A mile can be more than just 5,280 feet. For new runners, completing that first mile is a major achievement. More seasoned runners find that logging an extra mile or two per week builds stamina better than any other technique. Adding a mile’s worth of faster running to your weekly routine can help you run more efficiently, making every mile feel easier. Here’s how to get started and keep going.

  • Work up to a mile

Spend your first week of activity walking every other day, increasing to a one mile walk. Next, introduce your body to running – walk a quarter-mile, then insert a five-second jog into each minute. If you begin huffing and puffing, walk a few minutes before adding short run segments back. Repeat every other day, adjusting run/walk times as needed, until you can comfortably run most of a mile.

  • …Then to 30 minutes

Running for 30 minutes every other day will help you to achieve the recommended weekly 150 minutes of activity. To get there, focus on increasing the distance of one run each week (with shorter runs on other days). Add a quarter mile each week, and increase walk breaks as needed. Once the longer run feels comfortable, expand one short run at a time until 30-minute runs are the norm.

  • …Then add a long run

The best way to make 30-minute runs feel easy is to add a weekly longer run. Start by adding a half mile to a weekend run every other week. Again, slow down- the walk breaks that help you catch your breath can also help you avoid the aches that can surface when you add mileage.

  • …Then go a bit faster

Speedwork can help you run more smoothly at all paces, but the greater impact forces pose an injury risk. Don’t spring-speed up by increasing your cadence. Try this: On a rolling route, let gravity pull you downhill, then glide up the uphill for a few yards. Walk up a bit more, turn around, and run the other way, using momentum to run farther back up. Start with tow repeats, and work up to four to six.

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