Is it Bad to Run Every Day?


There are a lot of opinions out there about whether or not you should run every day. Some people swear by running every day as the key to their success, while others believe that running every day can actually do more harm than good.

So, what does the research say? Are there benefits to running every day? 

Let’s explore the pros and cons of running every day along with how often you should run for optimal results so you can make the best decision for your own fitness journey.

Table of Contents

Benefits of Running (In General)

It’s safe to say that running is one of the original “workouts.” Whether we were running after dinner or away from something with sharp teeth, humans were born to run.

Three hundred thousand years later, our survival skills have become an optional fitness activity. Despite the timeline, running is still a fantastic way to keep fit. There are numerous benefits to running as a form of exercise including:

  • Improving your cardiovascular health
  • Reducing your risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer
  • Boosting energy levels and overall mood
  • Enhancing mental clarity and focus
  • Supporting weight loss and the fat loss that’s common in bodybuilding and wrestling
  • Boosts your endurance levels
  • Helps with bone health

Despite these benefits, the question remains:

Should You Run Every Day?

It’s important to define what you mean by “run.”  

Are you talking about a leisurely jog around the block? Or are you talking about an all-out sprint down the street?

Good to Know:

The intensity of your run makes a big difference in whether or not running every day is a good idea. In fact, intensity and speed determines whether you are running, jogging, or merely walking.

Let’s break this down by intensity:

High Intensity (Sprint / Run)

In general, no, it is not recommended to perform an all-out-effort run or sprint every day, especially if running is one part of a larger training program.

For example, a volleyball player who uses running as part of their strength training and cardiovascular endurance workout program in addition to volleyball drills can quickly overdo it. 

Even if your only intention is to be a better runner, you need to account for the time you’ll spend in a strength training program as well as rest days.

Speaking of recovery, be sure that you don’t do this on rest day.

Medium Intensity (Jog)

On the other hand, let’s say that you’re in good shape and you want to incorporate jogging into a daily routine.

If you’re planning on doing an easy, slow and short jog as a part of a bigger and more structured workout program, then this would be safe and okay.

Low Intensity (Walking)

Finally, if you want to walk everyday, then by all means go for it. Medical experts suggest no less than 300 minutes each week of low-to-moderate intensity exercise. [1] 

Walking every day for 45 minutes is a great way to hit these numbers.

Consider This Before Running Every Day

To dive a little deeper, there are a few things to consider before making the decision to run every day.

Running Experience

First, how much experience do you have with running? 

If you are new to running, it is important to ease into it and not try to do too much, too soon. This can lead to injuries, or even burnout.

Fitness Level

Second, what is your overall fitness level? 

If you are not used to exercising regularly, then running every day may be too much for your body to handle. For example, going from the couch to running a 5k can result in extensive muscle soreness to full-on shin splints.

It’s important to start slow and gradually increase your mileage and intensity as you get used to running. To make this easier, you can follow the principles of periodization training. 

Periodization training is a systematic approach to sport conditioning that involves the progressive cycling of periods of varying intensity and duration.

There are several ways to implement periodization training when planning your runs. The idea is to focus on consistently and appropriately increasing either distance, intensity, or time just outside of your current comfort zone. 

For example, let’s say you were a beginner and you wanted to use periodization to answer the question, “how long should you run everyday?” Here’s a weekly breakdown of what it might look like to focus on gradually increasing both time and the number of days you run for one month:

  • Week One: Two days for 10 minutes
  • Week Two: Two days for 11 minutes
  • Week Three: Three days for 12 minutes
  • Week Four: Three days for 14 minutes

Fitness Goals

Finally, what are your goals? Does running even play an important role in the end result or do you think you “need” to run?

It’s easy to use running as a fallback option for fitness, but it might not be the best choice, depending on what you’d like to accomplish.

If you haven’t already, take a few minutes to consider the most important milestones for the next year of your fitness journey.

  • Do you want to focus on muscle growth and hypertrophic training?
  • Are you interested in strength building and powerlifting exercises?
  • Is exercise brand new for you or are you “starting over” after rehab or surgery?
  • Are you an athlete who wants to improve agility and lateral movements?
  • Looking to improve your jump height?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then there are more important things to include in your workout program other than running.

Good to Know:

Workouts and activities that don’t lend themselves to a rigorous running schedule include bodybuilding, powerlifting, CrossFit, agility and power-focused sports, and rehab.

However, if your aim is to improve your race times, increase short burst power output in your legs, burn fat, or begin to increase bone density in your legs, then running can be an important part of your workouts.

How to Improve Your Running (It’s Not All About Running)

It might sound strange but if you want to get better at running, you can’t just focus on running. You also need to incorporate the following three things:

Warm-Up:

It’s not the most glamorous part of working out, but its importance can’t be overstated.

Before you start running, do a short warm-up to get your body ready for the workload that will follow. A simple warm-up could include walking for a few minutes, or doing some dynamic stretches.

Try This:

Here are some warm-up exercises that you can do in place of jogging:

High Knees – 20
Butt Kickers – 20
Lateral Walking Squats / Standing Crab Walk – 20 (10 each side)
Jumping Jacks – 30
Toy Soldiers – 20

Strength Training:

Strength training is an important part of any runner’s routine and it’s often the most neglected.

Resistance training helps to correct strength imbalances, which improves your running performance while decreasing your risk for injury.

How you incorporate strength training into your routine depends on how important running is and what your running schedule is like.

If running is your primary focus, consider doing two or three full-body workouts each week. If running is more of a secondary focus, a classic push-pull-legs split three days per week is effective and convenient.

Cool-Down and Recovery: 

If there’s one part of the workout that people skip the most, it’s the cool down and post-workout stretch.

A cool-down prevents blood pooling in your legs, which can lead to dizziness and nausea. It also helps to lower your heart rate and bring more oxygen into the muscles that were just working hard during your run or workout. 

To cool down properly, you should walk for a few minutes after finishing your run, or do some light stretching. Then make sure to drink plenty of electrolyte-filled water and refuel with a protein-rich snack.

FAQ: Running every day

Are There Benefits to Running Every Day?

Remember, you should first determine whether you should be running or jogging every day based on experience, goals, and fitness level. If running every day – regardless of distance – is something that is in line with your fitness journey, then there are several key benefits that you may notice.

For one, running can help improve your endurance levels, which is important for any type of exercise or activity. In addition, running has been shown to be good for bone health and helps prevent osteoporosis as we get older. 

A consistent and appropriately-paced running program can also support weight loss, cardiovascular health, and mental well-being. 

However, it is important to remember that running is not a one-size-fits all approach and it should be done in moderation based on your specific goals, needs, and current workout program.[2] [3]  

How Much Rest is Needed Between Runs?

The amount of rest that is needed between runs depends on your fitness level, running experience, and type of workout program.

Many fitness trainers will advise you not to exercise at full-intensity for more than two days in a row. This is usually reserved for people who have experience with working out.

Those who are new to fitness tend to respond best to alternating days of work and rest. For example, exercising on Monday, resting on Tuesday, exercising again on Wednesday, etc.

Is It Bad to Run Every Day?

It could be bad to run every day if you are a beginner or have not been exercising regularly. In this case, it may be better to ease into the habit of running every day. Too much too soon may cause complications or injuries.

Taking your time to slowly work up to running every day can help prevent injuries and allow your body time to build the strength and endurance necessary to sustain a high-volume running program. 

Additionally, it is important to incorporate other types of exercise into your routine in order to support overall fitness, such as strength training, cross-training activities like biking or swimming, and plenty of rest days. If a multi-faceted approach to fitness is best for your goals, then running every day might not be in your best interest.

Should You Run a Mile (1.6 Kilometers) Every Day?

The idea of running one mile or 1.6 kilometers every day saw a huge spike because of the famous One Punch Man workout. It worked for him, so that means it’ll work for you, right?

As we’ve discussed above, a daily running habit might sound great on paper, but if it doesn’t sync with your current fitness level, running experience, workout program, and goals, then you might be doing more harm than good.

In general, walking a mile or 1.6 km every day is going to be appropriate for most people. Light jogging a mile (1.6 km) each day will be suitable for those who are already in shape and have experience with running.

Sprinting a mile (1.6 km) each day, especially if you are involved in a strength training program and athletic drills, can ruin the progress you made during the other training.

Should You Run Every Day or Every Other Day?

Ultimately, whether you should run every day or every other day depends on your individual fitness level and goals. If you are just starting out with running, and have a rigorous training program, or a goal that is unrelated to running, then it might be best to run every other day.

However, if you have been consistently working out, have a less-intensive training plan, or want to focus solely on running as your primary form of exercise, then you might be able to run every day.

It is important to listen to your body and take rest days when needed in order to prevent injuries and burnout.

Are You Tracking Your Running Progress?

So, should you run every day? The answer is not a simple yes or no.

Be sure to match the frequency and duration of your runs to the three things we’ve discussed:

  • Fitness level
  • Experience with running
  • Overall fitness goals

The more focused you are on running as your goal, the more you can incorporate it into your program. Even if your only focus is running, if you are feeling exhausted or are experiencing any pain, it is important to listen to your body and take a break from running if needed.

The easiest way to track your runs to watch your progress is with the adidas Running app as it keeps tabs on both the distance you run and how many miles or kilometers your sneakers have left.

If running is just one part of the bigger picture and you’re missing an effective strength training program, adidas can help with that too.

The adidas Training app offers a Workout Creator to help you target specific muscle groups and build strength. Track your progress and watch yourself get that much closer to your fitness goals.

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