Is daily running a healthy way of losing weight and staying fit – or is “streak running” unhealthy, stressful and injurious? A guide to the right and wrong way to jog every day.
“When I run, I just run. Usually in a void. Or maybe I should put it the other way round: I run to get emptiness. The thoughts that go through my head as I run are like clouds in the sky. They come and pass. ”
Writer Murakami runs almost every day and has been for 36 years. He writes about this in his book “What I talk about when I talk about running”. A book every runner should read.
Is that why everyone who enjoys running should jog every day? Let’s get to the bottom of the secret of streak running from the perspective of a trainer who is a passionate runner himself.
What is streak running?
Do you remember the Seinfeld method?
The principle is simple: you set yourself something that you want to do every day. For every day you do it, you put an “X” on the calendar.
Over time, the “X” s form a chain. Your goal is simple:
Do not break the chain.
This simple principle is one of the most powerful tools for building new, good habits.
It is not for nothing that it is part of many apps that are about staying tuned. Not only in the fitness area, like Apple Activity, but also when learning languages, like at Duolingo.
The simple definition is in this context:
A running streak is an uninterrupted chain of daily runs.
The English term “streak” stands for “streak”, as in “lucky streak”. Just that we’re talking about running here.
My running streak started four months ago. For the two-week test of the Casio GBD-H1000, I ran every day to collect measurements. I’ve stayed with it ever since, because it was good for me – and to gain experience for this article.
Many runners have a specific streak running goal.
For example, run every day for a week, a month or even a whole year, without exception. So it is also clear what this is also about:
Streak Running should be a challenge !
It is NOT about running a certain distance in a certain time like in a race. It’s about the challenge of a daily exercise routine.
Therefore, streak running is fundamentally different from training for a competition or with a specific performance goal.
Most runners also define a minimum distance for a run, for example 1-2 kilometers. 1
Only then does a run count officially as a run.
In my experience, however, the biggest hurdle is not the distance, but the running itself. That is why I use a mental trick and consciously do NOT take a minimum distance.
Mark’s rule: “Every run counts, even if it’s only the 500 meters around the block.”
So your weaker self has one less argument even after a hard day. Even if you were tired and stupid, you can do a 3-minute run.
That is the charm of low hurdles for training: As a result, you move more.
Before you go under the streak runner, you should know if jogging every day is something for you.
To the point: What is streak running?
A running streak is an uninterrupted sequence of daily runs and a running challenge, for example 10, 30 or 365 days to run in one go. When a run officially counts as a run is up to you. I recommend setting the bar low.
Should you jog every day?
Advanced runners find it easier to jog every day. Especially when you lace up your running shoes seven days a week for several weeks at a time.
Streak Running is an advanced running challenge.
If you train ambitiously anyway, it will be much easier for three reasons:
- Advanced runners often train daily (or almost daily) anyway. Your training is almost like a running streak anyway.
- With increasing training experience you will learn to recognize the signals of your body better, to know how to interpret them and to prevent injuries.
- Because of their endurance, advanced runners find it easier to cope with the daily workload.
Ambitious runners not only bring all the mental and physical tools for streak running with them, they often can too easily integrate into your training plan.
That doesn’t mean that only advanced runners can run every day:
Anyone who currently jogs three to four times a week can successfully master a running streak.
Then you will probably benefit the most from it. Because …
- … you develop a more economical running technique by running more often (with more practice you become more efficient).
- … daily running breaks mental barriers if you prove to yourself that you can do it (often we limit ourselves by our beliefs).
- … jogging every day your long-distance endurance almost always improves (more weekly kilometers → more endurance).
- … you increase your calorie consumption when you Want to lose fat (this is an option if you’ve already pulled out other stops).
While streak running is easier for ambitious runners, it can be quite a challenge for beginners or casual runners represent.
In a nutshell: Who should run every day (and who would rather not)?
Streak running is an advanced challenge. Those who run at least three to four times a week will benefit the most from this challenge. If you run less often, you should first acquire a regular running routine (3-4 runs per week) and get your body used to the strain.
PRO: What are the advantages of daily running?
In the last section we clarified who will benefit most from streak running.
Time to get a little more specific: How does daily running affect your endurance and fitness?
In my opinion, jogging every day has three main advantages:
- Injury prevention
You can benefit significantly from all three.
1. You are building a HABIT
Running more regularly than every day is hardly possible.
Even if some of your daily runs are only one or two kilometers long, you train your brain to run every day.
You build up a running habit that will soon be as stable as brushing your teeth.
Or showers. Both things that you probably won’t have to overcome. This can also apply to running if you do it daily for a while.
Ambitious runners can now argue that a kilometer is nothing. It’s about something completely different:
You lay the foundation for larger training volumes.
If you want to run a marathon in the future, the first step is already behind you.
2. You PROTECT yourself from injuries
Regular running increases the resilience of your musculoskeletal system – when you are not only running, but also working on your muscle strength and mobility – keyword: strength training for runners.
Load makes you resilient.
In the right dose and combination, mind you. Then daily running can be a note in the chord of your training practice that gives you more athleticism, strength and endurance.
You get the tendons, joints and connective tissue used to the stress of running.
For us humans, running is a natural form of locomotion. Indigenous people run daily, and daily running can be a very effective way to stay healthy.
By the way, I think proper strength training is at least as important – even for runners. If you primarily want to look good naked, muscle training comes even before running (see M.A.R.K.-formula).
Those who have not yet run at all should, however, carefully accustom their bodies to the strain and (even if exceptions confirm the rule) not run every day.
Read more: Here you can find out more about cardio training.
3. You expand your MINDSET
Perhaps the biggest advantage of streak running is the impact it has on your invisible scripts.
You can prove to yourself that you are capable of more than you thought.
You decide on something and then you go through with it. You prove to yourself that you CAN run every day.
Mental strength and self-confidence can arise from this growth, which also helps you to think bigger in other areas.
The prerequisite for any physical breakthrough is that you believe in yourself. Many training goals that challenge you are suitable for this.
And a goal should inspire you too. If you like running, streak running can be a nice challenge.
CONTRA: When is running every day unhealthy?
In addition to its advantages, practically every training strategy also has a downside. This also applies to streak running.
The main disadvantage is obvious:
You could force your body to run even though it needs a break.
Well, a single kilometer is usually not a big deal for most runners, even if they are tired or have sore muscles. But whoever is injured (or on the verge of injury) can make matters worse.
Those who train with pain accept that a small annoyance can turn into a real injury.
If daily running is unhealthy, it is for this reason only. You could ignore your body’s signals because you’re holding onto your running streak too doggedly.
Performance-oriented personalities in particular like to take risks here. Just to achieve your daily goal – no matter what the cost!
Those who stick too doggedly beg for injuries.
You minimize your risk of injury by structuring your running units in a smart way (more on this shortly).
If you go jogging every day, then you should skip a run (and thus end your streak) if:
- Pain forces you to change your running style ,
- whatever tweaks or pinches, gets worse while running,
- the pain is stabbing, sharp or severe (as opposed to dull pain, sore muscles or soreness).
If one or more of these three If factors apply, you save your run – it will only make the situation worse.
Then the energy is better invested in a treatment – and eliminating the causes. And as soon as you are fit and resilient again, you start again.
- Daily running will soon be as normal for you as brushing your teeth.
- You get your body used to the stress of running and thus increase your resistance.
- You prove yourself that you CAN run every day.
- Highly performance-oriented personalities risk injuries if they pursue their goal too doggedly.
This is how real streak running works: Instructions
Oh, so you’re still reading? And would you like to try out streak running? Congratulation!
You are predestined to learn a lot about yourself and running in the next few weeks and months.
In order to make your streak running experiment a success, let’s structure your training as well as possible. The following three strategies will help you:
- You start small.
- (For now) no speed training or HIIT sprints.
- Injury prevention has priority.
Come on, let’s go through them in quick succession.
1. You start small.
Lower your exercise volume and start running every day. And so:
- Shorten your previous running units by 25-35%.
- On days on which you have not yet run, you start with short runs (only 1-2 km).
Example: If you have run 40 kilometers a week so far (e.g. 4 × 10 km), you reduce the scope to 30 kilometers per week (e.g. 4 × 7.5 km). You fill up the remaining days of the week with short runs of 1-2 km each.
With regard to the weekly training distance, you stay in your comfort zone in this way, while you leave it with regard to your training frequency – on 7 days a week.
You can then maintain the length of the training units or – depending on how you feel – extend it little by little.
2. (For now) no speed training or HIIT sprints.
Your primary goal is to get your body used to the daily stress – without going too far.
It is best to run at low to moderate intensity for the first few weeks.
Pay attention to your body feeling. Believe me, you will feel it when you can accelerate again – be it in the form of speed runs (GA2) or HIIT cardio.
3. Injury prevention is a priority
You are about to do something that you have never done before. And you can give your body the time to adjust to this additional burden.
Injury prevention comes before performance.
The following measures protect you from overloading yourself:
If you consider these points, nothing stands in the way of your successful running streak.
Tip: Find allies in the keep it up community
Either in “real life” or virtually. There are more and more options for the latter.
I am motivated to share my running sessions here on Strava.
If you want, you can also join our #DRNBLBR-Club on Strava and talk to other runners from our community there.
Or you can subscribe to the #DRNBLBR hashtag on Instagram and use it to be held accountable there.
Do you know our keep-on community? Subscribe to the newsletter and take part.
In a nutshell: This is how streak running works with a system
Streak running is a great challenge if you approach it systematically. You can expect success (and fun) if you implement three strategies: start small, do without speed training for the first few weeks and put injury prevention before all performance goals. Allies, for example from our keep-on community, can provide additional motivation.
Does jogging every day help you lose weight?
If you want to lose weight as quickly as possible, you should keep an eye on your energy balance:
To lose weight you need a calorie deficit.
Of course, you could now just go running every day, increase your calorie consumption, hope to end up in a deficit and lose fat.
This works for some people, not for others.
For the latter, science has a name: expansion joints. It is people who get more appetite when they exercise more – and thus quickly destroy their caloric advantage.
For some people, the psyche also plays a role: They believe that they have earned an extra portion through training. 2
If you want to lose weight by jogging every day, you should consider:
30 minutes of jogging burn 150-300 kcal – around ½ bar of chocolate.
A small slice of pizza, a chocolate bar or two or a beer or two and the “hard-earned” calorie deficit is over again.
Don’t get me wrong, cardio will help you lose weight. Running is cardio, and daily running adds up. Still, you should consider the hierarchy of fat loss:
A significant calorie deficit can usually not be achieved without a change in diet.
And if so, then only with considerable effort. You probably don’t want to have to jog every day for the rest of your life to stay slim – do you?
Then I have good news for you. The fat burning formula has two sides:
- Energy intake = everything you eat.
- Energy consumption = training and exercise
The easiest way to do it is if you do both.
Only when you use training AND nutrition to your advantage can you make optimal progress.
In this article you will learn how to make healthy eating easy – and how to lose fat without giving up everything.
If you want to be lean and defined in the long term, you shouldn’t neglect strength training – more on that here.
And if you enjoy running and feel like streak running, then the mindset is also right:
Go for it!
Because the most important requirement for daily running is that you really feel like it.
To the point: Does jogging every day help you lose weight?
For some people yes, for others no. Experience has shown that you can usually only achieve long-term success if you don’t just go for a run, but also start eating and challenge your muscles through strength training.
3 running books for more motivation and fun while jogging
Listening to audiobooks while walking? Admittedly, it’s a question of type.
Some prefer to have their ears free, some need songs to work and some use the time for audio books they always wanted to read.
When it comes to tempo runs, I belong to the music group. Otherwise, I listen to audio books, of which I have already devoured countless numbers on the run.
Here are three of my favorites, which I think belong on every runner’s (listening) bookshelf.
What I mean when I talk about running – Haruki Murakami
Murakami is a phenomenal writer and he’s a passionate runner. In this book, which is finally also available as an audio book, he combines both.
In the book he shares his motivation for running and the balance that the sport, which he has been doing almost every day for over 35 years, brings him and how the meaning of running has changed for him in the course of his life.
His stories are honest, interesting, humorous and so captivating that while listening to them I forgot that I was walking.
It’s not just about running, but about many topics of being human and the autobiography of a fascinating writer.
Price: € 20 (book), € 11 (audio book), from € 4.95 (audible)
Blood: The Secrets of Our “Liquid Organ” – Dr. med. Ulrich Strunz
What do you actually know about the red stuff that you pump through your veins when you run at a higher frequency?
Here you can find out why a lack of performance and motivation can often simply be explained by a lack of substances in the blood. Dr. Strunz shows how everyone can have their blood values measured and optimized and thereby not only imparts knowledge.
He also gives courage – in his own, sometimes provocative style. He explains the complex scientific context in such a captivating way that I had problems pressing the stop button.
Price: 18 € (book), 18 € (audio book CD), from 4.95 € (Audible)
Born to Run – Christopher McDougall
If you need motivation to run, this is the book you should hear.
It describes the story of a native people who run many kilometers every day.
Back then it motivated me to run barefoot. Today I’m wearing running shoes again, but the captivating story sheds a whole new light on the most human way of getting around.
Price: 13 € (book), 12 € (audio book CD), from 4.95 € (Audible)
TIP: Each audio book for 4.95 euros – for those who stay tuned
With an Audible subscription, every audiobook is available for € 9.95. I have had an Audible subscription and many books for over 10 years, not read but heard. If you stay tuned, you get the subscription for half a year for half the price. Click HERE for more information .
I don’t currently have any performance goals in running. But I enjoy going running every day.
My standard lap is the 7.4 kilometers around the Hamburg Outer Alster, but on some days I only run one or two laps around the block.
This is how I keep my running streak and I’ve built a stable habit that is good for me. The latter is perhaps the most important thing about streak running:
You have fun with it and you feel good with it.
Why should you otherwise jog every day? If you are only interested in losing weight, there are other options.
If you feel like streak running, go for it! With this article you have the necessary knowledge to get into action.
Ambitious runners should keep one thing in mind:
Daily jogging and performance-oriented training are two pairs of running shoes.
The latter is aimed at a certain mileage – and that involves more than just doing a lap every day.
If you train for a competition, you will benefit more from a regular training program.
Herbert Steffny’s running book offers many tried and tested plans. I recommend it to every runner who wants to compete.
And if you are like me at the moment, maybe you just like to run regularly and want to stay healthy and fit. Then now you know them – the strategies that will help you join the club of the world’s most regular runners.
Like Haruki Murakami, who has been running almost every day since the mid-1980s.