How much should you run?

Happy hump day everyone. I had Monday off this week so this week feels a bit odd (but the weekend still can’t come quick enough, am I right?)

Monday was a funny day because I had originally planned to be doing the Ultra 12 event Saturday night so had taken the day after off to recover. However I didn’t go so obviously didn’t need to do much recovering Monday. Unlike my poor husband who didn’t have Monday off and did run Ultra 12. Funny how that worked out really…

I had nothing planned for Monday as I did manage to get my long run in on Sunday (despite the weather being appalling in the morning). I’m glad I got it done because it meant on Monday I could do a quick strength routine in the morning at home and then just do lots of walking instead.


Because I’d taken bit of time off running recently I felt it was stupid to jump straight into a really long run, so kept it to 10 miles. My average heart rate was 162 which was perfect for this run, meaning I was running nice and easy. Not that I really need my HR monitor to tell me that as I can usually feel how things are going. The run felt relaxed and easy. Though I’d stupidly put on a long top because I thought the weather would turn again. It didn’t until 5 minutes after arriving home. *Sighs* During the run I was actually praying for torrential rain I was that hot.

I did manage to get some nice walks in with Alfie, but when out running some errands I badly misjudged the clouds and got caught in a downpour!

IMG_7587 Think the shorts might retire soon…

Recently I’ve read a few interesting articles that one of my running friends tweeted. A series of articles caught my eye: How much should you run? There are five parts to it (I’ve linked to the final part with the conclusions). Spoiler alert: it seems that mileage is unimportant in improving marathon times, running higher volumes of miles a week will lead to injuries (40 miles a week apparently leads to a 50% increase in injury rate) and elites are just genetically gifted supernatural beings (sort of).

Further articles talk about how easy runs are rubbish and you’ll still get injured (I am of course paraphrasing a little). By the end of reading a few of these articles I was ready to throw either my trainers or myself out the window. My scientifically-minded running friend (Kate – hello!) however assured me that these studies were very old and the research is therefore limited. But it did make me a little bitter and depressed, I won’t lie. I always feel with running I get so far and then get knocked down again with injury. I am hugely jealous of people who can do stupidly high mileage and remain uninjured.

I’m pretty sure I have a terrible running style but I am improving little by little with strength training and drills (I truly believe with each new injury I learn a little more and work harder to never repeat the same mistake). But I think I’m one of those runners who can’t run every day and trot along without issue. I’m hoping as the years go by I will get stronger but who knows? I’m trying to cycle more than I did before as an effort to maintain fitness but reduce injury with running.

I do think these articles are to be taken with a pinch of salt and that it really depends on the person, their biomechanics, their training, their genes…etc. etc. so I shouldn’t just dive head first into a Dark and Shady place.

Runners, how often do you run? Do you know where your ‘tipping point’ is with injuries?

What do you do to prevent getting injured (in any sport really)?

How often do you get injured (if ever – you lucky sod)?

20 Replies to “How much should you run?”

  1. Am I the scientifically minded person?! Lol. Interesting blog, but I don’t think its necessarily all to do with how often you run, although its an important factor. I think its more to do with how long you have been running and how quickly you have built up the volume, intensity of training and distance from when you started. For my first 2 marathons and first 4-5 half marathons, my training consisted of just running on my own at a slow pace 3/week. No running clubs, no intervals/hills, no parkruns, no 10km races etc. I didn’t run great times and didn’t improve significantly from one race to the next, but I wasn’t that bothered. I think the reason I have never got an injury (yet – I’m sure to get them all now!) is because its been a gradual build up over the years. Whereas if you go from never running to running 4 times per week in the space of 6 months, then you’re probably more likely to get injured. It’s great that there are parkruns and so many events around nowadays, but maybe it leads to people doing too much too soon and running hard all the time, before their muscles and joints have caught up with the enthusiasm.

    1. Haha yes you are the scientifically minded person – I’ll add your name if you don’t mind then you can be famous in my tiny blog 😉
      Your comment has really helped calm my fears. I’m in awe of you and never getting an injury and to be honest, when I was running on my own without the club and without races and competition etc. I never got injured either. I just plodding along happy in my own little world. I think I get carried away with going as fast as I can and pushing my body without giving it a break. Gradually building up is the best plan – I’ve definitely scaled things back a bit and am not as ‘determined’ as I used to be. Running should be fun – I’m never going to be an elite athlete after all.
      AnnaTheApple recently posted…High5 or Nuun for hydration?My Profile

  2. I have been so soaked by the weather recently, every time I think its safe to venture out the heavens open!
    Personally, I’m better when I don’t run every day, or two days back to back. I run 1-3 times a week but then I’m not in hardcore training for a marathon or ultra event. I keep my mileage relatively low (a few 5ks and a long run do me well) and I haven’t been injured for years.
    But as I say, I’m not a competitive runner and I’m not training for a long distance/speedy event. A half marathon every so often is fine for me 🙂
    Claire @ Flake and Cake recently posted…New Eats and Beauty TreatsMy Profile

  3. Over training is a difficult thing to judge because to me, its all about the individual. Some weeks my legs feel great, and I can do 3 days of cardio [running 3 miles two days and 1 day is sprints] but some weeks my legs are just DONE and sore and I even feel an early on set of shin splints. With my past of exercise addition, I don’t focus on how many miles or how much time. I go off my body and how I feel. That being said, I’m also not training for a race 🙂
    KAT recently posted…[WIAW] SimplicityMy Profile

  4. Thanks for the link- will have a look at some point.
    I think you have to know yourself. When I first started running, having never been a fit person, I only managed 3 runs per week and that was it. Now I know that if everything is fine I can run 3 days in a row, but that is my limit and the third day will be a gentle run. I was given ages ago a book called Run Less Run Faster, and it made the good point of recovering properly between sessions so you could actually put in everything to the runs that you do- eg no junk miles. Although the training plans in it were all for Boston Q times so I think I was at about the 80 year old level for my speed! But I know that I can run a parkrun and do a long run the next day, but I need a day off after a long run. This has come through trial and error, as I know some people like recovery runs, and for me they are OK after a shorter harder session, but after a long run my joints need a rest. I had my hip niggle on holiday again which was really annoying- nothing to do with running either, I think I get stiff if I sit still for too long, but I am being really careful now as I don’t want to spoil all my races this year.
    Maria @ runningcupcake recently posted…Montreal parts one and twoMy Profile

    1. I think you have a really good approach. I hardly think you’re an 80 year old runner though!!! How stupid is that! I’m not entirely won over by recovery runs – I agree that your joints need a rest. I’m not sure how much benefit I get from them. I think for me 3 days a week is fine, 4 days is pushing it a bit and more than that I start to pick up niggles. I’m hoping in the future it’ll change and I will be strong enough to run more.
      AnnaTheApple recently posted…High5 or Nuun for hydration?My Profile

      1. No, what I mean is that the training plans were for BQ times, so very fast times- not for me. There was a 5 hour training plan, as that is the qualifying time for 80 year olds, or something (probably older as that book is a few years old now!). So my times are the same as someone who is 80 trying to qualify for Boston. Does that make sense ? 🙂
        I am catching up with MT but heard this week a 30 day strength prog (15 mins a day) which I am going to look up and start as that is where I am lacking.
        Maria @ runningcupcake recently posted…New EnglandMy Profile

        1. Ohhh I see what you mean! Sorry I get you now. I feel sorry for Ben because with the best will in the world a 3:15 BQ is very unlikely for him (currently) but for me it’s within my grasp – though I don’t think this is because I’m hugely faster than him, it’s just the female times are ‘slacker’ (in my opinion).
          I recommend the 30 Day thing from Kinetic Rev (I guess that’s what you’re talking about?) – I did it (loosely) and found it really helpful.
          AnnaTheApple recently posted…Foods and Alfie latelyMy Profile

  5. I usually run 4-5 times a week and that works well for me. I notice the biggest difference if I can get 5 in a week with 3 of them being quality runs, and the other 2 easy ones to shake the legs out. I actually set my 10k pb a week after a marathon when I had been doing no speed work at all and huge (for me) mileage weeks of 50-60 miles, so I think that running high mileage can make you a better (quicker) runner. Also I actually quite enjoy easy (junk) miles. I think everyone’s different and ultimately you have to find what works for you.

  6. Hi Anna! I just found your blog (from Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy) and its perfect timing really! I have just started training for my first half-marathon coming up this fall. Thanks for all the tips thus far. I run 3 times a week (once long) and am slowly building up mileage toward that 13.1 – exciting and scary!! So far I’ve been lucky enough to be injury free but I’m conscious to listen to my body, foam roll, and cross train – that’s what works best for me so far 🙂

  7. For me this is such an interesting read. If I ever run distance I get injured. I’ve been told to stick to 10k and no further which actually I don’t mind. However that said all the elites (not that ill ever be that fast) must run so much more than the actual distance they train for. Perhaps cross training is the way forward. However I also believe you have it right so much of running and sport in general is genetic. Id love to learn more about this. Your dedication is a true testament to you though. You’ll get there and as for style how do you ever know what is right? If you watch runners they all have different styles and some look like they couldn’t run for a bus yet still zoom along ! X

    1. Elites run like 100+ miles a week – it blows my mind!!! And yeah they’ll run long runs even if they’re just training for a 10k.
      I think it’s just about time for me – slowly gradually building it up, getting the marathons under my belt and growing with running. Fingers crossed anyway.
      AnnaTheApple recently posted…High5 or Nuun for hydration?My Profile

  8. I never run more than 3 times a week. When I used to run shorter distances on track I did train 6 days a week but now I’m running further I am unfortunately in your boat and just get injured if I run more often. My shins and knees don’t thank me if I run more, and particularly at the moment I definitely need the recovery time.
    I do think it depends on the individual, but I think a structured training plan which suits you is more effective than running endless miles. I know a few people who have run too much and seen their times go down because their body isn’t given the time to repair itself.
    Keep going Anna! You’re doing great 🙂
    Karen recently posted…Winning…My Profile

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