How Many Days in a Row Can You Run?

When considering how many days in a row can you run, it turns out that it’s a very personal decision. What is meant by that is that the answer differs from one athlete to another. There are so many questions that need to be answered in order to determine how many days in a week YOU can or should run. See where the emphasis is there? Yes, that’s right, on YOU.

Newbie Runners

If you are just starting out as a runner, it is recommended that you observe some rest days. Most plans for new runners have you running four or five days each week. If you engage in other forms of exercise, you should take at least one day of complete rest. What constitutes complete rest also varies from one person to the next.

Some people do yoga or stretching on a rest day. For others, complete rest means exactly that: nothing physical. Yet another group of people does not consider a leisurely bike ride or walk with the dog to be exercise, and would count that as a rest day.

It is important to note here that everyone is different.

Is It Ok To Run Everyday?

Sure, it’s okay to run every day. But is it wise? It really depends on your body. Many people streak, either all the time or for occasions.

Jon Sutherland
LA Times

If you have ever asked, “How many days in a row can you run”, know you are in good company. According to USRSA’s Active USA Streak List, the longest-running streak belongs to Jon Sutherland. He has logged at least one mile every day for over 51 years.

Thoughts from an Average Joe

Claudia “Runsalot” Biester – “I think generally it depends on people’s base conditioning and their goals. I am running 6-7 days a week and I train for ultra events. I am very mindful of balance during my runs. I run my easy runs very easily so I can run my hard runs HARD. Each week I do one-speed session and one hill session. Sometimes I sneak in a mini-speed session during a third run.”

Claudia "Runsalot" Biester
Biester, Horseshow Bend 55K March 2020

Biester believes in quality over quantity. She ends with around 50 miles a week during peak training. Fully believing a strong body makes a strong runner, she builds leg strength. 

Kent – Detroit International Marathon 2016

Bill Kent – “I am streaking to build consistency. It allows me to build overall mileage with shorter runs.” For Kent, three days a week are true running workouts. The other three days are cross-training days where Kent does non-impact like a stationary bike. Then, he gets in his mile or two for the streak. On the seventh day when he “rests” he just does his streak mile. 

What is a Good Distance to Run Daily?

If you really plan to run daily, there is no set distance. Except, if you want to be considered a streak runner, you must run at least one mile every day.

How far you run truly depends on a few things: your body, your goals, and your other commitments. If you’re running just to run or for some exercise, a few miles a few days a week will do the trick for you. If you’re training for your first 5K, the same answer applies.

What about if you’re trying to PR a 5K? What if you’re training for a half marathon? How about an ultra marathon? Well, then the best distance to run is truly a more complicated answer.

PR Running

If you are training to set a PR (personal record), you need to change up your running. For example, most coaches agree that adding some mileage can help you run faster. In addition, to effectively train for a 5K, you will want to run slightly longer than that distance for your long run each week.

Also, you probably want to mix it up and add some speed work, maybe some hills. Lastly, consider some strength training. The point of this discussion is that if you are training for a PR it looks different than if you are just running for joy.

Increasing Your Distance

If you have decided to increase your running distance, you should not add more than 10% weekly to your overall mileage. So when considering how far or how often you should run, take this into consideration.

Running As Therapy

What if you are running for entirely different reasons: your mental health. Please note, I am not trying to imply that running can take the place of a healthcare professional. However, many people find it cathartic. Such is the case with Jeanmarie Mullaly-Richards.

Jeanmarie Mullaly-Richards
Mullaly-Richards – Atlantic City, NJ half-marathon Oct. 2019

Thoughts From An Average Joe:

Jeanmarie Mullaly-Richards is “not your average runner.” According to her, “I’m overweight and have bad knees.” She states she has “lost weight, gained weight, lost it again, blah blah blah.” People told her she was crazy to try to run because she doesn’t look like a runner. Direct quote from Jeanmarie; “Poop poop on them.”  Mullaly-Richards started running 8 years ago because she was angry and, “needed somewhere to put it.” 

She discovered running “as far and as fast as her body allows til the feeling leaves” takes care of the stress and hurt of life. “Sometimes it’s three miles, sometimes it’s five, sometimes it’s ten. It’s how I cope with stress and makes me happy.” When asked about her training she said simply, “there is no training; there’s happiness and willingness to push me to make myself happy.” 

So… How Far and Often Should I Run?

If you’re still contemplating the questions how far and often you should run, you haven’t been paying attention! The answer is not a simple one because truly it depends on your fitness and goals. Just remember: this is YOUR journey. Make it an epic one, but make it fit your needs.

Sources:
Is Running Every Day More Helpful Than Harmful?
Run Everyday

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