Couch to 5K
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Can I run every day?

The Couch to 5k app insists on a day off between runs to allow muscles to heal, but now that I've graduated I wonder whether that still applies? Ideally I'd like to swim on the days between runs, but sometimes it's just not possible to get to the pool. Could I do a shorter, easier run - maybe just 2.5k instead? Do my muscles still need a day to heal, or will they have got stronger now that I run 5k three times a week?

5 Replies

No you can't. It's against the law!

No, seriously, don't skip rest days. They are when your running legs get built and are vitally important to your health and wellbeing. You're a new runner so stick to the rest day rule. When you're a seasoned, hardened runner then you might get away with it if you're young and fit but not now at the very beginning. It's asking for trouble.

You're classed as a new runner til you've been running for 18 months - 2 years


Wise words there from misswobble. The desire to do it again and again comes from that incredible rush you get at the end of a run. I get it too, but I make sure I take a break.

Mind you, it's easy to look out the window in July and think it's a lovely morning/evening for a run.... You might not feel the same in January!


not entirelt sure I agree. As long as you build up your total mielage sensibly - ie only increase your total weekly volume by 10% or so, it doesn't matter whetehr you add in more days or longer runs. I started adding a fourth day a week almost immediately after graduation and built up to running 6 days a week pretty quickly.

You should have one proper rest day a week, and alternate effort/easy days, so if you do a long run or a tempo/iterval run you should just have an easy recovery run the next day.

As with most things, try it and se is the bets way. throw in an extra shorter 3k run once a week and see how you get on. If you continue to feel fine, carry on. Add another one or increase the distance of you 4th run to 5k. If you find it is making your joints ache more than normal, back off a bit.

We are, on the whole, capable of a lot more tha wen give ourselves credit for. (with the exception of flight). It usually becomes pretty immediately clear when we reach our physical limits, at which point just ease off a little and push them back gently.

He says, reaching for the codeine again.

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I walk every day for at least 1 mile. Nothing strenuous, just to keep me going. From what I understand non strenuous activity on rest days is ok just take it easy.

I do agree with not doing too much though on rest days as your body needs to heal and build.


Age and general fitness have a lot to do with it. The impact of running can take a toll on your body, but swimming, cycling, yoga etc. which are non impact exercise, are hugely beneficial. Both MissW and I are beyond our first flush of youth and have learned the hard way that our bodies don't bounce as well as they used to, hence the general caution on consecutive days running. I concur with Rignold's reasoned argument, but please note his words of wisdom are being delivered from the injury couch. Ahem....

Be sensible about it. Always follow a tough run (either distance or pace) with an easy run. I know many people who run daily and they suffer no more injury than others who only run two or three times a week. The more you run the more you develop your body but also you inevitably increase your injury risk simply by covering more miles. Listen to you body and be cautious and you may well get away with it.

Good luck.

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