Running a 10k every day is a huge undertaking and not one for the faint of heart. 10 kilometers is equivalent to 6.2 miles. Running this distance takes most runners between 45 to 75 minutes, depending on the pace.
Most runners burn approximately 100 calories per mile, so you’d burn just over 600 calories for your jog. A 10k run will also see you doing around 9,000 to 10,000 steps. That’s a great workout as part of a balanced training plan. But is it really advisable to run a 10K every single day?
As running author Alex Hutchinson states, “Exercise may be the most important component to a healthy lifestyle, but like any powerful drug, you’ve got to get the dose right.” It makes sense when you think about it. Too much of a good thing can wind up being bad for you.
But the question remains: how much running is too much? Ultimately, this answer depends on a lot of factors. Some variables that change each person’s running threshold include genetic makeup, predisposition to disease, lifestyle, activity level, body mass index, and blood pressure.
Below we will assess the impact of running 10K every day. What would happen to your mind and body if you tried to sustain running 10,000 meters every single day?
- What Happens If I Try To Run 10K Every Day?
- Changes You’ll See Running 10K Every Day
- A Healthier Alternative To Running 10K Per Day
- 10K Per Day Is Achievable, But Not Advisable
What Happens If I Try To Run 10K Every Day?
Running 10k every day adds up to 70 kilometers or 43.5 miles per week, which is fairly high mileage for casual or recreational runners. This weekly mileage is more than enough for runners interested in training for a marathon (26.2 miles).
If you’re responsible in your training and slowly increase your running volume over time, running 10k per day doesn’t mean you’re doomed for injury or burnout. The key to running 10k per day is (a) slowly working up to it and (b) making sure that at least 80% of your weekly running volume is at a comfortable, easy pace.
Some indicators that a 10k per day running volume is safe for you as a runner are if you feel fresh and energized on almost every run (most notably your legs) and if you are not ending runs feeling fatigued. Recurring injuries, immune distress, and poor running performance are indicators that your weekly running volume may be too high.
Other indicators that running 10k every day is an okay mileage for you is if you’re seeing improvements in your running time or if you only notice minor setbacks as your body adjusts to your training schedule and running volume.
Of course, there’s a big difference between jogging 10K every day and competing in a 10K race every day. The latter idea would be absolutely insane.
Changes You’ll See Running 10K Every Day
Successful runners are successful because they are consistent. Having a built-in routine, like running the same 10k loop every morning before work, is a great way to ensure you’ll start the day on the right foot (figuratively and literally).
Here are some things you may notice during your running journey if you maintain a 10k per day running volume:
Benefits of a Daily 10K
There are plenty of benefits to running consistently, some specific to running 10k each day. You’ll generally experience the benefits of running once you reach the 30-minute mark of your run. With most runners spending 60+ minutes running a 10k, this distance certainly qualifies.
Some of the changes that you’ll notice in your body as you prioritize your fitness include:
- Improved cardiovascular fitness
- Stronger bones
- More defined muscles
- Improved mental health & better overall mood
- Less stress and anxiousness
- Improved health measurements (blood pressure, heart rate, cholesterol, body mass index (BMI), weight, etc.)
- Better sleep
- Stronger immune system
Running consistently and prioritizing your physical wellness changes your physical and emotional state. It’s incredible how our bodies, minds, and emotions are so interconnected.
Drawbacks of a Daily 10K
Exercise can incur risks, especially if you are working out at a volume above your current threshold. 10k is considered a long-distance run (8 kilometers is the benchmark for a “long run”). If not done properly or you’re not in tune with your body, this could cause issues later.
One of the two primary drawbacks to running 10k per day is the increased risk of an overuse injury. Running any distance every day without scheduling-in rest days creates the possibility for overuse injuries. Even elite athletes take one day off every 7 to 10 days.
A big no-no for the goal of running 10k per day is increasing your mileage suddenly to sustain that training volume. This puts you at even greater risk for injury, as your body is not used to running at such a high weekly mileage and is not trained for the volume.
Running is stressful on the body. Because of its high-impact nature, your joints, bones, and muscles experience repetitive stress that can lead to fatigue, micro-tears, and swelling. This is why your body needs – NEEDS – rest days to properly recover, grow, and build muscle tissue with more strength than before. Neglecting to rest will lead to the deterioration of these muscles and joints. It’s also important to note that ignoring overuse injuries when they are minor will only make them worse.
Take rest days from the first week you start so you don’t have to take weeks or months off of running later.
Another drawback that you may notice is running into a fitness plateau.
You Will Eventually Hit A Fitness Plateau
As you consistently follow the same 10K running pattern each day, you may notice that your fitness level starts to plateau. Maybe you’ve stopped losing weight, aren’t feeling challenged, or aren’t noticing changes in your pace or energy levels during and after a run.
At this point, you may need to consider adjusting your running routine to see different results or increased performance.
Some ideas that could help you push upwards through a plateau include:
- Pushing your pace beyond your comfort zone
- Changing your stride length
- Incorporating hills into your running routine
- Interval running
- Tempo running
- Cross training
These different running techniques are meant to push you into different heart rate zones, enhancing your performance in the long run.
Mental and Physical Effect of Running 10K Daily
You may notice a few other changes in your body and routine as you implement a daily 10k run into your rhythms.
You may feel more hungry than normal. This makes sense – you are burning an extra 600 calories during your run alone! As you lose fat and build muscle, your body will also develop a faster metabolism. This will also contribute to your more frequent hunger pangs.
Running will become easier. After you push through the first 21 days when running any distance is challenging, and you question why you decided to leave your warm, cozy bed in the first place … running becomes fun. You’ll notice that you feel stronger and fitter when you run. Runs will become less daunting. You’ll check your fitness tracker to see how much further you must run less frequently. You may naturally develop a faster running pace or be less winded when you finish a run.
You won’t just be training yourself physically, but mentally too.
You will also likely start falling asleep more easily and sleep deeper and longer.
You also may naturally start making healthier decisions in other areas, like diet and alcohol consumption. Making one healthy life choice tends to encourage making additional life changes. It’s one of those domino effects that brings about more good.
A Healthier Alternative To Running 10K Per Day
Running is all about finding the balance between stress and rest. Running too much without rest can cause injuries and burnout, while running too little leaves you feeling sluggish and unable to get out of your unfit bubble. We would argue that running 10K every single day is overkill for all but elite athletes.
Even if you are a training specifically for a 10K, you wouldn’t want to run this distance on a regular basis.
One of the keys to unlocking your running potential in your running regimen may seem quite counter-intuitive… rest. Not running for at least one day per week will make your overall running progress stronger, healthier, and less injury-prone.
Rest days are absolutely crucial to allow your body the time it needs to recover from your runs. When your body is rested, the micro-tears your muscle fibers experience due to exercise have time to repair, forming stronger muscles. This makes your rest days worth it in the long run.
Weekly Goal Setting with Rest Days
One of the ways that you can accomplish your lofty 10k per day goal while also allowing your body time to rest is by pivoting your running routine and targeting weekly mileage instead. There is a way to still hit that 43.5 miles per week goal – by setting weekly mileage goals instead of a daily 10k mileage goal.
How to Average 10K Per Day with 2 Rest Days
You could follow a routine like this that allows two rest days per week:
- Monday – 8.8 miles
- Tuesday – 9 miles
- Wednesday – 8 miles
- Thursday – REST DAY
- Friday – 8.7 miles
- Saturday – 9 miles
- Sunday – REST DAY
- Weekly Total – 43.5 miles
How to Average 10K Per Day with 2 Rest Days
Or this plan that would allow for one rest day per week:
- Monday – 7 miles
- Tuesday – 8 miles
- Wednesday – 6.2 miles
- Thursday – REST DAY
- Friday – 8 miles
- Saturday – 8 miles
- Sunday – 6.3 miles
- Weekly Total – 43.5 miles
10K Per Day Is Achievable, But Not Advisable
At the end of the day, the most important point we can impart is that rest days are VITAL and running 10K everyday will eventually cause burnout or injury.
By following one of our recommended running plans above, you’ll still log 43.5 miles (70 kilometers) per week, but you also give your body a chance to rest and recover. No matter how you decide to crush your running goals, staying free of injury should always be #1 at the top of your priorities!