How Many Miles Do Runners Run a Week? (A Running Mileage Guide)

When I was new to running, I had no idea how much running I had to do. So I researched and asked the average weekly miles of runners on different levels. Here’s what I found:

On average, a competitive runner runs 35 miles a week. An elite runner can go as high as 100 to 140 miles a week. While an average beginner runs as low as 10-15 miles weekly. The weekly mileage may vary depending on the training cycle and training goals. 

Ahead, we will discuss the target mileage in training for different distances. We will also look at the training mileage of some of the best long-distance runners in the world.

How Many Miles Should You Run Weekly

This is a photo of me on my routine run.

Training mileage is a common topic amongst runners. It’s used to gauge the current level of fitness and predict performance in races.

There is no magic number as to how many miles you should run in a week. There are factors to consider when trying to determine weekly mileage. These factors are:

  • The goal of your training
  • The race you’re training for
  • The current level of fitness
  • History of injuries
  • Your training phase

However, there is a target range that you can aim for depending on your current level of fitness and the race you’re training for. I listed it in bulleted form below.

Target Weekly Mileage For 5k Race

If you’re new to running, chances are, the first race you’ll join is a 5k race. Unlike a half-marathon and a marathon, you can go from couch to a 5k race quite easily.

Your goal is to build up your endurance to the point where you can run a full 5k without walking at the end of your training.

You’ll start by doing run/walk intervals while gradually increasing the run time until such time that you can run a 5k without walking.

For intermediate runners who’s been running for more than a year, your goal is to go faster. You can do that by adding speed intervals and tempo runs to your training.

Here is the target weekly mileage:

  • Elite: 70-80 miles
  • Intermediate: 20-25
  • Beginner: 10-15 miles

Target Weekly Mileage For 10k Race

A 10k race is considered a short race. However, for beginners, a 10k run is quite long and you will need to build up your speed and endurance by increasing your weekly mileage and adding variation in your training.

A typical 10k training program should comprise of easy runs, long runs, and hard runs.

Here is the target weekly mileage:

  • Elite: 70-100 miles
  • Intermediate: 25-30 miles
  • Beginner: 15-25 miles

Target Weekly Mileage For a Half-Marathon

A half-marathon is when things get a little serious.

It’s short enough that even a sedentary person can finish it with training and perseverance, but it’s long enough that there’s still a possibility that an average recreational runner might not finish.

On average, a half marathon training plan for beginners will start with 15 miles per week and gradually increase up to 30-35 miles per week on peak mileage week.

Here is the target weekly mileage:

  • Elite: 100-110 miles
  • Intermediate: 30-40 miles
  • Beginner: 15-35 miles

Target Weekly Mileage For a Marathon

A marathon is a big deal for most runners. It signifies dedication, discipline, and triumph. But it comes at a cost. Training for a marathon is hard and it takes a great deal of effort.

Running a marathon without formal training has consequences both mentally and physically.

On average, the weekly mileage of a marathon training plan is around 30-50 miles per week lasting for 16-20 weeks. Beginners should start at 20 miles per week and gradually increase up to 35 miles.

Here is the target weekly mileage:

  • Elite: 100-140 miles
  • Intermediate: 30-50 miles
  • Beginner: 21-35 miles

Unlike the previous distances, you can’t fake a marathon. Even experienced runners will have a very hard time running a marathon without training.

Most coaches recommend running 18-20 miles straight at least once in training to be sure that you have the endurance for a full marathon.

Tips For Completing Your Mileage

The longer the race, the longer the miles. Someone who’s training for a 5k will likely run less than someone who trains for a marathon. However, the types of runs will also vary. Short races like a 5k will usually comprise short but intense runs, while longer races require low to moderate-intensity long runs to build endurance.

Adjust your mileage based on intensity. Hard runs are harder to recover than continuous long runs. As a general rule, do not increase both the intensity and the distance at the same time. If you increase your intensity, you have to decrease your weekly mileage.

Add variation to your workouts. If you feel stuck in your progress, you may be doing this common mistake, running the same way at the same length over and over again.

The easiest way to unstuck yourself is to add variation. You can do that by changing the distance and pace of your runs as well as adding other elements of fitness like strength and flexibility.

If you want to know more about varying your workouts, I made a guide to running variations. Be sure to check it out.

Rest days won’t ruin progress, they support it. Because we usually see intense training programs and progress reports of other people on social media, it’s easy to fall into the trap that “more is always better” urging us to skip rest days.

Not only that skipping rest days increase the risk for injuries, but it also hinders your body’s ability to adapt to the physiological changes stimulated by training. In other words, not having rest days will slow down your progress.

Follow the 10% rule. If you want to add miles to your weekly mileage, do it progressively. As a general rule, you should add no more than 10% of your current weekly mileage per week.

And don’t add mileage every week either. You should have some weeks where you reduce or maintain your weekly mileage to allow your body to recover.

How Many Miles Do Professional Runners Run?

On average, professional runners run 100-140 miles per week during training season. However, professional runners may run less depending on the training phase and their training goals.

Here are some examples of some professional athletes’ training mileage.

RunnerWeekly Mileage
Kenenisa Bekele99-111 miles
Haile Gebrselassie120 miles
Lelisa Desisa103 miles
Khalid Khannouchi110-120 miles
Geoffrey Mutai 110-125 miles
Eliud Kipchoge120 miles
Mo Farah126-135 miles

Note that the weekly mileage might change depending on the time of the year and their personal training goals.

What’s Considered A High Mileage For an Average Runner?

If the weekly mileage of professional runners shocked you, don’t be. You don’t have to run that much a week to be able to finish a marathon.

For the average runner, running more than 50 miles per week is considered high mileage. Most marathon training plans are only 30-50 miles per week.

Final Thoughts

Although weekly mileage is an important factor to predict race performance, increasing it isn’t the only thing you can do to improve your running performance.

Adding strengthening and flexibility exercises should also be a part of your training program to promote joint health and longevity.

Replacing some running with cross-training activities such as biking and swimming also helps reduce the load on your joints while still be able to train your cardiovascular performance.

Nicho Mauricio

Running wasn't always my favorite sport. I was a CrossFit athlete and I loved every bit of it. But since the pandemic began, I was forced to stay away from the gym and train at home instead. Things got boring. That's when I decided to trail run with my friends. I instantly got hooked. So I started training and researching all things running. As a beginner, I want to buy only the best running gear and do only the best practices. This blog is where I share what I've learned in my journey and my experiences as a runner.

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