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Achilles pain training errors: Large increases in weekly mileage

Updated: Jun 1, 2023

Training Error Series:


In this article, we explore why monitoring your weekly running mileage is important for preventing injuries to your Achilles tendons. About 80% of overuse running injuries, like ongoing Achilles tendon pain, can be attributed to big mileage increases and other training errors. This is part of our training error series, where we also look at the Boom and Bust Cycle, Training Intensity, and Recovery. Remember, if you need more help with an Achilles injury, you're welcome to consult one of our team via video call.

Achilles pain training errors: Large increases in weekly mileage

The terms tendinitis, tendonitis, tendinosis, and tendinopathy mean the same thing for all practical purposes, and we use these interchangeably in our articles.

In this article:

Why is monitoring my mileage important?

Weekly mileage is part of measuring the amount of physical work you are doing as part of your training. It is thought that if you increase the total volume (number of weekly miles) by 30% or more in a week, it can increase your injury risk.

Achilles tendinopathy is an example of an injury that might occur if you increase your weekly mileage too quickly. However, more research is needed to look into how it links to specific injuries.

How do I monitor it?

The easiest way of doing this is by simply tracking your mileage over the last few weeks, adding up the total each week and then comparing them. When you compare them, what percentage increase did you have each week?

For example:

Total mileage Week 1 = 50 km

Total mileage Week 2 = 55 km

55 – 50 = 5

5/50 x 100 = 10% increase.

Top Tip: Also look ahead and repeat this for the training you have planned.

Consult a physio online about your Achilles injury at Follow the link to learn more.

What should I be doing?

The traditional advice has been to increase mileage by no more than 10% increments per week. There is some debate over this, because when your starting mileage is very low, a 10% increase can be quite insignificant. However, when your weekly mileage is high, 10% can mean a significant increase.

So if you’re averaging a low weekly mileage, e.g. below 10 km, a maximum weekly increase of 30% could be an option. Between 10 km and 20km per week, a 20% increase may be appropriate. If you’re averaging a higher weekly mileage, e.g. 20 km or more, sticking with the recommended 10% increase may be more sensible.

The idea is to help your body adapt to your new endurance exercise stimulus and not get too fatigued, whilst also reducing your injury risk.

In strength training, a training plan where you increase your weights for 3 weeks and then decrease them for 1 week (to allow your body to fully adapt and recover) has been shown to be beneficial. The same strategy is also applied in running to help reduce the risk of injury but still gain the maximum from training.

Top Tip: Consider dropping your weekly mileage by 5-10% every fourth week to allow your body to recover.

When designing or tweaking training programmes at, we take into account not only your mileage but also the intensity you train at, your symptoms and how they respond over 24 hours, your sleep and recovery, your commitments, e.g. work and childcare, as well as additional things you want to do, e.g. other sports. This combined allows us to design a tailor made programme to keep you training whilst also rehabilitating your Achilles problem.

How we can help

Need more help with your Achilles injury? You’re welcome to consult one of the team at TMA online via video call for an assessment of your injury and a tailored treatment plan.

Meet the TMA physios

We're all UK Chartered Physiotherapists with Master’s Degrees related to Sports & Exercise Medicine. But at Treat My Achilles we don't just value qualifications; all of us also have a wealth of experience working with athletes across a broad variety of sports, ranging from recreationally active people to professional athletes. You can meet the team here.

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About the Author:

Alison Gould is a chartered physiotherapist and holds an MSc in Sports and Exercise Medicine. You can follow her on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.



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