Marathon Training For All Skill Levels: How Many Miles Should You Run?

Running a marathon is one of the hardest sporting events the average person can do.

Marathon Training For All Skill Levels: How Many Miles Should You Run?

Whether it be a quarter, half, or full marathon, the distances you can cover can be many miles, and so the right training is needed so you are ready for this challenge.

If you are a beginner at running in general but eventually completing a marathon is your goal, then you should begin properly training as soon as possible.

Many beginners wonder about what is the correct way to train though. The biggest question that is often asked by novices is “how many miles should I run when training?”.

This question can be a bit difficult to answer, as everyone’s training routines, as well as their starting fitness levels, are different.

To help you answer this question, we have worked out the average miles that you should run when training for a marathon as a beginner, intermediate, and pro runner.

We will also show you how to work out how many miles is right for you based on your goals, body type, and whether you have suffered from any injuries in the past.

Here is everything that you need to know about training for a marathon!

Beginner Runners Milage

Many people who have never raced a marathon before are overjoyed when they cross the finish line after completing the race’s 26.2 miles.

But you can’t just do this on day one, running this kind of distance can and will take months of training. So where do you start?

If you fit into this group, you should be running an average of twenty to thirty-five miles per week, and running three to four times per week, regularly.

Naturally, you will not be hitting these kinds of numbers during the first few weeks of training, but once you consistently do, you know that you may be ready to move up to the next level comfortably.

By the time you reach the end of your program, you will likely be running somewhat more than 25 miles each week.

In addition, you may have one or two runs that are each 20 miles long, which would bring your total mileage covered over the week up to somewhere in the middle of the 30s.

If you are a beginner aiming to complete your first marathon, you might be able to get away with jogging no more than five or six miles, a maximum of three times each week. This will serve as enough training.

After that, we would recommend going for longer runs on the weekends, ranging from ten to twelve miles in distance. Your typical weekly mileage would be anywhere between 25 and 30 miles if you train like this.

Intermediate Runners Milage

If a runner has been actively participating in the sport for at least two or three years and has likely completed at least one marathon, they are regarded to be at the intermediate level (or more).

If this is your second time running a marathon and you have goals of bettering your record or maybe even placing in your age group, then you most certainly belong in this category.

There are a huge variety of unique training programs that may be followed, but the weekly mileage for a “typical” intermediate plan could range anywhere from 35 to 60 miles. This is the distance that the runner should, on average, cover.

While it may be tempting to go over this amount of miles, especially if you are having a really good week and think that you could go further, sometimes this is not always the best option.

When you get very comfortable with the number of miles you are running is when you should try to push yourself harder.

Doing this before you are ready is a sure-fire way to cause an injury that could knock you off your training schedule, and could even cause you to drop out of the race.

You should run the same amount that you need to run overall, neither less nor more unless an injury requires you to cut your mileage.

When you go to the next level of running you will need to start giving some thought to increasing the number of speed workouts, hill workouts, and tempo runs that you undertake.

There is certainly more to running than simply covering a predetermined distance in miles, and if your marathon route also includes hills, then you need to add these to your training program ASAP.

Pro Runner Milage

The weekly mileage of elite marathon runners often ranges between 100 and 160 miles, and occasionally even farther! People who run for a living and compete against one another in competitions or marathons are part of this group.

During their training, these running champions pay attention to speed, distance, pace, and everything else you’ve ever heard of, and yet they do it without putting themselves at risk of injury.

It is incredibly rare for a person to reach this level of running, which is why it is typically reserved for those who run professionally, like Olympians.

People who can run like this have been training for years, so you should not try to push yourself this hard, as it will take you a very long time to reach this level.

How Many Miles Can I Run Safely?

How Many Miles Can I Run Safely

While above we have given you a basic guide on how many miles you should be running based on your skill level, how many miles you can run safely si another matter.

No matter what your training app or schedule says, the number of miles that you need to be running in your training will be determined by factors that are unique to you alone.

It will all depend on your goals, body type, fitness level, and loads of other things.

Here are a few key things that you need to think about when working out how far you should be running daily or weekly.

Your Goals

If your goal is to run to qualify for the Boston Marathon or to establish a personal record, your daily running mileage will almost surely be different than if your goal is to run to improve your fitness or to achieve a specific weight loss goal. ​

If everything else stays the same, higher-stakes and more difficult goals will need you to run a bigger number of miles, and you will need to keep a record of those miles.

However, a word of caution is needed when it comes to running.

Extending your running distance only for the sake of amassing “junk miles” can be extremely detrimental to both your health and the accomplishment of the goals you have set for yourself.

Your whole performance may suffer when the training cycle comes to an end since your risk of overuse injuries will have increased, and your future workouts may have been less effective as a result of the additional unnecessary miles you ran.

All of this is to say that you should only push yourself to go further when you feel ready, and not just run farther for the sake of it because you think that going another mile today will make any difference in the long run.

If your goal is not to finish in a specific time but rather to simply finish the marathon, then the distance you run on average each day will be shorter than that of an athlete.

You should run the same amount that you need to run overall, neither less nor more unless an injury requires you to cut your mileage.

The Training Schedule

If you are completing a dedicated marathon training program that includes speed work, tempo runs, and long runs, you average miles and speed will be exactly suited to your training program.

This will ensure that you get the most out of your training.

As was said earlier, increasing the number of miles you run daily just to raise your overall mileage is a guaranteed way to diminish the effectiveness of your training program and increase the risk that you will get an injury. ​

If you don’t already have one, you should find a detailed training program that outlines your long-term goals for the total number of miles you want to run and get started on it right away.

These will point you on the right path and give you the confidence to know that you will be able to complete the marathon if you follow them.

Injury History

Running is a great exercise that can develop both your body and your mind. If you want to get stronger all around, running is the way to go.

Running will allow your body to become more used to responding favorably to stress being put on your joints.

In other words, if you run a lot of miles, your body’s musculoskeletal and cardiovascular capacities will increase, and as a result, you will be able to perform better, or in this example, run faster.

The issue with training your body to handle stress from running is that you have to put your body under stress to do this in the first place. If done incorrectly or if an accident happens, then you could get seriously injured.

If you have had injuries in the past or if you are prone to injuries, it is a good idea to reduce the total number of miles in your training program as well as the daily distance that you run. Because of this, injuries won’t be as likely to occur.

Because of their injuries, a lot of people have the notion that they need to give up running completely.

However, all they need to do to stay on the road is cut back on the amount of running they do and the intensity with which they do it. This will allow them to continue running.

Before choosing whether or not you should keep running after you have suffered an injury, you must speak to your doctor about the risks of starting up this exercise again.

While some people say that time spent recovering is time wasted, this could not be further from the truth. You cannot “push through” an injury, as you would with standard muscle soreness, and doing so, will probably only make the injury worse.

You need to think about what is best for your body, or you may end up never being able to run a marathon again.

Body Type

Your joints, bones, and connective tissues will be exposed to pressures that are equivalent to thousands u of pounds of pressure when you are running.

Although this can improve your fitness, health, strength of your tendons, and bone density, carrying too much weight can lead to issues such as shin splints, stress fractures, and other joint difficulties.

Carrying too much weight can also increase the risk of other types of joint problems.

For those of us who are already at a very healthy weight, the daily pressure on our joints isn’t that much of an issue.

This pressure, on the other hand, might provide a challenge for those of us who are larger runners or who carry some more weight when getting into form for a marathon.

Remember to keep your final goal in mind one more time.

If you are participating in a marathon training program to get in shape and complete the race, you should limit the number of miles you run each day to the minimum amount necessary to get the job done.


To complete your first marathon, you might just need to run 20–25 miles on an average weekly basis. All of this may appear to be a lot of work when you are just starting, but believe us when we say that after a few weeks you will find this very doable!

When you consider the amount of distance that some intermediate and elite runners are putting in each week, the thought of having a “short” week consisting of only 25 miles doesn’t seem like such a terrible one anymore.

Richard Harris