The three questions of running—how far, how often, how hard

By Ea Francisco

Running is arguably the easiest way to work out, so it’s just as easy to assume that running fast and far every day is the secret to losing weight. In reality though, you shouldn’t really be running seven days a week. Even experienced runners know the limits to how far and how long they should run.

Regarding how often you should run, it depends on how fit you are and what you’re trying to achieve. The recommended times are usually around three to four days a week and that applies for both casual and experienced runners. The more active runners can go up to five to every day of the week yet experts insists it’s still better to stick to the recommended days and spend the other days cross-training.

Cross-training can consist of walking, swimming, doing weights, or any other form of exercise to work other parts of the body. Running every day can get repetitive and put you at risk of injury, so put in some recovery days within the week too.

The intensity of your run can also affect how often you should be running. The Active Times says that if you plan on running every day, you have to mix your hardcore runs with easy and recovery runs so you don’t burn out or injure yourself.

You shouldn’t be running every day at full speed, too. However if you’re running for three days with the intention of improving, be strategic and maximize those days. There are different kinds of runs you can do that depend on your goals such as long runs for endurance, tempo runs for better pacing, and intervals for speed.

If you do choose to run every day, incorporate recovery days by decreasing intensity into something light and conversational. The point of running recovery days in this sense is to get blood flow circulating rather than improve performance.

When it comes to mileage, there’s an optimal distance you should be running, and it also depends on your capabilities. You could be pushing yourself to go far but still not getting any closer to your fitness goals. For beginners, a mile or two is a good start so the body can get a feel of running and adjust to the new lifestyle. A general rule is that you don’t increase mileage every week rather you gradually increase 10 to 20 percent every two to three weeks.

For beginners, a mile or two is a good start so the body can get a feel of running and adjust to the new lifestyle. A general rule is that you don’t increase mileage every week rather you gradually increase 10 to 20 percent every two to three weeks

Building mileage isn’t limited to how far you run in a day. If, for instance, your goal is to run a marathon, you don’t necessarily have to do the entire distance in one day but spread them throughout the week. You can have days that are particularly longer than others that can serve as your long run.

Another thing you can do is establish a baseline, which is the number of miles you can comfortably do in a week. This can put your training into perspective so you can plan the days when you can go far or easy.

It’s important to know that running isn’t the only form of exercise out there. While it’s good to run for fitness, recklessly doing too much might not be helpful in achieving your fitness goals. Establish what you want out of your running and how much you can do, and adjust your workout accordingly.