Runners unquestionably love their sport — so much so, that many of them often wonder if it’s possible to run every day.
Thus, the practice of “run streaking” was born — in an effort to stay wholly dedicated to their running, thousands of people have committed to running a minimum of one mile every single day for as long as they’ve set their streak to last.
And perhaps running one mile every day doesn’t seem all that substantial, but the key with running every day isn’t to focus on the quantity. (And remember, one mile is the minimum.)
Run streaking is more about your resilience, commitment, and mental fortitude. Even if one mile isn’t a tough run, making time for it every day can pose a bigger challenge than most people expect.
Being able to run daily is a mark of discipline and motivation. Plus, it provides a sense of accomplishment, like crossing off tasks on your to-do list. You don’t have to debate whether or not you should run — you just have to get that one mile under your belt, and you’ve achieved your daily goal, just like that!
When you can maintain that level of dedication, you’re setting yourself up for success in all your future training goals.
The biggest consideration for running every day is how you approach it. Whether you’re regularly practicing longer runs or just sticking to the standard one mile each day, you still need a deliberate, sustainable plan.
So, let’s get into it!
Is It Safe to Run Every Day?
Alright, let’s first start out with the basics…
Plenty of runners are able to safely and successfully maintain their run streak, so we know it’s feasible as a practice. But as we said, running every day isn’t so much a question of “can” or “should”; it’s more a matter of whether or not it suits your training, as well as how you would go about navigating such a new training plan.
Determine why you might want to run every day in the first place, and nail down a deliberate approach to prevent injury or overtraining. (Doing this can be much easier said than done, but don’t worry — we’ll cover that in just a bit.)
Before we dive into the “how” of it all, here are some of the most common considerations to take into account when running every day.
What are the Benefits of Running Daily?
One of the most obvious pros is the maintenance of your cardiovascular health and endurance. By nature, running can increase your oxygen intake during activity, thus allowing your heart to pump blood more efficiently. This ultimately builds a stronger heart muscle, lowers blood pressure levels, and reduces risk of cardiovascular disease.
Running every day is particularly associated with reduced rates of mortality and deadly disease. Research has shown that as little as 5-10 minutes of easy running can have a substantial impact on decreased risk of most major health concerns.
Additionally, running on a regular basis will promote healthier habits and lifestyles that can improve your sleep hygiene, mental health, energy levels, and weight regulation. (And of course, the better your mental and physical well-being, the less likely you are to develop mental health issues or other health complications.)
But the benefits of daily practice aren’t solely limited to your health: running every day provides a great opportunity to focus on your technique.
On your lighter, shorter runs, you don’t have to focus as much on training metrics like pacing, effort, or timing. Instead, you can dedicate more mental energy to the nuances of your biomechanics, like where your feet are landing or consistent leg alignment. If you’re already aware of what form errors you’re prone to (like over-stride or insufficient trunk lean), your quick daily runs are a good time to practice basic running retraining.
Honing your form — in combination with supplemental training — can contribute to more efficient, stabilized movement. Your muscles, tendons, and joints will grow more familiar with the physical feel of strong, deliberate running.
How Do I Know if Run Streaking is Right for Me?
With all of this being said, running every day isn’t guaranteed to yield all of those aforementioned benefits. (Otherwise, why wouldn’t every runner be doing it?)
The reality is that not everyone is suited for run streaking, nor is it the best fit for every runner’s goals or lifestyle. While it is feasible, it’s not a facet of running training that just anyone can take on — in order to run every day, you need ample strength, muscular control, and biomechanical prowess.
Meaning, newer runners are inherently going to be less prepared to handle the rigors of daily running compared to runners with higher mileage or more experience.
This isn’t to say that ambitious new runners can’t work their way up to daily runs; it’s more so that your current training is an important factor for safely running that often. When you’re still relatively new, there’s a much higher likelihood of accidentally overtraining, feeling burnout, or sustaining injury.
Plus, committing to running every day demands time and motivation. Most people who run every day typically have a particular reason, goal, and timeline laid out, all of which helps hold them accountable to their daily commitment.
For some runners, they may set a goal to run every day for an entire season, or up until the date of their next big race. They could be running for the sake of completing the race or to run a new PR, or perhaps they simply want to build their mental fortitude by practicing every day. Streaks can also be used to maintain consistency in the off-season, when not having a race for motivation can lead to the temptation to skip training days or run easier than usual.
Whatever your reasonings, keep them at the forefront of your training. Make sure that all of your daily efforts are bringing you closer and closer to those end goals, one way or another.
How to Safely Run Every Day
Alright: now that you’ve evaluated the feasibility of running every day, it’s time to discuss the good stuff…
That is, how to actually do it!
While every runner is different in their athletic capacity, motivation, and goals, there are a few best practices that can set the proper foundation for your approach to daily running. (The type of work you put into it should be individualized to your training needs, to take these building blocks and whittle them down into more deliberate methods for your personal success!)
Assess Your Running Biomechanics
One of the first (and arguably most crucial) steps is to go through a biomechanical running assessment to analyze your current running gait.
At first thought, it may not seem immediately relevant to your training. However, having that in-depth knowledge of your biomechanics is essential when you take on increased running loads — especially in terms of preventing injury.
Presenting even a minor biomechanical deficiency can have a much greater impact on your running than you may realize. Running is an incredibly high impact sport, where every step you take can generate up to 2-2.5 times your bodyweight in force.
Putting that into further context, most runners average around 1,500 steps per mile. So, even though running one mile a day may not pose much of a physical challenge, that’s still over a thousand points of contact and impact forces that your body has to mitigate every day.
When you combine that repetitive pounding with improper biomechanics (no matter how subtle), you can imagine how quickly those minor deviations can snowball into longer term issues or injury… making it that much more essential to know where your current gait is at and what you can do to keep it going strong.
Maintain Sufficient Strength Training
That’s right: if you’re going to run on a daily basis, strength training is an absolute must.
Technically, strength training is a necessity for all runners, at any level. In order to handle the rigors of running and protect your bones and joints from repetitive landing forces, your muscles need to easily activate and recruit strength.
Perhaps you might be wondering — what does muscle strength have to do with protecting my joints??
It’s a valid question, and one that suggests why many runners don’t include enough strength training in their programs to begin with.
Your muscles are the key to absorbing shock (i.e., any of those impact, braking, or loading forces that occur upon landing). Because your muscles consist of durable but pliable fibers, they’re able to mitigate these forces through active shock absorption, which is what they were made to handle.
But, this can only happen when the muscles are fully active and strong through your movement. If they’re unable to activate or contract properly, the impact forces get misdirected to your passive structures, like your bones, joints, tendons, or cartilage, which is a recipe for disaster and injury.
So, in order to truly prevent injury (anywhere from tendonitis to stress fractures or worse), don’t skimp out on your strength training regiment.
Implement Plenty of Recovery Time
This point probably isn’t new to you, but it’s a vital tenant to successful training.
As you can imagine, increasing your workload means you also have to adapt your recovery time to suit your new training demands.
Since running every day means you won’t have a complete, no-strings-attached rest day, making room for ample recovery is doubly as important. It’s best to err on the side of caution, rather than waiting until your body shows symptoms of overtraining or burnout. (Oftentimes, symptoms of overtraining occur well after your body is already being overworked, so waiting until you experience any red flags likely means you went too long without sufficient rest.)
Make a regular habit out of those minimum, 1-mile runs; use them as your easy or recovery workout between all your other training. (Runners are often tempted to just keep going because of how great that first mile feels, but stay diligent! Withhold that urge to run past your allotted mileage for the day to ensure you don’t overdo it.)
You ultimately know your body best. If you listen to its signals and feel the need to rest, give yourself time to do so! Your need for recovery won’t hold you back from crushing the rest of your daily runs (in fact, it’ll only make you more prepared for it).
Long story short: don’t skip your rest days! As tempting as it is to just squeeze in a daily run, make your rest times a recurring priority, no matter what.
Take It Day-by-Day
Remember — just because run streaking is possible doesn’t mean you have to do it, or that you should. Take stock of your training goals, current mileage and base, and the time you have available before deciding if it’s a good choice for you.
More than anything, it’s a great way to build commitment and resilience in your sport, and it can serve as a solid long-term goal for newer, ambitious runners. Being able to run every day is an impressive feat that can boost your confidence and appreciation for running, just as long as you’re approaching it the right way.