If you're thinking of running every day as part of the RED January Challenge, which is encouraging people to be active every day in order to raise money for the mental health charity MIND, or you simply want to get fitter, these top tips from lifestyle and fitness blogger Hollie Jones could prove very handy...
Running is a high impact sport that does wonders for the body and mind. Many of us do it three or four times a week, but running every day may seem like an insurmountable task for some.
Running daily is not impossible. Running is a habit, and like all habits, it takes time and repetition to build.
If you’re thinking about running every day, here are a few things you should consider.
It’s a marathon, not a sprint
The absolute worst thing you can do if you want to start running every day is, conversely, to start running every day.
While your enthusiasm will serve you well as you start running, doing it every day from the off will negatively impact your fitness journey.
Increase your running frequency in increments. Start with one day on and one day off, then increase it to two days on and one day off, and so on.
Of course, it’s also important to include at least one rest day per week. This doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t run at all - just a gentle jog gives your body time to repair and recover.
Finally, stay hydrated. This is probably teaching you to suck eggs, but if you’re running every day you need to step up your hydration game to replace your lost fluids and sodium, so using electrolyte supplements is a good step, not only during exercise but also as part of your recovery (Andy has written a blog on how to rehydrate quickly and improve your recovery).
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Wear the right kit
Running is clearly a high impact activity that puts considerable pressure on the body. Even a gentle jog can impact your body, and if you’re running every day, that impact increases.
Consequently, it’s worth investing a bit of money in some decent activewear.
Start with a good pair of running shoes. If you only invest in one thing for your running journey, make it your feet.
While an affordable pair of running shoes are fine for running two or three times a week, a high-quality pair is crucial for regular runs. This minimises shock on your ankles and ensures your daily running routine is sustainable.
For women, a strong sports bra is also a must. A study by the University of Portsmouth found that unsupported breasts move around 15 centimetres during running. This causes sagging and breast pain.
A high impact sports bra should be both comfortable and supportive (Runderwear and Knix offer a range of underwear options for both male and female athletes). A bra shouldn't cause you any pain during running, nor should it ride up your back or dig into your skin. You should also make sure you are not using the tightest hook - it should be snug, not overly tight.
Just do it
When it comes to running every day, you are your own worst enemy. It’s possible to overthink yourself into 'running paralysis'.
The brain is excellent at providing excuses for not running. Maybe you had a long day, or it’s too rainy, or you just ate - there is no shortage of excuses we make for ourselves.
But overthinking your run will prevent you from doing it at all. This is a question of mind over matter. It’ll be a struggle, but it gets easier every time.
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Find a time that works for you
It’s important to fit your daily run into your lifestyle as it is now. If you want to run every day, it should fit around your daily schedule. This builds it into a habit, rather than an occasional workout.
Experiment with different times for your run. You’ll that find one fits into your lifestyle and energy levels better than others. As a result, you’ll be able to build a daily running habit easier.
Personally, I’ve found the best time to run is just before lunch. If you work in an office and have a good running route nearby (and onsite showers), a lunchtime run gets you away from the desk and perks you up for the afternoon too.
That said, each to their own. You might find a morning run helps you get it out of the way and energises you for the rest of the day.
Find a time that works for you and then stick to it. This will make your daily running journey that bit easier.
Ultimately, running every day builds stamina, boosts your mood, and keeps you fighting fit. But building up to it requires patience and mental resilience. If you’re thinking about attempting a daily running habit, consider the tips above and prepare yourself for a challenge you’ll relish.
In need of some additional inspiration to run every day? Here are some aspirational goals for you...