Jogging 15 miles per week may prove to be too taxing on the body of a beginning jogger, while someone who has been jogging for years may jog 15 miles in one weekend as part of her normal routine. Olympic athletes train for hours every day without adverse health effects, but if average exercisers attempted to mimic their workouts, they might find themselves injured and exhausted in a matter of days. When figuring out how much jogging is too much for you, avoid comparing yourself to others. Instead, focus on how you feel during and after your workouts and stick to the following guidelines to prevent injuries and overtraining.
Safe Jogging Guidelines
According to fitness author and professional triathlete Brendan Brazier, joggers and runners aiming to increase mileage either for fitness or in preparation for a race should stick to the 10 percent rule. This guideline suggests increasing your weekly mileage by no more than 10 percent of the previous week’s mileage. For example, if you are used to jogging about 20 miles per week and want to start jogging more, you can safely jog 22 miles next week, then 24.2 miles the following week. For joggers training for a distance race, aim to increase your long run by one mile until you can jog 10 miles comfortably, then feel free to tack two miles onto your long run each week until you reach your desired distance. Adding mileage slowly allows your muscles to adapt to the added strain while still allowing sufficient time for recovery.
Cross training can be an important training tool for joggers seeking to improve speed and fitness and prevent overuse injuries. Instead of jogging six days per week, which may put a strain on leg muscles and lead to soreness or injury, try jogging four to five days a week and cross training on the remaining one to two days. Cross training can be any exercise that keeps you in shape for your main sport. Bill Pierce, the director of the Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training in Greenville, S.C., says in a "New York Times" article that sticking to one type of exercise such as jogging can create muscular imbalances. Working different muscle groups not only will make you a better jogger, but also will reduce your risk of injury. If you feel you may be jogging too much, try cycling, swimming and strength training to incorporate other muscle groups and give your body a break from jogging.
Fuel for Joggers
According to registered dietitian Jackie Dikos, a contributor to "Running Times Magazine," joggers aiming to lose weight should eat 2.3 to 3.2 grams of carbohydrates per pound of body weight and 0.6 to 0.8 grams protein per pound of body weight each day. For a 150-pound jogger, this translates to 345 to 480 grams of carbohydrates and 90 to 120 grams of protein daily. Aim for fiber-rich carbohydrates such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and lean protein sources such as white meat poultry, salmon, tuna, egg whites, low-fat dairy, beans and tofu. The more you jog, the more fuel you’ll need, so increase calories appropriately when you add miles to your weekly routine.
Signs of Overtraining
Because the number of miles that can lead to overtraining varies from person to person, it’s important to pay attention to signals from your body that may indicate too much jogging. Signs of overtraining include exhaustion, lack of appetite, decreased athletic performance, frequent illness and insomnia. If you think you may be jogging too much, chances are you would benefit from cutting back. If you've been overtraining for months, you may need to stop jogging and focus on rest and recovery until your body returns to normal. However, if you recognize the signs of overtraining early, you can regain your jogging mojo by taking one to two extra rest days per week and shortening your other jogs. When you start to feel stronger, increase mileage slowly following the 10 percent rule and add calories into your diet accordingly.