Should You Really Be Running Every Day?

Guest post by: Jared Beckstrand, DPT


It’s coming. The warmer weather, the longer days, the melting snow… every day that passes brings us one day closer to spring and one day closer to those beautiful outdoor runs again! If you’re anything like me you can hardly contain your excitement and can’t wait to get out there and (literally) hit the ground running. It’s times like this I find myself thinking – “I could go for a run every single day”; but that statement begs the question – should you really run every day? What’s the optimum number of sessions for training while minimizing the risk of injury? Today on the Mizuno Running blog, we’re talking running frequency and how you can maximize your running to achieve your goals.

First of all, keep in mind that how often you run (frequency) is only one of three important variables when we talk about running “volume” (the amount of running you do each week). The other two include duration (how long/far you run) and intensity (how hard you run). All three factors play an important role in answering the “how much should I run” question. Research has shown that you need to run at least a couple of times every week in order to get some sort of benefit from it.

FF February

The truth is there is no single right answer to “should I really be running everyday”. Things such as your goals, your lifestyle (running availability), fitness level, and running experience should all be used to establish your upper and lower limits of your running volume; but within these limits you can choose any number of frequencies based on personal needs/preferences to attain your desired results. Let’s explore a few…

The Minimum

If you care enough about running to want to really make good progress with it, my recommendation is that you run 2-3 times per week. Keep in mind that the quality of your runs is significant; you should try to mix up your runs with different speeds, intensities, and durations. Maybe one day is a “tempo run” – aim for faster paces as you run a 5K distance or consistency as you run 10K. Another day could be a “speed run” – going for much shorter distance at a much higher pace to increase strength and heart rate recovery. Finally “endurance runs” are also important – try a longer distance to increase your endurance. Running 2-3 times per week at varying paces, speeds, and distances will help you to see the progress you’re after, both with your running and your physical well-being.

The Maximum

On the other extreme, there are people who push their running to the limits. Elite runners have been known to push their running frequency to 7x per week; some even more working 2 runs/day into their schedule. Keep in mind this type of schedule is only for the most serious of runners. The general rule that the running population follows is if you’re going to run more than 70 miles per week you should double up at least once a week. It is recommended that in order to provide your body with necessary rest and recovery you should keep your distance per run to around 10 miles. If you are training for a distance event and need to push yourself further than 70 miles in a week (10 miles per day), do so by adding another run session in your day, not by simple increasing your miles/run. Again, keep in mind that this type of schedule is reserved for elite runners and is something that should be worked towards very gradually.


A Word About Cross Training

Oh, if I could but teach you this one principle: you need to be cross training while running. Cross training is simply participating in 2 or more activities to improve one’s physical performance. Supplementing your running with strength training, swimming, cycling, etc is essential to increasing muscle strength, increasing endurance, enhancing performance, and decreasing risk of injury. The majority of injured runners that I see in my physical therapy clinic wouldn’t be there at all if they just followed this one simple rule. People don’t understand the amount of muscle strength it takes to be a runner! They think “if I want to run, all I have to do is run for my training.” Nothing is further from the truth! Strengthening key muscles in your core, hips, and legs is essential to consistent, successful running. This is accomplished through cross training with different activities to supplement your running.  (Need a great glute workout for runners? Try this one out!)

My Recommendation

So should you really be running every day? My recommendation for the average “recreational runner” (someone who wants to consistently stay in “5K shape” with an occasional 10K and maybe 1-2 half marathons per year) would be running 3-4 times per week (varying pace, intensity, and distance) in combination with 2-3 weekly cross-training sessions. This schedule will provide adequate running sessions for you to see some significant results and improvement while providing you with necessary strength and rest sessions to enhance performance and minimize risk for injury.





Jared Beckstrand, Doctor of Physical Therapy, who specializes in exercise prescription. He loves being active and seeing his patients become more active and get into shape. He is also the Blogger at Tone and Tighten, LLC