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Running 20 Miles a Week: 3 Sample Training Plans + How to Get Started

Running 20 miles a week is a very attainable goal for most beginner and intermediate runners. Whether you’re running simply to stay in shape or are training for your very first week, sustaining 20 miles a week is a great way to stay consistent.

Is running 20 miles per week a lot?

Depending on your fitness and ability level, running 20 miles a week might be a lot or a little. Seasoned runners who are training for a long distance race might run 20 miles in a single run. However, most runners training for 5ks, 10ks or those running to stay in shape will find 20 miles a week to be quite a bit.

Training plans with 20 miles a week likely have the mileage broken down into about 4-5 runs, ranging from 3 – 6 miles in length.

Will I lose weight running 20 miles a week?

Running 20 miles a week is a great way to burn calories, complete regular cardio, and improve endurance. The amount of calories you burn running will depend on a variety of factors, such as your height, weight, pace, and current fitness level.

However, completing 20 miles will certainly burn a significant amount of calories. Going from running nothing to running 20 miles per week will cause more weight loss than than if you are simply increasing your mileage from 15 to 20 miles a week.

Benefits of Running 20 Miles a Week

There are so many benefits of running 20 miles per week. The distance is enough to provide a plethora of both physical and mental benefits, without being too much to cause injury or burnout. Here are some of the most common benefits of running 20 miles a week.

  • Improve physical endurance
  • Boost strength
  • Increase cardiovascular efficiency
  • Burn calories
  • Provide regular endorphins
  • Reduce risk of depression
  • Exercise without a gym or equipment
  • Increase metabolism

These benefits, and so many more, are why running is rapidly gaining popularity. It is accessible, requires no previous experience, and can be completed alone or with a group. Runners can simply step outside to run in their neighborhoods or head to a trail to enjoy the scenery.

Running 20 miles a week is a great goal for beginners or seasoned runners looking to stay in shape during an off season.

How many miles should I run a week?

One of the biggest questions both beginner and seasoned runners alike grapple with is how many miles they should be running each week. The answer varies greatly depending on ability, fitness and goals, but can easily be figured out with a few simple steps.

Narrow down your goals

Perhaps the most important thing to consider when deciding how many miles to run a week is your goal. Your training goals will play a big role in determining the appropriate number of miles to run each week.

Training for long distance races requires a high weekly mileage. On the other hand, training for mid-distance races or running as a way to stay healthy will likely require something more moderate, such as running 20 miles a week.

Decide how many days per week to run

Another determining factor when it comes to how many miles to run each week is how many days you plan to run. Some runners thrive running 6 days each week, while others find their groove with just one or two runs. Most runners fall somewhere in the middle.

Your goals, availability and physical fitness will all play a role in how many days you are able to run each week.

Consider your daily availability

Once you have determined how many days you plan to run each week, you’ll next need to decide how much time you’ll have to run on each given day. A popular plan is to run shorter distances (for less time) throughout the week, with a long run on the weekend.

The amount of time you have available each day will determine how far you are able to run. Depending on your pace, an hour of availability might allow you to run 4 miles or 7. In order to run 20 miles a week, you’ll need about 45 – 60 minutes, 4 – 5 days each week.

Vary the length and intensity

Something else to remember when planning how many miles to run each week is that you’ll need to vary the length and intensity of each run. Running 5 easy miles, 4 days a week will burn calories, but won’t do much to improve your fitness.

Aim to have some short, fast runs mixed in with a few long, easy runs. Follow a hard workout with an easy recovery run, and vice versa. Running 20 miles a week can be completed using so many different schedules.

Make time for cross training

One other consideration when deciding how many miles to run a week is cross training. All runners need to plan time for supplemental training, whether it’s walking, yoga, strength training, or other sports.

Consider whether you’ll designate an entire day for cross training, or fit it in after your runs. Decide whether one day per week is enough, or if you’ll want multiple.

Listen to your body

Finally, be sure to listen to your body when planning your mileage, as well as during training. Committing to running 20 miles a week might mean that some weeks you squeeze in 22 miles, while other weeks only get 15.

Setting a mileage goal is great motivation for any runner – but don’t get so caught up in meeting your goal that you ignore the signals your body is sending. Pain, sickness, or overall feelings of unwell might be signs that you need to scale it back for a few weeks.

If you’re considering running 20 miles a week, these sample training plans will give you an idea of how much time you’ll need to meet your goal.

20 Mile Running Week Sample Training Plans

Many runners find their groove running 3 – 5 times per week. In order to run 20 miles a week, the mileage of each run will vary greatly depending on the frequency of runs.

Here is a sample training plan with 20 miles a week, running 5 days per week.

  • Monday: 4 miles
  • Tuesday: 3 miles
  • Wednesday: 5 miles
  • Thursday: Cross training
  • Friday: 2 miles
  • Saturday: 6 miles
  • Sunday: Rest

Here is a sample training plan for running 20 miles a week, with 4 runs per week.

  • Monday: 5 miles
  • Tuesday: Cross training
  • Wednesday: 4 miles
  • Thursday: 5 miles
  • Friday: Rest/Cross training
  • Saturday: 6 miles
  • Sunday: Rest

Here is a sample training plan for running 20 miles a week, with 3 runs per week.

  • Monday: Yoga
  • Tuesday: 6 miles
  • Wednesday: Cross training
  • Thursday: 6 miles
  • Friday: Rest/Cross training
  • Saturday: 8 miles
  • Sunday: Rest

Whether you’re trying to find balance when training during the off season, or working up towards a moderate goal, running 20 miles a week is a great place to start. The mileage is flexible, yet still challenging enough to require effort and consistency.

Consistently logging 20 miles each week will set you up for success with just about any future running goal. You’ll stay in shape during the off season, gain fitness quickly when you’re just getting started, and burn calories during a busy season.

Try running 20 miles per week for a few weeks and you’ll be amazed how great you feel!

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