I Went Running 5K Every Day For 30 Days: Insights & Outcomes

The running track where I got my last 5k PR, Chiang Mai University Running Track.

Running 5K every day for 30 days was the perfect challenge for me to celebrate the end of the burning season in my adopted city Chiang Mai.

With the fresh air and gorgeous views back to enjoy in all of their glory, I had also recently finished a 100-day no-alcohol challenge.

Determined not to fall completely off the wagon and with the potential of my newfound halo slipping; I implemented this health-focused call-out with myself and decided to commit to pounding the pavements for a month.

In this post, I’ll share my reasons why I chose running 5K every day specifically, and what the rules were, I’ll also give an honest account of how I got on with this recent adventure, while hopefully inspiring others to give it a go themselves and reap the potential rewards.

Is it OK To Run a 5K Every Day?

It is fine to run a 5K every day for 30 days (or even longer) if you are in decent shape and do not have a serious medical condition preventing you from doing so. You will of course burn out if you run a 5k at a very high, lung-busting effort every day, but this is not what this is.

It’s just getting the kilometres in at your own pace, every day.

If you are truly in metabolically poor condition you could opt to do this challenge as a walk/run option until you can run a 5K without stopping. There’s no shame in that if that’s where you are, the true shame is never knowing your potential because you constantly don’t back yourself.

The beauty of this challenge is that it’s very individualised, you get to set your own rules and reasons why you chose it. If anyone tries to tell you otherwise then I wish them serious nipple chafing on their next long run. 

Why I Chose The 5K Every Day For 30 Days Challenge 

On that note, I had my personal reasons for choosing the challenge of running 5k every day for 30 days, here are mine, feel free to borrow them…

I Wanted To Improve My Running Form 

I know that many aspects of my running form need a lot of attention and I really dislike knowing that I am being wasteful with my efforts by running in a more laboured fashion.

If you watch professional distance running on TV, their form is beautiful as they seemingly glide over their surface whilst running at an incredible speed. 

I’m not comparing myself to a pro but I know that there were a few common running form faux-paus’ that I wanted to work on such as overstriding, hunching over when I get tired and sticking my head out way too forward.

Greater Cardio Conditioning

I am relatively late to the lifting weights party compared to the average guy who lifts but it’s better late than never.

I have no desire at all to be a gym bro who lifts weights and does no cardio. The heart is a muscle too and that needs to be trained. I have had periods of my life when my cardio was good and when it was bad and my comparative quality of life was night and day.

I Wanted To Get a Faster 5K Running Time

As it currently stands my fastest recorded 5k run is 19:41. I have a goal of running a sub-19 minute 5k this year and I figured the more I honed in on this distance – the better chance I had at getting closer to that, making it mentally more doable. Pssst, spoiler alert: I became a sub-19 minute 5k runner after three months of dedicated training after writing this post.

Creating a Positive Habit Every Morning

I’m a self-exiled night owl who has forced himself to wake up early. I find my life is an overall net positive if I wake up early – I like a quieter gym, waking up with the sun is nice and peaceful and it beats waking up at a later time with an anxious sense of dread that I need to catch up with the day.

I’m not much of a chatter in the morning and I prefer solitude – so I figured getting the trainers on and going after it seemed the perfect tonic to create a positive habit and get some much-loved time on my own.

Burn Some Body Fat

My 100 days with no booze and hitting the weights room had burned some fat from my previously skinny-fat phenotype that resulted in poor life choices and not-so-wonderful genetics. 

But there was more to go and I figured a bit of morning physical activity wouldn’t hurt so long as I made better choices outside of the runs. I wasn’t recording this and it was admittedly lower on my priority list.

Mental Health Benefits

You may have heard of the term “Runner’s High” a feeling of euphoria and bliss that comes after a run, I certainly am a high responder to this. 

I’ve gotten high from much less wholesome sources over the years and running offers me one for a couple of hours of inner bliss without the negative effects of my previous vices. It’s not a wild high – more of a calm and focused feeling.

I work better with it, I get more mental clarity, I feel more confident and relaxed and the true phenomenon of Runner’s High for me is the fact that you get a boost of energy after expending energy!

Insert Pikachu’s shocked face here.

Running is Fun!

Quite often in life, we have to do things because they are good for us, not because we enjoy them. For example, I don’t enjoy yoga but I always feel better after yoga. It is what it is.

Then every now a unicorn presents itself; it’s good for you and you find it enjoyable. Win-win all around.

I love running and genuinely believe it makes me a better person to be around, especially running a 5-10k distance. The thought of running every day was not a burden to my mind and I was excited to see the results.

The Rules of The 5K Every Day For 30 Days Challenge

Ang Kaew Reservoir is a perfect place to run a 5k every day
Ang Kaew Reservoir in Chiang Mai made up about half of my running 5k everyday challenge, I’m a lucky man.

I needed rules for the running 5k everyday challenge because, without some sort of structure, I find I can go rogue and overdo my good work and best intentions.

At school, I despised being given rules by others and this didn’t change too much after I left. However, if I make myself the monster and give myself a code of conduct then I tend to stick to them (mostly).

Here are the rules that I implemented for running a 5k every day for 30 days…

Run Every Day For 30 Days 

Duh! I don’t mean to insult your intelligence as you probably already figured this one out, but for the record; the challenge was running 5k every day for 30 days consecutively.

No days off, no rests in between, no excuses.

Have a Constant Focus on Form

I had to be aware of my body mechanics and breathing patterns during each daily 5k run and course-correct along the way any lazy or unhelpful habits that I was trying to unlearn.

I allowed myself to give the occasional nod to my fellow morning runners passing by.

My 5K Runs Were To Be Run in a Fasted State

All of my 5k runs were to be done in a fasted state with me waking up, drinking water and black coffee and heading straight out for a run.

I want to make a very important point here; I am not a fasting advocate. I don’t believe that fasting is superior to eating steady, nutritious meals and I am very sceptical about the claims made by online disciples from the Church of Fasting.

However, I live in the tropics (Thailand) and it gets hot as balls very quickly. I am also busy with work during the day. It made no sense for me to wait a few more hours to get the run in and this tactic also makes me enjoy breakfast so much more when I’m hungry and I feel like I’ve earned it.

I Aimed For The Same Pace Every Day

I planned to find a comfortable pace (perceived effort of 6/10) and stick to that pace every day so that I didn’t change too many variables at once to be in a similar environment every day. 

No Walking Allowed

Running only, no walking – no matter how tired I get. This is one of the golden rules for me for this 5k run everyday challenge.

As I said earlier, there is no shame in walking if this is where you are and you can’t run 5k without feeling your heart is going to explode or your joints might not be used to the impact.

At the time of this challenge, I had been running a while, with a history of crazy ultramarathons in Thailand and brutal races in The Sahara Desert so I was more than capable of running 5k every day without walking.

The Same Route Every Day

In the name of keeping things consistent, I planned on running one of my favourite routes where I would run into Chiang Mai University grounds, loop around two aesthetically pleasing reservoirs and head back home after a 10-minute walk.

This is a reasonably challenging route as it’s quite hilly while being conveniently located for my morning runs.

I planned to travel to get PRP surgery on my injured shoulder during this challenge, so those days had to be an exception to the rule with a new route or hotel treadmill.

Record Every Run on Strava

If you ran and didn’t record it on some sort of electronic device and put it on social media – did it even happen?

As much as I do have genuine concerns about social media use I enjoy the collective camaraderie on Strava and it’s nice to check in on your friends who share the same values of health and fitness. 

I planned to update my Strava account after every run, this also creates a fitness diary to keep track of.

You can follow me on Strava for live fitness challenge updates.

No Sprint Finishes!

The hardest rule of all that I gave myself was to not run hard and fast at the end of my runs and to throw away the concept of running for a time.

I had a feeling that this one would be easier said than done.

Running 5K Every Day For 30 Days Challenge: Results

Day 1-10: The first week of running 5k every day was surprisingly a lot tougher than I thought it would be. I found myself procrastinating most mornings, the time of the day when I am usually the most mopy and getting out of the door took a lot of mental effort, most days being a fight with my inner bitch.

I got around this by having my fresh running gear (and the much-needed Squirrel’s Nut Butter) staring at me on my desk as soon as I got downstairs after waking up. From there it was a trip to the bathroom and kettle and then action time.

I ended my spell without alcohol on the 9th day. Even though it was “only” 4 beers, I felt like I had been hit by a truck the next day, making the first third of the challenge the most difficult part of running 5k every day for 30 days.

Day 10-20: This is where things started coming together. As I was approaching the halfway point of the challenge at 15 days, I found my rhythm and I was very much enjoying the challenge. 

I had shaken off the fatigue from the first week (ironically by running more) and I no longer dreaded going out for a run, even when I was tired. In fact, when I would oh-so-Britishly claim that I “can’t be arsed” I would instantly have a reminder that doing hard things like this when you’re not arsed is the best time to do it.

Day 20-30: I was flying at this point. I didn’t run that much faster (as planned) and for some people, it might seem like the Groundhog Day of runs but I grew to love my route. I’d look out for my favourite street dogs, I knew to the next tree branch when the next kilometre was and I enjoyed running in sunny rainstorms.

When the challenge was getting down to single digits of days left – I was getting a little sad as I felt like I had just found my feet.

I Improved My Running Form

It’s still very far from perfect but my main issue of sticking my neck out and overstriding became much less of a problem.

At first, it wasn’t fun, telling myself off every time and course-correcting but by the second third of the challenge muscle memory kicked in and it became second nature to me without the need for mental prompts.

I Got (a Little) Leaner 

I lost some body fat, which I am happy about although I’m not sure that can be put down to running 5k every day.

I made better decisions outside of the 5k runs (except the times I drank) although this shouldn’t put off anyone who wants to do this challenge with fat burn as a priority. It certainly helps get the party started and there are a whole host of other health benefits to getting your body moving more often.

There are 3500 calories in a pound of fat. I worked out that I burned 14,439 calories running 5k every day for 30 days.

This is only for calories burned during the run – not including the afterburn effect. So this challenge can certainly contribute to fat loss.

Massive Mental Health Improvement 

There is no surprise for me that my mental health improved tenfold during this challenge although I am maybe a little guilty of forgetting how good it feels when I am inactive.

I sleepy better, my anxiety was lower, I ruminated less and I felt more confident while having more mental clarity to improve my business and personal life.

My Cardio Conditioning Improved

As mentioned earlier on, I hit somewhat of a wall from the get-go but as time went on and I powered through, I felt a lot more conditioned to run 5 kilometres every day and I started becoming slightly sad when it was over, sometimes tempted to carry on for another 5.

I didn’t know anything about heart rate training, tempo runs or any fancy running terminology during this challenge so I was unable to track this theory but I am confident with this because of the final, very naughty reason…

I Broke a Rule!

running 5k every day fast
Tired face after running 5k every day for 30 days
The face of anguish after the final day of running 5k every day, going all out for the 30th.

I broke one of my biggest rules of running the 5k everyday challenge and I’m pretty sure I’m not sorry about it.

I was a good boy for every other rule every day but on the final day of my challenge I left my house and I decided to choose violence. I had pretty much already talked myself into it while I laced up my shoes – I was going for a personal record on Ang Kaew Reservoir (the route that I had run every day for the previous 29 days).

Breaking the rule at the final hour, I warmed up and decided I would run the route at full throttle to beat my previous Ang Kaew record of 22 minutes, 10 seconds.

I ran my heart out and every split was faster than I thought it would be, I finished the 5th kilometre by dropping to my knees and then onto my back after stopping my watch.

I finished in 20 minutes, and 10 seconds; exactly two minutes faster than my personal best on this route. I was a little gutted I didn’t get sub-20 but I well and truly smashed my time – this being after running 5k every day without a break.

I felt zero bad about breaking my own rule and I think I proved that running 5k every day even at a slow pace can improve your cardio conditioning.

Final Thoughts on Running 5k A Day Every Day For 30 Days

Man in white t-shirt puts the thumbs up as he begins to run 5k every day
Many pros and no cons for the everyday 5k run challenge.

This was a fun and doable challenge compared to some other larger monsters that I have succeeded or failed in since starting this lifestyle.

Running 5k every day was the ideal “let’s get back on track” goal that I needed, it doesn’t take too much planning and isn’t too time-consuming.

If you’re a little lost with health and fitness and you are looking for something consistent without too much overthinking then this one gets the nod of approval from me.

You can either get running 5k every day for 30 days and add rules and reasons why as you go along or like me you can make your own rules and decide which ones are worth breaking!

Good luck.

Anthony Middleton

A former loser who took a risk. I now live in Chiang Mai, Thailand after visiting over 100 countries. Stay tuned for the next challenge against that clock!
Ultra runner walking in desert

Hi, I'm Anthony!

In November of 2010, I took on a mammoth challenge against the clock in a quest to upgrade my miserable life. I went out of my comfort zone and turned it all around. Ten years later, I’m completely location independent…

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