How Much Should I Run – 6 Essential Rules

As a beginner, the first question you ask yourself when flirting with the idea of ​​running, and especially with the thought of attending a race, is "How much should I run every week?". At SportsPartner.com, we stimulate people to do sports together, but we also show you how to get started. Let’s see how much you should run and how you can gradually increase your mileage.

At first there is the temptation to exaggerate, but it's good to know that in running one rule applies everytime, and that is "more is not necessarily better." The truth is that increasing distance every week is a good idea only to the point where you reach full potential. Thereafter, increasing distance is proportional to increased risk of injury. I’ll offer six golden rules to help you establish your right weekly "mileage". There are a few rules (or you can just say tips) you should take into account when you start running weekly. The type of race you are preparing for does not really matter. The principles are the same for each runner in the world.

Rule No. 1 – Check How Long Is The Race

The longer the race, the more miles you have to run every week. It’s part of the training and the usual necessities of the human body when you want to push further. It's no surprise that a marathoner should run significantly more than a runner who is targeting 3-6 mile races. Marathon runners should aim for aerobic workouts and they should pay attention to the mileage, while a 5k needs speed.

A stopwatch on the track. How fast do you run?

Rule No. 2 – Increase The Distance

The distance should be increased weekly as the goals move to another level. If your objective is only to finish the race, you can run less than someone who wants to get a certain time. Never settle down – try to develop your stamina and speed even after you reach “higher levels” of fitness condition.

Running girl is pushing beyond her limits

Rule No. 3 – Recovery Is Essential

Some miles matter more than others (First Fact). When your workouts include intervals (or "chunks"), hill running, running in competition tempo, then the request is more intense than doing workouts at constant average intensity. In this situation there should be a least total distance reduction, so as to give your body the opportunity to recover. Recovery is an essential part of successful training.

Road sign 45mph. Can you run faster than that?

Rule No. 4 – Difersify Your Workouts

Some miles matter more than others (Second Fact). If you run with a pace much different from the competition one, you limit your chances of increasing performance. Specificity principle tells us that you only get better at what you frequently practice. If you run long distances with a not too high pace, then you will improve performance only for long runs. Add some high pace intervals in your workouts.

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Rule No. 5 – Increase Distance Gradually

Give your body time to adapt. To avoid problems, do not arise too fast or too often the distance you run during your weekly trainings. Give your body a chance to gradually receive "loads" of training. In general, you can add a few miles (1 or 2) to every run you make in a week, and run it for 2 weeks, before increasing again distance. For example, if you train 5 times a week, you can increase your weekly distance with 3-5 miles and keep it that away for at least 2 weeks. 

Two running partners on the beach.

Rule No. 6 – Stay Away From Injuries

A healthy runner will always be better than an injured runner. Some athletes do not understand or ignore this principle and exaggerate by running too many miles, suffering various injuries, mostly from overtraining, and then continue to train even being injured. This fact will only help you tick many miles in your calendar, but if this keeps you on the sidelines for the next competition, it will limit your ability or performance.

 Powerful trail runner pushing his limits.

Short Tip: How To Run More Efficiently And Avoid Injuries

It is very important to combine multiple sports when running weekly. Running itself will increase your endurance, but to be even better in parallel and have to do another sport:

  • Cycling develops your leg muscles and improves heart rate
  • Weight lifting helps muscle growth. Running requires you to train legs, arms, shoulders, back, abs.
  • Pillates or Yoga helps maintain balance, flexibility and concentration. In endurance running, mental preparation counts as much as the training itself.
  • Swimming: helps relax muscles after an intense effort. Moreover, swimming is beneficial and soothing for the psyche.

Overview

You have probably heard about the 10% rule. The one that says you should only increase mileage in increments of 10%. For example, if you have to run 20 miles this week and want to increase mileage, you should only run 2 more miles to be in the safe zone.

This thing is extremely general and you cannot count on it. You can be too conservative with your mileage. You can also be too aggressive. Adding miles to your plan requires a lot of other things – strength workouts, recovery, sleep, hydration, nutrition.

A beginner should definitely forget about the 10% rule. His main goal should be to run consistently to get used to running and adapt his body to the new requirements. Also, a beginner should not increase his mileage every week. Rather than that, he should add miles when he feels comfortable – even after 3-4 weeks.

For a more experienced runner, the 10% rule could fit perfectly in his/her program. For example, going from 40 to 44 miles is not a huge leap. Everything depends on how the body reacts to stress and fatigue.

 Trail running. Image of a runner caught from behind.

Conclusion

You should always pay attention to what your body says. You should always pay attention to details. Small pains can develop over time and can become huge problems for you and your goals. It does not matter what you are – an amateur or a professional marathoner – health is always the most important thing and you should treat your body carefully. Create a personalized, complex running schedule and stick to it.

The monthly “mileage” depends even on nutrition, hydration and sleep. There is no standard advice when it comes to how much you should run. You have to “feel” how much stress your body can handle and wait to recover when it asks for it. 

Stethoscope. Stay injury free when running.
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