How many days per week should I run? There could not be a more personal question than this. I have known elite distance runners who max out at 130 miles per week and others who never run more than 50. Similarly, some beginners are able to jump into high mileage very quickly, while other need to break into running slowly. The correct answer for how many days per week you should run is however many you are able to while keeping yourself uninjured, happy and successful.
For those new to running, it is typically not advisable to start hitting high mileage too quickly. Easing into a routine of running will help strengthen the muscles necessary to stay injury free. Initially, beginners should consider utilizing the run/walk training method, which mixes intervals of running and walking to lessen the physical strain on the body. Typically, beginners should aim to run (or run/walk) about three days per week. If you run more than this, you risk getting injured. If you run less than this, often you will not develop your aerobic or muscular systems as effectively as you could. On the four days per week when you don't run, it is advisable to do some type of cross-training exercise such as swimming, yoga or taking a brisk walk, which will improve fitness while not over-taxing your muscles.
As you progress in fitness, you will be able to run more often. If you have successfully run injury free for 3 months and you are interested in increasing mileage, then you should do so slowly. If you have been running three days per week, add a fourth and stick there for at least a few weeks. If you still feel healthy and hungry for more, add a fifth day each week. As your goals evolve and you want to run farther and faster, you should slowly and carefully increase your mileage and thus the number of days you run every week.
Many runners will never have to run more than 5 days per week. For most, that will sufficiently improve fitness while minimizing the risk of injury. Some, though, will desire to run more. For those passionate athletes looking to compete to the best of their ability, running 7 days per week may be necessary. If you are interested in this path, it is important to learn more about advanced training plans. Incorporating a mix of easy runs, hard workouts and long runs will be imperative to success. For those who feel they want to begin running twice per day, this article gives detailed instructions.
Remember, the correct number of days to run is different for each runner. Know your own ability level, be cautious to avoid injury and run often enough to stay happy and healthy.