How Many Miles Should I Run A Week As A Beginner

As we all know, running is good for you, but how many miles should I run a week as a beginner? We need to be careful, as if we overrun, we may pick up an injury. Different factors affect the number of miles that we should run as a beginner.

How Many Miles Should I Run A Week As a Beginner?

This is a very subjective question, as the answer varies from runner to runner. Several factors affect the

man and woman running in a forest path

number of miles we should run weekly as a beginner.

  • age
  • health
  • weight
  • fitness level
  • history of injuries

I will look at each of these in detail below


Even though it may seem a bit ageist, your age will significantly affect the number of miles you can run as a beginner. The younger you are when you start running, the more likely you will be able to run more miles.


Our health will affect how many miles we can run. If we are in poor health, we will need to take it easier than if in peak health. When starting a new exercise routine, we should always check with our doctors to ensure it is safe.


Overweight runners need to be more careful when running, as their extra weight can lead to injuries, especially in their knees. When overweight, getting a full health check before running is essential.

Fitness level

When starting to run, some people are highly fit as they participate in various other exercises. This should mean that they can run more miles quickly compared to a total novice. However, when other people start running, they may never exercise, so they have no fitness. This means they may only be able to jog for a minute or two before stopping for a rest.

History of Injuries 

If we are prone to injuries, we must take it very slowly when running as this should help our muscles get used to running. However, if we run too much too soon, we will get injured, probably resulting in us having to stop running altogether for some time.

How Many Miles Will I Run As A Beginner?

When deciding how many miles you will run as a beginner, the best thing to do is:

  • Follow a training plan – following a couch 2 5k plan when starting our running journey is essential as it helps control our mileage.
  • Take proper rest days – we should always take adequate rest days when we start our running plan. This allows our bodies to recover from each session and hopefully prevent injuries.
  • Don’t increase mileage too much – we should never increase weekly by more than 10%, as this is the recommended amount.
  • Cross-training – we should do cross-training on the days we are not running to help us increase our body strength.
  • Forget about speed – in the beginning, we should never worry about the pace at that we are running. Concentrate on running for a specific period, no matter how slow it seems.
  • Proper running shoes – when they start running, most people buy all the gear, but the most important thing to do is get proper supporting running shoes. Lots of runners overpronate, so it is essential that we check our feet to see do we overpronate. Please see the below article for the test for pronation.

Related content:  <What is the Difference Between Foot Pronation vs Supination>

When we have figured out whether we overpronate or not, it is essential that we buy runners that offer the correct level of support. My go-to runners are Asics, who provide neutral and stability runners.

Ideally, a beginner runner should only run/walk for about 20 to 30 minutes about 3 times a week, maybe only 2 times a week, in the beginning, to get your legs used to the impact.

How Should A Beginner Run Longer?

As time progresses and when we can run for 30 minutes 3 times a week, we can start concentrating on running longer and increasing the pace. Although it may be time to mix up our running at this stage, we should include the following.

  • Speed session – a speed session is where we run as fast as we can for a time period and have recovery breaks in between. An Example of this is to run 2mins as fast as we can and then rest for 1 min. Repeat this 10 times. It is essential when doing a session like this that we warm up properly before it and cool down after it.
  • Tempo session – A tempo run is run at a comfortably hard pace, faster than a runner’s typical easy or long run pace but slower than their all-out sprint pace. This helps us to run faster for longer, which is beneficial if we plan on running races.
  • Longer run – a long run is what builds up our mileage. A long run is an easy run, which is run at a conversational pace. A long run for some runners could be 6 or 7k, whereas a runner running for a while could be 20k. We never increase our weekly mileage by more than 10% as this may contribute to injuries.

Final Thoughts

We have now looked at the factors that affect how many miles a beginner runner should run a week. These factors are age, health, weight, fitness level, and injury history, what a new runner should do when deciding how often and mileage to run. I have also suggested what runners should do to increase mileage and speed when we have reached a base running time of 30 minutes.

How many miles do you recommend a beginner run per week?

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