Should you run everyday? Do you run everyday? These are two of the most common questions that I get each week on Instagram.
Let’s talk about what it takes to run everyday, the pro’s, the con’s and what I think as someone who has coached thousands of runners over the last decade.
What is a Running Streak?
A running streak is defined as a minimum of 1 mile, every single day. As soon as you miss a day, the streak is broken. Some are just for the month of January, but others encourage running as many days in a row as possible.
For most folks the likelihood of injury or burn out is low at just 1 mile, but is running every day good for you? Can you run every day?
First of all, you certainly can run everyday, which means the actual question is SHOULD you run everyday.
For instance, each time a new fabulous running streak challenge appears, I get the question “Are you streaking?” followed shortly thereafter by questions from those I coach about if they should streak. Should you run everyday?
And maybe.The beginning of the year, usually brings with it a few running streak challenges.
Benefits of a Running Streak
Wanting to be fair to all sides, let’s take a look at the reasons why say a run everyday challenge gets people so excited.
- Getting in to a consistent routine
- Pushing through mental barriers
- Crushing invalid excuses about time, energy, life
- It can increase motivation
- It leads to other good habits
- More chances to improve your running
- No new special equipment needed (like starting a new hobby)
- You’ll learn to adapt to running in different weather (like rain, ice, heat!)
- Personal satisfaction of a goal achieved
- Community feeling with other runners who are taking on the challenge
Well none of that sounds so bad!
Why aren’t I promoting it to my runners or doing it myself?
It’s not in line with my BIG PICTURE goals.
And what I often find to be the real goals of those that I coach: injury free, healthy, long term running, faster, smarter, stronger, weight loss.
Now, I recognize the days where my body needs rest or I feel the days where a long run is going to rejuvenate and I want to flow with that, rather than being tied to a MUST run attitude.Are you a run streaker? Is it really healthy? #runchat #bibchat Click To Tweet
What about running everyday to lose weight?
I believe this is part of what draws many people in to a run streak initially, so let’s talk about it!
Running for weight loss is a process that involves a lot more than just more and more cardio, which I’ve written some detailed information on!
Running every day will definitely increase your calorie burn, but may not lead to weight loss for a few reasons:
- Hunger increases with mileage, which is why a lot of first time marathon runners GAIN weight!
- Cortisol increases as we stress our bodies and doing too much leads to weight gain
- Overuse injuries mean we end up sitting out days we could have been working out
- You’re often neglecting the other pieces that lead to weight loss like strength training or meal planning because all your time is devoted to running
Ok now all of that being said, of course it can help with weight loss! You need to be smart about it, but that initial kick start of going daily could be a great way to kick things off which encourages you to then remain in the habit long term once the streak is over.
While a 1 mile a day running streak, could be a fantastic way to get yourself into a routine with working out, I have concerns about doing it long term.
That’s not to say there aren’t many awesome people out there who have done it.
But remember, we aren’t all the same!!
Downsides to a running streak
A few reasons that it can be an issue depending your body and personality
- Stress over fitting in a run when life happens
- Running when your injured or sick and shouldn’t
- It could make running more of a chore, instead of your stress relief
- During endurance training it can lead to extra fatigue and improper recovery
- Missing a day can lead to a feeling of failure, which I’ve seen lead to missing MONTHS
How to do a Running Streak Safely
Now your big picture goals might be to get in to healthy habit routine…in which case maybe this streak is exactly what you need! If that’s the case, I’m here to cheer you on because we know I love seeing anyone and everyone out enjoying a run!
If you’ve decided it does match your goals, take a look at these tips for safely doing a running streak:
- Start only if you are healthy and injury free
- Don’t dramatically increase your overall mileage
- Ensure you are taking most runs easy
- Enjoy the consistency of training
- Keep up with your hip strength
- Remember 1 extra mile is not freedom to eat junk food
- Know when to call it quits
- Get ready to be a super planner
So is running everyday good?
It comes down to your long term goals and a willingness to be a very smart runner!
I’ve certainly done it, but in retrospect wish I’d spend those other days strength training or resting. It would have made me leaner and fitter much faster.
Think you’re interested a daily run challenge?
Checkout a few folks I follow who have managed to stay injury free, enjoy themselves and run some pretty awesome races: Sean who runs Ultras and daily without injury.
Define Your Big Picture Goals
For many years, I pulled my sick, tired body out of bed and trudged through another run, knowing that eventually it would feel good again and in the mean time I mentally just needed that sweaty mental release.
As things started to improve, my singular goal was to stay healthy and enjoy my runs. I got my wish and now I am trying to be smart enough to hold on to that feeling!!
It’s not to say that I haven’t ever streaked, oh I have…again it’s just not where I am now. And to be honest, it’s not where I want many of my athletes to be who have bigger race and healthy goals.
— Ellen Degeneres
I want to stay injury free.
I want to run not because I’m required to for a challenge, but because I choose it.
I want to have the right energy available to hit my goals on each run.
I need to cross train to stay healthy and get stronger.
I need to rest to keep my hormones balanced and prevent fatigue.
Have you ever done a running streak?? Results?
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