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Benefits of daily running

Is it okay to run every day? What are the benefits? “Should I run every day?” Probably not. But it depends on the intensity. Here’s how to adjust your running volume to improve your performance.

Maybe you’re craving that runner’s high and want to run a few more miles. Or maybe you want to reach your goals faster and think that jogging every day will help you get there.

There are many benefits to running; it’s easy to believe that more is better. It can be especially tempting if you’re training for a half marathon or other race, or if you have specific goals like weight loss.

But is it okay to run every day? The simple answer is: no, you need at least one rest day a week to allow your muscles to recover. In addition, overtraining can lead to overuse injuries, stress and prolonged fatigue.

Where the answer gets complicated is for advanced runners who know how to properly schedule a running routine and can be fine running every day. Take this as your guide to finding the balance between running and recovery and being able to avoid burnout.

How many days a week can I run?

Adults should aim to exercise 150 to 300 minutes a week at a moderate intensity, or 75 to 150 minutes at a vigorous intensity, according to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. Here are some ideas of what a weekly running schedule might look like:

Monday and Wednesday: 5K run lasting about 30 minutes total.
Tuesday and Thursday: 15-minute HIIT (sprint) sessions
Saturday: 10 km run with a duration of approximately 1 hour
Friday and Sunday: rest

Can I run every day?

Running every day, especially if you’re a beginner or just recovering from an injury, may not be the best idea. Why? Overtraining.

Rest and recovery are an essential part of your training regimen. When muscles suffer microtears in response to a training stimulus, the repair process is triggered. Blood is pumped to the muscles to remove lactic acid and supply oxygen and nutrients.

But this repair process does not occur instantaneously. Post-workout recovery can take anywhere from two days to a week, depending on the intensity of the activity performed, according to the American Council on Exercise. This can depend on:

Duration of exercise
Rate of Perceived Exertion Rate (RPE) during exercise
Heart rate zone (anaerobic or aerobic activity)
Type of exercise

So, when it comes to running and whether you can run every day, the answer is: it depends. Contemplate the pros and cons to decide what’s best for you.

What are the benefits of running every day?

A July-August 2017 study published in Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases found that running 5 to 10 minutes every day at a moderate pace improves cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure and reduces the risk of all-cause mortality.

In just 10 minutes, your heart rate will be in a moderate aerobic zone, but it won’t cause too much stress or muscle damage. That means you shouldn’t need as much time to recover.

But if you start to increase the intensity of your running, you should make sure you have enough recovery time to avoid overtraining.

Elite professional runners usually have an armed training schedule that may include running every day. But here’s the important point: not every run is a maximum intensity run. Their weekly workouts include not only interval training and longer runs, but also easier or shorter runs for active recovery.

However, beginners should not attempt to run every day, as it may cause more harm than good. The 2017 study mentioned above found that the health benefits of running peak at 4.5 hours per week. After that, the risk of overuse injuries and overtraining increases.

What is the best running schedule?

A good goal for most non-professional athletes is to run three to four days a week at a moderate intensity. If you’re training for a race, trying to lose weight or running for overall cardiovascular fitness, it’s a good idea to incorporate cross training with weight lifting, bodyweight training or yoga. This can help:

Rejuvenate your mind
Increase motivation
Correct muscle imbalances and biomechanical irregularities
Improve other aspects of fitness, such as balance and coordination
Increase bone density and muscle mass
Reduce the risk of injury

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