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Running 5K Every Day: Benefits, Drawbacks + What To Expect

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Getting into a consistent workout routine can be a challenge.

If you’re not naturally drawn to exercise or lack motivation, time, or energy, imagining yourself doing any exercise every single day may seem daunting, if even feasible.

However, many people find that once they get started with a type of physical activity they enjoy or at least find beneficial to their health, keeping up the routine is easier than they would have thought.

If you’re looking for a great exercise habit to work towards to get fitter or for overall wellness, you might consider building up to running 5K every day. 

Running 5K every day is a manageable training volume for most people. It’s long enough to reap many health benefits but short enough in terms of a time commitment to be workable, even with a busy schedule.

In this guide, we will explore the benefits, drawbacks, and what to expect from running 5K every day.

A person running on a path.

How Far Is 5k?

A 5K run refers to 5 kilometers, which workouts out to 5,000 meters or approximately a 3.1 mile run.

If you run 5K every day, this would equate to a weekly training volume of 35 kilometers or 21.7 miles per week.

According to Running Level,15k Times By Age And Ability – Running Level. (n.d.). Runninglevel.com. https://runninglevel.com/running-times/5k-times the average finish time for the 5K across sexes and ages is 23:58, meaning that most runners can finish the distance in 20-40 minutes. 

Is Running 5K Every Day Enough for Health?

Physical activity, such as running, is well known to be an essential component of maintaining optimal health and reducing the risk of numerous lifestyle diseases, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and certain cancers. 

The good news is that running 5K per day exceeds the physical activity recommendations for overall health set forth by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services2U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2018). Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans 2nd edition. In health.gov (pp. 1–118). https://health.gov/sites/default/files/2019-09/Physical_Activity_Guidelines_2nd_edition.pdf provided you are running 5K at least 3-4 days per week

The physical activity guidelines recommend that adults should be active on most days of the week or accrue a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise.

These guidelines can be thought of as easy jogging for 30 minutes five days per week or running more intensely for 25 minutes three days per week, so the 5K distance typically satisfies these parameters, especially if you are indeed running 5K every day. 

A person running 5k ever day.

Will Running A 5K Every Day Help With Weight Loss?

Many people take up running as a healthy way to increase their heart rate, burn calories, and lose weight.

The good news is that a daily running habit of 5K can help you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, provided you eat an appropriate number of calories and a nutritious diet.

The overall trend of your weight depends on the balance between the calories you ingest and the calories you expend. 

Calories you ingest come from anything you eat and drink, while calories you expend can be due to exercise, such as running, other physical activity throughout your day, your basal metabolic rate, and the calories required to metabolize food.

To lose one pound of stored body fat, you have to create a caloric deficit of roughly 3,500 calories, which equates to 500 calories per day if you want to lose one pound of fat per week.

This caloric deficit can be generated by consuming fewer calories, burning more calories, or a combination of both. 

Running, like all forms of exercise, factors into the calories you burn as part of the equation. Running 5km can burn around 250-500 calories, depending on your body weight and size, pace, and the incline you are running at.

The Compendium of Physical Activities32011 Compendium of Physical Activities. (n.d.). https://download.lww.com/wolterskluwer_vitalstream_com/PermaLink/MSS/A/MSS_43_8_2011_06_13_AINSWORTH_202093_SDC1.pdf reports that running can be the equivalent of 6-19 METS or so, depending on your pace. For example, running 5 mph (12 min/mile) is 8.3 METS, running 6 mph (10 min/mile) is 9.8 METS, and running 7.5 mph (8 min/mile)  is 11.0 METS. 

You can see the various METS based on running pace in the table below:

METSPace
6.04 mph (13 min/mile) 
8.35 mph (12 min/mile) 
9.05.2 mph (11.5 min/mile) 
9.86 mph (10 min/mile) 
10.56.7 mph (9 min/mile) 
11.07 mph (8.5 min/mile)  
11.57.5 mph (8 min/mile) 
11.88 mph (7.5 min/mile)
12.38.6 mph (7 min/mile)  
12.89 mph (6.5 min/mile)  
14.510 mph (6 min/mile)  
16.011 mph (5.5 min/mile) 
19.012 mph (5 min/mile) 

Using these METs values, you can calculate the number of calories burned running 5K based on your body weight using the equation to determine energy expenditure:

Calories Burned Per Minute = METs x 3.5 x (your body weight in kilograms) / 200 

For example, weighing 165 pounds (75 kg) and running 6.7 mph (9 min/mile): 10.5 METS x 3.5 x 75 / 200 = 13.8 calories per minute.

Then, if you run 9 min/mile for your 5K, the 5K distance will take you 27.9 minutes, so 13.8 calories per minute x 27.9 minutes = 385 calories. 

The more you weigh and the faster you run, the more calories you burn.

A person running in a field.

Is Running 5K Every Day Enough to Get Faster?

Running 5k every day can certainly prepare you to set a 5K PR, especially if you vary your training and do specific speed workouts rather than simply running the same steady pace every day.

Try incorporating quality workouts like intervals, threshold runs, fartleks, and hill repeats.

On the other hand, running 5K every day is probably insufficient to prepare you to set a PR in longer distances like the 10K, half marathon, marathon, or beyond unless you’re also doing at least one or two significantly longer runs per week.

What Are The Benefits of Running 5K Every Day?

Running is one of the best things you can do for your body, (ever heard of a runner’s high?) and running 5K every day is enough to achieve most of its general physical and mental health benefits without some of the potential downsides of overtraining or overdoing things. 

Benefits of Running 5K Every Day

  • Improves cardiovascular health and fitness 
  • Provides an efficient workout
  • Strengthens your heart and lungs
  • Prepares you to run 5k races
  • Reduces blood pressure
  • Burns calories
  • Builds muscular strength and definition 
  • Increases overall longevity
  • Increases bone density
  • Reduces LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and triglycerides and increases HDL (“good”) cholesterol 
  • Decreases your risk of heart disease, stroke, obesity, certain cancers, type 2 diabetes, and hypertension 
  • Increases capillary density 
  • Improves aerobic metabolism 
  • Improves quality of sleep
  • Decreases stress and anxiety 
  • Produces endorphins and elevates mood
  • Gets you outside in the fresh air
  • Increases energy and focus
  • Boosts self-esteem and confidence

What Are The Risks Of Running 5K Daily?

Running is a high-impact activity, so there are a few potential risks to running 5K every day if you aren’t taking days off. 

These risks can be mitigated by taking at least 1-2 rest days per week or substituting your run for low-impact cross-training. Resistance training can also reduce the risk of musculoskeletal injuries.

Potential drawbacks of running 5K every day include:

  • Increases the risk of overuse injuries like stress fractures, shin splints, and plantar fasciitis.
  • Makes it hard to fit in other forms of exercise for a more well-rounded workout routine.
  • Creates anxiety/pressure to maintain a running streak even if you need a day off.
  • Insufficient mileage for long-distance races.
A person running on a path.

How to Start Running 5k Every Day

  • Use a training plan, such as Couch to 5K, to help you build up to the 5K distance safely and keep you injury free.
  • Use the walk/run approach as you build up your cardiovascular system.
  • Create a routine by setting aside a certain time every day for your runs, such as first thing in the morning or during your lunch break. This will help you establish a consistent habit.
  • Get fitted with proper running shoes by a specialist to reduce the risk of injuries.
  • Recruit a friend to run with you or join a running club if you lack motivation to run alone.
  • Warm up before your runs with gentle cardio and dynamic stretches.
  • Eat a nutritious, well-balanced diet (carbs, protein, and healthy fats), and drink plenty of water.
  • Stretch and foam roll after you run to accelerate recovery.
  • Strength train 2-3 times per week.
  • Keep a training log to keep track of your progress and how your body feels.
  • Use a running app for added motivation and guidance.
  • Take plenty of rest days, especially when you are getting started. 

How far do you run every day? Have you ever tried to run a 5K a day challenge? 

If you are just starting out on this running challenge, keep reading for our Couch to 5k running resources:

References

Photo of author
Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, as well as a NASM-Certified Nutrition Coach and UESCA-certified running, endurance nutrition, and triathlon coach. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

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