How Many Days Per Week Should I Run?
How many days per week should I run? This is a common question with beginner runners. Elite runners, on the other hand, are known for double day runs and more than 100-mile weeks. So this begs the question, for the new runner how many running sessions should they plan for each week?
This is quite a personal and individual answer. Not all people are the same. Some beginners can increase their mileage quickly, while others have to slowly increase the running volume.
First you need to ask yourself, what are your goals? Is your goal to run faster? Do you want to lose weight? Are you planning to run an event in the future? Is you focus on running for speed, running distance or as cross training for another sport?
How many days should a beginner run?
For the runner new to pounding the pavement, it is advised to slowly build up the amount per week. Look for consistency rather than increasing the mileage to sudden.
Easing into the running with a long term training plan will help strengthen muscles and ligaments which are necessary to stay injury free.
For those that are unsure how much mileage their body can handle and how their body will react, should consider starting with run/walk training. This mixes parts of running and walking together. As time running slowly increases, the amount of time walking decreases.
Best way to start running
Start with three days per week of walking/running. Focusing on increasing the running by a few minutes each session. As you reach a total time of 30 minutes running, you can slowly remove/decrease the walking time until you are running 30 minutes nonstop.
Running less than 3 times per week has shown to have less effect on your aerobic and muscular systems. During the days you don’t run, its adviseable to include some cross-training such as swimming, rowing, yoga or core training. This will help improve overall fitness without the impact of running. Perfect for increasing fitness while the running volume is slowly increasing.
How to get better at running?
As your running fitness increases and your body adapts, you will be able to run more often. After three months of injury free running and you have managed to run more than 45 minutes nonstop, you can start to increase the mileage a bit faster. It is recommended in the first 6 months to increase the number of days running, rather than the duration of each run. Focus on consistency and allowing the body to recover correctly after each run. Separating runs will allow that extra recovery in the beginning, rather than adding volume onto already existing runs.
As your goals in running evolve, you will want to start to run faster and further than before.
As your goals evolve and you want to run farther and faster, you should slowly and carefully increase your mileage and thus the number of days you run every week.
If you are interested in running more than 5 days per week and to the best of their ability, looking into a running training plan can help this process. Depending on your long term goals this could be up to 7 days per week running may be necessary.
Incorporating hard workouts, easy runs and long runs are key to success for the runner. But getting their takes time and patience. Focus on consistency rather than rushing and you will find your running will get faster rather quickly.
The correct answer for how many days per week you should run entirely depends on keeping yourself injury-free, motivated and healthy. No matter if your a beginner, elite or professional runner.