Is Running More Then 4 Miles a Day Bad For You?

A study out this week in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings journal has caused many running websites to suggest that running more than 30 miles per week may actually be bad for you. But does the study really say this?

I’ve read a number of articles (including this in the Daily Mail) which cite this study suggesting that anyone doing more than 4 miles a day should cut down their mileage as it may be bad for their health. This is really lazy journalism.

The study looked at heart attack survivors, not “normal” runners and it basically found that those who ran or walked on a daily basis did better in recovery than those who didn’t. They also found that the more you run / walk, the better you would do – up to about 4 miles per day. Above that threshold people actually did worse and there was an increased risk of cardiovascular issues developing. However, it’s important to note that those people running more than 4 miles a day still did better than those doing no exercise or even small amounts of running / walking every day, it’s just not the optimal exercise level.

Now, clearly this is not the same as saying that running more than 4 miles per day is bad for you as many articles have made out over the last two days. It’s saying that it’s actually good for you, but if you’ve already suffered a heart attack you should exercise on a daily basis, but not push yourself too far to get optimal results. This seems like sensible and fairly common sense advice.

If you’d like to read more about this and make your own conclusions, the full text is available here at no cost – many articles haven’t even bothered to link to it, why would you want to read that when you can read the sensationalized spin in the daily mail instead?


About Simon 126 Articles
Avid runner, cyclist and judoka.