Fitness
Moderators: melkor


Running every day


Quote  |  Reply

Hi, I'm new here, just have a question for anyone who can help....

I've read everywhere on the internet that if you're new to running you shouldn't run everyday as it makes you more prone to injury.  You need to take rest days in between or do some other kind of workout to let your muscles repair and recover.  But I've also read advice given to runners who've been running a long time, saying that this doesn't apply to them, it's only for beginners.  Obviously if someone is training for a marathon they're going to be running on lots of consecutive days.

I've been running 3 days a week for 9 weeks while doing the Couch to 5k programme.  I'm loving it and itching to do more.  My question is, at roughly what point does it become safer to run everyday? 

Also I've read that you need a rest day after working your muscles to let them develop and grow.  Well, I'm a girl and I already have quite chunky legs and since I've started running the muscle has built up really quickly and insted of slimming down my legs look bigger than ever (although they're more toned).  Will running every day help me lose muscle and slim down?

17 Replies (last)

First, don't take all rules of thumb as literal.  You are unique.  One size for all runners does not fit everyone.  So learn to listen to your own body.  It will tell you.

New runners.  Hmmm.  I don't really remember.  As to experienced ones, we are as unique as snowflakes.  Yes, our coach says to not run Fridays.  Says "rest means rest".  I run lots of Fridays.  When I am training hard in the heat of the summer, I like to run both morning and night.  Usually 4 to 6 miles each.  Yeah, not what the coach wants.  But I know my body and how it responds.

Some of the runners I train with run only 1 or 2 marathons a year.  Some of us run 2 a month.  It is just what your body feels.

For a newer runner, you should probably increase your training gradually and cautiously.  For an experienced runner, that doesn't apply.

So, just listen to your body.  Push it.  Ignore pain.  Respect injury.

As to slimming your legs.  Probably not without weight loss too.  I know many runners who are fit but overweight.  Many put in lots of miles, but they don't get slimmer legs without less weight.

Don't go from running 3 days a week to running every day all at once.  Add days gradually. Do 4 days then 5 and so on.

Rest is important.  It is better to force yourself to rest on a regular basis than it is to miss a few months of running due to over-training or injury.  Respect your body.

Congrats on becoming a runner! I'm a casual runner (i.e. no marathons for me!) but I have done a few races, some upwards of 35k (that one was bad) so I do have some experience with what works FOR ME. When I first started running I went every single day. I'd been exercising before but never running as I hated it, but I was determined. So I went 6 days a week but I only went for maybe half a mile to start with. A mile tops. I did this for weeks until I felt like it was so easy I was barely breaking a sweat and then I upped my milage. That worked for me, I felt great because I was going but i wasn't stressing out my body and I wasn't getting frustrated on long runs. 

As for your legs, I agree that slimming with come with weight loss if that's what you're after. When you're exercising small dietary changes can have big impacts on your body, but I know for me when I started running I started eating better and I did lose weight. But I think the two go hand in hand? Good luck, welcome to the running world! 

abi6883  --  nice.  You listened to your body instead of conforming to some arbitrary guideline.  That is the way to do it.

And I agree about running and eating better.  I also see some who start running and use it to justify eating more.

Statistically speaking, "listening to your body" will get you injured pretty damn fast as overuse injuries like shin splints, hairline fractures and plantar fasciitis sneak up on you and by the time you feel them it's far too late.

 80% of new runners will experience an injury that prevents them from exercising for a month or longer within the first year of training. You can reduce the injury chance quite a bit by following a series of running-specific strength training drills like the Army's "Fit to Run" training program and by not running for more than 3xweekly for your first 6 months of training - doing more than 30 minutes at a time or more often than 3 times weekly has practically no benefit and a vastly increased injury risk.

I definitely agree about injuries as well (although for me running every day wasn't the problem I don't think) but make SURE you have VERY GOOD SHOES! I suffered from knee problems (not the first time) and terrible shin splints because I didn't have proper shoes. Go somewhere and get fitted and find the perfect pair - even if it means trying on every pair in the shop! Good luck! 

I am definitely in the camp that feels you shouldn't run everyday.  But that doesn't mean you can't do something.  Walking for instance is a great way to recover after longer distances, stretching, yoga anything that increases your flexibility is a great substitution since we tend to get pretty tight with the repetitive motions of running.  Any cardo can really be used for rest days, so long as it isn't hard on your joints (high impact sports).

Original Post by melkor:

Statistically speaking, "listening to your body" will get you injured pretty damn fast as overuse injuries like shin splints, hairline fractures and plantar fasciitis sneak up on you and by the time you feel them it's far too late.

 80% of new runners will experience an injury that prevents them from exercising for a month or longer within the first year of training. You can reduce the injury chance quite a bit by following a series of running-specific strength training drills like the Army's "Fit to Run" training program and by not running for more than 3xweekly for your first 6 months of training - doing more than 30 minutes at a time or more often than 3 times weekly has practically no benefit and a vastly increased injury risk.

I feel like a Veteran, I remember with great fondness getting this same advice from you 6 months ago.

BTW The cast comes off next weekTongue out

JK Lydie, good advice, listen closely.

key is to listen to your body, maybe add an extra shorter run in once a week for a few weeks, also you could try either the static bike or road bike to increase your Cadence on rest days, this will help with your running always always remember to stretch after running make sure you hold your stretches for a minimum of 20 second each and repeat twice (maintenance stretches).


 

#10  
Quote  |  Reply
Original Post by cpa_pfs:

So, just listen to your body.  Push it.  Ignore pain.  Respect injury.

"listen to your body" and "ignore pain" how does that work? Maybe it should be called "selectively listen to your body" or "only listen to what you want to hear from your body".

#11  
Quote  |  Reply
When I first started junior high, I went from barely running 2 times a week to 1-3km everyday. Just keep pushing yourself. Resting will make your muscles sore, you want to keep them in shape. Also when I feel like I'm too tired to run I dig my fingernails into the palms of my hands=takes the pain in my legs away/directs it somewhere else. Pace yourself.
You will have better success if you only run 3-5 times per week. Not every day. Cross training is good too!

Going from 3 days a week of running to every day is BAD. I currently compete and at the beginning of the fall semester my coach always makes us run every day, no days off, for a month straight.  This has caused so many problems with me (and a few other kids on the team who religiously follow the running plan).  This could lead to a numerous number of injuries that could take months to recovery from and make you have to stop running all together for a time (a few days to years in some cases).  In fact this caused my recent injury of really bad planters faciitis.

If you really want to increase your milage without injury, you can always follow a simple plan that I learned in college.  Increase by an average of 10% for 3 weeks and then back off 10% the 4th week, repeat. (percentages can be milage or minutes)

say you run 50 miles per week and you want to increase your milage.  Week 1 would be 50 miles, Week 2 increase to 55 miles, Week three increase to 60 miles, Week 4 decrease back down to 55 miles (please note that if you are new to running you may feel great during this week and if you run high milage you will feel like crap).  Week 5 increase to 60 miles, Week 6 increase to 65 miles, Week 7 increase to 70 miles, Week 8 decrease to 65 miles. 

When you get to a point where you want to not increase milage anymore just decrease the milage by 25% instead of 10%:

Week 1 run 50, Week 2 increase to 55, Week 3 increase to 60, Week 4 decrease to 45, repeat.

happy running :)

#14  
Quote  |  Reply
Yeah, LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! I used to LOVE to run and would run about 2-3 hours per day on the treadmill... Then one day, I started feeling a little bit pain at my hip joints. I figured "you need to push yourself- do not let this defeat u - it is just pain; it'll go away. Drink more water" as days went by, I couldn't work out, but I walked...and slowly, my hip joints started to fracture unknowingly. I saw about 3 sport surgoens who told me if I don't pin my hip joints, then I'll need a hip replacement. I was 21 years old and now, I am 24. My body hasn't been the same since. =( I fear running for longer than 20 mins.

Start slowly, listen to your body...all great advice.  I'd also include cross-training.  I PR'd in marathon when I actually swam or biked on easy/rest running days...and I also did Bikram Yoga which kept me nice and limber.

Oh, boy.....

Here's the problem with the "listen to your body" mentality:

New runners don't know what they're hearing.

This is the point of this original question.  If you all asked me how to say "where's the bathroom" in Japanese, how helpful is it if I explain not only the phrasing but the linguistic context of it and how to address certain people all in Japanese?  If you don't already speak the language, responding in that language is useless.

As such, telling a new runner to "listen to your body" is the same thing.  Have you all forgotten that initial rush of runners' high when you first started training and beat milestone after milestone, only to come crashing back to reality a few months later?  Or worse yet, injuries to knees, legs, hips, low back, etc. because of improper form or bad shoes?

Oh, and as an aside: "push through the pain" is singularly the most dangerous piece of advice I've heard yet.  That, to me, sounds like the cliches that athlete use, who can differentiate between soreness and fatigue vs. actual pain.

DO NOT ATTEMPT TO PUSH THROUGH PAIN UNLESS YOU CAN DIFFERENTIATE BETWEEN "TIRED" AND "OH MY GOD SOMETHING IS WRONG."

Now, to the OP: Taking days off in between running sessions is for your whole body to recover, especially if you're new to running.  Even intermediate and long-time runners should be taking breaks (and for the more experienced runners, that tends to be lighter, easier-paced runs as opposed to 1-2 mile walks for the less experienced; breaks are defined differently from experience level to experience level and from person to person).

Again, when you don't yet know the language, "listening to your body" is worthless and dangerous as advice.

If you're doing C25K, stick with it until the end.  It's designed the way it is for a reason.  But more specifically, like I said in the paragraph above, "rest" is a subjective term depending on experience and your goals.

Also, running does not build up muscle in the way you imply.  The activity just isn't geared toward it -- for illustrative proof, look at marathon runners and cyclists.  Do their legs look gigantic?  Unless you're doing body-builder-like weight lifting focusing on your legs and eating like it, it's not the running that's doing it (especially as a newbie runner).  If you can see and feel the muscle definition (which is different from adding mass), then it's more likely to be a matter of perception rather than actual physical mass and volume.

 

Thankyou all so much for your replies and great advice.  I'm considering it all. 

On Saturday I completed Couch25k and I've decided to start running every other day which is a slight increase in what I was doing.  This week I'm concentrating on improving my 5k time and then I'm starting the Bridge to 10k programme.  I'm hoping it's safe to gradually start running for an hour at a time!?

17 Replies
Advertisement
Advertisement