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How many miles per week should a beginning distance runner be running?

Thinking about miles and a special quote comes to mind!

 "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step" ~ Lao-tzu  

Another way to start running is by measuring the time you spend running.  If you are a beginner try running by time. Start small and increase the time by 10 percent each week, this will minimize stress on the muscles. Trust your body and how you feel during and after.

Go for 20 minutes and if running for 20 minutes is too much commit yourself to being active for the 20 minutes, instead of running the full time walk some run some. Eventually you will be running the full 20 minutes.

"Too much, too soon" injuries such as shin splints, plantar fascitis and runners knee are unfortunate reasons that runners have to stop doing what the enjoy.  When presented with a daunting long distance running goal such as training for a marathon that is 4 months away, anxiety and excitement can often lead to someone running too many miles before their bodies are ready to do so.  As a long distance running coach, I've utilized 16 week programs that require only 4 days of running per week.  Two weeks are spent increasing your mileage, and every third week, mileage is reduced to allow for the body to adjust to the increased workload. In addition, two days of the week, typically Monday and Friday, are considered rest days without running at all.  Cross training such as cycling, swimming, walking or stair steppers are encouraged, as well as regular resistance training.

Distance running involves much more than just hitting the pavement.  It takes time to prepare your body to perform these impressive athletic feats.  Without following the proper progressions, you may not enjoy the training experience as much as you should.  Training for, and completing a Marathon should be a rewarding and memorable experience. 

The beginning distance runner should be very cautious when first starting to do weekly mileage and only run about 3-4 miles per day. The reason for this is because the athlete's running form is most likely not refined and continual hard contacts with the running surface can lead to lower-extremity injuries. The most common lower-body extremity injury is shin splits (irritation of the tibialis anterior and posterior muscles). Although not life threatening, shin splints are very painful and are common in athletes who have weak tibialis anterior muscles due to the lack of previous training. Plantar fasciitis (trauma to the tissue beneath the heel bone) is another common injury often caused by poor running mechanics or poor footwear. The beginning distance runner should make sure their shoes are in good condition and have their running form closely observed to watch for over striding and foot-to-ground contact problems. The first few months should include cross-training such as water running, swimming, versaclimber, treadmill, and stationary cycling to help develop cardiovascular endurance while providing rest to the lower body.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.