Running is a great way to get in shape, but too much running can be harmful to your body. Excessive running can lead to injuries such as shin splints, stress fractures, and the runner’s knee. It can also cause health problems such as dehydration, heatstroke, and cardiac arrest.
Keep reading to answer the question How much running is too much and how can it harm you?
- 1 Benefits of Running
- 2 How Running Can Harm You
- 3 How Much Running Is Too Much Running?
- 4 The Danger of Excessive Running: Injuries May Occur
- 5 What is Overtraining Syndrome?
- 6 Set A Goal and Then Train To Achieve It
- 7 Mix Up Your Running Routine
- 8 How Often Should You Run?
- 9 Is There a Weekly Mileage Recommendation for Different Levels of Runners?
- 10 Are You Over-Exercising? What This Can Mean For Your Mental and Physical Health
- 11 Is Quality Of Running More Important Than Quantity?
Benefits of Running
Running is an American pastime that has been enjoyed for many years. With over 60 million Americans running, jogging, and participating in races, runs, and trail runs each year, and nearly 18 million competing, running continues to be one of the most popular physical activities.
Running can reduce your risk of developing heart disease, hypertension, type 1 diabetes, premature aging, and obesity. However, it is important to exercise in moderation.
It’s not surprising that so many people take up running. 24% of Americans say that they started running because they wanted to lose weight.
Running is a great sport! Running is good for both your mental and physical health. A study by the American College of Sports Medicine found that running for 30 minutes can reduce anxiety and depression. Long-distance runners report feeling a “runners’ high”, or a euphoric, meditative endorphin-induced sense of ease after running a certain distance.
How Running Can Harm You
Let’s start with a 2014 Missouri Medicine March/April issue that published a study to refute a German study showing elite runners had more plaque than others. To determine their heart attack risk, 50 men who ran a marathon every year for 25 years were compared with inactive men.
James O’Keefe M.D. who oversaw the research stated, “Runners have remarkable reductions in mortality and improvements in longevity, but it’s not a straight-line curve…people who run someplace between as little as two to three miles a week up to about 20 or 30 miles a week at max have substantial reductions in mortality–like maybe 25-45 percent…But the striking thing is runners who do more than 4-5 miles a day seem to lose the benefits of that. They are not at higher risk of death than those who sit, but it is about the same.”
How Much Running Is Too Much Running?
Researchers from the University of South Carolina recommend that athletes run no more than 20 miles per week. This should be spaced out with rest days between. For maximum benefits, keep your endurance days to no more than one hour. The magic number has been associated with increased life expectancy, but running more than 20 miles per week will decrease these benefits.
Researchers from Heart and European Heart Journal found that runners who run more than 20 miles per week are at greater risk of death than runners who run less. They also found that distance runners suffer disabilities at a faster rate than non-runners.
James O’Keefe MD, Cardiologist at Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute, Kansas City, says that prolonged intense exercise can cause excessive oxidative stress. This basically damages your antioxidants and puts you at risk of developing other health problems.
When they are being pushed too far, our bodies send signals to our brains. These are signs that you may be running too hard.
Also read: How Many Steps In A Mile Running 2022?
You might feel weaker over time, which could indicate that you are training too hard and making yourself more vulnerable to injury.
This is a sign your body has not been getting enough rest between exercises.
If you are constantly sick from the same illness after exercising too much, it is time to stop.
Mood Swings And Constant Fatigue
Over-running can cause a decrease of the hormone catecholamine which can lead to irritability, stress, and other symptoms.
The Danger of Excessive Running: Injuries May Occur
There is no denying that exercise and clean eating are key to a long, healthy life. Running is also good for you. They are true, and they remain the foundation of a healthy lifestyle. However, there are exceptions to these truths.
Overrunning poses a risk of injury. The American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation estimates that around 70% of runners will inflict an injury at one point. These include Achilles Tendinitis and shin splints as well as heel pain and Achilles Tendinitis.
You can avoid injury by following the right steps and not doing too much in one session.
Running beyond your body’s running limit is a major error, especially for young runners. Each runner has a running limit. Knowing your limits and sticking to them will prevent injuries. You can still train to achieve new goals. However, it is important to increase your mileage slowly and only a few miles per week.
What is Overtraining Syndrome?
Overtraining syndrome, or OTS, is characterized as a persistent and unexplained decline in performance and fatigue. It is often associated with severe psychological manifestations.
According to research, OTS “appears to be a maladapted response to excessive exercise without adequate rest, resulting in perturbations of multiple body systems (neurologic, endocrinologic, immunologic) coupled with mood changes.”
If you run too fast and your recovery isn’t up to par, you may experience mental and physical problems.
Set A Goal and Then Train To Achieve It
Running can come in many sizes and speeds, as well as distances. It is important to understand what you are training for when creating your training program. Marathon runners train their bodies to run long distances at a steady pace. A general runner may be doing this to improve their endurance.
Your goal should be reflected in your training plan. It should also reflect what you are aiming for and how much you are willing to work towards it. A safe and long-term plan to increase your weekly runs by 10% will help you avoid injury as you grow your distance.
Mix Up Your Running Routine
You can improve your mental and physical health by moving your body every day. Although it is not advised to run more than 20 m per week, you can incorporate other activities into your daily routine that will benefit your health and help you avoid injury and burnout.
Here are some sample workouts that will maximize your movement. You can increase your stamina and endurance by adding interval training to longer runs. This will also help relieve the stress on joints that are often overworked.
How Often Should You Run?
Running has many benefits. Don’t let this stop you from running. You can still reap the health benefits of running if you don’t make it too risky. You will enjoy running, training, or participating in marathons if you are truly passionate about it. Keep in mind to take breaks when you are tired, cross-training, and keep a strong running style.
Is There a Weekly Mileage Recommendation for Different Levels of Runners?
For runners who want to reach specific goals, there is no recommended mileage.
You cannot assume that running 50 miles per week will make you break four hours in the marathon. While some runners can run 40 miles per week, others may need to run 70 miles each week in order to qualify for the Boston Qualifying Time. No matter how many miles they run per week, some runners will never be able to run a BQ.
Karp explains that each runner will find a “sweet spot” of mileage where he or she is at their best and doesn’t get hurt. “Some runners are injured at 30 miles per semaine, while others are injured at 100 miles each week.”
You don’t have to run a shorter distance than someone who is training for a marathon. The physiological adaptations that come with running longer distances are beneficial for runners of all distances.
Are You Over-Exercising? What This Can Mean For Your Mental and Physical Health
We’ve already mentioned that exercise is a great stress-reducing activity with many positive health benefits. But, too much exercise can lead to serious health problems.
Anorexia Athletica or Hypergymnasia is a form of an eating disorder that involves compulsive exercise. It often stems from a loss of control over one’s life. These symptoms are common in athletes who are encouraged and supported to work hard.
Anorexia Athletica can manifest as guilt over missing a gym session, pushing for a workout through injury or illness, compulsively exercising in order to compensate for calories consumed throughout the day, and a loss of confidence.
One study found that 3% of regular exercisers have a negative relationship with exercise. These numbers are even more concerning for runners. 1 in 5 amateur runners and 2 triathletes or marathoners are classified as addicted.
If an athlete or runner experiences any of these symptoms, the first step is to admit it and then seek out help from a dietitian and therapist.
Is Quality Of Running More Important Than Quantity?
You can run faster if you do more. Karp, who is currently training Kenyan elites, says that quality over quantity is important.
He says that while most runners and coaches agree on the importance of training volume, high-intensity training is more important for improving fitness and running performance, particularly in highly-trained runners.
Research has shown that high-intensity training is essential for cardiovascular health improvement. VO2 max and other physiological variables can also be improved by including high-intensity training.
Karp notes that “training volume will impact training intensity.”