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How Many Miles Should I Run A Week?

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There is no magic number when it comes to weekly mileage. No sweet spot that will help you reach the finish line.

A good rule of thumb is 2-4 runs per week, for roughly 20-30 minutes. For the average runner, this pace will be a 2-4 mile run.

But, this is all dependent upon your experience, goals, training considerations, and more. So let’s dive into the details surrounding run distances and how you can craft a weekly training plan that fits your needs.

How Do I Know How Far I Should Run?

Let’s begin with a list of factors that contribute to identifying your ideal weekly distance.

Get out a pen and paper to answer these questions. It’s beneficial to write them down, and your answers will be a great reference later on.

  1. How would I describe your fitness level?
  2. Have you been consistently running?
  3. What’s your “sweet spot” run distance?
  4. Are you recovering from an injury at the moment?

The next thing to consider is what your running goals are. 

  1. Are you currently training for a specific race length?
  2. If you had to push yourself, what’s the best long distance you could achieve?
  3. What total weekly distance would you consider a “win”?
  4. Do you have any non-mileage goals? i.e., Mile pace, fast recovery, streaks?

Now let’s level set;

If your goal is to get regular exercise a few times each week and engage your cardiovascular system, you can do that by running 30-45 minutes 4 to 6 times a week.

Notice I did not say anything about distance. Research shows that running just 5 minutes per day at a slow pace is enough to improve heart health. 

But if you’re looking to improve your running speed, distance, or reach one of those goals you wrote down, let’s run through some mileage options below.

5K Training

You can train for a 5K by running less mileage than any of the longer distance events. This is especially true for new runners. 

If you are just starting out or running recreationally without a deep commitment to the sport, you can get away with running anywhere from 12-18 miles each week. Instead, get some solid running shoes, throw in a longer run once per week, maintain a consistent running schedule, and focus on preventing burnout. 

If you run 2-4 miles, three to four times each week, you will find yourself in decent 5K shape by race day. 

If you have aspirations of a personal record (PR) race, you may wish to get into more specific training, so we recommend hiring a running coach. 

Or join our community, RunnerClick Pro, for access to bespoke training plans, coaches, injury prevention experts, and a global community of runners that are ready to support you.

Half Marathon Training

When you amp up your race distance, you also need to increase your weekly running distance with your weekly long run going into the double digits.

Depending on how many days each week you are committed to training, you will likely double the number of miles you ran in the past. 20-30 miles might be standard.

mileage running
mapmyrun.com

Simple rules to follow as you begin to get deeper into training are as follows:

  1. Do not add too much to your long run each week. Instead, raise your long-run distance by small increments.
  2. Only up your total weekly mileage by about 10% each week.
  3. Consider taking a non-impact day following your long run to recover and prevent overtraining.
  4. Your long-run pace should be considerably slower than your shorter runs.

Marathon Training

As you train for a marathon, your weekly mileage could range anywhere from 25-55 miles. 

Most first-time marathoners will follow a pretty basic plan from Hal Higdon or other popular coaches, with standard mileage and one long run each weekend. 

Some plans dive into “step back weeks,” which cut down mileage the week after hitting a mileage personal record. These plans are great for first-time marathoners because they keep you from getting burned out with the program and reduce your injury risk.

Here’s a very basic marathon training plan to help structure your own training regiment. 

Basic 18 Week Marathon Training Schedule

WeekMondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
1Rest3 m run3 m run3 m runRest6Cross-Train
2Rest3 m run3 m run3 m runRest7Cross-Train
3Rest3 m run4 m run3 m runRest5Cross-Train
4Rest3 m run4 m run3 m runRest9Cross-Train
5Rest3 m run5 m run3 m runRest10Cross-Train
6Rest3 m run5 m run3 m runRest7Cross-Train
7Rest3 m run6 m run3 m runRest12Cross-Train
8Rest3 m run6 m run3 m runRestRestHalf Marathon
9Rest3 m run7 m run4 m runRest10Cross-Train
10Rest3 m run7 m run4 m runRest15Cross-Train
11Rest4 m run8 m run4 m runRest16Cross-Train
12Rest4 m run8 m run5 m runRest12Cross-Train
13Rest4 m run9 m run5 m runRest18Cross-Train
14Rest5 m run9 m run5 m runRest14Cross-Train
15Rest5 m run10 m run5 m runRest20Cross-Train
16Rest5 m run8 m run4 m runRest12Cross-Train
17Rest4 m run6 m run3 m runRest8Cross-Train
18Rest3 m run4 m run2 m runRestRestMarathon

Those who have completed multiple marathons often dig a little deeper into the training and look to complete higher mileage. This is especially true for those jumping from beginner or novice plans to intermediate or advanced plans.

Plans for intermediate or advanced runners do not just have higher mileage. They also include longer mid-week runs and speed work sessions. These things are necessary to help a runner stay strong and focused in the final miles of a marathon.

What Is Considered High Mileage Running

High mileage is relative to your experience. For most recreational runners, high mileage is between 40 and 60 miles. A big range, of course, but everyone is different.

 Elite runners often run 90-100 miles in a high mileage week.

Remember, your weekly mileage will depend upon your goals, overall fitness, and what you might be training for.

Is It Unhealthy To Run Everyday?

A common discussion in the running community is streak running. This is when people run every single day for either a pre-determined or an indefinite amount of time. Many people feel that this is unhealthy and borders on obsession.

Some people have maintained streaks for years and years, running regardless of weather or injury.

We always advise runners to take care of their bodies to prevent major complications from occurring. 

The mental discipline and grit needed to keep up a running streak may be helpful to some, but it’s best to play it safe and ensure you can always run another day.

training running
fivethirtyeight.com

Don’t Skip Rest Day

Unless you decide that streaking is for you, be certain to honor rest day. If you insist on some form of exercise, at least choose low to no-impact exercises like swimming, biking, or yoga for runners.

Your body and mind need time to recover, so go enjoy a cold plunge, hit the sauna, book a massage, or spend the day stretching. You’ll find it easier to hit your weekly mileage if your body is performing as it should.

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