Running every day has proven to have its benefits primarily for the cardiovascular system. Studies have shown that a moderate jog every day for no more than 10 minutes can help your body overcome stress. Furthermore, it reduces the chances of strokes and heart attacks. Running for hours every day, however, might have the opposite effect raising your chances of injuries in the long run.
The amount of running hours you clock every week greatly depends on your needs and goals. Most professional runners train and run almost every day while people that do it recreationally often run as much as 5 times per week. The healthiest way to keep running every day is to mix things up when it comes to your workouts. Cross-training has proved to be the key to our bodies adapting to a gruelling daily training schedule. Strength training has shown the best results when mixed with running.
If you’re looking for a way to run in the cold without cooling down too much, head over to my detailed guide on the best winter running tights for this year! Now, let’s go through all of the benefits you can reap from a daily running routine…
Benefits of running every day
If you ask a runner whether running is the key to longevity he will most likely respond with “yes”. There have been published studies which point to a direct link between frequent but short jogs and reduced risk of various heart conditions, strokes, some types of cancer, and even conditions like Parkinson’s. Furthermore, there are connections between frequent running and sleep quality with REM sleep being the main beneficiary. Improved focus and long-term memory are also a few of the qualities that get a performance boost from your jogs.
The amount of cumulative running per week that is often recommended by health experts is roughly 2.5-3 hours. It is fine if you want to distribute that for your daily runs, that is fine but you will find out that they won’t be longer than 20 minutes. 5 runs per week all with a length of 30 minutes is good enough and will get you to that 2.5-hour mark. Other types of activities like swimming, walking your dog, or cycling can also count if you want to diversify your training schedule. We will touch on exercise mixing in a moment!
To sum it up, scheduling is by far the most important aspect of your runs. If you have a little bit of free time every day, it might be best to fill it with short jogs. However, it won’t hurt if you make up for the lack of running with one or two longer runs of up to 60 minutes in the weekend. To learn more about running schedules, click here to learn how to create your own one based on your running needs and goals. A good plan for an advanced runner would be:
- Monday – 2-mile run
- Tuesday – Tempo run (20-40 minutes)
- 5 x 500 fast-paced
- Recovery run (2-4 miles slow tempo)
- Another recovery run
- 4-5 mile run at an average tempo
- 5-6 mile run at an average tempo
This schedule roughly covers all your body’s athletic needs to be able to perform well in all parts of a run. You have days that target anaerobic capacity and speed endurance, as well as days that work on your aerobic capacity and overall running endurance.
Now that we’ve gone through the advantages of a busy running schedule, let’s go through the disadvantages of such a routine…
Even though a healthy amount of running per week can be acquired by equally distributing it throughout all the 7 days, there are still some potential downsides to running (or exercising as a whole) on a daily basis. Too much physical activity can put an unnecessary amount of pressure on your muscles and joints, especially if you are older. Having a poor form while running can only exacerbate the issue.
Luckily, there are things you can do to prevent potential injuries. As I already mentioned, working on your form and keeping a proper posture while running can be essential to the long-term health of your muscles and joints. Furthermore, mixing things up with strength training and Crossfit can also prove beneficient. One often-overlooked factor by runners is the shoes you use for running. A good pair of running shoes is crucial to keeping your feet healthy and your joints at optimal condition.
One of the key ways to prevent injuries with an intensive running schedule is to warm up properly for your workout. Find out how to do that by heading over to my full article on the topic.
Mixing things up
As I mentioned a few times already, there are ways to prevent your body from accumulating too much stress and damage over your constant daily runs. One good way to do that is to mix your runs with other types of training. That will still count towards your 2.5 hours weekly goal of exercising but will simply be a different type of stress for your muscles and joints that will ultimately make them work in a wider range and keep them healthy and flexible.
Cross-training has been rising in popularity among runners mainly due to the break it provides from the monotonous running. Activities like swimming, cycling, Crossfit, pilates, yoga, and all sorts of dancing, can provide a good amount of diversity in your training program. Throwing a bit of anaerobic weight lifting is also a good way to keep your body prepared for those high-paced miles.
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Running every day provides a lot of benefits but also has some hidden risks if you aren’t too careful. While it is beneficial for your heart, brain, and vessels, it does put more strain on your muscles and joints. This means that there is a balance between time spent exercising and time spent recovering which is different for every person. If you want to keep a busy schedule for your workouts, make them shorter and try to reach a cumulative weekly goal of a set time like 2.5 hours.