How Many Miles Should I Run A Week? Find your Optimal Mileage

Our expert coach gives you her tips to help you determine a healthy weekly mileage.

One of the most common questions among runners is, “How many miles should I run a week?” Knowing how much, how often, and how far to run addresses a foundational training component termed volume

Volume refers to your training load, the product of the number of days you run per week and how many miles you run on those days. 

Knowing how many miles a week to run is a key consideration for those who want to maximize the benefits of their training and minimize the risk of injury.

Unfortunately, because running is so diverse—encapsulating a wide range of participants, distances, terrains, paces, and goals—there isn’t a magic number or simple answer to “How many miles should I run a week?

Your ideal running volume will vary according to several important factors, such as your experience and fitness level, injury history, and even workout preferences.

Therefore, we will explore the factors affecting how many miles a week you should run to help you determine a reasonable running volume.

How Many Miles Should I Run A Week

8 Factors That Affect How Many Miles Per Week You Should Run

While there are likely countless factors that can potentially come into play when determining how many miles per week you should run, the following are typically the most important considerations:

#1: Your Experience Level

One of the primary factors that should help determine your weekly goal mileage is your experience level as a runner

Runners consistently training for months and years can typically handle running higher mileage than beginners running a 5K for the first time.

When you are new to the sport, your bones, muscles, joints, connective tissues, and cardiovascular system need time to make adaptations to the impact, forces, and metabolic demands of running.

Beginners should take a conservative approach to ramping up the number of miles a week they run to prevent injury.1Nielsen, R. Ø., Parner, E. T., Nohr, E. A., Sørensen, H., Lind, M., & Rasmussen, S. (2014). Excessive Progression in Weekly Running Distance and Risk of Running-Related Injuries: An Association Which Varies According to Type of Injury. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy44(10), 739–747. https://doi.org/10.2519/jospt.2014.5164

How Many Miles Should I Run A Week

#2: Your Current Fitness Level

Although they may seem similar, your current fitness level and your running experience are actually two distinct things, and both can impact your ideal weekly running mileage. 

For example, if you’re an experienced runner who’s been participating in the sport for years, but has recently been sidelined due to an injury, illness, pregnancy, or busy lifestyle, you’ll want to reduce your weekly mileage and follow recommendations for a more novice runner until you can return to your previous fitness level.

On the other hand, if you’re just getting started as a runner but have been doing cardio workouts such as cycling or otherwise very active with other forms of exercise or strength training, you can probably handle more weekly mileage than someone who hasn’t been working out at all.

#3: Your Running and Fitness Goals

Your target weekly mileage is mainly dependent on your running and fitness goals. Why are you running? Are you training for a race? If so, what is the distance of the race? Is this your very first marathon?

In general, long-dustance runs and races necessitate longer training runs and often involve running the majority of days in the week with a higher overall training volume.

Are you running as part of a weight-loss plan? If so, are you also adjusting your diet? Or are you primarily running for stress relief? Or to spend time with friends?

How many miles a week you should run is clearly guided by your running goals.

How Many Miles Should I Run A Week

#4: Your Injury History and Risk

Ultimately, when people ask, “How many miles should I run a week?” they are looking for two things.

They want the weekly goal mileage to be sufficient to help them achieve their fitness goals while simultaneously not being too much to handle or too much that they’ll get hurt or suffer from overtraining.

Because the risk of injury is one of the primary dangers that loom if you overreach with mileage, your injury history, and general injury risk level have a significant impact on how many miles a week you should run.

If you have a history of numerous or repetitive bouts of overuse injuries, and certainly if you are currently rehabbing an injury or trying to shake various niggles, you should err on the side of caution and run lower mileage.

You can supplement your running mileage with low-impact cross-training exercises (cycling, aqua jogging, swimming, elliptical trainer) as tolerated or desired. 

#5: Your Schedule and Availability 

In a perfect world, we’d all have endless time and flexibility to run as much as we want, whenever we want. But let’s face it: logistics often dictate how much we can run.

You may only have a quick lunch break to squeeze in a run or need to slip out the door briefly before the kids get up in the early morning. 

Running should improve the quality of life. Avoid letting a high-mileage training schedule take over and add even more stress to a busy schedule.

How Many Miles Should I Run A Week

#6: Workout Intensity and Structure

It should also be noted that not all miles are valued equally. In other words, running a hard threshold run, tempo run, intervals, hills, or race pace miles will advance your performance and tax your body more than an easy run. 

Intensity can trump mileage in terms of benefits and factors that affect the overall picture of your training volume.

#7: Your Workout Preferences 

Some runners are wedded to running and running only, while others prefer a more varied workout routine involving running a few days a week and other types of exercise sprinkled in on alternative days. 

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach or sweet spot to how often you have to run to be a runner, and depending on your goals, running just a few days per week and keeping a lower weekly mileage may be perfectly effective.

How Many Miles Should I Run A Week

#8: Your Age

Although many runners are so fit and spry for their age that they can easily be mistaken for an age several decades their junior, in general, the older you get, the more time you’ll need to recover from your workouts and the lower your weekly running mileage should be.

It doesn’t mean you need more complete rest days, but your training program could switch out some running days for active recovery days instead.

So, How Many Miles A Week Should I Run?

As can be seen from our non-exhaustive list of factors that can impact how many miles a week you should run, determining your ideal weekly running mileage is often best answered on a case-by-case basis.

However, as a certified running coach, I have some general guidelines for you to use when planning your running schedule:

How many miles a week can a beginner run?

Beginners usually have the lowest weekly mileage, often running three days a week for the first few weeks and slowly progressing to four or five. 

The initial few weeks typically involve run/walk workouts, with weekly mileage in the 10-12 mile range and then working up to 15-20 or 25 miles a week, depending on your goals and previous fitness level. 

How Many Miles Should I Run A Week

What is the recommended weekly mileage for maintaining cardiovascular fitness?

If you are primarily running for general health and to reduce your risk of lifestyle diseases rather than to race, it makes sense to abide by physical activity recommendations for overall health. 

For example, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services2U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2018). Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans 2nd edition. In health.gov (pp. 1–118). https://health.gov/sites/default/files/2019-09/Physical_Activity_Guidelines_2nd_edition.pdf recommends that adults should be active on most days of the week or accrue a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise.

These guidelines can be considered easy jogging for 30 minutes five days per week or running more intensely for 25 minutes three days per week. Your weekly mileage could be based on how far you can run the allotted amount of time. 

How Many Miles Should I Run A Week

How many miles a week to train for a 5K?

The typical weekly mileage for average runners training for the 5k is 15-25 miles. More competitive runners will run more. Elite runners will have a volume closer to 70-80 mile weeks.

How many miles a week to train for a 10K?

The typical weekly mileage for average runners training for the 10k is 20-30 miles per week. Elite runners will have a volume closer to 80-100 miles per week.

What is the recommended weekly mileage for improving long-distance running endurance?

Half Marathon 

The typical weekly mileage for average runners training for a half marathon is 30-40 miles a week. Elite runners will have a volume closer to 100-110 miles per week.


Marathon runners’ weekly mileage is varied but tends to hover around 35-60 miles. Elite marathoners train between 100 and 140 miles per week.

How Many Miles Should I Run A Week 10 1

Weekly Mileage for Runners’ Best Practices

There’s no clear-cut way to answer the question: how many miles should I run a week? Rather, it’s a personal decision based on your experience level, fitness, goals, availability, body, and preferences. 

Remember that unless you’re injured, some running is almost always better than no running, so try to get out there and run whatever miles you can while respecting your body’s needs and limits.

Finally, the number of miles you should run is fluid and will likely change depending on your current circumstances.

If you are looking for a structured training plan to help determine your weekly mileage, check out our very own training plans here:

5k Training Plan

10k Training Plan

Half Marathon Training Plan

Marathon Training Plan

How Many Miles Should I Run A Week


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Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, as well as a NASM-Certified Nutrition Coach and UESCA-certified running, endurance nutrition, and triathlon coach. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

1 thought on “How Many Miles Should I Run A Week? Find your Optimal Mileage”

  1. Weekly miles is a mindless activity. I wrote about it at length and then was deleted. You can run a very good marathon where your training for the week totals less than 40 miles. I had a runner who a few weeks before decided he wanted to run the Montreal Marathon. No time to build up to a long run so we started with a 20, and that was painful for him. Our next 20 a couple weeks later was difficult. Mind you, he just wanted to finish, instead won the non elite division in 2:26. Then he went on to train a local woman similarly and she qualified. for the Olympic trials in the marathon.. I had other examples, but I’m not going to type all that again.
    Expanding this a bit, Lydiard and I were out for a run with others on his 60th birthday. He and I broke from the group, and after we finished he looked me in the eyes and said, if you know what you’re doing you never need to do more than 80 miles in a week. I don’t know why he decided to mention training as we hadn’t been talking training. For whatever reason he felt compelled to say it. While that’s still a lot of miles for many, it’s far less than the 100 mile a week he was promoting. Indeed, I heard him say that his runners were doing 100 miles a week quality and 100 miles a week easy that they weren’t counting. I rolled my eyes. The operative is you need to know what you’re doing. While with Bill Bowerman he summed up all you needed to know about training in less than 30 seconds. Maybe there will be another opportunity to elaborate.


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