Running at least a mile every day for that duration takes an incredible amount of commitment — and a little bit of luck. The current longest-running streak for an individual runner is more than 50 years in the US. That’s running at least 1 mile every day (365 days a year) for more than 50 years — which adds up to more than 18,000 consecutive days of running … and counting. For most of us, that time frame is unimaginable.
You may have wondered if running every day is beneficial whether you’re a long-time runner or just getting started. Is it better to take a day off each week? Or will you gain more from an everyday commitment? There is no single right answer because we are all unique. The exact answer depends on your goals, training schedule and last but not least, your motivation.
You’ll need to commit to at least a mile every day if you’re looking to start a running streak. For most of us, the answer to whether you should run every day is a little more complex. Runners have a number of goals, including weight loss, training for a race, maintaining fitness in the off-season or for mental and physical health benefits. There are a number of factors to consider when it comes to running on a daily basis, no matter your reason.
Running to lose weight
Maintaining or losing weight is a common source of motivation when we go running. If burning calories and staying lean is your primary goal, getting out the door every day can be a beneficial tool. If you’re a new runner, your body adapts and becomes more efficient over time, meaning you may find yourself burning fewer calories if you stick to the same length and intensity run every day.
Variety is the key to longevity in running since it’s such a repetitious sport. Try to add variety in any number of ways, including the length and intensity of your run and the type of terrain (trail/road/treadmill, hilly versus flat, etc.) if you run every day. Adding even a small amount of strength training to your routine can also help you build muscle, stay lean and avoid running injuries.
Maintain your baseline fitness
You’ll likely find yourself with stretches of time after an important race where you want to get out the door without the volume and intensity of race training if you’re a runner who has both short- and long-term racing goals. Ironically, it may be easier for some athletes to run daily in the off-season than during intense periods of training.
You may find it enjoyable to get out for fun, easy efforts on a daily basis when there is reduced pressure for workouts and long runs. An added bonus will be maintaining your baseline fitness, so you aren’t starting from scratch when you ramp up for your next race.
Whether you run three days a week or seven, cross-training and strength training is always beneficial to support athleticism, mobility and prevent injuries. Find the balance in training that works best for you mentally and physically so you can enjoy the sport for years to come.