Frequency, duration and speed are the prime fundamentals of training, but exactly how often should we be practicing these key fundamentals? Naturally, most would assume that the more you run the better progress you will see, however running everyday can result in more injuries. Research shows a person needs to run at leasta couple of times a week to get any progressive benefit from it; about three times a week. During those runs they should include tempo runs to build endurance, speed to build momentum and long distance runs to build optimum endurance. Ideally on the days not running, it is recommended to devote those days to a cross training activity such as biking, swimming or doing cross fit exercises.
Running every day, increases the chances of injuries and many simply can’t run every day because it is too hard on their bodies. If this sounds like you, it is best to stick to the minimum and run three times a week to give your body a break between runs with different forms of physical activity. If you are among the non-elite competitive runners and have no problem running everyday then you can make due with less cross training.
Every runner has different goals, preferences and levels that are all contributing factors when determining the right running frequency. If you are among the elite runners and run more than seven times a week, by running twice a day or strive to become an elite runner, there is a common rule of thumb to consider whether or not to double. If you plan to consistently run more than 70 miles per week, double at least once or twice a week to be able to incorporate easy run into your training. If you are considering doubling, make sure to ease into it and gradually increase distance.
Cross training is key to improving running performance and is why it is recommended to incorporate into training. In a famous Norwegian study, elite runners improved their 3K race times by replacing 30 percent of their running with plyometrics—not adding plyometrics to the running they were already doing, but replacing a chunk of their running with plyos. If you train nine to ten times a week, it is advised to incorporate plyo’s and strength training into workouts no more than three times per week. The most important thing to remember to gage how often you should run is based on your goals and listening and knowing your body to prevent injuries and rest your muscles.