How often should you run?

Why frequency is so important

running frequency

Let’s discuss the running frequency! “Oh, you’re a runner. So you’re running every day?” – I’ve heard this question so many times that I have lost count, but it’s actually a common idea when non-runners picture a runner.

Heading outside every single day. No rest days. We don’t need breaks. We’re superheroes. Running superheroes! But seriously: How often should a runner run per week? How many times should you run a week?

Is it okay to run ever day?

First of all, running frequency—or how often you run—is one of three fundamental variables of training. How many days per should you run though? The other two are the duration (how far you run) and intensity (how fast you run).

If you’re looking for some kind of benefits from running, you should at least run a couple of times per week. Running every day doesn’t make sense. In all honesty, your body needs rest to become stronger. 

Interesting fact: Many elite runners run as often as 14 times per week. But assuming you aren’t yet an elite athlete, how often should YOU run? 

REAL TALK ABOUT RUNNING FREQUENCY

HOW MANY MILES SHOULD YOU RUN IN A WEEK?

There is no book where you can find the right running frequency and how often you should run. Depending on your personal goals (weight loss, speed improvement, your first race) you need to figure out how many sessions fit into your schedule. Also, a beginner shouldn’t run as much as an advanced runner.

I wake up extra early and schedule my day perfectly to work out daily (sometimes twice per day). For beginners, this might sound a lot. It is necessary to do some form of exercise almost every day to optimize your general health. In addition, optimizing your general health also means getting the right supplements for your training. It also means knowing which products can fuel your running success: some of my favorites can be found here

HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU RUN IN A WEEK?

I also get asked a lot how many times a week do you need to run to lose weight? Or even how often it is healthy to run in a week? No matter if your a competitive runner, recreational runner, or a non-runner you should aim to exercise every day. The research is very clear on this score. 30 minutes of activity is very beneficial to your overall health both short and long term.

If you exercise daily, you will have a lower risk of chronic disease, be leaner, and live longer than if you exercise just a few times a week. This doesn’t mean you have to run every day. If you’re interested in running enough to see some kind of progress, you should run at least 3 times per week.

HOW OFTEN SHOULD I TAKE A BREAK FROM RUNNING?

You may be a very dedicated and motivated person as I am. So why take a rest day, when there is so much on your list that needs to get done, right? It’s simple: Not running is as important as your weekly long run.

On your rest days, you will strengthen your body, sharpen your focus, and reinvigorate your spirit. It makes you crave your training. Never forget that anytime you run, or hit the gym, your body needs time to adapt. If you rest right, you will always come back stronger. People who overtrain will hurt themselves and fall apart long term. Again, here is a list of great supplements for runners to support recovery.

CAN YOU LOSE WEIGHT BY RUNNING EVERY DAY?

If your motivation is to improve your runs, then make them count. So to answer the question how many times a week you have to run to lose weight is simple: As often as you can and please make these miles count! But what does that even mean?

Most weeks those runs should be a tempo run to develop intensive endurance, a speed workout to build speed, and a long run to increase raw endurance. Most likely I add an extra run where I run how I feel. NO watch. No goals. The rest of my training days I implement cross-training like cycling on my road bike and weight lifting. I’m obsessed with abs and leg workouts.

RUNNING EVERY DAY?

Now you’re wondering why I’m not running every day? First of all to avoid injuries. Trust me, I’ve been there. Especially in the beginning, I tried to run as much as I could until I got injured. Your body needs rest days. Those days matter the most because that’s the time when you’re actually improving. Of course, you’ll find other runners who are hitting the road every day and who don’t need rest days.

My personal experience has proven me to stick with 4 runs per week, active rest and cross-training. One of the biggest misconceptions among runners who want to get faster is that they should run every day. In reality, the body actually needs rest days to recover and repair muscles to get stronger. If you need help with your training, find out more about my online coaching program.

Everybody has to find their own routine in at the end of the day.

Please also read both my How to Run Well and my Tips for Running Beginners, if you’re new to running. And lastly, read below for a few more quick answered questions about running frequency.

Quick Running Frequency Recap and Q&A

As a recap of what has been discussed before, as well as a little more, I’ll conclude this article by providing quick answers to many of the most frequent questions on running frequency. 

How Many Days a Week Should I Run?

It all depends. Running a little bit everyday can be a good thing for elite runners and can get you in the habit of training frequently, but it can also lead to injury and plateaus in personal bests.

I suggest at least 3 times a week, but this all depends on what you’re training for. If you are training for a marathon or even a half marathon, your training frequency will obviously be different to condition your body. 

The best answer I can give to this question is that you will most likely need a personalized plan that takes into account your unique fitness levels and aerobic capacity. Factoring in rest is just as important as running 3-7 times a week as well!

How Far Should I Run Every Week?

Very similar to the previous question, this one is also largely dependent on your experience and conditioning levels. But assuming that you are healthy enough and have the proper gear, supplements, and knowledge about training, experts have found evidence that long distance runners (those who run more than 10 miles a week), experience close to an 85% drop in bad cholesterol prevalence. 

But there are cutoffs for training frequency, as overtraining and not getting enough sleep or nutrition can be dangerous. It’s best to consult a coach and get personalized training feedback to avoid injury. 

What Are the Benefits of Running Everyday?

It’s great to get regular physical exercise every day. According to this study, over a fifteen year period, the doctors involved measured that participants had lowered their risk of mortality by 29% with occasional runners and 50% compared to those who never ran at all. 

So, if you are running solely for the health benefits, running frequently and consistently can be an amazing investment for your overall health.

Running Twice a Day? 30 Minutes a Day? A Mile Everyday

For the first question, unless you are an elite athlete, are working on sprints and explosiveness, or you have a crazy work schedule, running twice a day won’t be necessary. A rule of thumb is that if you are under 50 miles per week, you really shouldn’t be considering 2 separate running sessions as it will overtax your body.

For the second question, running 30 minutes a day is a great goal if you’re a beginner runner. And it’s also a great way to establish positive habits for training. But if you get more ambitious with your training goals, you will want to stretch out the length of your runs, especially if you’re wanting to complete 5k, half marathon, or marathon. But at the very least, 30 minutes a day can drastically improve heart health.

And lastly, the third question. Running a mile every day can be a fun little 30-day challenge, but in the long run, you are best structuring your training into more strategic sessions for your overall goals!

3 comments

  1. I tried to get into running last summer but it didnt go well. I was having a lot of back pain. I’m pretty sure I wasnt stretching properly and I’m going to give the whole thing another try.

    I have never been a strong runner. I would get winded after 10 minutes. In college I started doing zumba and that was my main way of working out/keeping weight off. I want to try to get back to running – improving my stamina and endurance is my main goal. As somewhat of a rookie, how often do you recommend I run each week?

  2. Great Post!this page was really helpful. Everyone knows that running is a great way to get into shape. Running can actually help to lower your risk of breast cancer. It can also help reduce the risk of having a stroke.
    Good Stuff!! Keep posting.

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