while I do not stick to it strictly I use it to temper my gains when I get tempted to increase too rapidly. It’s a good way of reminding myself not to go overboard with my training.
Another effective strategy early on to allow you to make bigger gains in a shorter period is to insert walk breaks. For example, if you can do 15min comfortably you will most likely be able to do 20-25min comfortably if you run 4min and walk 1min 4-5 times.
The important message is that there should be a slow, yet consistent build up over a long period of time to allow your joints, ligaments, tendons and muscles to adapt to the demands being placed on them. This will go a long way to ensure pleasant, injury free running.