Running | How Often Should You Run?

Monday, October 17, 2016

The three basic variables of training are: –

  • Frequency (how often)
  • Duration (how far)
  • Intensity (how fast)  

You need to run at least twice a week to get any progressive benefit from it and many top range runners run as often as 14 times a week.

How often for you

A lot depends on your goals, how much free time you have and your level of running experience.  There are many different running schedules that will fit around the rest of your life and still give you the results you want.

If you want to see steady progress I would recommend you to run at least three times a week. On the other days, you can do cross-training activities like swimming, lifting weights, yoga or whatever you like.

Tempo, speed & endurance  

In order to improve your running, you should make those 3 running session really count. So I suggest a tempo run to develop your stamina, a speed run to increase your speed and a long run to increase level of endurance. 

With these three types of run and two cross-training sessions you will be doing the minimum effective training programme for runners.

Minimise injury risk

The primary reason to run just 3 times a week is to reduce your risk of injury.  Running has a high injury rate and this risk increases with running volume.  Some runners can't run every day without getting injured.

That's why sticking to a programme of 3 or 4 different types of run each week, combined with a few cross-training sessions will give you about the same performance progress you could get from running every day – but with a lower risk of injury.

Average frequency

Of course, if you have the time and the enthusiasm to run more every week, the most common running frequency for the average runner is 6 – 7 times a week.  That would be a daily run, with one planned day off or a daily run with rest days taken only when you feel the need.

As in all sports activities, be careful not to push yourself too much and if you find one week particularly difficult, stay at the same level for the next week and until your body is ready for more. 

We all have bad days – it's completely normal – so be consistent and you'll reach and beat your goals without injury!

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