Run 4 days or 6 ?

Hi all, I wonder if you can help me, I have been running now for 5 months and I am 47 years old, 12 1/2 stone (going down slowly), I have read so many articles and schedules I am now confused!
The thing I would like to know is:- what in your opinion is the best number of days to run?. Is it best to run 4 days or keeping the weekly milage the same spread the runs over 6 days?
At the moment I am running =
Mon 5 miles,
Wed 7 miles,
Fri 5 miles,
Sun 4 miles.
I am increasing my milage by 1 mile a week on one of the runs.
I am not training for an actual race but, I would love to do a half marathon sometime in the future.
Hope you can help,


  • I would stick to the four times a week as you are doing now – this gives your body ample time to recover from the impact / stress placed on your body due to running.

    If you feel you would like to train another couple of days / week, try cross training in a non-impact activity such as swimming and use them as cross-training / recovery sessions

  • Gaz,

    You can do great things on four days running a week. Rather than just aim for specific distance try and target each of your runs to train something specific i.e. a weekly long run, a speed session, a hill session and a tempo run.

    Have a look round the site for example sessions (think they are in the training bit). If you are training specifically for a half marathon then make sure you gradually build up the weekly long run to around 10-12 miles 3 weeks before the race. From what you are currently doing you look like you are well on the way to doing a half though :o)

  • 4 days sounds good to me. Much less
    chance of injury, and the rest days are just as important, if not more so than the active days.

    Have you got a bike ? Go for a ride instead at the weekend. Great aerobic workout, and saves your joints.

    You'll be ready for a Half in a month or so if you keep adding a mile a week to the long run.
  • Thanks for the good advice guys,
    I will stick to 4 days and yes I do have a mountain bike I have a computer thing on it that measures distance, I use it to go around a course that I intend to run to check the distance.
    Think I will use it more, cheers.......
  • Oh by the way WildWill I see you live in County Durham, what a great place to live, I live in Chester-le-street.

  • I say run as often as you are able to. You will not automatically get injured if you start running 6 days a week, though I'm not suggesting you have to. If you can fit it into your lifestyle why not try for it a couple of weeks and see how you feel.
    Day 1 - 3miles
    2 - 5miles
    3 - 3miles
    4 - rest
    5 - 5miles
    6 - 3miles
    7 - 7miles
    + 1mile a week to the longest run till you get to 10-12. Try to make a conscious effort to run faster than normal on one of the 3mile runs.
  • I have always trained four times per week no more. Coming to running at 33 two years ago I have built up the distances from literally 1 mile up to where I am now (18 milers on a sunday morning). My schedule is as follows:
    Mon: Rest
    Tue: 5 x 800m repeats
    Wed: 6 miles hard
    Fri: 5 mile easy
    Sat: rest
    Sun: 18 miles (or dependant on my race build up schedule)
    This has seen me through a half-marathon in Feb in sub 2 hours, the GSR 10 miler in sub 1.30 and hopefully will suffice in a sub 4.15 dublin marathon.
  • drewdrew ✭✭✭
    It all depends on what you want to achieve.

    Have you set any long goals, short or long term?

    If you want to do a sub 4 hour marathon, then yes - 4 days is sufficient. If you are aiming to do a 2:45 marathon then training for 6 days per week would make attaining this goal so much easier.

    Based on your current mileage then 4 days is fine. If and when you start increasing your training load substantially then you may have to add an extra day or two.
  • Agree with whats written above.
    Alternatively read the daily sessions threads on 'Training' to see what others are doing.

    I would say that with your current mileage 4 days is fine, however introducing some speed work into one of them (you have the base to start this) will improve you're all round speed,strength and stamina.Again the training threads offer sample sessions.
  • Once again thanks for all your good advice, so 4 days it is, and some speed work!!!!

    Drew you asked about goals, well, at first I just wanted to loose weight and get fit, now, I have been bitten by the running bug and cant wait to run a 1/2 marathon and if things go according to plan eventualy I would like to do a full marathon, but to tell the truth at the moment the thought of running 26+ miles does scare me a bit.

    Cheers Gaz......
  • Hi gaz, I also started running at a late stage in my life, I was 45 and after 2 1/2 years I'm still at and managed to complete the FLM this year in 4.50. I'm also nearly the same weight as you. I agree with most of what has been said so far and commend you for the slow increase in your weekly mileage. I would however urge you to be very cautious if you descide to introduce any speed work.

    I introduced speed work to my schedule fter about 6 months and within a few weeks I got shin splints which I stiil have.

    Despite specialist help, I still have problems whenever I try speed work. I put it down to years of a sedate lifestyle and poor bio mechanics.

    Don't let me put you off, you'll probably be fine, just take care mate.

    All the best

  • drewdrew ✭✭✭
    Jenks, have you tried doing your speed sessions on a track or on a treadmill with quite a steep incline? I had similar problems with shin splints which prevented me doing any speedwork until this year ( 2 years after I started running ) When I started doing the above they gradually went away and I haven't had any problems since then.
  • Hi Gaz - I agree with everything everyone has said, but here's my experience for what it's worth.

    I trained 5/6 times a week for London and wound up injured, missing the last two weeks of training.

    For New York in November I'm running 4 days a week, following the hard day/easy day rule, with a 90 minute yoga class on Saturdays - been working much better for me so far (touch wood!).

    Mon: Rest
    Tues: Slow/Moderate
    Wednesday: Tempo/Speed (treadmill)
    Thursday: Rest
    Friday: Hills/Fartlek
    Saturday: Yoga
    Sunday: Long run

    Good luck with everything!
  • Hi Jenks, glad you mentioned shin splints I got them after 6 weeks running and was laid up for 2 weeks, I went to a specialised running shop and he sorted me out with the correct shoes, 3 months later they are just about gone but I still get the odd twinge so I will be very cautious with speed work.

    Hi T & T Man, just to say that you mention hill work, where I live it is very hilly whichever direction I go in so I am getting quite used to them, which is a good thing I suppose, oh and good luck for the NY in November.

    Cheers all, Gaz......
  • Thanks Gaz. I'm trying to chant the mantra 'Hills are my friends'. Might work.
  • Nice one T & T Man think I will try that.......
  • As an alternative to the hard day/ easy day plan, if you decide you feel up to a harder week with 5 or 6 days running you could try a hard week/ easy week. This way you can build your stamina and in the easy week have 2 or 3 days off in a row if you fancy it. Also hills are the best - they increase the value of your training without you actually having to do the extra miles - so long as you get enough faster runs in on the flat or you'll end up plodding through races.
  • Hi Drew, the sessions that started my shin problems were not really speed work as such, but what the coach down at our teack calls his winter toughening up sessions. These involve 30, 40 and 50 mtr sprints, strides etc, running on the spot at varying intencities and bunny hopping over low hurdles, as well as a fair ammount of upper body stuff. I found that the shin splints occurred after the first of these sessions.

    The problem is generally managable, but if I try to step up the intencity of training then it usually flares up again. Maybe Gaz' aproach of gradual increases is the answer...

  • Everyobne seems to have a veiw on this so here's my two pennies worth. Most people seem to say 4 times a week and I would agree with that as your body does need time to recover, the one ingredient that nobody seems to mention is what to do on your rest days. Gaz, in my opionion flexibility can not be emphasised enough the need for flexibility in improving your running, preventing injury and recovery. Therefore I recomend that you work out a 30 min stretching session and do this on your three rest days.
    I've been training for 10 years and stayed injury free (bar the odd stupid non running related incident!) using this.
  • Thanks Jim, your the first to mention stretching on days off and it has obviously worked very well for you, so I will give it a try.....
    Cheers Jim.......
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