Recently, I got this comment from someone watching one of my videos that among other things we talked about, they mentioned how running six kilometers everyday is difficult and how they had just started. And it got me thinking, are other people doing this? Now, you’re here because you probably searched for this, is running five kilometers a day good for you. And that’s what I want to talk about today.
If you’re running 5K a day or you’re trying to, that means you’re probably into running, so you should stick around, hit that subscribe button, stay with me for more episodes of this show I call Runner’s High every Tuesday and Thursday. Now, what I said to that person who commented to me and said, hey, I’m trying to run six kilometers every day, and it’s very difficult. And what I will say to you is, don’t. If you’re just starting out, especially don’t. There really is no reason to try to go from couch to 5K every day. And there’s a build up period. There’s a period of time where you’re going to go into longer runs, or you’re going to get more dazing.
But very few people are going to go straight from no days to seven days a week running. And you might say, well, Jesse, you say on this channel consistency is the key to goals. Well, that’s true. Consistency is the key to achieving your goals. However, jumping into a regimen like that is also the key to probably getting some kind of injury. So, is it okay to run 5K everyday? I guess it’s okay, if you can maintain it. But it comes with a big caveat that it may not necessarily be good for you.
The other thing to keep in mind is that there are diminishing returns in terms of fitness. So, we know that up through five days a week, the gains are pretty good. But when you get to six and seven days a week, the gains drop off. The amount you’re gaining for each of those extra days is only incremental. So, if you are trying to run your fastest 5K ever, and you’ve maxed out those five days and the amount of fitness you can get in those five days. Okay. That’s something to think about. It’s something I did in college when I moved from six days to seven days, my junior year. Keep in mind, I’d already been running for six, seven years at that point, and we were doing 60 mile weeks. So, there is a specific situation where you might try to run every single day, but you do need rest.
Now, there is actually somebody who did this and has a lot of feedback. So, let’s talk about her article that she wrote. Now this article was written for Fit&Well.com by Lucy Gornall. Sorry, if I’m pronouncing your last name wrong, Lucy. If you want to read the original article, we’re going to link for that in the description below. So, check that out if you want to see all of her thoughts on what she did. But she ran a 5K everyday for a month.
If you want to check her out on Instagram, it’s @LucyElizabethGornall, no spaces, no underscores. But in any case, check out her Instagram, check out the article. As you can see, she’s already pretty fit. So, she’s starting with some kind of basic fitness. She’s actually a personal trainer, but doesn’t really have that running background and she wanted to see what would happen. And there are a number of things that happened to her.
So, let’s go through that, let’s go through the article. I’ve got it pulled up so I apologize as I’m not looking at you, I’m looking at this to make sure I hit all of her points. She talks about losing weight. That makes sense if you’re going to be running 5K a day. That’s an extra 300 calories you’re burning. Now there’s a nice video I did on how many miles have to run to burn 1,000 calories. The short version of that video is 10 because you burn basically 100 calories per mile regardless of speed when you’re running.
There are slight variations but it’s a good napkin math where you’re just trying to figure it out quick and dirty style. So, burning 300 calories extra every day or 310 technically, since it’s a 5K, that means that you’re going to, if you don’t replace it, you’re going to lose weight. So, that was a big thing.
Her big next point was that she noticed her joints aching, and this is a big concern with anybody going from zero to seven days a week running, even if you’re only doing 5K a day. Because it takes much much longer for your joints and your tendons to adjust to the stress than it does your muscles. So, you want to be careful about going too quickly into too many miles because your joints simply can’t handle the adjustment that quickly.
Now, there are a lot of people who say running is bad for your joints, in general, which simply isn’t true if you’re not overloading them. They can actually be good for your joints in the long term because some amount of stress makes your body help those joints be stronger. But if you put too much stress on them, then they become injured. Same thing with soft tissue, which is your muscles. If you overwork them, they can become injured. But if you work them the correct amount or slightly under the highest amount you can tolerate, then you’re going to adapt and become stronger. So, yes, it can destroy your joints, it can make your joints achy, as in Lucy’s case here. But that is not always going to be the case.
So, her next point, she got quicker and fitter. That makes sense, right? If she hasn’t really spent time running, now she’s spending time running, then she’s going to get faster. Just like if I go to the gym, and I start doing bench press, which I never do, I’m going to start out pretty terribly. Like, let’s start out with the bar, maybe 60 pounds or something, and then work up from there towards bodyweight and beyond. But I don’t spend any time doing it, so I don’t have fitness for it. And when you spend time doing something specific, you get fitness for doing that specific thing. So, that makes perfect sense.
One thing I thought was interesting, she mentioned is her cravings decreased. She thought she would want more sugary, carby kind of things. And I think that might be true if she was going out and running 10K or 15K or 20K a day. But one of the things I’ve tried to stress recently in some of the videos is that you really don’t need to go out of your way to replace carbs for short runs. Your body has about two hours of glycogen to use. So, if she’s going out for a 5K, even if she’s running 10 minute miles, she’s only out for about a half hour. This is in the realm where you might not even need a sports drink to replace your electrolytes because you’re not out that long.
30 to 60 minutes, that’s when you start thinking about a sports drink. Beyond 90 minutes, then you definitely want to think about carbs. But what I’ve realized or solidified through talking through all the different experts I talk to on the Smart Athlete Podcast also, here on this channel, is that you simply don’t need carbs for the shorter things, and that you’re going to replenish those carbs through your diet through the rest of the day, especially if you’re doing the short stuff. So, it doesn’t really surprise me that her cravings decreased because she could be, in another sense, she could be getting some of the serotonin, some of that dopamine from the run versus chocolate, which can do that as well.
So, if she’s reducing cravings, it’s probably from that or possibly, from her body signaling, hey, I want more nutritious stuff. And since she’s a personal trainer, she probably already has a history of eating good things. So, her body kind of has a library of food to kind of crave for when she needs it. Now, that’s a whole other discussion, but it’s a personal theory I have about our palates, and how the variety of food we’ve eaten helps us know what tastes are associated with what nutrients. I don’t have a lot to back that up. It’s just a personal theory. I’d like to see if I could find some more research on it, so don’t quote me on it. But that’s something I’m working on at the moment. But let’s move on to the other things that happened with her.
Without spoiling all of the rest of the article, which again, you can find in the description down below. She realized the importance of a good running kit, which I stress on this channel because I used to fit shoes for people full-time for both people with medical conditions and runners and everyday people. And you cannot stress how much good shoes make a difference. I’ve seen people. We were in Chicago this last weekend, and I saw people running in the Riverwalk, which is just like a sidewalk basically next to the river going through Chicago, in the flattest, almost Converse like shoes. And unsurprisingly, it was largely very young people because your feet are most likely not going to take that amount of pounding for a long duration of time.
I say that with the caveat that barefoot running does have a place. But when you’re in an urban environment like that, and you’re running on concrete the whole time, having good shoes is a huge boon to foot health. And then when you don’t have it, your skeletal system is going to take more of a pounding. So, good running form, helps you absorb that shock of running in your muscles versus your skeleton, but also having good shoes. That’s one of their roles is reducing the amount of shock that goes through your foot, and also returning energy into the ground. So, getting good shoes is crucial and not surprising that she experienced that, especially because she’s putting herself in this condition of, I’m running every single day.
So, if we want to wrap this video up, is it okay or is it good to run a 5K everyday? Probably not. I’ll say that with the caveat that if you’re in it for high performance, then you may be running seven days a week, but you’re probably also running more than 5K a day. I would say five days is probably good enough for most people. If you don’t want to take the weekend off, it’s fine. Take Sunday off and then take Wednesday off or something, run five days, have it split up. But running seven days a week is absolutely not essential for most people, especially if you’re just running for health and not for maximizing your fastest times.
So, do you have any questions for me? Are there anything you’d like to see on future videos, any questions you’d like answered? Leave them down in the comments below, and I’ll see you next time on the next episode of Runner’s High.