New runners are quite fortunate: They have their entire running career in front of them. Starting this new journey is an exciting time, and we want you to get you started on the right foot.
One of the most common questions that beginners have is, "How much should I run?" It's a tough question. Depending on your fitness level and goals, the following advice can help.
How far should I run on my very first run?
If you've never run before, and don't have much experience recently with other sports that involve running like soccer or basketball, you should start gradually. Your first run should be 1 to 3 miles at most. The goal isn't to "get fit" or run fast, but rather to see how your body responds to running with the smallest risk for running injuries.
Run as comfortably as possible; keep the pace easy, and stop before you're really tired. You'll likely be sore so you don't want to make things too hard on yourself.
If you consider yourself an athletic person and have played sports or stayed active recently, you can be more aggressive with your first run. Aim for 3 to 4 miles at a comfortable effort. Just like a total beginner, you want to make sure you're not too fatigued.
How much should I run each week?
Beginning runners should start with two to four runs per week at about 20 to 30 minutes (or roughly 2 to 4 miles) per run. You may have heard of the 10 Percent Rule, but a better way to increase your mileage is to run more every second week. This will help your body adapt to your new hobby so you don't get hurt.
After a few weeks, you should focus on adding 5 to 10 minutes to one of your runs so that once per week you'e doing a "long" run. This is the best way for new runners to gain endurance and become a faster runner overall (even if you're training for a short race).
Those who have a background in sports can be more aggressive with their mileage increases, but it's still helpful to increase volume every two weeks rather than every week.