In this article, we’re going to discuss the pros and cons of running 8 miles a day.
Many people develop a daily running habit, and while a daily 8 mile run may be excessive, it’s a great distance to cover.
You are, effectively, a “run streaker,” as you’re running every day. You may also be following the same route every day and running at the same time of the day.
In other words, you’ve developed a running habit.
If you’re happy with your running routine and it’s working for you and keeping you sane, then you should keep it going. You’re running 56 miles a week, which is substantial mileage, and likely means you’re maintaining a high level of fitness.
But if you’re wondering if running eight miles every day is the best use of the time you’ve allotted for running and are open to making some changes, keep reading!
In this article, we will cover:
- The Benefits of Running 8 Miles A Day
- Drawbacks of Running 8 Miles A Day
- Ideas For Introducing Some Variety to Your 8 Mile Runs
- Ideas for Restructuring Your Runs
Let’s get to it!
The Benefits of Running 8 Miles A Day
There are many benefits of running in general, which certainly apply to running eight miles a day. These benefits include:
- Reduced risk of developing health problems, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, or neurological diseases.
- Improved sleep, mood, energy, and concentration.
- Weight management.
Running 8 miles a day also elevates your running fitness to a level where you can realistically consider training for a half marathon, or even marathon, as 40 to 56 miles per week (which you are doing if you run eight miles a day five to seven days a week) is typical peak mileage for an intermediate runner during marathon training.
Running the same mileage and route every day may also simply fit your schedule and feel uncomplicated and right.
You may appreciate not having to spend time thinking about your daily runs, whereas you may skip runs if they require too much planning or vary from day to day.
In this case, running 8 miles every day may be the natural choice for you.
3 Drawbacks of Running 8 Miles A Day
While there are some benefits to running the same mileage every day, there are drawbacks as well, including:
1. Increased Injury Risk
If you have only recently started running or were not previously running significant mileage, ramping up suddenly to eight miles every day (56 miles per week) may be too many miles.
If you have not built up gradually to this level of mileage, you are increasing the chance of injury.
Even if you have built up to this mileage, in fact, running the same miles every day without any rest days makes you more susceptible to overuse injuries, such as shin splints, runner’s knee, Achilles problems, plantar fasciitis, or stress fractures.
While easy to plan, running the same eight miles every day can lead to burnout, which is, basically, when the physical and mental negatives of running start to outweigh the positives.
Signs of burnout may include feeling tired all the time, not sleeping well, not feeling motivated to run, and not enjoying your runs.
3. Lack of Progress
If you are running the same distance, same pace, and same route every day, you may find yourself at a plateau in your fitness level.
Neither regressing nor improving, as real gains generally result from including harder efforts and easier efforts as well as longer runs and shorter runs.
5 Ways To Add Variety to Your 8 Mile Runs
If you like your 8 mile a day running habit, but are experiencing some of these problems and would like to make some adjustments to avoid the pitfalls associated with doing the same run every day, consider the following options:
#1 Add a Rest Day (or Two)
If you are running eight miles every day, seven days a week, consider cutting your runs back to only five or six days a week.
Adding a rest day or two will allow your body to recover and repair itself and will, ultimately, help you become a stronger runner.
#2 Try Cross Training
#3 Change Your Route
Another way to add a little variety into your eight-mile runs is to run different routes.
Maybe one day you do your usual out and back route, but the next day you figure out a loop, and the next day you run the loop in the opposite direction.
Also, be open to running in different directions and down streets and paths you’ve never tried.
Varying your route will help keep your runs from feeling routine (and you may also discover interesting houses or stores, alleys, paths, and staircases you would have never known about otherwise).
If your go-to route is a concrete sidewalk, look for different terrain such as a dirt trail, gravel path, grassy meadow, or sandy beach.
Incorporating different terrain, even for just part of your runs, will help you become a stronger runner as different muscles will be forced to engage as you adapt to the differences underfoot.
Similarly, if your usual route is flat, seek out some hills.
Running uphill, often called “speed work in disguise,” is a great way to develop strength and speed with less impact than more traditional speed work.
Running downhill can also be beneficial, as doing so helps improve your running form and, over time, can strengthen your quadriceps and other leg muscles.
#4 Change Your Schedule
If you always run in the morning, try running in the evenings or during the middle of the day.
Different times involve different challenges, due to the variances in light, air quality, and temperature, as well as your mood, energy level, and when and what you have eaten, but running in a variety of settings and circumstances helps you become a more adaptable runner.
#5 Change Your Pace + 4 Different Ways To Do It
You can keep your daily eight mile runs but still introduce some variety by playing around with pace and incorporating the following:
i) Easy Runs
Consider making at least two of your runs easy runs, going slower than your typical pace.
If you’re not sure what constitutes “easy pace,” just find a speed that allows you to carry on a conversation and feels as if you could maintain it for quite a while.
You may also use your heart rate to determine an appropriate easy pace, simply keeping it at no more than 60 to 70 percent of your maximum.
Like rest days, easy run days give your mind and body a break, yet they also help build endurance and aid in recovery, as they improve circulation to your legs which helps heal any damage your harder workouts have caused.
ii) Speed Work
You may also want to consider turning one or two eight-mile days into more intense “speed” days. There are several ways to incorporate speed work into your runs, such as:
iii) Tempo Runs
For a tempo run, run the first two or three miles and the last two or three miles of your eight mile run at an easy pace, and run the middle two to four miles at tempo pace.
There are several ways to determine the pace you should aim to maintain for the middle, or tempo, section of this type of run, but, as a general rule of thumb, you can start by running a pace you could maintain for about an hour (which will likely correlate to somewhere between your 10K and half marathon paces).
Another way to judge this pace is to consider it should feel “comfortably hard” to the point you could not carry on a conversation, but would not be completely exhausted by the end of the run.
Tempo runs help increase your aerobic capacity and delay the onset of lactic acid and are therefore an invaluable tool for improving as a runner.
iv) Shorter Intervals
You can also incorporate short intervals of faster running into an eight-mile run.
There are endless ways to incorporate faster intervals, but as long as you have a watch, an easy way to inject some speed into your runs is to simply pick up the pace for one-minute segments throughout the middle of your run.
So, for example, you can use the first two miles of your run to warm up, then alternate one minute of fast running with one minute of slow running and repeat 20 times, followed by easy running for the remainder of the run.
You can also do an interval ladder, running hard for one minute, two minutes, three minutes, two minutes, and one minute, each followed by one minute of easy jogging or walking.
If your watch tracks distance or you can get to a track, you can also try running quarter-mile repeats, which involve running quarter miles (or 400 meters if you’re on a running track) alternatively hard and easy. Start with four of these and build up to 10 or 12.
Your fast running during these types of intervals will not be an all-out sprint, but should be much faster than your typical pace and faster than even your tempo pace.
If you prefer your speed work to be less structured, try fartleks, which are continuous runs during which you mix in periods of moderate or harder-paced running.
These types of runs are free-form and easily adaptable to your mood and energy level and are a low-pressure way to reap the benefits of speed work without feeling too complicated.
Ideas for Restructuring Your Weekly Run Schedule
If you’ve been running 8 miles a day, but feel ready to make some bigger changes there are some fairly easy ways to restructure your runs to help you achieve your goals.
Without adding any extra miles to your week, in fact, you can adjust the distance and purpose of your runs so they are more beneficial.
Sample Weekly Schedule – 56 Miles a Week
If you are currently running 8 miles every day, you are running 56 miles per week. You can still hit 56 miles a week with a more varied and complete plan such as the following:
- Monday: 8 miles easy pace run
- Tuesday: 10 miles with hills or some speed work
- Wednesday: 7 miles easy pace run
- Thursday: 10 mile tempo run
- Friday: Rest
- Saturday: 15 mile long run
- Sunday: 6 miles easy pace run
Sample Weekly Schedule – 40 Miles a Week
If you are running eight miles five times a week, you are running 40 miles per week, which can be adjusted as follows:
- Monday: Rest
- Tuesday: 8 miles with hills or some speed work
- Wednesday: 6 miles easy
- Thursday: 7 mile tempo run
- Friday: Rest
- Saturday: 14 mile long run
- Sunday: 5 miles easy
Tips For a Varied Schedule
There are, of course, many ways to structure your mileage, with these plans simply representing examples of how you can maintain your weekly mileage, but incorporating a variety of distances and types of runs — ideally one long run, one or two speed workouts, and at least two easy runs — will help you progress as a runner.
Keep in mind that the easier days allow your body to recover and adapt from the harder efforts, which ultimately leads to improvement in speed and endurance.
If you have a specific goal, such as a desire to improve your pace, cover a certain distance, or train for a race, your running schedule should be designed with that goal in mind and will change as you improve.
If you are training for a marathon, for example, your weekly long run should gradually increase from your current eight miles to at least 20 miles.
On the other hand, if your focus is on improving your mile time, then your schedule should emphasize speed work rather than an ever-lengthening long run.
The bottom line is that if running eight miles a day feels like just what you need, there is no need to change anything.
If you feel as if you’re in a bit of rut, however, and are looking for ways to add some variety and perhaps improve as a runner, consider making some changes.
You may be surprised to find that even minor adjustments result in noticeable gains.