Can You Run 3km Every Day For 3 weeks? — Here’s What Happened
Update: Shocked when Runtastic measured my “3km” to be 4.3km!
Running hasn’t ever been one of my favourite activities, but I have been doing 3km every morning for 3 weeks. It’s the first time I’ve run every day. I did it more out of curiosity, and I learnt a few things.
Before Xmas 2017 — just over 2 years ago — I did not run at all.
In fact, I hated it when some of my gym classes would end with us having to line up for sprints across the room.
However, I had a conversion!
In Australia, our Xmas is in summer, and Xmas holidays and summer holidays overlap. My local gym reverts to restricted hours and classes — which always cuts out two evenings of “Bootcamp”-type classes that I would typically attend.
I’ve always used the shutdown as an opportunity to try different things, such as boxing classes — which kept running over Xmas. I found them to be more colour and movement than of any exercise value. So, reluctantly, I decided to try running.
I learnt to run on the local trails that run along the shoreline here. I started to enjoy it, and especially these trails, which are winding and natural. They have tree roots and rocks and sand traps and blind corners, and there are birds and foxes and the sounds of the sea.
Now I run 5km, twice a week. I dropped one evening gym class, and do a 5km run instead. The trails have numerous ramps and steps that descend to the beach, and I use these for interval training.
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I never thought that I would say this, but I after about 6 months of running I started to enjoy it.
I started to look forward to the feeling of running. It’s an odd thing, that feeling of pushing yourself along purely with human power and no other leverage — very primordial.
I even started to acknowledge other runners. I prefer to run by myself, but I like to see other runners on the trail. I’ve come to look forward to seeing who might be out there each time I hit the trail — it’s mostly the same people.
The standard advice is to avoid running if you are older, not to risk your knees and other impact injuries. I do strength training to help my joints which is why I feel fine running.
I do have a few pains and creaky bits such as my right knee which hurts until I get going. I warm up first and then ease into the first 500m.
The injuries I have had are down to me trying new things. I’ve had muscle injuries in the lower calf, and my hip, from pushing too hard. And I’ve fallen by hitting dogs and tree roots that I didn’t see.
I decided to run 3km every day for 3 weeks just to see how it would feel, and also to add some extra aerobics to complement my strength training.
Because it is summer, I’ve been running early, before 6 am. I run a pattern as follows:
- 1km warm-up — about 5:20 min/km;
- 1km fast — about 4:30 min/km; and then return,
- 2.0 km at about 4:55 min/km.
This usually averages out at about 4:46 min/km for the run.
You might have noticed that this adds up to more than 3km. I initially just visualised the distance and ran it without any measurements. Then, one run I took my phone with Runtastic and was shocked to see that the run is 4.3km!
What happened after three weeks of running
Here are three things that have happened:
- My recovery is much shorter now. I used to take a minute to get my heart rate down at the finish, but now, it is just 15 seconds or so. I’ll have to up the pace!
- I did not lose weight! I expected to lose about 2kg, but my weight has stayed the same. That’s probably because 8 weeks ago I rolled my ankle badly — I ran hard onto a small tree root on the track. It took me 6 weeks before I could run again. Then came Xmas and I no doubt added a little weight. I expected the running would bring me under where I was before the injury but up until now, it hasn’t.
- I also found that running every day gave me more time to observe my running habits. I have got into the pattern of pushing harder up the inclines along the trail. Sometimes I just push harder, and other times I do a 5 to 10-second sprint. This has helped me build up my stamina. I recommend it.
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One other thing that I have noticed is that the morning runners are more fair-weather runners. On mornings with light rain, I’ve run the whole distance without seeing another runner (but I do see a few foxes).
I’ll keep this daily run going for a few more weeks, until the end of January. Perhaps I’ll shed a couple of kilograms by then.
It’s good fun, and I’m seeing different people than those I usually see when I run in the evening.
PS Below are some of my other articles which may help your running — things I’ve learnt since my conversion to running.
I Started Trail Running At 70 - Aside From Being Bitten By Dogs I Love It
Train running is stimulating and keeps your brain on high alert. I've had a few falls, and every corner can be…
Even if you don't need the motivation of running with music, research says it's worth trying
It's more than just emotionally satisfying. People who workout to the beat say they listen because they enjoy the…
These Three Tips From My Podiatrist Helped Me Run More Efficiently with Fewer Pains
After this advice, I completed my first 10km trail run. The advice helped me avoid strains and pains.
I’m Walter Adamson. I write about life, health, exercise, life and cognitive fitness to help men and women over 50 live longer better.
Originally published at https://www.walteradamson.com.