How Many Days a Week Should I Aim For?

edited May 2013 in Training

I'm currently running under 20mi/wk (especially with work during the day and a little one at home, it's been difficult to find time!).  I once read that Blaise Dubois had suggested that runners should aim for 6 days/wk running (source).  That theory was backed up here.

Should I run less mileage to make 6 days/wk?


  • Hey Bryan- Have talked to many runners about this over the years, it does depend on your fitness goals for sure. It might also depend on how many days you are running now, and how long a duration each run might be. Duration of time invested sounds like the currency you are spending with a busy schedule. Runs of 40 minutes plus are where you are going to get the best aerobic fitness and lipid utilization after the fact assuming you are paying some attention to nutritional needs as well. Of course, with limited amount of running time available once you've established a good base, running faster is the next best step to maximize your time. There are numerous studies suggesting varying pace and terrain provide the best results ( ex. Fartlek). That said, breaking your running up into 6 small pieces may not be the best idea under the circumstances. Even with a little one, sneaking in walks will also improve fitness unwittingly. 
    Remember, time must be made- it is never found...
  • Oh runs are regularly about 4-5mi per run. 
    Socks are a scam. Just saying :-)
  • Ask ten runners and you'll get ten different answers. I have been experimenting with running every day so far this year (I am up to 139 days in a row so far). Some people swear by daily running, others think it is insanity. The best I can offer is that you should try different things and see how you respond.
  • By the way, I have three kids including two under three, so having little kids isn't an excuse. This is partly why I like the idea of running every day - it forces me to think more laterally about how to get a run in each day (early in the morning, during a 45 minute clear spot at work, after dinner, or late at night).
  • Agree with Harbourboy about trying variations and developing a strategy that works for you. I like to go every day (sometimes twice) and live in a household with 4 boys ages 6-13. If you think as they get older there will be more time... *flash*... they get busy with school activities and such. Two favorite times are before everyone wakes up and after they are asleep. Running helps my productivity and quality of life in almost every other way so I only experience gains from the time invested.

  • +1 for running before everyone gets up.  That's pretty much the only time that I can get in a run.  I'm not a morning person AT ALL, but it's so worth getting up an hour earlier than the rest of the people at my house (2 kids, 8 and 11, plus my wife) to get out and run.  Plus, it's the most calm, peaceful time of day to be out on a run.
  • edited May 2013
    You're right, of course.  I started a new job at work, and I'm still getting used to the shift in my schedule.  I think I'll be able to consistently run on my lunch break for awhile.  It didn't help that my knee was bothering me (Osgood-Schlatter), too.

    Admittedly, I don't like running early because I my son (just over 1yr old) wakes up between 7-8am, but occasionally before then, and I like being able to spend time with him in the morning because i only get to see him before I leave for work and for the barely 2hrs he's normally awake between when I get home and when he goes to bed.
    Socks are a scam. Just saying :-)
  • If your son wakes at 7am, that sounds perfect for getting a run in at 5:30 or so. My issue is that one of my kids is bound to wake at some point around 6am which makes a morning run pretty tricky to get in.
  • That's pretty much what I'm worried about: He'll decide to start waking up earlier, thus making a big ol' ruckus while I happen to be out.

    Honestly, I don't think it'll be a big deal to run during the day on my lunch break.

    The question still stands, though: should I really be trying to run 6 days a week?  Right now, my last few weeks' totals have been (since the first week of March):

    DNR (had to skip a week because I was sick)

    I would REALLY like to be doing 20mi consistently, but I just can't seem to get there.  Don't know if it'd really do me any good to run 3x4mi and 2x4mi every week?
    Socks are a scam. Just saying :-)
  • Depends what you mean by "Do you any good". If your objective is 20 miles per week then more days should mean more miles. If you have other objectives, like a 5k personal best, then the specificity of speed and tempo training etc will be more important than miles or days.
  • I'd like to make under 20min in the 5k, but right now, I don't think that's possible at under 20mi per week.  I haven't consistently done 20mi/wk since high school.  
    Socks are a scam. Just saying :-)
  • edited May 2013
    If 5k @20:00 is your goal, working towards 6 min. miles is the focus. 20 miles per week is plenty of running. Harbourboy nailed it with "specificity of speed and tempo training etc will be more important than miles or days". Get yourself fit enough to run under 6 minutes in a mile and you're on your way...
  • I see what he's saying, and I don't doubt the advice.  Right now, I feel like the priority should be getting the miles in, and what I was asking is if I should be doing less miles per day so I make more runs per week or more miles per run (and less runs per week).
    Socks are a scam. Just saying :-)
  • Couple of things:  Are you training your aerobic or anaerobic engine?  Even a 5K race is 98% aerobic and only 2% anaerobic yet most people training anaerobically.  Also are you monitoring for over training.  I've found ithlete a great tool.

  • I could be wrong, but right now my thought is that I need to get some base miles before I start worrying about pace and aerobic threshold, etc. and right now I'm not doing it.  I feel like discussing that is putting the cart before the horse.  If nothing else, if I'm not doing enough miles in a week, I don't have spare miles to devote to speed.

    Does that makes sense?  I feel like your point is important, but kind of secondary right now.
    Socks are a scam. Just saying :-)
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