Runners love numbers. One such number they tend to get stuck on is the mileage they plan to achieve in a single run. But how much running is too much?
While there’s no true limit to how much running you can do, your body can only handle so much before needing a break.
How Much Running Is Too Much?
The amount of running that is too much can vary from person to person and depend on factors such as age, fitness level, and overall health.
It is easier to say what is too little, as it is generally recommended to aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week.
So there is no strict time or mileage, but some typical symptoms may indicate you are running too much.
These symptoms are: muscle soreness or fatigue, decreased performance, increased risk of injury, changes in sleep patterns or quality, irritability or mood changes, and loss of appetite or weight.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, take a break from running and allow your body to rest.
If you want to know more about this topic, this article is for you!
Is It Better To Run More Often?
It’s true that the more often you go for a run, the better you will become. Your body will quickly begin to adapt to the increased rate of exercising which could have a whole host of health benefits.
It also depends on the circumstances. For example, if your main goal is to get fitter or lose weight, then you will undoubtedly benefit from increasing the amount of running that you do.
Yet you must be careful not to overdo it otherwise you will be left with sore muscles and very little motivation to keep going.
Is It Possible to Run Too Much?
It’s possible to run too much. Much like anything else, doing more running is not always the best thing for your body.
Of course, you will see some improvements in terms of running more frequently that you do it, but there are no extreme benefits to running all the time.
There’s also no exact figure for exactly how much running is too much. In this circumstance, it varies according to the runner.
Is There A Limit?
There’s no official limit per se, but there are some guidelines that any runner may want to consider abiding by.
Pushing your body to 75 and 120 miles per week may come with an increased risk of serious injury.
There’s a strong recommendation that runners should only run around 20 miles per week, all spaced out with appropriate breaks in between.
How Much Running Is Too Much Daily?
Everyone is different which means the average mileage for a specific day of training can vary significantly depending on many factors like running background and ability.
Beginners who have never run before may want to start with 30-second walk/run intervals anywhere from 2 to 3 days a week, while others may run a couple of miles at any given time.
Guidelines for Daily and Weekly Running Distance
In terms of health benefits, running as long as you can every day is no more beneficial than running for half an hour every day.
Studies show that vigorous running should be limited to 60 minutes daily when looking at the health benefits. Too much vigorous exercise can actually negatively impact your cardiovascular health.
In fact, running more than half an hour each day can significantly increase your chances of picking up an injury.
In terms of goals, the answer depends on what your goals are.
So what is an acceptable amount?
- If you just want to be healthy and not train for a marathon, simply run 10–15 miles per week, and you should be fine.
- For more dedicated runners working towards challenging goals, 25–40 miles per week is acceptable. It takes some commitment, and injuries may occur here and there.
- When running becomes an obsession, 50–70 miles per week is the norm. This amount means that there is a considerable risk of injuries.
- Going towards 100 miles and beyond a week is only for some. Unless you are a dedicated endurance athlete, this amount is not acceptable.
Signs and Symptoms of Running Too Much
Our bodies are clever machines that can easily identify when we are pushing ourselves a bit too hard.
10 Signs That You Are Running Too Much
- Persistent muscle soreness or fatigue.
- Decreased performance or difficulty completing your usual workouts.
- Increased risk of injury.
- Changes in sleep patterns or quality.
- Irritability or mood changes.
- Loss of appetite or changes in weight.
- Persistent muscle or joint pain.
- Frequent colds or infections.
- Constant fatigue or low energy levels.
- Increased risk of overuse injuries, such as stress fractures or tendonitis..
There are a few major signs to look out for when it comes to doing too much running, which we have outlined for you below.
1. Mood Swings
Doing too much running can quickly throw off your hormones, resulting in irritability, depression, agitation, and mood swings. Athletes who are consistently overtraining will experience persistent low moods.
It’s best not to exercise through the pain of overtraining not only for the sake of your physical health but also for your mental health. If you don’t make time to rest, you’ll likely experience mood swing-related mental and physical fatigue more often than not.
2. Slower Muscle Recovery
If you discover that your body is not recovering very well after you increase the amount of exercise that you are doing, there’s a huge chance that you’re not getting enough rest.
Taking rest days allows your body to adjust to the training, adapt to any stress you’re feeling, and also helps you to become stronger than you were before.
They’re also great for preventing injury and helping you to improve your skills as a runner.
3. Extreme Fatigue
It is normal to feel tired after completing a run. You have expended lots of energy and have put a considerable physical demand on your body, so it’s natural for you to feel a bit weaker than normal.
Yet if you return from a run and feel exhausted to the point where you cannot function, it’s a clear sign that you are overdoing your running. After all, the rest of your day should not be a complete write-off!
4. Feeling Physically Ill
If you do the right amount of exercise for your body, you’ll likely feel the immediate effects on your immune system.
However, doing too much of any exercise including running too often can quickly start to weaken your immune system.
In turn, this will suppress your immune system and result in frequent sickness. You might experience aching muscles, flu-like symptoms, and aches in connective tissues, for example.
You might even experience physical sickness if you do too much running.
Quality Over Quantity
When it comes to running, the quality of your run matters far more than the quantity or total mileage that you do.
Although longer miles look better on paper, if you are pushing your body too far, it will end up causing a whole load of issues for you.
Your best bet would be to start with smaller mileage and then gradually increase the number as you progress.
Not only will it help your body adjust to the process of running but it’ll prevent you from doing too much running, too.
The Bottom Line
That’s everything you need to know about this topic! While there is technically no such thing as too much running, it’s wise to listen to cues from your body if it is beginning to lag after a run.
For example, if your muscles are aching more than normal or you are feeling under the weather due to the overtraining you’re doing, it’s time to reduce the amount of running that you do.