A question that is commonly asked in the running space is how many miles you should run each week. The answer depends on a few factors like whether you’re a newbie runner, what your goals are, how much time you have and so forth. There’s no one size fits all solution but, in this article, we’ll be exploring some suggestions for how many miles a week you should run.
If you’re a newbie runner
If you’re new to running, you probably have no idea as to how many miles you should be logging each week. In your first week, don’t concern yourself with trying to achieve your goals (like getting fit or fast) but instead use it to see how your body responds to the running activity. Your first run should be 1 to 3 miles in distance and you should run at a chilled pace you find comfortable.
The longer the distance you are training for, the more you will need to run each week
Your weekly mileage will depend on what distance race you are training for.
If you are aiming to run a marathon, you should aim for at least 30 to 35 miles a week. Half-marathoners need to be running at least 15 to 25 miles a week. 5K runners need to be running at least 5 to 15 miles a week.
Your weekly mileage will depend upon your goals
Like anything meaningful we achieve in life, you should have some goals you want to achieve as a result of your running.
It’s likely you will likely be running to achieve a personal goal like losing weight or to have a lower resting heart rate. Whatever the case you’ll need to be clear on what goals you are trying to achieve because these goals will inform your weekly mileage.
Get a physical running journal and write your goals and training notes in it. Writing them down means you’re clear on what it is you’re trying to achieve whilst being able to express yourself in the training notes section.
Top tip: Always make sure your running goals are ‘SMART’. This will make them specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and give a time deadline. To read more on SMART running targets, check out the following blog post:
Consider adjusting your schedule so you can hit weekly mileage targets
In the modern age lots of us are incredibly busy and – in our current situation – do not have stacks of time to dedicate to running a set mileage each week.
However, instead of admitting defeat and giving up on weekly mileage goals it’s a good idea to consider adjusting our schedule.
For example, wanting to run 30 to 35 miles per week for marathon training but have busy lives could get up an hour earlier to get the mileage in.
You could consider opting out of less productive activities and opt into running instead. A 2019 report by Ofcom found that the average Briton watches TV for three hours and 12 minutes a day. That’s a lot of time spent on a predominantly unproductive activity. Time that could be spent running and hitting a mileage target.
Instead of watching TV for an hour each day, running could more productively fill this time slot.
Of course, you wouldn’t expect to cut out important scheduled commitments like family or education time. These are critical to our health and well-being. You know what a worthwhile scheduled commitment is so you can make the call of what you can move around or even cut out.
Ultimately, we are all capable of hitting a weekly mileage target. We may need to look at and readjust our daily schedules. This could even mean cutting out less productive tasks in place for running to ensure we hit our targets.
Add variety to your weekly training plan as you rack up your miles
Don’t make the mistake of only upping weekly mileage without considering the quality of your workouts.
Mix up your training with a selection of tempo runs, fartlek runs, hill runs, sprints, trail treks and even get some race experience (like attending parkrun).
Completing different types of workouts, in line with weekly mileage targets, will supercharge your running and mean achieving success faster.
Experiment and see what works best
Ultimately, everybody is different, and your body will react to weekly mileage targets in a totally different way to somebody else. Therefore, be prepared to experiment and see what works.
It may be that one weekly mileage target is unrealistic and you need to lower it whilst another could not be challenging enough.
Don’t sweat too much about trying to run the ‘perfect’ weekly mileage for your situation. Set a target, try to hit it and see how your body responds. Learn and adjust accordingly.
- The first run should be relaxed, between 1 to 3 miles long and have a sole purpose to discover how your body responds to running. Newbie runners should run between 2 to 4 runs for the first few weeks and make each run between 2 to 4 miles long. Aim to increase your mileage steadily every second week.
- The longer the distance you are training for, the more mileage you’ll have to run each week.
- Have a varied training regime whilst in pursuit of weekly mileage goals. Tempo runs, fartlek runs, hill runs, sprints, trail treks and race experience will mean results come much quicker.
- You may need to readjust your daily schedule to ensure you hit your weekly mileage target.
- Be prepared to experiment with different weekly mileage targets. See how your body reacts and adjust your target accordingly.