Is it bad to run every day? Before you make your mind up, try and tune out the naysayers for a moment. There are people who want you to implode if you try running every day. Just so they can prove a point.
Running every day may not be the best way to train. Go about it the wrong way and you can increase your risk of injury. But there are plenty of people who successfully maintain running streaks and keep them going for several years.
The longest running streak, where you run every day for at least a mile, is currently held by Jon Sutherland and stands at over 54 years! And he’s not alone. Over 4000 runners are listed on the Streak Runners International site with active running streaks longer than a year.
Certainly running every day works for some people but what can happen if you run every day and is it bad to run without rest days? This guide aims to give you a balanced view.
- Is it bad to run every day?
- Is it good to run every day?
- What can happen if you run every day?
- Tips for running every day.
Let’s get started!
Is It Bad To Run Every Day?
If your memory of running is lung-bursting flat-out runs at school, the answer might be yes. After all, running is a high-impact activity that can cause pain and strain on your muscles and joints over time if you’re not careful.
However, there’s a big difference between pounding away at maximum effort on a hard surface and a light, easy-paced run on the trails. The latter is easy on the body, the former can be a few runs away from injury.
Your pace and effort level, experience as a runner, and your running history all factor in the answer. Running every day is bad for some people but not everyone.
#1 Running Experience
If you’re new to running, it’s best to build up your endurance before you start running every day. Your body needs to get stronger and adapt to the impact of running.
Couch to 5K is an ideal training plan for beginners. You run 3 times a week and slowly increase your running distance.
As you become more experienced your body can cope with running more frequently. An experienced runner will often train 5 to 6 days a week.
#2 History Of Injuries
All runners are different. Some can adapt to training every day and others need rest. The best guide to what works for you will be your running history.
If you frequently get hurt when you push too hard, taking days off will be important to avoid overuse injuries. Stress fractures are an example of running injuries that need careful management. There can be a risk of recurrent stress fractures with insufficient rest and high weekly training mileage.
#3 Training Goals
Running every day does come with many health benefits, particularly for your mental health. But it can be at odds with your training goals.
There are certainly better ways of training than running the same distance every day. Most training plans include cross-training days, long runs, speed sessions, strength training, and recovery runs.
This running mix prioritizes active recovery so you can push during your hard sessions and improve your cardiovascular system. Running every day with sore muscles will stop you from training effectively. If you’re always tired when you run, your speed sessions won’t be effective.
#4 Running Distance
Running streaks are based on running at least one mile every day. That’s the minimum but there’s no maximum.
Some people will run just one or two miles a day. Others aim for running 5 miles a day or even further.
Ron Hill, a legendary British runner held the running streak record for years with an impressively high weekly mileage. This elite runner ran 90 to 100 miles a week during his most competitive period.
But elite runners do run faster than most of us. Despite his high mileage, Ron Hill was typically running for just over an hour a day.
#5 Running Intensity
How hard you run every day makes a big difference to the injury risk. Speed sessions will improve your fitness but run at a high intensity more than once or twice a week and you’re risking burnout.
It’s much easier to maintain daily running if you’re running at a very easy pace.
Is It Good To Run Every Day?
Running benefits both your physical and mental health. There’s no doubt that running is good for you. Everyday running benefits range from improving your cardiovascular health to reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.
These are a few of the reasons why it’s good to run every day:
#1 It can help you lose weight
Running everyday weight loss goes beyond burning calories. A regular running routine can put you in the right mindset to look after your physical health.
If you’re getting up every day for a morning run, you’re proving to yourself that you can be disciplined. That effort is not going to be undone by a junk food binge later in the day!
Find out more about running for weight loss.
#2 A daily run may help your mental health
A run in the fresh air can make you more alert and it’s an effective way of reducing the symptoms of mild depression, anxiety, and even stress. A daily run won’t solve everything in your life but it can certainly make trivial worries seem less significant.
Many runners struggle on rest days when they’re not getting their running fix. It can be hard to get a good night’s sleep without a daily dose of exercise.
#3 It can help if you have diabetes
Exercise helps with insulin resistance if you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
The American Diabetes Association recommends daily exercise or at least not allowing more than 2 days to elapse between training sessions.
#4 It helps to develop a running habit
Some runners, especially at the start of their running journey, struggle to build a regular running habit. It’s a lot harder to ignore your running schedule if you’re running every day.
You don’t need to run far but just 2 miles or 20-30 minutes of running a day can make a big difference to your fitness. At the end of the month, you’ll notice the difference!
#5 It can make you a better runner
Improving your running form and running with greater efficiency often comes down to practice. Run every day and you’ll become a stronger runner.
Just watch out for muscle imbalances – just because you’re running regularly doesn’t mean you can ignore strength training. Add these bodyweight exercises for runners if you want to avoid a running injury.
Should I Run Every Day?
Even elite runners will take rest days so don’t feel pressured into running every day. It’s a personal decision and needs to be tried with care and consideration.
For the right person, a running streak can be good for you. For other runners, it’s a guaranteed way of sustaining an injury.
What Can Happen If You Run Every Day?
Pushing too hard and running every day can increase the risk of injury. Running is a high-impact repetitive motion and overuse injuries are common.
To be fair, if you sustain an injury, running every day may not be the culprit. Beginner runners can be injury-prone until their bodies strengthen and adapt to training. Advanced runners often become injured from hard training sessions or sudden increases in their training volume.
If you’re an experienced runner, a mile or two every day at an easy pace is unlikely to be the cause of running injuries. But don’t overlook rest days if you have persistent niggles.
Tips For Running Every Day
So if you’ve taken on board the comments, assessed your risks, and still believe running every day is for you – give it a try! Some people swear by running every day.
For some, it can be life-changing. If you’ve never exercised regularly before, you will get fitter if you run every day.
Here are some tips to make your everyday running a success:
#1 Start Slowly
If you’re new to running, those early runs need to be short and slow. Start by running a mile a day and leave your watch at home.
#2 Gradually Increase Your Mileage
Don’t increase your running volume until your body is ready. Increases in mileage should be very gradual. Keep to running just one or two miles a day for the first month.
If that goes well, increase to running 3 miles a day. You don’t have to run the same distance every day. Follow longer runs with easy short runs.
#3 Run At An Easy to Moderate Pace
The majority of your runs should be at a Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) of between 3 to 4. Light to moderate running.
Push too hard and your injury risk increases.
As you adapt to running every day you’ll be able to introduce one or two harder sessions a week – but not at the beginning.
#4 Focus On The Small Stuff
You may not be taking rest days but there are other ways to maximize your recovery between runs:
- Rotate your running shoes to let the EVA midsole foam rebound.
- Eat nutritious food to aid quick recovery.
- Warm up before running.
- Elevate your legs when you’re resting.
- Gently stretch and complete mobility exercises to prevent stiffness.
- Make sure you get plenty of sleep.
Thoughts From Love Life Be Fit
A running coach will never suggest running every day. There are better ways of training such as cross-training, maximizing speed sessions, and taking time off to rest and recover.
Yet, running every day doesn’t deserve such bad press. Many runners live for their daily fix of running. It helps with the mind and keeps the momentum of training going.
Just make sure you run most of your miles at an easy pace and seek out the trails instead of always running on hard surfaces. Enjoy your running!