Runners often wonder, “how many days a week should I run to achieve my goal?” (to run a 5k, 10k, marathon, ultra or to lose weight etc.) or “I’m so busy with other things, how do I make time to train for a race?” Luckily, the answers are simpler than you think.
Too many runners don’t set goals because they believe in order to achieve them, they need to run 5,6 or even 7 days a week. This couldn’t be further from the truth. If you are training ‘smarter’, most runners can achieve their goals by running 3-4 days a week. The key is that each run needs to have purpose and part of a personally designed, long-term plan developed by you or your coach.
In order to achieve your goals, your training plan needs to be doable, sustainable and get results. Consistency is important as well as having fun in order to see progress. As coaches, when we develop personalized training plans, we take into account a runner’s work constraints, family and life demands. Not everyone can put running first!
The purpose of each individual run should vary and when you do each run is important for success. Examples include an ‘easy’ day for active recovery, a hard workout to build speed and strength, a long run to increase endurance, rest days for recovery, fun days to spark motivation or technique focused runs to prevent injuries. When your runs have purpose, you achieve your goals quicker and allow you more time doing the other things you love in life.
We have coached runners racing a 5k up to a half marathon reach their goals running just 2 days a week. We’ve coached runners to their first 100 miler running just 4 days a week. Again, the key is having purpose for each run and a smart, long term plan designed by you or an experienced coach.
Don’t let time constraints stop you from running your first 5k, your fastest marathon or your first 100 miler. Train smarter, with purpose and you’ll soon see progress and achieve or more than likely exceed your goals.
Damian Stoy, founder of Wholistic Running