Running 10K every day for a year – 10 top tips

Last year I set myself the challenge of running at least 10K a day for a whole year in aid of St. Mary’s Hospice in South Cumbria. (I’ve raised around £5,000 so far but am still welcoming donations… PLEASE… you can donate via JustGiving here – thank you!). I had read about the challenge a few years before on the BBC Magazine website and it interested me. 10K isn’t so far on its own (just over 6 miles) but to do this every single day of the year (and in a leap year to boot, so one extra run!) was going to be a big challenge for me. Afterall, I am very average when it comes to running. Whilst this post is a little off-topic, I’m putting together a few pointers that I hope will help anyone else thinking of embarking on the same challenge. Running up Scout Scar 1. Don’t underestimate what you are taking on I wasn’t under any illusions that running at least 10K a day for a whole year was going to be easy. That said, I possibly still underestimated the scale of the challenge. By the end of the year, I had run approximately 2,500 miles (which equates to more than 95 marathons) and climbed around 250,000 feet (more than 8 times the height of Everest). But it’s not so much the distance… it’s achieving the consistency of doing it every single day. The likelihood is that things will happen that will make it very difficult – in my case, it was an injury I sustained when falling off a gate I was climbing over, and a couple of bouts of ‘man flu’ which made for some very challenging days. 2. Run slowly Whilst it might be tempting to rattle off your 10K quickly and get on with the rest of your day, you’re more likely to be prone to injury if you push yourself excessively. Taking it slowly will be less punishing on your body and make it easier for you to run again the next day… and the next… and the next…  Remember, in order to minimise your risk of injury, you’re not really supposed to increase your weekly mileage by more than 10% from one week to the next so, if you’re not already running around 40 miles per week before you start the challenge (I wasn’t), then you really need to be taking it easy when you do run. 3. Run off-road Similarly, running on road means greater impact on your joints and an increased likelihood of niggles and injuries. If you can, run off-road a little and give your knees and ankles a rest from the tarmac. If you have little choice on the matter because you live in a very urbanised area, for example, then make sure you have plenty of cushioning in your footwear. 4. Vary your runs Running exactly the same route every day can be soul-destroying, especially if it’s not that scenic or interesting. As a travel blogger, I was lucky to run in a wide variety of locations, but this won’t be possible for everyone. running-past-sizergh-castle 5. Run with someone (or something) occasionally Although most of my runs were done solo with our dog when I was home, I did from time to time run with friends (and even in some cases with people I’d only just met). Having a running partner – be it a person or a dog – will take out some of the boredom that’s almost inevitable from running every single day, and will consequently make some of the runs that little bit easier. Running with George 6. Stretch! I’m guilty of not stretching as much as I should but in the first couple of months I was feeling discomfort in both my Achilles tendons which concerned me as I didn’t relish the thought of trying to run with tendonitis for a whole year.  Thankfully with some targeted stretches, I was able to overcome the issue. Stupidly, I’m still not very good when it comes to stretching, but it is said to help prevent the risk of injury. 7. Do it for charity If you’re going to the trouble of taking on this challenge, you might as well as raise some money for a good cause in the process. Start your fundraising at the beginning and keep people updated of your progress via social media, email, word-of-mouth, etc. as you go along, and hopefully this will generate at least a trickle of income for your chosen charity. Make sure you notify everyone when you are nearing the end of the challenge – and again when you complete it – as that’s when the bulk of the donations will come in!  It might even be worth doing a press release to your local newspaper to generate additional publicity towards your fundraising effort. Or do a blog post about your experience and ask for your readers to be generous… ;-) 8. Run early in the day if you can It might not always be possible but I’d suggest doing your daily run as soon in the day as you can. I had days where I just couldn’t see a window of opportunity – for example, when I attended the World Tourism Forum in Istanbul, it was an all-day event followed by an evening get-together; to get around it, I just got up and started running at around 6am even though it was pitch black outside and I didn’t know the surroundings. The upside was that I did get to see a lovely sunrise. sunrise-in-istanbul On another occasion I was on a 24-hour ferry to Spain. There wasn’t a gym with a treadmill on board – I did consider doing laps of the ferry in order to do my 10K but wasn’t sure this would go down with the ferry company on safety grounds. Instead, once we reached our destination, I was pounding the streets until well after 11pm which wasn’t ideal! But the incident that really made me think ‘I need to get out early each day if I can’ was when I needed to take one of our sons to A&E one evening (thankfully it was nothing serious as it turned out) – we were at the hospital until gone midnight if I recall, but luckily I’d already done my run earlier in the day. 9. Be prepared for difficult days It’s unlikely that you’re going to be in peak condition every day of the year. Whether it be just feeling below par, illness or injury, there will be times when running 10K feels like the last thing you want to do. You’re going to have to dig deep and be very stubborn if you’re to get through the tough days! 10. Keep a diary I didn’t do this but often wonder whether I should have and have been asked several times if I’d kept a record. I did record my runs on Strava and added the occasional note, as well as track my daily activity with my Fitbit. But, rest assured, when running that frequently, it’s likely that you’ll have some stories to tell. My most notable tale from my 366 days of running was that one day I was running along a ridge with a cliff on one side. I had just passed two elderly ladies who were walking a small dog. I was running with our dog at the time and, moments after we had passed them, I heard a scream. I looked around to find the ladies rushing to the cliff edge and the dog nowhere in site. Yes, you guessed it… the dog had run off the cliff. I don’t know exactly what had happened as it all happened behind me but I turned back and joined them on the cliff edge (once I’d got my dog on the lead!). We couldn’t see anything for what seemed like an age – I feared the worst but, a few moments later, we saw the dog moving around down below. It must have taken me nearly an hour to get around to the base of the cliff and recover the dog but all she seemed to have suffered was a small cut above one eye. Amazing, really, as it was quite a fall. george-at-sunrise

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years. He is Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine. In addition to other awards, the blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Daily Telegraph.

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  1. Seriously impressed that you managed to stick with this. I’m wondering which shoes you used because I really struggle with running through freezing cold puddles in the winter. Well done!!

  2. Thank you, Alex!

    I used a mixture of different shoes, but mostly off-road trainers. I think in the picture that’s a rather muddy pair of Adidas Kanadia trail shoes I’m wearing…


  3. Wow Paul, congratulations! Great post and amazing effort. Now that is dedication of the highest order – should be proud of yourself. Rebecca

  4. WHOA. That is super impressive, Paul! And here I am just trying to get back into the habit of running 3-5 miles 3 days a week, lol. Give me some of that motivation, please!

  5. Congratulations Paul. That is impressive. Hats off! And for a great cause too. I used to run regularly, training for fell runs but alas can’t do it anymore due to injury.

  6. Thank you everyone. Sorry to hear that, James… a lot of people my age seem to swap running for road biking these days. Thankfully my knees are still holding out… for now, at least!

  7. Thank you, Urvashi, and good luck with your marathon training. I have done a few marathons (London, Seattle, New York, Windermere and Edinburgh) and they are always hard work! Definitely worth finding a good training schedule and trying your best to stick to it. Have you done a marathon before?

  8. Well done Paul! Thanks for the inspiration, and for sharing the pix. The dog story is remarkable, you were kind to help them!

  9. This is so motivating buddy and I just noted all the ideas you have jotted in.. I am also an amateur runner with around 10-12 HMs and an FM under my belt.. Even I am trying to run a 10k every day of this year with an HM too every week.. Been able to complete 51 days till today so far, just hoping to be injury-free throughout… Have been thinking about the FUNDRAISING part however still have not been able to come up with a solid plan.. Bit after reading your blog today, will go for this ASAP. Wish me luck andanyany congratulations to you…

  10. Hi Biplab… good to hear from someone else taking on the challenge! Congratulations on the progress so far and please keep me posted with how you get on. You clearly have the determination to see it through if you’ve done 2 months already. As you say, the key will be keeping injury free. In that regard, I’d suggest not always running on road and, perhaps most importantly of all, just taking it slowly. Whenever I tried to pick up the pace and see what time I could do, I usually paid the price the next day! :-) Good luck, Paul

    PS – Also, definitely not too late to start fundraising. Probably about 80% of what I raised came in the last few weeks, once people could see I was actually going to ‘make it’ all the way through the year.

  11. ;O Wow,nice.

    Can you please tell us your times before the year and after the year? 5k 10k half full etc? !

  12. Hi Daniel

    For me it was never about my times – it was about completing the distance every day of the year, regardless of how long it took. If I went for speed, I would put myself at risk of injury and I think the challenge would have been less sustainable. I took the runs slow for the most part. That said, from memory, my fastest 10K time of the year was something like 47 minutes and the slowest was something like 1hr 55 minutes (up Scafell Pike, back down, and almost halfway up again – I did over 400 ‘floors’ on my Fitbit that day!).

    I was never running just the 5k distance and I think I only ran over the half marathon distance on one occasion (the last run of the year, in fact).


  13. Hi Paul,
    I came across your 10 tips searching for anyone else that has done a 10K a day for a year. Congrats on completing!
    I’m 226 days into it. Late last year I saw a post from a guy in South Korea, on Runkeeper’s Facebook group, that had just finished running 15 months of a 5K every day. After I read it I said damn! Now I have to do a 10K every day for a year. My commitment to myself was to run a 10K a day in under 60 minutes. As long as I run a total of 10K under an hour sometime on the calendar day I’ve met the commitment. I figured this would give me the freedom to split the run into two 5Ks or any other variation that added up to at least a 10K. What I found was it is better to, as Larry the Cable Guy says, Git er done in one run. I totally agree that running with someone or a group run really helps with the mind-numbing monotony. I try to do this at least twice a week. I also agree with taking it slow. When I was about a 100 days in I thought to myself I don’t just want to survive I want to thrive and started to raise the distance I was running. I also started introducing hill repeats twice a week. I live near the coast in South Carolina. Extremely flat. My hills are bridges. Lastly, about a month ago I was on holiday in Wisconsin, which is nothing but hills, and ran 11 days straight doing nothing but hills. This is where the wheels started to wobble and almost fell off. I was up to 7 miles a day at around an 8:25 pace and started to feel a discomfort in my lower abdominal muscles. I thought it was just sore muscles but I believe it’s a sports hernia. I think it I did it pounding the hills in Wisconsin and overtraining. I’ve since dialed it back to 6.25 miles a day and I’m averaging about an 8:50 pace. The hernia along with hamstring tendinopathy have really made this challenging. The hernia hasn’t gotten any worse and some hamstring exercises have made the tendinopathy bearable, just. So far I’ve had quite the journey. Physical, mental, and spiritual. It’s changed me. I’m much more empathetic. I try to smile and say hello to everyone I pass. You never know what people are going through and yours may be the only smile they receive all day. If I see some garbage on the path I’ll pick it up. If I see a turtle crossing, which I’ve seen a number of times, I stop and move it the side of the path they were crossing to. I try to keep my head up and see what’s going on around me. I live in a beautiful area and I need to enjoy it. Although it won’t be easy I think I can complete it. I’m looking forward to learning more about myself and seeing the changes. I’m also looking forward to that last run on 12/31/17 although I’m thinking I may run a 10 miler on New Years Day!

  14. Hi Jeff… great to hear from you! Congratulations on getting this far, and good luck with the remaining third! Kudos to running it in under an hour each day also. There are lots of hills where I live so that was something I never considered, but I did tell myself I was going to run them all and not walk (bar short stops for occasional things like climbing over a gate, tieing shoelaces, putting the dog back on the lead or taking a photo). That was challenging when one of my runs took me to the top of England’s highest mountain. :-) Anyway, good luck and do please come back and tell us when you’ve completed it, if not before.

  15. Very inspiring and motivating – Paul . Well done. What would be your advice to someone like me who is on the 11 th day of my 10K daily run and am being advised that I will be injuring myself if I run daily. Am running on Roads and have no turf .

    1. Congratulations so far, hari! It’s true that you put yourself at more risk of injury if you don’t allow your body to rest. If running every day is still something you want to do, my advice would be:

      1. go slowly; whenever I tried to pick up the pace with my running, I felt the aches and pains more. If I concerned myself more with completing the distance, rather than doing it in a good time, I felt that this was more forgiving.

      2. stretch; very early on with my busy year of running, I was feeling pains in some tendons. Doing careful stretches (I tended to do them while under a hot shower, but not sure if there’s an benefit in that!) can help, I think.

      3. if you can only run on road, I’d suggest trainers(/sneakers) with really good cushioning (and ideally alternating them with another pair, so you don’t put all your miles on one pair of shoes). Also, I’m lucky in that I live in a rural location so can go off-road regularly, but even in major cities there tends to be many places where you can avoid the tarmac.

      Good luck, and happy running! Keep us posted with how you get on :)

  16. Thank you so much for writing this, Paul! I am just coming around to the idea of doing this—just thought of it and I’m only on day 2. This is exactly what I needed to read. Thank you you for sharing your experience and for your inspiration and encouragement. ?✨It’s nice to know that it’s possible! Did you change your diet or calorie intake at all? I’m vegan and have several food allergies. I’m excited to play around and see what makes the biggest difference! I’d be curious to hear your thoughts!

    1. Hi Cat

      The only change to my diet was that I didn’t really care about how much I ate. I ate the same kinds of meals as I would normally have but I didn’t worry about quantity – I felt confident I was burning it off. So calorie intake would have been higher for me, but diet was pretty much unchanged.

      Good luck if you give it a try! :-)


  17. Since this year is another leap year, I will make an attempt to match this challenge you have set for yourself. I am now trying to soak up most of the advice I can get my hands on, like doing barely any races this year. The only race I’ll do, will be a half marathon in May with two friends, which will exactly three years after my first ever race. Luckily, they are training less seriously, so I don’t think I will let competition get the better of me.

    Did you at one point tried to incorporate a running schedule to train for a specific event? (Or did you do different types of training based on how you felt that they and the terrain you found yourself in?)

    How is it to run with a dog for 10K at a time? Did it too have to adjust to the sudden increase in mileage? It is a future dream of me to get a dog, but I will first need to do quite a bit more research on which dog would be best suited.

    1. Hi Wouter… during my year of running 10K a day, I did do some events (that were longer than 10K) but my primary target was always just to do 10K a day for a year. Those events were really just incidental.

      Our dog came on most of my runs. I guess it depends on the breed but ours is a Springer spaniel and they’ll keep running until they drop – they don’t have much self-control when it comes to things like that. Also, because he was off lead most of the time, he tended to run considerably further than me each time.

  18. Hi Wouter!

    I have also taken Paul up on this and have been running at least 10k (today was 10.1miles) since the 19th of December, with only a day here and there as rest days for the build up. I AM thinking of doing at least my first half marathon this year, if not more. We’ll see!

    I have been running with my two border collie cross breeds. One is seven, the other is 5 months. I’m cognizant of not overdoing it for them, but they are both super keen and so far able. I think I’m going to give them more rest days than I take, but so far they’ve been loving it! Always important not to over do it especially for much younger or older dogs.

    I am thinking a lot about optimal nutrition for myself and for them. As a plant-based health coach, studying nutrition and pre-med, this seems to be a powerful way to support both yourself and your animal, should you choose to get one! (I HIGHLY recommend it! And border collies are awesome, for the record, if you’re active and able to help stimulate and support them mentally and physically. They’re super bright and have lots of energy! You want to make sure you look after their joints so they don’t suffer in older age.) I can’t wait to hear what you decide!

    Also…Strava is a running/swimming/cycling app that I highly recommend. It lets you connect and engage with other runners and feel motivated and inspired by a much larger community of people from all different levels of fitness. You may want to check it out!

    Paul, thank you for the encouragement and inspiration as well as your example! I’m doing it!! :D

    Keep in touch, Wouter!

    Good luck! ?

    1. Hi Cat

      I’d be careful running with the 5 month old. They say you shouldn’t really run with dogs younger than 6 months (even if they appear to enjoy it!) as it can affect their joints and muscles.

      Happy running (about to go out on a short run with mine, but it’s still dark outside at the moment!)…


  19. hey man , really liked your blog. It has been two months since i started running , yesterday i completed my first 10 k run and the feeling was awesome . I started running because i wanted to fix up my routine and for fitness reasons . Reading your article i must say that i am inspired and will try my best to complete this challenge of running 10k for a year.

    i just have one question though , i run 6 days in a week and take a rest on sunday as for my muscles and body to relax and recover , do you think its a good practice as opposed to run everyday ? won’t running everyday make you more prone to injuries ?

    1. Hello Sameer – if you are new to running, and have just done your first 10K, I certainly wouldn’t recommend attempting 10K a day just yet – or any time soon for that matter. You are right that you will be more prone to injury if you do not have rest days – in your case, even more prone if you are not used to running these kinds of distances on a regular basis. I would say just enjoy your running for now, maybe try to increase your distances gradually if your body allows it, and to run slowly (that can be a major factor in avoiding injury, I think). Good luck!

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