Getting into a consistent workout routine can be a challenge. If you’re not naturally drawn to exercise or find yourself lacking motivation, time, or energy, imagining yourself doing any sort of exercise every day may seem daunting, if even feasible.
However, many times, people find that once they get started with a type of physical activity they enjoy, or that they at least find beneficial to how they feel, keeping up the routine is easier than they would have thought.
If you’re looking for a great exercise habit to try to work towards, 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 that you’ll reap many health benefits from running 5k every day 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.
We will cover:
- How Far Is 5k?
- Is Running 5k Every Day Enough?
- Is Running 5k Every Day Enough for Health?
- Is Running 5k Every Day Enough for Weight Loss?
- Is Running 5k Every Day Enough to Consider Myself a Runner?
- Is Running 5k Every Day Enough to Get Faster?
- Benefits of Running 5k Every Day
- Drawbacks of Running 5k Every Day
Let’s get started!
How Far Is 5k?
The 5k distance refers to 5 kilometers, which workouts out to 5,000 meters or approximately 3.1 miles.
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, the average finish time for the 5k across both sexes and all ages is 23:58, meaning that most runners can finish the distance in 20-40 minutes.
Is Running 5k Every Day Enough?
The first question people usually ask is, “Is running 5k every day enough?”
Ultimately, the question is incomplete as is, as it is missing the qualifier that answers enough for what. The answer will depend on the goal. Consider the following examples:
Is Running 5k Every Day Enough for Health?
Physical activity, such as running, is well known to be an important 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 Services 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 to 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.
Again, running 5k 3-4 days per week would be in alignment with the guidelines for health.
Is Running 5k a Day Enough for Weight Loss?
Many people take up running as a healthy way to burn calories and lose weight. The good news is that running 5k every day has the potential to help you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, provided you are eating an appropriate number of calories and a nutritious diet.
The overall trend of your weight is dependent 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 part of the equation. Running 5k can burn around 250-500 calories, depending on your body weight and size, pace, and incline.
The Compendium of Physical Activities 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:
|6.0||4 mph (13 min/mile)|
|8.3||5 mph (12 min/mile)|
|9.0||5.2 mph (11.5 min/mile)|
|9.8||6 mph (10 min/mile)|
|10.5||6.7 mph (9 min/mile)|
|11.0||7 mph (8.5 min/mile)|
|11.5||7.5 mph (8 min/mile)|
|11.8||8 mph (7.5 min/mile)|
|12.3||8.6 mph (7 min/mile)|
|12.8||9 mph (6.5 min/mile)|
|14.5||10 mph (6 min/mile)|
|16.0||11 mph (5.5 min/mile)|
|19.0||12 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, if you weigh 165 pounds (75 kg) and run 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 will burn.
Is Running 5k Every Day Enough to Consider Myself a Runner?
This one is easy to answer with a resounding absolutely. There are no distance or time requirements to satisfy in order to be considered a runner. If you run, you’re a runner. If you jog, you’re a runner. If you walk/jog, you are a runner.
Running 5k every day is impressive. Be proud of yourself.
Is Running 5k Every Day Enough to Get Faster?
Most runners want to run faster, so it’s important to look at your overall training and see how it aligns with your goals.
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.
Benefits of Running 5k Every Day
Running is one of the best things you can do for your body, and running 5k every day is enough for most of the general physical and mental benefits of running without some of the potential downsides of overtraining or over doing things.
Benefits of running 5k every day include:
- Improving cardiovascular health and fitness
- Providing an efficient workout
- Strengthening your heart and lungs
- Preparing you to run 5k races
- Reducing blood pressure
- Burning calories
- Building muscular strength and definition
- Increasing overall longevity
- Increasing bone density
- Reducing LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and triglycerides
- Increasing HDL (“good”) cholesterol
- Decreasing your risk of heart disease, stroke, obesity, certain cancers, type 2 diabetes, and hypertension
- Increasing capillary density
- Improving aerobic metabolism
- Improving quality of sleep
- Decreasing stress and anxiety
- Producing endorphins and elevating mood
- Getting you outside in the fresh air
- Increasing energy and focus
- Boosting self-esteem and confidence
Drawbacks of Running 5k Every Day
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.
Potential drawbacks of running 5k every day include:
- Making it hard to fit in other forms of exercise for a more well-rounded workout routine.
- Creating anxiety/pressure to maintain a running streak even if you need a day off.
- Insufficient mileage for long distance races.
How to Start Running 5k Every Day
Once you get started on your running plan, you’ll want to gradually build up to the 5k distance.
Here are some tips for beginner runners:
- Use a training plan, such as Couch to 5k, to help you to safely build up to the 5k distance.
- Use the walk/run approach as you build up your fitness.
- 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.
- Recruit a friend to run with you or join a running club if you lack motivation to run alone.
- Eat a nutritious, well-balanced diet 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 5k every day?
If you are just starting out, here are our Couch to 5k running resources to get you started!