Training / Running 5 days a week?

So, I currently work out in a fitness gym 3 times a week - Each session about one hour and primarily Bike and Eliptical with a splash of chest and arm workout.

Now, I’ve decided to run a half-marathon next year, and has to start training. I was thinking about running twice a week, in the weekdays where I don’t workout, but am a bit wary regarding that is a good idea. I’ve always heard that you need a days rest, but since this is something completely different, I figured it may be okay.

So, if anyone has any great insights into this, I’d appreciate it.

Oh - Im 44, has lost 30 kilos (66 pounds) over the past year, and is in the best shape I’ve been in these past ten years, as an idea on where I am, physically.


Well for lots of running, i found it best to vary the type of terrain you run on (to avoid injuries etc). I like to do tarmac running as little as possible (very high impact), but mix it in with running on grass (nice flat surfaces, like say doing laps around a reasonable quality football field) and beach running (my personal favourite).

How much you can do is often very personalized, but certainly i would say you should have atleast a days break from any specific exercise type, it might be preferable to have two days. This is taking into account a professional level of training. To mix things up (to keep your body protected from injuries) add something very low impact but full body like swimming, if on your two ‘off’ days from regular gym/running work you make them much less intense training wise, more as a warm down/relaxing session and still get some good exercise.

If running has never been part of your routine, start small - maybe 7 minutes of running at first and see how it goes. Once you build up to 20 minutes or so at a go, start paying attention to the “no more than 10% increase / week” rule. Mostly - listen to your body.

In my experience of having worked out in a gym with weights with probably never more than two months off in the last twenty years, you can work out more by altering which body part you work each day, thus allowing one to rest while you work the other. The problem is that you’ll be doing a lot of legs, but you can work around that. For example, you might run on Monday, work chest and shoulder exercises in the gym on Tuesday (allowing your legs to rest), run on Wednesday, work your back on Thursday (allowing your legs to rest), and work your legs in the gym on Friday.

Meanwhile I’ve run marathons before, done numerous triathlons, and run nearly daily. Since I had a kid my mileage has dropped, but normal for me is 25-30 miles a week currently, about 5 days a week on average.

It is possible to do this near daily running, but not immediately. Thing is I’ve been running for about 15 years as a near daily runner. Often the times I don’t run are because I bike. But it is something to work up to, and be mindful of what your body tells you. The proper shoe is a critical element. Early on, when I started running in high school, I had issues with my knees. Turns out I needed extra arch support. Since I switched shoes I have not had issues (12 years and counting). So if you are serious about incorporating more running, be sure to get the right kind for you. $100 for a pair of running shoes may seem pricey, but it is worth every cent if it keeps you healthy and (non exercise) pain free.

Listen to your body. Don’t ‘run through’ the sorts of pains that aren’t muscle or fatigue related. Occasionally when running I get these sorts of NOPE kinds of pains. I’ll walk and take a couple days off till it goes away (generally problems with arch in my left foot). No point in forcing an injury.

Exactly. Early on in my running not knowing the difference is what led me to the kind of knee pain that made it difficult to walk, let alone run, for a month. Happened yearly, and had to wear a knee brace just to be able to walk. I tried to run through early symptoms, tightness in the knee joint near the ligaments, and got punished for it. Better shoes prevented this in the future, and it is a non issue now.

Unfortunately there is no hard and fast rule we can share with you Razgon, you’ll just have to learn your body.

Agreement with CraigM, buy real running shoes. Don’t get caught up in the stride adjustment stuff (particularly for your first pair) and just get a neutral pair with a lot of padding. You don’t want ultra-light or the more ‘race day’ focused shoes. Try on a bunch of pairs and make sure you pick the most comfortable pair. If they aren’t super comfortable to start then they aren’t getting better many miles in.

When I started running, I found it helpful to run on back to back days when I could make it work schedule wise. It is both healthy and fun to mix up your distance and have longer and shorter running days. Also, at the start focus on distance over speed, but inside of a schedule of slow increases. If you plan on jogging 2 miles and after 1.5 miles you’re just done, listen to your body and stop running, but do walk the last .5 miles. Maybe next time you get the full 2 or 1.75, or whatever. It’s literally a marathon, not a sprint, scenario so just do your best. No one’s body can just start handling the impact of running, your joints and things really need to ease into it. Find a beginners 5k or 10k guide that looks doable and use that as a starting baseline.

I ran a half-marathon a couple of years back, and I used one of the Runkeeper training guides. It has you run about 5 days a week, but some of those runs are of the ‘as slowly as you can’ variety for recovery and some are very short but intense fartlek type. Check them out!

I have lost 30lbs over the last 6 months. Joined the gym and mainly did rowing along with Weights. I did this for 5 months and then started getting bored.

My brother in Law joined and we started running. Have been doing this for 6 weeks. I started at 10 minute runs and gradually built it up. My first 5km was 42 minutes on the treadmill. My best is 28 minutes.

I run 3 times a week between 5k and 10k depending as well as doing weights.

3 weeks ago I did my first park run and did the 5k in 26 minutes, last week I did my second and was down to 24 minutes. I am aiming for 20 minutes for the 5k.

My best 10k is 56 minutes but that is in the gym. I have my first 10k festival run on Sunday and would like to hit under 55 minutes, I know I can do it but still a bit nervous

I have never run before and at 45 I am really enjoying it. I still need to lost 12lb to get to 11.5 stone.,

Running in the Gym sucks but I like the ability to chop and change and do extra stuff as well, I don’t tend to run for the full hour but do other stuff.

As to feeling in great shape, I agree, it feels great, keep it up Raz.

It’ll be tough to jump to 5 days a week of running, but it is possible. More generally you should start slowly. Running takes a lot out of your legs and joints and they need recovery days. Alternating with lower impact cardio can help (like biking, swimming, etc).

As you get more into it, definitely stick to the “no more than 10% per week” rule. So start with 1-2 miles every other day, and gradually increase that over time. Eventually you’ll have to make the decision to run longer on run days, or add more run days but that won’t be for a while.

And yes, a good pair of shoes is worth it for running but you’ll want to make sure it’s a good investment. There are lots of different shoes to fit lots of different types of feet. You’ll want to make sure to find the right shoe. If possible find a running store with a treadmill that can help you analyze your gait to see what kind of shoes might be best for you.

Most certainly!

Just because the shoe I wear is the best for me, doesn’t mean it’ll be the best for you. For example I wear a certain style of New Balance (860’s) and will wear them until the day they stop making them. At which point I’ll buy several to ensure I have several years worth. But that’s because they fit my foot better than Nike or Brooks (I have very wide feet, which NB accommodate better). And the extra arch support is critical to me, but may be detrimental to you.

Point being, talk to people who have tools to find what’s best for you. And don’t buy the most expensive shoes thinking they’re the best for you, they may well not be. And don’t be afraid to buy a mid grade shoe now, and upgrade later once you see what is and is not working for you. Who knows, maybe more cushion instead of arch support is your need.

And be sure to try on different brands!

That’s good Razgon, good luck! Though to provide a word of encouragement, it sounds like you’re in reasonable shape and you’re still young… so do one in the Fall! I’d also say you could sign up for a 10k run in the next month or two. At least a 5k. Quite honestly you could do a 10k tomorrow with a mix of walking and running, and that would give you a good confidence boost and a benchmark to work around over the coming months and years as you train.

I say this because for three years my wife signed up for running events, and I held back “train on my own until I’m good”, not realizing then how absolutely lame that sounds and is. In reality tons of people of all abilities sign up (for distances up to a half, don’t consider doing a full marathon cold-turkey :)). So I never really motivated myself for a couple years until I actually signed up for a 10k. Man that first one was painful. Did a whole series following that and things became much better and much easier. Did a couple half’s myself.

That said, these days with two small kids its the best I can do to get on my bike for a few hours a week… 10k would probably kill me again. :)

Excellent suggestions all, thank you very much for that. Also, thanks for the kind words of encouragement - thats awesome!

I will purchase a pair of good running shoes. The neutral ones are a good idea, that Ive heard before, so I think thats the way forward. Seems like its fine to training and running on all the 5 weekdays. I just may have to change my training program, which is probably fine, even though all change is evil ;-)

On my way to work, but I really do appreciate all the great posts! I think I’ll have time to shoe shopping this weekend, and then start running tuesday!

Steve Cram once said about running shoes, that once you are in the £60 ball park, after that you are mostly paying for fashion. Also keep the sole as simple as possible, you want a ‘reflection’ of your actual foot as much as possible. Simple and comfortable. Do we have ‘suspension beams’, ‘air balls’, ‘glowing inflatable X’s’ and other odd things on the soles of our own feet? nature is the best designer for a reason :)

Well, first week of running and alternately training in the gym went very well. I had a slight muscle pull one day when running too fast downhill, but thats a lesson learned.

All in all, I have run for 1 hour and 30 minutes the first week+ a saturday, and it felt pretty good, so I am definitely going to continue running at least 3 times a week.

Shoes helped make a major difference as well. Its like running on clouds, these new Asics shoes I bought. It also helped immensely to get ones feet checked out, so it was the correct footwear I purchased.

All in all, feeling pretty good about running!


‘Here’s what might be happening to your feet when you run in shoes’:

Read this and thought of Razgon (and other regular runners on tarmac):

Interesting article. Though it doesn’t really address the question they brought up (injuries and running shoes).

Well I did my first 10k in 54 minutes, conditions were hot at 27 degrees (really hot for the UK in June). Also managed a 23 minute 5k which is coming down nicely.

I managed to get a nice comfortable pair of running shoes first time and have had zero issues feet wise but I certainly feel it more running on a treadmill than outside.

So far this month I have managed 80 km running and am starting to feel a tad weary. I find I am just tired by early evening most days and also find I get really hungry around 1am causing me to wake up and need something. I am wondering if trying to lose weight (need to lose another 14lb) as well as improve my pace is not the best combination as maybe I am not fueling my runs as well enough due to wanting to lose weight.

Raz how are you finding the food v exercise regime?