When it comes to how often a person runs and planning your running routine, every runner’s will look different. However, it is a critical component to running and you need to figure out your running frequency to get the most out of your training plan!
Running frequency is simply how often you should run every week and we have written this article to tell you a little more about how to work out your running frequency and why it is so important. Let’s get straight to it!
How often you should run will depend on several different factors. How many miles you do a week and how much time you invest in running and training will drastically be different for each individual.
The factors include:
- Goals and Aspirations
- Present Conditioning Level
- Past Experience of Running
Finding Your Goals and Running Schedule
As we just mentioned, working out your goals and aspirations will help you determine how much you should be running each week.
If you are a beginner runner, whose fitness levels are low and you are perhaps overweight, your goals are going to be a lot different from someone who runs regular marathons. The goals of the first trainee might be to lose weight and therefore you might only want to run no more than three times a week. However, the latter or a fit runner with years of running experience might want to run five or six times each week.
As a result of this, it makes it tricky to determine how often you should be running each week as it depends entirely on personal goals.
By clearing up your running goals and figuring out exactly what you want to gain from running, you will be able to come up with a training plan that is suited for you and this should help you reach your end goal.
Goals could include improving general fitness, achieving a time goal, increasing distance, or something different and entirely personal. Once your answer is clear on this, you should map out the time you have and the time you can devote to any training plan you come up with.
To do this, determine the number of sessions you can fit into your schedule. You might want to consider work commitments, family, school, homework, or any other commitment that might affect how much you can run. This will help you come up with a tailored training plan.
Beginner Running Schedule
If you are a beginner runner looking for some guidance on how much you should run each week, it is recommended you start with an easy 2-3 times a week. We would highly not recommend you go over this limit if you are taking up running for the first time or returning after a long layoff from the sport.
This also gives you time to increase stamina and strengthen those muscles and connective tissues again. It also means you can build the habit up of regular exercise again.
Running just two to three runs a week of no more than 20 to 30 minutes will also make training much more enjoyable and accessible to a beginner as running too often, too soon can cause injury and burnouts pretty quickly.
You might also struggle to stick to a running schedule that consists of running 6 times a week, therefore it’s much more sensible to stick to just 2 or 3 times a week.
Intermediate Running Schedule
If over the last few months you have been running regularly and enjoying it, whilst also pushing those fitness levels up again, don’t be afraid to try and shoot for four or five days a week! However, only increase your running days if you feel comfortable doing so and you have the time.
Make sure you listen to your body and increase the weekly volume gradually, not all at once.
Progressing As A Runner
If you are looking to progress as a runner and you have been able to comfortably run up to 4 times a week over the last few months, you might want to either add one more running day or introduce speed training into your program.
To build up your fitness levels and be able to run at least 5 times a week, we recommend you follow these guidelines.
- Weeks 1-6: Run or Walk three times for 20 or 30 minutes at up to 60/70 percent maximum heart rate
- Weeks 6-10: Increase running time to 30 or 40 minutes three times a week, up to 65/75 percent maximum heart rate
- Weeks 10-13: Add another run and run four times for 30 or 40 minutes at up to 70 percent maximum heart rate
- Weeks 13-16: Now it’s time to run five times a week for around 25-40 minutes up to 65-75 percent maximum heart rate
Some runners like to combine their training with another form of cardio such as cross-training. To do this, you might want to run 3 or 4 times a week and devote the rest of the week to this cross-training.
When you have come up with a training plan and know how much you should be running every week, you will need to determine your weekly miles. This is important to keep running efficiently and reduce the risk of injury, as you want to be able to run without obsessing over mileage.
During the first few months of running, you will not want to focus on distance and pace, instead, you might want to give yourself a time length to aim for such as 30 minutes, at a relaxed pace, with good breathing and without stopping.
Even to reach this stage, however, you will need to train hard in a run/walk format where you switch between walking and 30-second intervals of running.
Once you have reached this stage, you can increase mileage gradually, using the 10 percent rule.
You always need to remember to rest. Rest is important to recover and repair muscles used in running and can help you feel refreshed when it is time for your next run. You should aim to have one full day of rest each week, where no running or other strenuous workout is allowed. We promise your running and your body will thank you later.
We hope by reading this article you have learned a little more about running and just how many times a week you should be running, either as a beginner, an intermediate, or a pro-marathon runner.
Remember, you need to start small and build up those fitness and stamina levels before you’re shooting at it 5 or 6 times a week, and running is supposed to be fun!
So come up with a training plan that works for you around your busy schedule, whilst also keeping you moving forward and keeping you motivated every week! Happy running!