How Often Should You Run In A Week?

how often should you run in a week

How often should you run in a week is a common question that all runners ask themselves at every stage of their running life. The frequency of runs is one of the three fundamentals of running besides the distance you should run and the pace you should run.

A Very Common Mistake

For most beginner runners, they tend to make the mistake of thinking that more runs in a week can help them improve faster. This is not only wrong but dangerous because they can cause injuries easily due to insufficient rest.

So, How Often Should You Run In A Week?

For most beginners and even serious runners, three to four runs per week should be the most ideal. This is because there should be a balance between rest and runs to ensure that your body and muscles get enough time to recover. Rest is crucial to any kind of physical training, so it goes the same for running. In this case, three to four runs per week is the perfect balance to make sure you can improve your runs at a consistent pace. Rest is important but do not rest too long, the longer you pull off running, the harder you find yourself to get back into it!


What Can I Do On Rest Days?

Rest days are equally important to runners even though you are not running. These are days for your leg muscles to rest and recover. However, you should definitely try other cross-training one to two times a week on your rest days to work on the other aspects of your body. You can consider other exercises such as yoga, swimming, cycling, weight lifting and many more. Cross trainings are not necessary but they can help a runner to train other muscle groups other than the legs. One more crucial point to take note, do remember to dedicate at least one day a week to a complete rest day whereby there is strictly no workout. This one day is important to let your body be at total ease so as to avoid injuries and burnouts.

Running Every Day?

For those professional or very serious runners, they are able to run every day because they have had rigorous trainings to do so. The most common reason runners run every day is to hit a certain mileage goal they set for themselves. For most people who have work and other commitments, running every day can be a challenge. And not to mention, it is too risky because your body needs the rest to recover.  


All in all, how often should you run in a week? Three to four runs per week should be the optimal for most runners, with a couple of cross training thrown in for good measure. Not forgetting the one day of complete rest to give your body the recovery it needs.

There will be days where you don’t feel like running at all but trust me, it is often days like these where you will have one of your better runs. How many times do you run in a week? Please share with me by commenting below.

Cheers and Start Running Today




13 Comment

  1. Linda says: Reply

    I know people who run every day and have been doing so for years. Today they are struggling with hip problems and arthritis. They were not athletes, but people who thought it was good to run every day. Your advice on rest days is spot on and I hope people heed it. Thanks for the great tips!

    1. Will says: Reply

      Hi Linda

      Yes, rest days are so crucial but most people do not understand the importance of that. Instead, they choose to exercise everyday, thinking it is better for them.

  2. Toni says: Reply

    I’ve wanted to be a “runner” so many times and every time I start I give up because of the soreness. I’m pretty sure I was pushing myself too hard at the beginning and not resting enough. Can you recommend a good first week schedule for beginners?

    1. Will says: Reply

      Hi Toni

      First thing you should do is to start running today! It is really as simple as that, forget about the running schedule because that is often not as important as people think. Just get into the habit of running regularly and you can think of how to improve later on. Check out my article here on How to Start Running for Beginners.

  3. Emma says: Reply

    My brothers both went through the “must run everyday” phase and of course they made the mistake of thinking they had to run as much as possible! In fact, one injured his leg because of it! He couldn’t exercise properly for ages. I would love to be able to run but can’t because of my condition. I can only fast walk! Do you need to warm up and stretch before a run?

    1. Will says: Reply

      Hi Emma

      Oh yes, injuries can easily set you back for weeks or even months! Fast walk is fine as well as long as you do it regularly, exercises only work if you do it a couple times weekly. Check out my article here on How To Warm Up Before A Run.

  4. Brent says: Reply

    good stuff!! I am one who believes in not pushing yourself too hard. Especially at first. Enjoyed the article. Keep up the good work.

    1. Will says: Reply

      Hi Brent

      Thank you for dropping by. Glad you enjoyed the article!

  5. ido says: Reply

    Hi Will,

    I run two days a week.
    To be honest, I don’t follow such a strict training program, I just run whenever I have time. This usually adds up to two runs a week.
    What I did notice, is that is that if I miss just one run (i.e make just one run that week), the next run will not be as easier as I thought.

    Can you suggest a program that fits two runs a week, but that would still make progress in terms of fitness?

    1. Will says: Reply

      Hi Ido

      Two runs a week is too little to see a significant increase in terms of fitness. Sure, you can run longer after a while but the optimal number of runs each week is three to four times before you can see any significant improvement in your fitness.

  6. Suzie says: Reply

    I am a previous runner who has finished 3 half marathons and countless 5Ks and 10Ks. The reason I do not run anymore is knee pain and time. So, basically, excuses. The knee pain improves as the joint is used more. I found running 3 days per week was perfect and I did do a lot of cross-training, mostly yoga and biking. I think cross training is very important to reduce the pounding on your body, work out the upper body, and yoga specifically is so good to stretch those tight hamstrings.
    I will say to all the newbie runners, find a running partner or running group. Having accountability really helps keep you in a routine and it’s nice to have someone to talk to during the runs.

    1. Will says: Reply

      Hi Suzie

      Wow, you made so many valid points that I agree with. A running buddy is very helpful to keep newbie runners in check. Personally, I am trying to get more into cross training as well because I believe that can help improve my running too.

  7. I was a jock in high school and college and did a lot of running, in fact I once ran a half marathon with my rugby mates just to meet girls. However when I retired from prison work my knees and back where a mess. After several surgeries I was healthy again but had not run in 10 years. After seeing a photo of my fat self I decided it was time to put back on the running shoes. My first run felt terrible. I made it about 200 hundred yards before I had to stop. It took another 2 minutes for my fat body to stop jiggling . I followed your training methods and ran 3 days a week upping my distance as I improved. After 9 months I could jog 3 miles without stopping. I lost 20 pounds and felt better than I had in years. I do have one question. What do you do about recurring calf cramps? Stretching does not help.
    I really enjoyed your website,very helpful information.

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