Is Running 5 Miles a Day Good for You?
Running 5 miles a day is an admirable goal. For most people, running 5 miles a day will take less than an hour and provide many health benefits, including weight loss.
However, you can’t just start running 5 miles a day without preparing to do so. First, you need the right gear, including running shoes. You need to find the right running paths. And, most importantly, your body needs to be ready to take on the impact of running 5 miles a day.
Here we share everything you need to know about running 5 miles every day and how to get started.
How do I know if I can run 5 miles a day?
If a 5 mile run every day is your goal, you need to take a hard look at yourself to see if you’re ready.
First, look at your running background. What mileage have you run in the past? What are you running right now? What has been your longest run? And, are you injury-prone? These factors will determine how quickly you can progress to running 5 miles a day.
Second, look at the time you have to run. For most people, running 5 miles a day will take about an hour, give or take. Do you have that time every day to run? If not, how can you carve out that time? Can you run on your lunch break? Can you get a babysitter? Can you wake up early or run after work?
Think about how you can make it happen. It’s not always easy to find time for ourselves but very important!
Also, very important is ensuring you have time to recover. If you’re waking up early to run, then you need to ensure you’re still getting at least 7 hours of sleep otherwise, you risk injury.
Third, plan your route. Do you have a running path or roads to run near your house or work? Where can you run, and are there friends you can run with? If you have to wake up early to run in the dark, what’s a safe location for you to do that? Chart the path of least resistance to keep moving forward.
Who should run 5 miles a day?
As long as you don’t have major injuries or other health concerns, almost everyone can work up to running five miles a day, including beginner runners.
Seasoned runners are more likely to run 5 miles a day without injury or issue as their bodies (including their bones, joints, tendons, and muscles) are strengthened against the impact.
People who are new to running will need to take more time to condition their bodies for the training plan and repetitive load of running.
Who shouldn’t run 5 miles a day?
Injury-prone runners, need longer recovery, have excess weight, are older, or are new to running shouldn’t run 5 miles a day to start. They will need to work up to 5 miles a day VERY gradually.
They will also need to be very in tune with how their bodies are feeling. If they have nagging knee pain or feel exhausted, then alternating cross-training cardio days or rest days will be more beneficial to their health.
What happens when you run 5 miles a day?
The first few weeks of running 5 miles a day may feel unpleasant. At first, you may be sore and experience some small pains as your body adjusts to the new training stress and daily exercise. You may be hungrier, as well.
However, as your body adapts to the new stimulus, you will notice your energy will improve and how your body feels.
Will I lose weight if I run 5 miles a day?
Yes, you will lose weight if you run 5 miles a day—as long as you keep everything else the same in your life including your calorie intake).
It’s simple math—if running 5 miles a day burns an average of 500 calories, and there are 3,500 calories in a pound and 7 days in a week, then you think you could burn about a pound a week.
However, it’s not that simple. Running requires more fuel, so your body will become hungrier. And if you don’t eat a lot of calories, you risk injury. So, you need to eat more but avoid over-eating; focus on a balanced diet.
At the same time, running builds muscle, which means your body will burn more calories throughout the day and night. Still, muscle weighs more than fat, so you may not actually become lighter, but your body will lose fat.
Bottom line, running 5 days a week for 5 weeks isn’t guaranteed to help you lose 5 pounds, but it will make you fitter, lose fat, and burn more calories.
Pros of running 5 miles a day
Here are some of the benefits of running 5 miles a day:
- Countless physical activity benefits including improved immunity, reduced risk of heart disease, stronger muscles and bones, and longer life.
- Countless mental health benefits including lower stress, reduced anxiety, better self-confidence, improved productivity, and better sleep.
- More consistent healthy body weight.
Cons of running 5 miles a day
Here is why it can be bad to run 5 miles a day:
- Increased risk of injury if you don’t recovery well.
- You can’t train for a specific race, and your running fitness will plateau.
- Doing the same distance every day can get boring, and you may lose motivation.
How long will it take to run 5 miles a day?
How long it takes you to run 5 miles a day depends on how fast you run. As a general rule, the average mile time to run 5 miles is 10 minutes—so that means it takes 50 minutes to run 5 miles. Factor in a warm-up and cool-down and plan to run 5 miles for an hour.
However, as you become fitter, your pace and your fitness level will improve, and thus it will take you less time to run! For example, you may be able to run 5 miles in 40 minutes after a few months of consistent running.
How do I start running 5 miles a day?
Let’s get something straight; you can’t just start running 5 miles a day. Otherwise, you will wind up injured! Instead, you have to work up to it.
- Take your starting point of how much you run per week and gradually increase that mileage by 10 percent each week, taking a break every month with a week of 30 percent reduced mileage.
- If your running routine isn’t consistent, start with run/walk intervals, elongating run time and shortening walk time.
- Run on non-consecutive days.
- When you can run for 30 minutes straight, add an additional run day to the week before elongating your runs to 5 miles. When you feel good about the number of days you are running (say 3 miles for 7 days a week), elongate your weekly runs to increase the total mileage by 10 percent week over week.
- Be sure to run easy at a conversational pace on these runs as your body adapts to the stimulus.
8 Tips for Running 5 Miles a Day
- Begin with a run/walk. Then gradually increase the amount of time running as you decrease the amount of time walking.
- Increase gradually. Start with a couple of nonconsecutive days running a week. Then add a fourth day, then fifth, etc. Then elongate the distance of your runs.
- Mix up the route. Running the same 5-mile loop may become boring and unmotivating, so run in interesting places to keep the momentum going.
- Run with friends and to music, podcasts, and books. This is another way to keep yourself motivated with your running goal.
- Listen to your body. Ignoring pain sets you up for injury that can torch your 5-miles-a-day goals. Also, feeling tired or not recovered can lead to injury. If your body is begging for an off day, listen to it.
- Take a day off. Take a day off every week or at least every month to allow your body to repair itself from the stress of running.
- Reduce mileage. Every month or so, reduce your mileage by about 30 percent to allow your body to absorb the training and build back stronger.
- Challenge yourself. When running 5 miles a day becomes easy, challenge yourself with surges during the run or up-tempo paces to push your body to become even more fit and efficient.
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