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In order to improve my endurance and lose some weight efficiently while avoiding injury, is it better to run for a short time (20-30 min) everyday, hence not much time between runs, or longer (1 hour at least, more as training advances) once in a week, hence longer time for healing from last run micro-injuries ?

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In almost every case, it's better to start out with small increments on a daily basis for fitness and health, rather than one large session with long intervals.

If you don't have much running experience, I would advise you to get a dedicated pair of running shoes (Shoes that you only use for running), and look into some kind of a couch to 5k type program. Once you are completed with that program, you can gradually add days until you are running 5-7 days a week.

Running is very much a repetition sport, in that it is the day in, day out consistency that will produce the best results. If you can manage 20 minutes a day several days a week, that is going to be better on your body and for your health than a single 1 hour session once a week.

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Running Once A Week for an Hour or 20 Mins Daily?

I would say that this depends largely on the intended goal.

For weight loss goals, I will advocate running 20 mins daily (ideally is 3 - 4 times weekly).

  • Frequent running has been proven to help with weight loss.
  • It also helps to strengthen your heart, lungs, and other body systems.
  • It also makes you more flexible.
  • Most importantly, performing this multiple times a week is more motivating (and there's less resistance to stop) than once a week. Unless you're an active runner, there's the propensity to postpone (and eventually stop) after a few attempts. If you're like a lot of people, when you think about running for one hour, your motivation to go for the run drastically reduces.

Just like most activities, performing an activity about 3 - 4 times a week is usually more efficient and beneficial than performing it once a week.

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  • What goal would be best achieved by running for an hour once a week? – JohnP Aug 24 '15 at 16:24
  • Lol....by itself, I can't think of one. I think the best strategy is coupling it with smaller runs, especially for those who want to start training for marathon races. – Kneel-Before-ZOD Aug 24 '15 at 16:35
  • So, if you can't think of one, then how can it depend on the goal? – JohnP Aug 24 '15 at 16:36
  • Just because I can't think of one (or it doesn't make sense to me) doesn't mean there isn't one. It could be an avid runner trying to cut back on the running. It could be someone who's somewhat constrained. In summary, the intended goal largely influences the path taken. – Kneel-Before-ZOD Aug 24 '15 at 16:45
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    @Rodolphe - Fat loss is more a function of diet and calorie restriction than how much cardio you add, unless all else stays the same. But, I will say that if you run at a pace for an hour once a week that burns 5 calories a minute, or if you run 4 x week for 20 mins at a pace that burns 7 calories a minute, which is better? :) There are a ton of variables to play with. I still vote with the 4-5x per week strategy. – JohnP Aug 24 '15 at 20:12
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You won't lose much weight either way, but the 20 to 30 minutes every day or every other day will allow you to improve your fitness, and then allow you to exercise harder and longer (say one hour per day, 5 times per week) so that you can start to lose weigh.

When I run for an hour, I burn about 1000 Kcal. This is a significant fraction of the about 4000 Kcal I eat per day (I run almost every day for one hour). My exercise routine has a significant influence on my energy balance. However, my old routine from a decade ago when I was less fit, was to run for 20 minutes every other day. I ran just as fast as I'm running now, although I was a bit heavier. But calorie-wise you can see that the old routine was totally ineffective, because it amounts to about 170 Kcal per day. Even though I was eating a lot less, about 3000 Kcal, 170/3000 = 5.7% compared to the 25% ratio of today.

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  • You're consuming 4000 calories? You must have a very active lifestyle to justify that consumption. BTW, intense biking for 30 mins daily with a healthy diet will result in fantastic weight loss results. – Kneel-Before-ZOD Aug 25 '15 at 2:41
  • @Kneel-Before-ZOD Except for the one hour of running I'm not extremely active, I just have a very high metabolic rate. I weigh just 55 kg, my basal metabolic rate is about double what it is for the average person of my weight and height. – Count Iblis Aug 25 '15 at 3:47
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I would highly suggest running for 20-30 minutes, 5 times a week, is better than only once a week for an hour. Swimming and biking can also be substituted and are easier on the joints. You also must cut calories, and eat healthier to lose weight, and make sure not to oversleep, either.

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Running once a week won't help you in losing weight. If I were you, I would run 30 minutes at least 4 times a week. Make your diet plan, too. Running this way will improve your shape, but if you really want to see some changes, you should also do other kinds of workouts the rest of the week. You can do sit ups, push ups, crunches, etc.

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