Runners and distance runners in particular, tend to be a bit extreme about their running. The questions “Can I run every day?” and “Should I run every day?” are asked frequently. I’m going to attempt to walk you through the various possible answers in detail, so you can make a decision based on your personal situation.
Can I Run Every Day?
The real question most of us mean to ask is “Can I run every day without getting hurt”. The short answer is that there is no way anyone can tell you that without intimate knowledge of your health and exercise routine. That said, most runners can run every day if they want to, as long as do it smartly. I’m going to explore the various pitfalls and benefits to help you decide both if you can run every day and should you run every day.
Running Too Much Causes Injuries
There is a common misconception that running too much is the cause of most running injuries. In fact, there is little correlation between running frequency and rate of injury. Most running injuries are preventable. The key to running injury free is to run smart. The best way to run smart is to listen to your body!
No Training Plan Knows Your Body Better Than You
Many runners get into the habit of following a running plan and sticking to it no matter what. Problem with that is that every runner is different and generic running plans aren’t tailor made to you and can’t adjust for how you feel on your runs. Having a running coach is a good option, if you have time and can afford it. Many of us can’t. If you are going to use a generic training plan, make sure to listen to your body. If, for example, you’re supposed to do a long run every week and some part of your body doesn’t feel right, don’t do it!
I Can Push Through The Pain
One thing that causes a lot of confusion for runners is the fact that building up miles is supposed to be tough and runners do need to power past a lot of discomfort. Striking a balance between pushing yourself past your theoretical limits and listening to your body is crucial. I like to say, “push through the doubt, not the pain”. In other words, you might feel less than perfect on a run and want to quit. That’s when you should power through. Pain on the other hand, is our body telling us that something is not right. Pushing through that is almost never wise and leads to a high risk of injury.
Give Your Body A Break
Most running plans recommend rest days to give your body a break. There is no doubt that giving your body a break is a necessary and smart part of training, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop running entirely for a day. Running every day does not have to mean overextending yourself. A great way to give your body a break, is to alternate your workouts. Running hill repeats stresses different muscles than a typical slow run. Mixing up your runs, so you give your body a chance to adjust to the stress is also a good way to keep running interesting. Throwing some speed work and hills into the mix will make you a well-rounded runner and can also keep you from burn out and over training.
Should I Run Every Day?
If you decided that you can run every day, safely. The next question is should you run every day? Let’s look at some possible benefits that you can get out of running every day.
- Physical Health. Most experts recommend 30-90 minutes of vigorous exercise per day. Running every day will help you get the necessary exercise to keep your body in shape.
- Mental Health. Personally, if I skip a day of running, I have a hard time taking care of my daily responsibilities. When I start the day with a run, I start out feeling accomplished, happy and capable of anything. If I have a bad day, ending it with a run helps me relieve the stress and get in a state of mind that’s conducive to sleep.
- Easier Runs. In order to prepare for most running goals, it is necessary to build up to a certain amount of miles per week. The more days you run, the less distance you need to cover on each run. Chances are you’ll opt to increase your weekly goal instead, but for some of you it may help you fit the necessary distance into a limited schedule.
- The Hardest Step Is The First. The biggest challenge for most runners is getting out the door. There are so many things that happen in our lives that can interfere with our running plans. Running every day cements our running into our routine. It becomes second nature to us and a lot harder to skip.
I’m currently building up to start running every day. I’m not quite ready, but it’s something I definitely want to do. If you want to do it as well, I know you can do it. The key is to run smart. Listen to your body and don’t get into the “I Have To Run” trap. There are runners who have running streaks of thousands of days. I admire them greatly, but I don’t aspire to be them. I want to run every day that I can safely and smartly run. If you are going to start a daily running routine, I highly recommend getting a high quality GPS running watch that can also monitor your heart rate. Runners love their stats and today’s watches have plenty of stats to offer you. It’s also good for helping you know if you’re running too much, too soon. Garmin Forerunner 235 watch even has a recovery adviser that tells you how long to wait in between runs, based on the details of your most recent completed run. You can purchase one on Amazon Here
How About You?
Do you want to run every day? Do you think it’s a horrible idea? I’d love to hear your opinions, please comment below!