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Low-Volume: Frequency or Distance?

Quiz time! Let’s say you’re a lower-volume runner, running 25-30 miles per week.

Which is better for progress?

A. Three longer runs, say a 14mi long run and two 8mi runs B. Five separate 5-6mi runs?

Answer: it depends! No, that’s a cop-out, sorry. The answer is that if you’re looking to build your mileage and fitness, in general you’re going to get a lot more adaptations out of running 5 days per week, especially at first.

One longer run a week can definitely help spur additional adaptations — if you’ve already reaped the benefits of running consistently 5x a week. If you’re still around 30 mpw due to injury risk or lack of time, you could do a 10-12mi long run, leaving room for your other four runs to be in the 4-5mi range. But doing a 16-20mi long run and limiting your weekday running just isn't productive!

More ideally, let that consistent weekly running help you get stronger and faster, and better able to reap the benefits of higher volume.Remember, most of your running should be at a very easy effort! Add in some strides 2-3x a week, and you have a recipe for progress at low volume! More advanced workouts should be done in addition to this, not in substitute!


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