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How Often Should I Run? Is It Okay to Run Every Day?
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How Often Should I Run? Is It Okay to Run Every Day?

Isabel-Mayfield-health-reporter
Written by Isabel Mayfield | Medically reviewed by Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD check
Published on October 24, 2022
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7 min

It is fair to say that going on routine runs is the best way to profit from the exercise. However, how much running is too much for you? Today, we aim to outline what your running routine should look like based on the general guidelines while answering some important questions about this topic.

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Over the years, the one general question that pops up amongst new runners and those wishing to step up in their workout is how often they should run. So how does your running frequency influence your general health?

In retrospect, many runners need to figure out the right way to exercise – running will offer you many physical and mental benefits. Still, if done incorrectly, you stand a chance to suffer severe injuries.

Nonetheless, running is extremely vast, and there are so many branches to explore. From participants, terrain, distance, goal, pace, etc.

In that regard, things like knowing how much you should run, how much you should rest, how often you should run, how to plan your training schedule, and what workouts to incorporate become vital questions.

The answers to these questions will help you maximize the health benefits of running while minimizing the risk factor. These ultimately include trying to build speed, immune function, weight loss, and battling an injury history.

That is why, in today’s article, we will be exploring the case-by-case basis of how often you should run. Yes, we will be looking at different variations of runners and factors that influence your running frequency.

How Often Should I Run?

Experts suggest a three to four-day running routine for beginners. This number is not so small that you miss out on the benefits of running, nor is it too much that it overwhelms you and you start dealing with recurring injuries.

During this period, beginners should prioritize running for 30–40 minutes. After all, the idea is to create a working schedule that allows them to maximize the benefits of running and minimize the injury risk as they strive to meet their running goals.

In addition, they also suggest that you take at least one day off as your rest day to give your body time to heal from exercise-induced stress such as excessive fatigue, soft tissue damage, mental burnout, muscle soreness, etc.

Furthermore, include the optional cross-training in your training plans. Cross-training allows you to train your entire body, which accounts for a more balanced exercise.

Nonetheless, advanced runners can expand their training volume quickly as they have the running experience and tools necessary to pace themselves.

However, certain factors will determine how often you run and how many miles you eventually run. These factors encapsulate everything about how much you should run, including the type of runners, running volume, pace, and goal.

Having that in mind, we have listed three main factors that influence running frequency.

Fitness level

When we talk about fitness level, we are not simply subjecting it to running as a sport. Your current level of physical fitness stands as a measure of your running proficiency, as it determines how much you can push your body and the effect of said push.

Putting this into perspective, new runners with a history of exercising already meet the physical demands, possessing an excellent musculoskeletal and cardiovascular system that allows them to run faster, harder, and for longer periods. But, of course, this is also the case for experienced runners.

On the other hand, if you do not have an exercise history or are just coming off an injury, you will have to take it slow and gradually increase your workout intensity to avoid repetitive injuries.

Age

On the surface level, the deal with age and running is this; as you grow, your ability to run faster and longer distances increases up until a point. Then, once you hit your peak, your running ability begins to depreciate, with some runners reverting to their starting point.

That is because age destabilizes the body’s physique; thus, the older you become, the less stress your body is able to handle and the more rest it needs to get back to shape.

A study carried out in 2014 by researchers from the José Cela University, Spain, stated that the running pace of an individual increases with age until they get to 35. As soon as they cross this limit, they begin to experience a significant decline in their running pace.

Running ability

Running ability is a qualifying and quantifying attribute used to measure all runners’ skills and where they belong in the ranks of runners. Whichever rank you find will determine your running volume, running frequency, and subsequent workout increments.

Thus, with these delineations, we have the following categories of runners based on their innate abilities.

New runners: These runners have been running for a few weeks. On average, they are faster than 5% of other athletes.

Novice runners: These runners have been running routinely for at least 6 months and are faster than 20% of other athletes.

Intermediate runners: These runners have been running regularly for 2 years and are typically faster than 50% of other athletes.

Advanced runners: These runners have a minimum of 5 years of experience and are faster than 80% of other athletes.

Elite runners: These are the rarest and most experienced runners in the world, boasting over 5 years of running experience, and are now faster than 95% of their counterparts. The difference in running ability between elite and advanced runners is very glaring.  

Running 1–2 days per week

Running once or twice per week is the perfect routine for new runners, athletes returning from injury, and people with extremely busy lives.

If you fall under the categories listed above, then building a solid base using moderate-intensity exercise like jogging instead of a long run would top the list of your priorities.

Thus, it would be best if you alternated between jogging and run/walk strategy as low-intensity workouts center on building stamina and endurance and limiting running injuries.

The run/walk strategy is fundamental for beginners as alternating between running and walking for 20–30 minutes allows you to slowly increase your running distance.

Running 3–5 days per week

This training schedule is for intermediate runners that want to increase their workout intensity. As such, if you run 20 miles per week or go on routine 5k runs, you are well within the line to use this regimen.

During this phase, the goal typically revolves around increasing the intensity of your training just enough to fuel noticeable changes in your fitness level. These changes include but are not limited to improved aerobic capacity, speed work, and stamina.

Your workout would include base runs, progression runs, interval runs, hill work tempo runs, and the occasional long-distance runs.

Running 6 days per week

On average, most non-elite runners run 6 days a week to meet their weekly mileage, and this is no easy task for anybody. An excellent example would be running 10 miles a day.

Even so, the rewards of such a high-intensity exercise routine include an increase in lung capacity, efficient oxygen and energy usage, and an improved cardiovascular system.

During this phase, your exercise routine should include Fartleks, hill work, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), long runs, marathon training, etc.

Running 7 days per week

You are an elite runner if you plan on running above 50 miles per week. That is why this schedule is for you.

There are 7 days a week, and going on hard runs each day is something only elite runners will dare to do. Only pro runners gunning for a chance at Olympic gold and other high-grade, competitive runners will dare to push themselves through such intense workouts.

This routine involves lots of long runs, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), marathon training, and the others mentioned above.

Still, runners must incorporate recovery time and cross-training into their training schedule.

Rest day for elite runners having to run 7 days per week would be a period doing recovery runs. That way, they can squeeze in the extra mileage without deducting it from their performance pool. On the other hand, the rest of the pack needs complete rest days.

As for cross-training, it helps beginners build and develop the muscles in other parts of their body that running alone will not train. More experienced runners cross-train to sustain their physique and balance their training regimen.  

Cross-training workouts include cycling, rowing, weight training, yoga, swimming, pilates, elliptical training, or other anaerobic activities. They help athletes log in more training time without running the risk of overuse injuries.

Overall, both additions reduce the risk of injury while elevating your fitness and performance levels.

FAQs

Here are some commonly asked questions about running and our opinion on them.

Is running every day good or bad?

There is no right or wrong answer to this question, as it all depends on your capabilities. If you can run every day without hindrance, then, by all means, have at it. However, if running every day puts you at risk of injury, stick to an intelligent plan.

How many miles should I run a day?

If you are a new runner, you should stick to running 4 miles a day. However, as an experienced runner, you can go up to 10 miles daily. Nonetheless, going on quality runs matters more than the time spent running.

How long should I jog?

A 30 minutes jog is enough to reap the positive benefits.

Is it safe to run every day?

Yes, it is entirely safe to run every day. However, it would be wise to consider the factors that will determine how often you run while creating a training plan. Running injuries occur when you take on too much without allowing your body to adjust.

A Word From Our Coach

Research shows that going on routine runs boots your overall health (physical and mental wellbeing).

However, it would be best if you were smart with your training plan to get the most out of running. You cannot go from running 30 minutes daily to taking on a 10-mile run. You have to structure your routine so that it maximizes your ability and leads to fast progress.

Using the Joggo app to structure your training program will go a long way in ensuring that you are well within achieving your goals while being on the safer end of the spectrum.

Other vital guidelines will influence your running volume and frequency, aside from the ones mentioned throughout the article.

For starters, what you take in will influence your performance, so you must stick to eating healthy.

Subsequently, you should never skip your warm-up and cool-down sessions. Warming up prepares your muscles and joints for the impact, and cooling down helps them decompress.

As always, considering how you feel should be a top priority. In the true sense, you should only switch up subsequent workouts when you hit your sweet spot. That way, you are more than prepared to take on the challenge.

Conclusion

Whether you just started running or have been running for over 10 years, determining how often you run should be a factor in your goals and physical and mental state.

It would be best if you remember that squeezing in little runs over extended periods is better than doing no running. Therefore, you should try to strike a balance between how much you should run and how much rest your body needs.

That way, you can create a personalized training plan that works perfectly in seeing you accomplish your goals.

Never overwork yourself! If you feel like your body is starting to quit, it is probably time to slow down or take a break. After all, you cannot run with an injured body.  

Plan, train, and have fun!

Isabel-Mayfield-health-reporter
Written by
Isabel Mayfield is a certified yoga instructor with over 10 years of experience in the fitness industry. She is passionate about self-improvement and loves to help people improve their sense of self-worth through education and support in meeting their fitness goals.
Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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