“Oh, you’re a runner. So you’re running every day?” – I’ve heard this question so many times that I cannot even remember how often it really was but it’s actually a common idea non-runners picture a runner. Heading outside every single day. No rest days. We don’t need breaks. We’re super heroes. Running super heroes! But seriously: How often should a runner run per week? How many times should you run a week? Let’s talk about running frequency.
Running every day?
First of all, the running frequency—or how often you run—is one of three fundamental variables of training. The other two are 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, because your body needs rest to become stronger. Interesting fact: Many elite runners run as often as 14 times per week. How often should you run?
Real talk about running frequency
About running frequency
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 you 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 but it is necessary to do some form of exercise almost every day to optimize your general health.
Make your runs count
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. If you exercise daily you will have 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 3 times per week. If you’re motivation is to improve your runs, then make them count.
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 do cross training like cycling on my road bike and weight lifting. I’m obsessed with abs and leg workouts.
Rest days are important
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. Here is a list of great supplements for runners to support recovery.
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 hurt myself. 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 my tips for running beginners, if you’re new to running.