Once you get into the habit of running, it becomes a way of life. You get to know your body better, and you learn to enjoy each phase of your run. But how far should you run in order to reap the health and fitness benefits? How much is too much?
Learn more about how far you should run, how often to run, and how running helps your health.
The Perks of Being a Runner
Running or jogging has so many benefits for your body and your overall wellness. Your lungs get stronger, your muscles become more toned, and your stamina improves.
That blood pumping faster through your body is a good thing; it helps your blood pressure stay in a normal range. Plus, your blood sugar may stabilize as well.
In addition, running lowers your risk of certain types of cancer, stroke, cardiovascular problems, and respiratory diseases. If you already have risk factors in your family or medical history, running can help balance those risks.
What’s the best news about running for women trying to lose weight? You guessed it— running burns TONS of calories. Just don’t consider it a free pass to Splurgeville— you’ll still need to focus on portion control and healthy choices.
The Three-Day Rule
I usually recommend that women run three times per week maximum. So, on three different days of the week, running is your primary workout (don’t combine it with strength training).
You might do Monday-Wednesday-Friday or Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday, or whatever works for your schedule. The important thing is to stay consistent and maintain that free block of time in your schedule for your morning, afternoon, or evening run.
How Far Should You Run and How Long?
Studies show that just six miles per week yields all the health benefits of running! Plus, those shorter runs keep you from suffering the side effects of longer runs.
Focus on running 2-3 miles— or around 30 minutes— each time you go for a run. The study shows that running more than six miles a week doesn’t give you any extra health benefits; so unless you’re training for a race or marathon, maintain a regular, reachable goal. Of course, you CAN do a little extra if you want, but just be careful about doing too much (read below!).
Too Much of a Good Thing
If you run too often or for too long, you can actually wear yourself down. You may notice that you’re getting sick more often. That’s because your body isn’t getting the rest and support that it needs between runs, and your immune system is suffering because of it.
Too much running can actually cause premature aging of the heart, according to Competitor.com. When you run many miles every day, you can cause unintentional damage to your heart muscle over time.
Running daily takes a toll on your knees and other joints as well! The consistent force of pounding the pavement affects your legs and feet, putting stress on tendons, muscles, and cartilage.
Running super long distances isn’t necessary to achieve the health benefits of running. So, there’s no need to put your body through that unless you’re training for an event.
Of course, every individual is different though. If you have been running long distances for years, your body might have adapted. Just listen to your body and make sure you give it the rest that it needs.
More Tips for Running
If you want to run more frequently than three times a week, be sure that you have the proper footwear. And watch out for those overuse injuries! If you overstress a joint, tendon, or muscle, this is an indication of overtraining. Give it the time it needs to heal so the injury doesn’t turn into a chronic issue.
Did you know that most streets have a camber or slope? If you run the same route the same way every day, your knees, feet, and hips will start to roll with that angle.
Switch up your route, run on a different surface— do whatever you need to vary the experience and help your body develop in a balanced way.
What’s your perfect running distance or time? How do you find the balance between just enough and too much? Share your tips in the comments! PS I actually love running and my program does include some running (not too much of course!). So you don’t need to give it up if you do my program ☺
I love the tips you give…you are personally my favorite trainer… I have a lot of calves and thigh fat…will jogging make my calves smaller? I don’t want my calf to increase in size because I also have a slight of muscle from my calves that I gain from sprinting in track. Is jogging a good option to lose the fats around my calves without gaining muscle?
Thanks a lot for your support! :)
Nothing will slim down your legs like running and walking will. When you are running faster, your body is burning lots of calories and you’re pushing yourself so your fitness is increasing – which is great. But jogging slowly isn’t really that challenging and you’ll burn less calories. It may even bulk up your legs because you are overdoing the running. You’re not getting the full benefits of running if you’re just slowly jogging, so I think it’s better and more effective to either run faster or just walk at a fast pace. :)
If you really want to slim down your legs, we have created our 3 Steps to Lean Legs Program that will help you get lean and toned legs without bulking! :)
You can find out more about it here:
Lean Legs Program
For more helpful tips on how to slim down your calves please have a read of this blog post.
Im a skinny type fat body type. Its so hard for me to lose weight. I was skinner before. As i aged i guess my metobolisme went down, so i have been battling to lose weight for almost a year. Nothing works :( my main issues are my thighs and my belly… and im very excited to try on your program! But i would like to ask for your opinion and share personal info, could you drop me an email? Thank you so much!! Would love to hear from you ASAP.
Thank you for your message!
Rachael would love to help you further along your journey :) that’s why she has created the Lean Legs program and Lean Legs Training Club.
The program she created in the eBook is an 8 week workout and nutrition plan designed to help you get lean and toned without bulking.
It will help you slim down your legs, but will also help you slim and tone your upper body and core too (the workouts are full body).
It also includes a full meal plan, a separate recipe eBook and demonstration videos.
You can check out the Lean Legs program here
For more helpful tips, please have a read of these posts:
Love, Lean Legs Club support