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Hey everyone, I was just wondering how far/how often is safe to run a week? During the past four weeks I've worked up from no running at all to a pretty consistant 2.5-3 miles five days a week. I usually run between a 9 and 11 minute mile. I still feel good running, but I was just wondernig how much running a week is expected to increase overall well being? Thanks.
Any running is better than none if that is your primary form of exercise. Even just 30 minutes a day a few times a week can produce great benefits. How much running you do depends on what your goals are. If you are training for a race, you should do more, but if you incorporate other forms of exercise (always a good plan), you don't need to do as much. It is safe to run as far and long as you feel comfortable, as long as it is not taken to the extreme. As an example, during cross country, we can end up running about 50 miles a week with one day to rest or cross train. Elite runners sometimes even run over 100 miles per week. But most people don't need to run that much. For greater health benefits, try doing longer runs at a constant pace, try interval training, and other forms of exercise.
I agree with everything vegan_runner said. There's no set number of miles that's "right" for someone to run. I just wanted to congratulate you on going from 0 to 2.5-3 miles in four weeks. That's such a great accomplishment!
Congrats on getting into running! Like everyone else mentioned, you aren't required to do a certain number of miles weekly. However, if there's a goal you're after (such as 5k, 10k, half-marathon, ect. completion), then a set number of miles per week, along with an appropriate division of these miles, can come in handy.
I ran Varsity Cross Country and Track during highschool, peaking at 40 MPW. However, I also competed as an Elite Championship Dancer, which meant that I could afford to (and had to, in order to avoid over-training) keep my miles lower. Many of my teammates had to run 55 MPW to achieve similar results.
Alot of recreational runners tend to stay around 20-25 MPW. This level of mileage can take you to a 10k, if you incorporate some cross training, even.
Irregaurdless of your goals, the general rule of thumb is to increase your weekly mileage by NO MORE THAN TEN PERCENT! This is really important, since small increases prevent the risk of getting injured. So right now, it seems that you're running 15 MPW. If you're looking to start running more, than add on an extra 1.5 miles this week. After doing this, you can add another 1.6 miles (since you'd be at 16 MPW by then), and so on.
If you find yourself feeling groggy/tired, or even not willing to run, then don't icnrease your miles. This is your body's way of communicating, and by sending out signals of pain and resistance, it's saying that it needs a break.
Sorry if I rambled on too much or confused anyone! A great site for additional running information is http://www.runnersworld.com. I love this place, personally. The forums range from beginners to elite athletes, and most user are MORE THAN friendly/helpful.
Best of luck with your running, and congratulations, again, on taking such positive steps toward your health!
The general rule is not to up your running by more than 10% each week - you can obtain a stress fracture without knowing at first. And then you'll have to start all over while you recup - no fun! Also, running every day without a day off will up the risk of injury. It's good to vary running patterns too - so if you do 3 miles one day, maybe do sprints the next or something for speed training?
Congrats on taking up running - it's such a great sport! It sounds like you're doing really well too :)