Just like the recent side stitch training question, this other beginner one is also deceptively difficult to answer. Unless you’re one of those freaks of nature that can go out and run 10 miles at the drop of the hat and wondered what the fuss is all about, you are going to find running a miserable experience in the beginning.
You’ll wonder why people voluntarily do this to themselves and then lie when they say they love it. Early mornings? Hill repeats? Thresholds? Intervals? No thank you. It does get better. If you’re smart about it.
How Much Should Your Run Each Week
It depends, of course. There is no one size fits all answer. Every runner is a special snowflake but there are some guidelines. If you are just starting out, coming back from an injury, or a long lay off, less is definitely more.
Many recent scientific studies have shown that running just 5 to 6 miles can help you reap significant health benefits. This is always my answer to people that tell me that running dangerous or will ruin your knees. Some running is always better than no running.
If you’ve picked up running to train for an event, the event distance will give you a guide to how far you need to or should run. The longer the event, the higher the weekly mileage.
Your race goals will also help you determine your weekly mileage. If you want to go out and compete or set a new personal best, you are going to need to run more than someone just trying to finish.
The type of workouts may also determine your weekly mileage. If you are mixing in tempo, hill work or threshold runs, your mileage may be lower but your quality miles may be higher.
As you progress and running becomes less sucky (technical term) don’t pursue a big jump in miles. Try to keep your mileage increases within 10% of the previous week. Better to be conservative. High miles can often to lead to injuries, especially in beginner runners.
5k: 10-25 miles
Half marathon: 30-40
So while no two runners are the same, I hope these guidelines can give you a framework for coming up with a solid training plan that will keep you running happy.