What Happens When You Run 40 Miles A Week?

Running is one of the popular forms of exercise for a reason. We love running because it does not require you to invest in expensive equipment, and you can do it anywhere or anytime. We recommend running to everyone because it is convenient for them and offers a wide range of health benefits.

For example, running can improve your heart health, and according to WebMD’s research article, running for ten minutes every day can decrease the risk of hypertension, heart attack, and other chronic cardiovascular problems.

A study that monitored and analyzed 675 marathon runners found that running strengthens their musculoskeletal structures and reduces the risk of arthritis compared to those who do not run 10-30 minutes daily.

But what about running 40 miles a week? Is it beneficial? Does it have downsides? These are critical questions asked by running enthusiasts, and in today’s post, we will discuss running 40 miles a week, its benefits, drawbacks, and how to do it safely if you really want to run 40 miles.

Benefits of Running 40 Miles A Week

Running 40 miles a week means you will run an average of 5.7 miles per day. But should you run 5.7 miles a week? What happens if you cover this distance daily for seven days? Let’s discuss some evidence-based benefits of this strategy. 

Improves Cardiovascular and Respiratory Function

Running 40 miles a week is an excellent way to improve cardiovascular function and reduce the risk of chronic heart disease. We found a study that highlights the benefits of running 40 miles a week. The study says running at least 5.7 miles daily can decrease the risk of coronary heart disease by 26% compared to those who run one mile per day or a few miles per week. 

Another research study published by Mayo Clinic Proceedings shows that each meter’s improvement in a runner’s performance lowers the risk of nonfatal MI, CHD death, revascularization procedures, and angina pectoris. Besides, running 40 miles a week produces a positive impact on your lungs, improving their functions and increasing their capacity. 

The purpose is to allow oxygen to move effectively throughout the body without any obstructions. That’s why we recommend staying active physically and going for 5.7 miles run per day to ensure your heart and lungs work optimally. Your body will get oxygen into your bloodstream and transport it to the muscles needed for proper running. 

According to the American Lung Association, combining running with weightlifting and muscle-strengthening exercises can improve heart and lung function. Besides, this unique strategy can build your core, improve your posture, and tone your breathing muscles. 

However, we urge all those running enthusiasts looking to run 40 miles a week to remain careful because excessive running can thicken your cardiovascular tissues, leading to the development of fibrosis or scarring. It may also cause irregular heartbeat and atrial fibrillation.

Strengthens Muscles and Bones

Running requires strong bones and muscles because these structures work together to keep your body moving and streamline efficiency. However, we recommend runners to balance their bones and muscles’ strength. 

According to Harvard Health, regular workouts can make your muscles stronger and bigger; the same is true for bones. However, changes in bones are less noticeable. So, your muscles pull harder on bones when they get stronger, but when your body tugs harder, it strengthens those bones. 

Nike reports that the glutes are strong muscles that propel a runner’s body forward. These muscles also play a role in extending your hips while bringing your legs behind you. 

Bear in mind that your glutes anchor your pelvis, stabilizing your body’s movement during the float phase. The float phase is when your feet are off the ground. So, if you have weak glutes, they will negatively affect your running performance and economy, increasing the risk of injury. 

Enhances Mood and Energy Levels

Running 40 miles a week can improve your mood and energy levels, relieving stress and anxiety. Research shows that jogging, running, and even brisk walking can increase blood flow to your central nervous system, releasing mood-enhancing hormones like endorphins and serotonin. 

Besides relieving daily stress, running 5.7 miles daily can positively influence your attitude due to the rush you feel during running, creating a good sense of contentment. Most runners experience an emotional boost or runner’s high due to feel-good hormones that reduce stress and elevate mood. 

A newsletter published by Harvard Health highlights that running increases oxygen flow throughout the body, supporting cellular mechanisms and strengthening the mitochondria, increasing energy production. 

Burns Calories and Aids Weight Loss

Most people run to strengthen their bodies, but some individuals also adopt the strategy of running 40 miles a week to build muscles, burn calories, and maintain optimal weight. 

You must create a significant calorie deficit if your goal is to lose weight. However, running 5.7 miles alone is not enough. You must achieve this deficit by consuming fewer calories and burning more calories with aerobic exercises. 

According to WebMD, running allows you to burn 671 calories in 30 minutes, but you must have the right conditions for running. Evidence shows that running less than three hours a week can help you maintain optimal weight. What about running 40 miles a week? 

Even if you run 40 miles a week, you may still gain weight if you consume extra calories from more food or beverages. So, you must develop a proper plan and stick to the routine while striving toward your goal of running 40 miles a week. 

Risks of Running 40 Miles a Week

While running 40 miles a week offers a wide range of benefits, it also has several downsides. You must understand the risk of this running strategy. Otherwise, you will sabotage your running regimen and fail to achieve your goals. Let’s now discuss the risks of running 5.7 miles a day or 40 miles a week. 

Overuse Injuries

The first risk of running 40 miles a week is overuse injuries, especially if you don’t run properly or follow the guidelines. Overuse injuries are flare-ups or breakdowns resulting from repetitive muscle and tissue movement. 

Achilles tendonitis, runner’s knee, plantar fasciitis, and ITB syndrome are common overuse injuries associated with excessive running. Most people think that training load cause these injuries, but this is not the case. Overuse of muscles is the primary reason behind these complications.

Stress Fractures

A research study published in the National Library of Medicine (NLM) highlights that stress fractures are common injuries among excessive runners. These injuries occur when your microfractures rate exceeds, preventing your bones from repairing. 

The study shows 80% to 90% of all stress fractures are due to complications in the lower extremity, representing 0.7% to 20% of aerobic exercises and sports injuries. Besides, 16% of all injuries in runners are stress fractures. 

Moreover, overuse and overload are the primary causes of stress fractures. These occur when microfracture rates exceed the rate at which your bone repairs. The anatomical area is the primary factor for accurate diagnosis. 

Therefore, early recognition is essential to decrease the risk of microfractures and prevent them from microfractures. You must follow a careful approach when running 40 miles a week. Otherwise, you may experience stress fractures. 

Joint Pain

Inflammation and pain in the hips, knees, and ankles can result from running 40 miles weekly. Runner’s knee, also called knee pain, has numerous causes, including swelling under your kneecap. 

According to the National Health Service (NHS), most runners develop inflammation or experience pain at the front, around, or behind the kneecap. Depending on your overall health status, running plan, and terrain, you may experience dull, sharp, or severe pain. A recent research article shows that running 40 miles a week can also result in hip pain due to bursae inflammation. 

Bursae are fluid-filled sacs that support your hip joint muscles, tendons, and bones by providing a cushioning effect. However, excessive running with frequent repetitive motions puts extreme pressure on your bursa sacs, leading to inflammation and pain. 

Dehydration and Fatigue

Your body gets electrolytes and other minerals from water, foods, drinks, and supplements. Maintaining optimal homeostasis is crucial to balance your body fluids and electrolytes in your blood, tissue, and urine. Electrolytes regulate heart rhythm, support muscle function, and optimize nerve activity. 

According to Cleveland Clinic, an electrolyte imbalance results from too low or too high minerals in your blood, urine, and tissues. Although symptoms of this condition vary from runner to runner, most runners experience spasms and weakness in their musculoskeletal structures. 

Drinking enough water to avoid dehydration is critical to prevent electrolyte imbalances, especially when running 40 miles a week. We recommend drinking enough water before you start a run. At the same time, you must drink water during and after your running session. 

A study published by the National Institute of Health (NIH) shows that drinking water is an excellent way to maintain optimal homeostasis. However, runners can also consume fluids like sports drinks and coconut water to avoid dehydration when running 40 miles weekly. Remember, you must also consume food rich in electrolytes. These include potatoes, avocados, bananas, oranges, turkey, spinach, and strawberries. 

How to Run 40 Miles a Week Safely and Effectively

Now that you know the benefits and downsides of running 40 miles a week, you must follow the tips and tricks below to make the most out of your running sessions and avoid the risk of injuries and other complications. 

Gradually Increase Mileage

Research shows that gradually increasing mileage is an excellent way to reduce risks and achieve optimal performance. For example, you can lengthen your run by one mile each week. Adding a mile to your runs allows you to build mileage slowly and steadily. 

Besides, you can add an extra short run every week, but make sure it is no more than four miles. If you are a beginner, we recommend finding an experienced running coach who could provide you with proper guidance and training. Remember, these strategies make a whole lot of difference. 

Another research article recommends a holistic and sustainable approach to increasing mileage. However, not all runners thrive running 40 miles per week. If you are running 15 miles per week, make sure your next target is 25 miles a week. Once you achieve this goal, aim for 33 miles and then 40 miles.

Focus on Speed Work

Speed is critical for running 40 miles a week but requires VO2 max and leg turnover improvements. We suggest speed-form training that improves your stride frequency, promotes relaxation, and increases power or running economy. This can be achieved via speed drills. 

For example, you can run faster than your previously running sessions. Speed-form repeats are another crucial strategy to streamline the process. Although tempo repeats last up to twenty minutes, VO2 max repeats last five minutes. On the other hand, speed-form repeats last up to 60 seconds.

Recover Properly

According to Nike, stretching is an excellent way to recover after each run because it improves your range of motion and flexibility. At the same time, stretching reduces muscle soreness, decreasing the risk of injuries. 

Perform foam rolling exercises to relieve tightness and knots in your muscles. It is an excellent way to repair damaged tissues, limit soreness, and enhance mobility. Icing is another recovery method to reduce swelling and inflammation. Make sure you apply ice for 10 to 15 minutes at a time. 

Fuel Your Body with Healthy Foods

In addition to maintaining proper hydration levels, research shows that carbs can fuel a runner’s body by providing an efficient and quick energy source. Carbs make up 65% of the total calorie intake for people running 40 miles a week. 

Your body works more efficiently with carbohydrates than proteins or fats for powerful, quick, long-lasting energy. People who run for long distances or cover more miles must consume an optimal quantity of carbohydrates, meaning you can eat over 10g of carbs per kg of your body weight daily. 

Moreover, food rich in essential nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, is an excellent way to support muscle performance and recovery. We recommend eating fruits and veggies, nuts, and whole grains

Incorporate Strength Training

Running 40 miles a week requires you to incorporate strength training into your workout regimen. Strength training targets the back, core, arms, and upper body muscles. We suggest a plank to hold this position for 30 seconds or one minute. 

Pushups are an excellent exercise to target your upper body and arms muscles. Start this exercise in a plank position making sure you extend your arms. Rows are another strength training or workout that targets your upper body and back muscles. A row requires holding a dumbbell in each hand, but make sure your palms face your body. 

A Final Recap

Running is one of the best exercises to improve your health and wellbeing. Not only does running increase your cardiovascular endurance, but it also enhances your neural, metabolic, and homeostatic functions, reducing the risk of acute and chronic health conditions. 

However, running 40 miles a week can increase the risk of injuries and prevent you from achieving your goals, provided you don’t take the right approach. You can run 40 miles a week by developing a proper plan and following a slow/steady and holistic approach. Make sure you follow the tips/trick above to achieve your goals. Until Next Time! 

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