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How many miles should I run a day? Benefits + risks of running every day

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If you’re new to running or looking to start a new fitness routine, then you may be wondering: “How many miles should I run a day?”

The beauty of running is in its simplicity.

All you need is a pair of decent running shoes, some basic gear and some motivation to get you out the door. 

Many people enjoy running so much they choose to run every day – although granted this is not for everyone.

So before you decide if running every day is for you, in this guide we’ll share the benefits and risks of running every day, as well as guidance for running every day.

In this guide we’ll explore:

  • Should I run every day?
  • Benefits of running every day 
  • Is it safe to run every day?
  • How many miles should I run a day?
  • How many miles should I run a day to lose weight? 
  • How many miles should I walk a day?
  • Tips for running every day

Ready?

Let’s get going! 

how many miles should i run a day

Should I run every day? 

Whether you’re training for an event or simply want to get more miles in, then running every day could be an option for you. 

Before you consider or even start running every day, it’s important to factor in the following:

  • Your current schedule and lifestyle
  • Your current fitness levels and running experience 
  • Your fitness and running goals for the future. 

Schedule and lifestyle 

Being able to run every day is highly dependent on your schedule and lifestyle. 

If you have a demanding job or a family, then running every day may not be an option for you. 

Likewise, if you struggle to find the time to run because of a busy schedule, then running every day is probably not going to work unless you make time for it. 

Fitness levels and running experience 

Your fitness levels and running experience will be a deciding factor in terms of whether or not you can run every day. 

Running every day is physically demanding so you need to work on your endurance and stamina before being able to run every day. 

If you’re new to running, it’s recommended you start slowly and gradually build from there. 

Training plans like Couch to 5k are great because they involve walking and running intervals.

This training plan only asks you to run 3 or 4 days out of 7 each week to give your body adequate rest in between runs. 

Fitness and running goals for the future 

Before you consider running every day, you’ll want to check if it’s the right thing for you. 

With any form of exercise, it’s important to set yourself specific, measurable and realistic goals.

This is so you can track your progress over time and see what improvements you have made. 

In other words, your goals need to be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time Bound). 

There’s no better feeling than when you smash the goals that you set yourself!

More importantly, you should be setting yourself a goal that you will actually enjoy smashing. 

So ask yourself: 

  • What are your fitness and running goals? 
  • Does running every day align with these goals?
  • Will you actually enjoy running every day?
  • Is it realistic for you to run every day? 
  • How long will you run every day? For a few days, weeks, months? 
  • How will you track and measure your progress? 

These are all good questions to ask yourself when determining whether or not you should run every day.

Related: How to start running when overweight: 12 game-changing tips

how many miles should i run a day

Benefits of running every day 

From improving cardiovascular health and lowering your blood pressure to reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression, there are many benefits of running.

By running every day you’ll be taking strides to improve your health as well as your mental well-being. 

Running every day also encourages you to form a consistent fitness routine. 

Research suggests that it takes 66 days to form a habit. 

So by running every day, perhaps as part of a short term running challenge like RED January, you’ll be more likely to form a consistent running routine in the future.

Related: What does running do for your body? 10 benefits of running

Is it safe to run every day?

You may be wondering: “Is running every day good for you?” or even “Is it safe to run every day?”

Although running has many benefits, there are some risks to running every day that you need to be aware of. 

Increases the risk of injury

Running is a high impact sport. 

When you run your body is working against gravity. Every time you take a step forward, stress is put on your muscles and joints. 

The more you run, the more at risk you are of running-related injuries such as runner’s knee and IT band syndrome

In addition, if you have a history of running-related injuries, then running every day may exacerbate these injuries. 

Many running injuries are caused by overuse. Running is a sport that involves a lot of repetitive movement in your legs especially.

So injuries like runner’s knee and IT band syndrome are often caused by overuse. 

Related: 3 quick and easy habits for injury free running

Increases the risk of overtraining 

Overtraining syndrome is a real risk for runners who run every day for a prolonged period of time.

Long distance runners are particularly susceptible to overtraining if they are training for a distance event like a marathon or ultra marathon. 

Overtraining is when you exercise excessively and don’t give your body enough time to recover in between runs. 

It can also be caused by progressing too quickly in a training cycle and doing too many high intensity training sessions.

Related: How to start running again after an injury: 5 tips for success

how many miles should i run a day

How many miles should I run every day? 

Now you know whether or not running every day is for you, it’s time to understand how many miles you should be running every day. 

The simple answer: it depends. 

It depends on a variety of factors, including your fitness levels, running experience, and your individualized running goals – as we mentioned at the start of this guide. 

If you’re training for a marathon, for example, you may well be running most days of the week already. 

Whereas if you’re looking to reignite your running motivation – perhaps you’re in a running rut or returning to running after a short break – you may feel running a few miles each day will give you the kick up the butt that you need.

Anecdotal evidence tells us that if you’re new to running, you should be running every other day (between 2-3 times a week).

This allows your body enough rest days in between each run to recover. 

If you’re a complete running newbie, you may even benefit from a walking/running program like Couch to 5k. 

Couch to 5k is great for beginner runners because it gradually eases you into running – so there’s so pressure to run every day. 

If you’ve been running for a few years, you may have already formed a regular running habit – whether that’s running every day or every other day. 

Most well-round training plans will include 1 to 2 rest days each week. 

If a training plan gets you to run every day of the week, then find another training plan! 

Rest days are very important to allow your body to recover and prevent common running injuries. 

Challenges like RED January encourage you to get your fix of daily life exercise, so whether you choose to run every day or not, this is completely up to you. 

RelatedRunning 5 miles a day: Pros and cons + 6 actionable tips

What do the guidelines tell us? 

What we do know is that regular exercise is good for your physical and mental health. 

Most of us are recommended to do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity each week.

This could be in the form of brisk walking, running, dancing, swimming, or moderate cycling – the list goes on. 

By running every day you will easily meet these guidelines. 

As with any form of fitness and exercise, it’s advised you check your doctor first before starting any new fitness routine. 

Related: Running 2 miles a day: Benefits + how to do it

how many miles should i run a day

How many miles should I run a day to lose weight?

If your goal is to lose weight, then running every day is an option but it does come with risks as we explained earlier. 

Running is one of the best activities to burn calories.

If you run for 30 minutes at 10mph, you can expect to burn between 420 and 450 calories. 

So if you run every day for 7 days, you can expect to burn up to 3,150 calories per week! 

Running alone however will only get you so far with your weight loss goals.

Various studies show that high intensity interval training is more beneficial for weight loss. 

Your eating habits are also extremely important – if not more important – when it comes to losing weight successfully. 

Related: Running for weight loss: The most effective running workouts to help you lose weight

How many miles should I walk a day?

If you want to improve your fitness but don’t see yourself running every day, then walking every day is a great alternative. 

Walking a mile a day, for example, has many great benefits for the body and mind.

You could even up the stakes and walk 2 miles a day or even 3 miles a day. 

According to a study conducted by the British Heart Foundation, brisk walking led to a lower biological age.

Adding that overall a faster walking pace could be ‘potentially important’ in determining overall health.

Related: Walking 2 miles a day: 12 benefits + how to start

how many miles should i run a day

Tips for running every day

#1 Wear the right running shoes

Wearing the right running shoes will go a long way to help prevent common running injuries like shin splints and runner’s knee.

A good pair of running shoes will provide comfort and stability on your runs.

Check out our running shoes guide for more information on how to find the right running shoes.

#2 Wear the right running gear

Along with a pair of running shoes, you’ll want to find the right gear to run in so that feel comfortable and protected on your runs.

Sweat-wicking fabrics are recommended during the summer months, whereas compression leggings and windbreakers are recommended during the colder months.

You may also want to consider wearing reflective clothing so you stay safe on your runs.

#3 Strength train

Strength training has a range of benefits for runners.

It helps to improve your running form and posture, as well as reduce the risk of injury.

Aim to include 1 to 2 strength training sessions each week.

#4 Cross train

Cross training is a great way to include complementary forms of exercise in your running routine.

Activities like walking, yoga, swimming and cycling are great for runners.

#5 Perfect your form

Your form and posture is extremely important when it comes to running, especially when running regularly.

Running form looks at everything from the way you swing your arms to the way your feet hit the ground you run.

Check out our running form guide for more information and tips.

#6 Warm up before each run

It’s important you warm up before each run to help prepare your body and mind for the run ahead.

Aim to include a short period of jogging along with dynamic stretches in your warm up.

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