Say you’re running 3, 4, 5+ days a week. Say you’re running 10, 20, 30, 40+ miles per week.
But what does that LOOK like? How do you spread out the miles? Let’s talk about how to setup your weekly mileage.
How to Setup Your Weekly Mileage
Setting up Your Running Week
Runs other than short, recovery runs are considered quality runs. They can be your long run, a medium-long run, speedwork, or a medium run with a speed component. Runners typically have 1-3 quality runs a week.
Follow these runs with easy or rest days after. Don’t stack hard days on the weekend and cruise through the weekdays.
Do your strength training and drills on these days. Leave your easy days easy!
Rest days are days with no running!
An active rest day might include some walking, light swimming, or a relaxing yoga class. A regular rest day will include some TV. 😉
Easy runs are relatively shorter in mileage and are recovery pace, jogging, or heavy conversation pace.
Easy days often follow hard days. They are great after long runs to keep your legs moving. They are great during the week to build aerobic endurance, time on your feet, and increase your total miles per week.
You can read more about balancing easy and hard days here.
Examples of Running Weeks Based on MPW
10 MPW (miles per week)
Mon: 3 mi conversation pace
Wed: 3 mi conversation pace
Thu: CROSS-TRAIN (walk, yoga, swim, bike)
Sat: 4 mi conversation pace
20 MPW (miles per week)
Mon: 4 mi fartleks
Wed: 5 mi conversation pace
Thu: 4 mi easy pace
Sat: 7 mi long run
30 MPW (miles per week)
Mon: 3 mi easy
Tue: 8 mi with hills
Thu: 5 mi with tempo miles
Fri: 4 mi conversation pace
Sun: 10 mi long run
These are just examples, but you can see the principles at work. Hard days, easy days, rest days. Long runs, speed runs, medium-long runs. Easy miles, general aerobic miles, hard miles.
How Many Miles Per Week Should You Run?
You may settle at 10 MPW to keep generally fit and active during a busy work-season. As a 5K specialist, you might love 20-25 MPW. Those who want to run long distance races, will often find home at 25-40 MPW. This will be your mileage base (read about building your mileage base here).
Your miles per week depends on CURRENT fitness and schedule. Don’t jump into your MPW or quality runs simultaneously or drastically. Injury risk is high that way. Instead, build gradually.
Making Changes to Your Week
As we know, things don’t always go as planned.
Say, you have HARD day, EASY day, then rest day. If you miss the HARD day, you can replace the EASY day with your HARD day (since there is nothing to recover from), then importantly, take your rest day as prescribed. Just be considerate of pushing your hard efforts into one part of your week. No stacking – you won’t be able to give the 2nd hard day the recovered body and effort it requires.
Modifying easy run days include swapping out an easy run for cross-training of similar effort, such as a bike ride, swimming, or yoga. Easy days are meant to be active but allowing your body to recover and not pushing it further in the red.
Training Plans vs Weekly Coaching
You will find that cookie-cutter and custom training plans will build mileage gradually and keep the scheduling principles above, as will weekly coaching.
However, the difference is that training plans lack the flexibility week to week. It builds without thought of issues that arise during training. A coach setting up your workouts each week can decrease training load when you’re feeling sick, watch for possible injuries before they become injuries, and can increase your training load more aggressively when required. Each week can be scheduled out around field trips, vacations, and work.
If you have a good handle on adapting training plans and like to work independently, a custom training plan can give you a great base to work from. If you’d rather someone else check your efforts each week and build the next week accordingly, an online coach can really speed along progress in your running career.