How Much Should You Run?

What’s Included?

  • Factors that impact how much you should run
  • How many days per week should you run?
  • How to increase your frequency

Factors That Impact How Much You Should Run

Jumping into a new habit or hobby can be tough – especially if you’re not sure where to start. When it comes to running, it’s important to remember that each season may look a little bit different, and that means HOW MUCH you run may change over time depending upon:

  • Your experience level
  • Your goals & what you’re training for
  • Your mileage
  • What your schedule looks like & your priorities outside of running

Let’s take a closer look at each of these when determining how many days per week you should run & how many miles per week you should run…


How Many Days Per Week?

1-2 Days

Experience Level

If you’re new to running, this might be a good place to start in order to build the habit

Mileage

1-2 days per week is typically used by runners who are running less than 10 miles per week. If you’re new to running and looking to start building mileage, this is a great place to start. Start with some run/walks and increase the time or distance spent on each one. Once you’re ready, you may choose to add in another running day. Runners doing 1-2 days per week of running should stick to shorter and easier runs in order to avoid injury.

Goals & Training

If your goal is to build consistency or to START running, 1-2 days per week is a great way to add some movement to your life & make it a habit before increasing the challenge level. This also might be a good amount for someone whose goals are focused on things OTHER than running (like strength training). You may choose to add in some running as a secondary form of movement and cardio.

Schedule & Priorities

If you are extremely busy and don’t have time to make running a priority right now, this is a good amount to still stay consistent.


3-4 Days

Experience Level

If you’re new to running, you can still start with 3-4 days per week, just make sure you’re gradually working your way up to higher mileage and effort instead of overdoing it. 3-4 days per week is also a great amount for runners with ample experience who are running lower mileage or are currently in a base building or recovery season.

Mileage

3-4 days per week is usually for runners who are doing anywhere from 10-30 miles per week. The mileage can be broken down however you’d like, and it really depends what you’re training for. If you’re a 5K runner looking to break 21 minutes, you may be running 30 miles in 4 days broken down as a 5 mile easy run, 8 mile speed workout, 7 mile easy run, and a 10 mile long run. Meanwhile, if you’re a new runner who’s looking to build consistency, you may be running 10 miles in 3 days broken down as a 3 mile easy run, 3 mile easy run, and a 4 mile long run.

Goals & Training

Are you building a running base? Training for a shorter distance race (5K or 10K)? Do you like to train hard and recover hard? 3-4 days per week is also a great amount for those who have goals outside of running (like Triathletes) who want to train with other types of exercise as well throughout the week. 3-4 days per week can also be a great range for those training for a half marathon or marathon, depending upon your goals, mileage, and your experience level.

Schedule & Priorities

3-4 days per week is great for those with busy schedules who are looking to make the most of the time they DO have for running. You can still make great progress running 3-4 days per week without spending too much time on it.


5-6 Days

Experience Level

If you’re an experienced runner, 5-6 days may be for you. 6 days per week should be reserved for those with ample experience and/or advanced runners. It’s important for the body to adapt to running at this frequency and mileage, so it’s crucial that you have a solid base before jumping into this frequency.

Mileage

5-6 days per week is typically used by runners who are logging anywhere from 30-60 miles per week. Running more frequently allows runners to spread the mileage across more days & increases your base.

Goals & Training

If you’re in the middle of training for a longer race (half marathon or marathon), you may consider running 5-6 days per week in order to build your mileage. Spreading your mileage across more days can be a great way to reduce the chance of injury (since you’re spreading the load across more days), so 5 days per week may be a good amount for injury prone runners. If you’re looking to improve your performance or make progress with your pace, this range may also be for you – you will become more efficient, have improved lung capacity, and strengthen your muscles.

Schedule & Priorities

Running 5-6 days per week can be time consuming – but if your schedule and energy levels allow for it, it can be a great way to improve your running! Just remember – you don’t have to maintain this year round, it’s okay if you increase to this amount for a season of your running journey & then bump back down to 3-4 days per week during your recovery season.


7 Days

Experience Level

If you are an advanced runner or an elite runner. If you’re a runner who’s completing a streak of some sort. Running 7 days per week can be very taxing on the body, so it’s not suggested for those who are prone to injuries.

Mileage

7 days per week is typically used by runners running anywhere from 7 miles -100+ miles per week depending upon how you’re distributing them. For example, one runner may be doing a run streak of at least 1 mile per day & may only bank up 7 miles across the week. Meanwhile, an elite runner may be logging over 100 miles in a week by distributing them across all 7 days and using some easy runs as recovery.

Goals & Training

If you are completing a run streak (you should make sure to keep the runs VERY easy and light if so). If you are training for an extremely ambitious goal & have ample experience with using active recovery (using easy runs and mileage variation to recover).

Schedule & Priorities

If you have a schedule that allows for it, running more frequently allows you to push yourself to new limits & can have a large impact on your progress. However, running 7 days per week is not realistic for many runners & may be suited for individuals during certain seasons of their life rather than in an ongoing fashion. Some may use this amount during a certain training period & then reduce back down to 5-6 days per week after the race or event.


How To Increase Your Frequency

Start EASY

If you’re looking to increase your running frequency – just remember that you should reduce the INTENSITY of your runs. Running amount & intensity should have an inverse relationship while training – with your intensity going DOWN if your mileage is going UP.

Start SMALL

Adding another running day should start with a shorter run & can gradually build up. If you’re typically running 3 miles 3 times per week and want to add in a fourth day – start with just 1 or 1.5 miles on the fourth day and gradually build up to the 3 miles over time.

Start SMART

If you’re looking to increase your running frequency – just remember that you should reduce the INTENSITY of your runs. Running amount & intensity should have an inverse relationship while training – with your intensity going DOWN if your mileage is going UP.


If you’re needing some help with building up your mileage, our coaches are here to help! You can apply for 1:1 coaching using the link in the @AIMVIRTUAL Instagram page.

Amy Haas
Run with Aim, LLC
UESCA Certified Running Coach
NASM Certified Personal Trainer
NASM Certified Nutrition Coach

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