Weekly Distance

Miles or kilometers per Week is an individual thing, so you have to find what works for you. By listening to your body and adjusting your schedule appropriately, your weekly distance becomes what ever your body can handle.

Rest Weeks

During the month you may strive for a particular goal in weekly distance, but include in each month a rest week to give your body extra time for recovery. The rest week is a reduction of about 40-50%. Run shorter distances and take more rest days or light cross-training days.


Another suggestion is to run heavy/light. Suppose, for example, you have a good run today. That run is a heavy run, meaning it puts significant stress on your body. Sports doctors say our bodies need at least 48 hours for recovery, so tomorrow should be a light day. A light day could be running about half the distance you did today. Or it could be no exercise at all. Or it could be light cross-training such as light swimming, walking, light cycling, light weights, etc.

Peaks & Slumps

It is normal for a runner to reach a peak in training such that the person thinks he or she can do that forever and then go into a slump in which the person can't do much at all. This is normal. Slumps are signs from your body that you need more rest, and extra rest is the key to get out of a slump. Some slumps only last for a day or two while other slumps last longer. It all depends on your body and how tired it is.


Weekly distance isn't a constant. It varies according to how tired or how rested your body is. It varies with the scheduled monthly rest week. It varies with your goals. Experienced runners tend to do more miles per week because their bodies are stronger. New runners shouldn't try to match their distance.

Suggested Distances for Long Slow Distance

I like to do one long run, one medium run, and several rest runs per week. The length of your long and medium runs depends on your goals. Here are my suggestions for long and medium runs.
  • No racing, just running for enjoyment. Listen to your body. Reduce your running when you feel tired.
  • 5K: Long run of 5 miles, medium run of 3 miles, rest runs of 1-2 miles.
  • 10K: Long run of 8 miles, medium run of 4 miles, rest runs of 2-3 miles.
  • Half marathon: Long run of 15 miles, medium run of 10 miles, rest runs of 5-6 miles.
  • Marathon: Long run of 15-20+ miles, medium run of 13-17 miles, rest runs of 10-12 miles.
Keep in mind that these are just what I would run, and you may want or need to run differently. In general stop running while you still feel good (no huffing or puffing). If you go into a slump, give yourself extra rest to help your body recover. Above all, enjoy your runs!


Mark said...

I like your idea of long, medium, and short runs.

Ash said...

I really just wanted to say thank you for this blog. I'm new to running (well running itself not so much since I played soccer for 12 years but actually training and running.) I've noticed as I've been doing it that running this way is very different than training for soccer. I think I've recently been pushing myself too hard and this website has given me a schedule which is easier for me to follow but also allows me enough flexibility that if I need to change it up, I can.

I was kind of wondering if you're part of Nike+ by any chance, because I'd love to have you as a friend! I'm "Scantrons" on there, it's kind of my motivation for walking/running daily because it shows me what I'm doing and also lets me complete goals.

That's another topic for another day though, but you really have opened my eyes and helped me understand ways that I won't strain my body and have injuries. You've also made me really proud that I'm walking fast paced instead of diving into running. Everyone around me kept saying that I was needing to run because I'm not really working out, but I knew I was from the toning and feel of my body as I was walking.

Now I'm on week 3 and I'm focusing more on getting my time down than my distance. I'm really trying to find my "threshold run" and use it at least once a week!

Thanks so much!

Allen said...

Hi Ash,

Yes, soccer is a very intensive sport, and I can understand that training for soccer is also intensive. Competitive running is intensive, but, as I said on my home page, this site isn't for those folks; this site is for the majority of runners, people who run or walk because they enjoy it, people who want better health, people who want to lose weight, and so on.

Those who say you aren't getting into shape when you walk are likely those who have bought into the "no pain no gain" myth. Competitive sports requires high intensity training, but the rest of us subscribe (or should subscribe) to the "no pain is the way to train" philosophy. I recommend that everyone walk for exercise and that only those who really enjoy running do that. Runners expose their bodies to a shock of 2-3 times their body weight with every step. Walkers don't do that.

You mentioned Nike+. I'm not familiar with that ID, but I assume it is a Facebook or MySpace ID. The only social network I do is Twitter, and I only use that to pass on training tips. I do have a running blog called oldmanrunning.org In which I blog about my day by day experiences. I try and do that blogging in a way that will help other runners. Feel free to drop by and say "Hi".

Ash said...

It's something like a facebook or myspace, but it's a place where your running stats are kept? Nike has this neat little thing now that you put in your shoe and it tracks everything for you, and then I guess it uploads to that site so you can share with friends, etc.

It's kind of a neat thing that I really got into (and is part of what got me into running!) I'm adding you on twitter!

Allen said...

Ash, be careful about doing threshold (tempo) runs this early in your walking/career. They are probably the fastest possible run that you'll do in your training, and because of the speed, they put very high stress on your body! It's better to run LSD for a couple of years to build up endurance before you advance to speed training, especially threshold runs.

It depends on the person, of course, but threshold runs are run at typically 85-90% of ones maximum heart rate. My page on Training Paces While Running talks about threshold runs and maximum heart rate.

I read the Nike page on Nike+ and read about the Coach's goal to have his runners do one threshold per week. Keep in mind that he is talking about runners who aren't beginners and thus have some degree of endurance. Also, his runners probably tend to be younger persons. In fact, be cautious about anything you read on websites, books, podcasts, etc. It's critical that you determine if you fit the stereotype of a runner that the author is addressing. Very few authors address their comments to us in the Masters category (age 40 and above). One book that I like is Jeff Galloway's book about running until you're 100.

Allen said...

Also, Ash, read my page on lactate threshold.

Ash said...

noted! (i'm actually only 21!) i'm checking into your page now!

Anonymous said...

what do you suggest for one year training period for half marathon with a objective to improve timimg to 2 hour range. i just finished my first HM last week with 2.28 and i am 45 years of age. mudit

Allen said...

Hi mudit,

First, keep a weekly long run of 10-13 miles so you don't loose your conditioning for long distances. Second, see my page on speed and my page on hills for ideas. Be careful, though, because speed can lead to injury if you go into it too much.

Be conservative. Limit your speed training to once a week and do LSD the rest of your runs. Give your body plenty of rest by doing shorter rest runs and medium runs and cross-training. Be sure you get good sleep at night. Do warmups and cool downs. Stretch. Follow the 10% rule in increasing your speed. Have a rest week every month in which you do less distance and no speed. And, most importantly, enjoy your runs.