Exercising every day has proven health benefits, and running every day can be beneficial too under certain circumstances. But repeated daily pounding on your legs without incorporating recovery days can increase the risk of injury and burn out.
Frequency is one of the three key components to training, along with duration and intensity. How often we run should be determined by considering the length of our runs, the intensity of our runs, and where we are in our training. Each runner is different and based on ability level, and experience, the answer to “should I run every day” depends on a few factors.
We are trained to believe that more is better. The more work we put in, the better results we will get in return. But that is not necessarily true. Most training programs will emphasize the importance of recovery and allowing our bodies to adapt to training to gain strength and reap the benefits of hard work.
There are many proven benefits to incorporating a run every day. This study shows that running as little as 5 to 10 minutes a day at a moderate pace is good for your health and helps to prevent heart attacks and other common diseases.
Running every day promotes a healthy lifestyle and can increase longevity. Running even just a mile a day has the following health benefits:
While there are plenty of benefits to a daily running routine, there are also some serious risks to consider when asking if you should run every day. The high-impact nature of running puts a lot of stress on your body and running every day without incorporating recovery days can lead to injury.
Common overuse injuries that can occur from running every day are shin splints and stress fractures. If you catch shin splints early, they can be rehabbed by cutting back on training, stretching and strengthening the calves using the techniques in this video.
If you are an experienced runner whose training plan does call for running 6-7 days a week, be sure to focus on recovery just as much as active training. To avoid these injuries, pay attention to your body, don’t be afraid to allow your body to recover and incorporate these injury prevention exercises into your running routine.
Every runner is at a different level in their running journey. Some are more experienced than others and their bodies are trained to handle more mileage. If you are a beginner runner don’t make the mistake of thinking more is better. Follow a training plan and be cautious when increasing mileage and frequency of running.
The Run Experience Beginner Running Program incorporates more rest days than the Marathon Program, and both progressively increase volume and intensity. None of the TRE programs promote running every single day, but there are benefits to running and recovering consistently.
Cross-train to get off your feet, while continuing to improve your aerobic capacity and becoming an all-around stronger athlete. Hopping in the pool for an aqua-jogging session and lap swim will keep your heart rate up while reducing impact. Cycling or doing yoga are also great cross-training options to allow your body a rest from running.
Restore: If you feel that your body needs to rest and restore, yoga is a great way to practice controlled breathing, while gaining strength and stretching. On your recovery days, or after a run, try these 5 yoga exercises for runners.
Aerobic, low-impact: If your body is not in total need of a rest day, but you want to get off of your feet and reduce the impact of your training, swimming is a great way to get your muscles firing, your heart pumping, and increase your aerobic capacity.
If you are not a confident lap-swimmer, aqua-jogging is another great way to mimic the running motion while taking away the stress it puts on your body.
Cycling can be fun too if you get some good tunes going and hop on an indoor bike, or better yet take your bike outside and have some fun mountain biking.
The answer to “Should I run every day?” turns out to be complicated. Just be sure to have fun! Avoid getting stuck in the mindset that to be a better runner, you have to run more and more often. Taking days off in training is healthy and will benefit you in the long run. Have fun with training and allow yourself to try new forms of cross-training instead of thinking you have to run every day.