Building a daily running habit is an excellent way to stay on top of your fitness. It has plenty of other benefits as well, like stress relief, clearing the mind, and helping you maintain a healthy weight.
But getting started can be the hardest part. Whether you’re completely new to running, returning to running after a hiatus, or getting into exercise as a way of boosting health… Here’s how to start running 2 miles a day.
It may not seem like much, but once you lace up your running shoes and hit the pavement, you realize how far it really is! But it’s an excellent way to start laying a foundation for fitness and health going forward.
Why You Should Run 2 Miles a Day
Why 2 miles? And why daily? Here are a few good reasons you should start working on developing a 2-mile-a-day habit.
It’s a Good Starting Point
2 miles a day is an excellent starting point for runners of all abilities. It’s not so far that it’s intimidating, but also not so short that it’s not a challenge. It’s also easy to build on once you get used to the distance.
Helps You Prepare for Longer Distances and Races
Getting into the habit of running 2 miles a day sets you up for success in 5k races. Once you’ve done a few of those, you’ll be in the perfect position to move on to 10k races.
A 2-mile run every day builds your base fitness level up so you can start to build up to doing longer, more intense races.
Gets You Into Good Fitness Habits
Running every day isn’t always easy. But if you can do it consistently, you’ll get into a habit, and once you’re in a habit, it becomes part of your daily routine that you don’t want to miss. This is an excellent way to start setting good fitness habits in place. Prioritize your health and fitness where you can—everything is easier when you’re h healthy.
Opportunity to Meet New People
If you struggle to meet like-minded people, joining a running club or group could be the ideal way to do so. You’re likely to meet people who are invested in their health and fitness, and who could become accountability partners in this 2-mile-a-day journey.
How Long Does It Take to Run 2 Miles?
The length of time it takes to run 2 miles depends on a number of factors. These could include:
- Fitness level
- Running experience
- Weather conditions
On average, the time to run 2 miles ranges between 16 and 22 minutes across all ages, genders, and fitness levels. If you walk/run, you can expect to finish 2 miles in 25 to 30 minutes.
However, in general:
- Younger people run faster than older people.
- Men run faster than women.
- Fitter people will run faster.
Benefits of Running 2 Miles a Day
How can running 2 miles a day change your life? Here are a few of the benefits you’ll get from it.
Quick, efficient workout: It’s easy to fit into almost any schedule.
- Boosts endurance: Your body will adapt and start to improve its baseline fitness.
- Weight loss benefits: You’ll be burning extra calories daily, which can have positive weight loss benefits as long as your diet is checked.
- Overall health improvement: Regular exercise will improve your cardiovascular strength, energy metabolism, and multiple other systems and processes in the body.
- Increased stress relief: The extra rush of endorphins daily contributes to lower cortisol levels, reducing stress and its side effects.
- Stronger bones and muscles: Running is a weight-bearing exercise, which means your bones get stronger the more you do it. It also builds muscle, which not only gives you a toned look but boosts your metabolism and makes it easier to lose fat.
- Improved sleep quality: Exercising daily can help you rest better at night, thanks to better regulation of the hormones responsible for the sleep/wake cycle.
How to Start Running 2 Miles a Day
Do those benefits sound like something you could do with? Here’s our advice on how to start running 2 miles a day and reaping the rewards.
Setting Realistic Running Goals
The first step to setting realistic goals is to establish a routine. Pick a time to run that suits your daily lifestyle. It can be early morning before work, during your lunch hour, or after work. Or, you can opt for running on the treadmill in the middle of the night!
You don’t have to start running every day immediately, even if you want to work up to it later. Aim for every second day in the beginning, or less if you’re completely new to it. Gradually increasing your frequency over time is the best way to ease yourself into a good routine.
Create a Running Schedule
We advise creating a running schedule based on your goals and writing it down. From there, it’s important to stick to it! It’s valuable to have a schedule to follow every day so you can get up and run without wondering what you’re doing on the day.
This is also a vital part of developing a daily habit because if you can stick to a less-than-daily routine, you’re just a step away from building a daily running habit.
Get Yourself the Right Running Gear
Wearing the wrong running gear can set you up for an uncomfortable running experience at best or an injury-plagued one at worst. It’s in your best interest to pay attention to choosing the right gear from the start.
The first thing to do is choose a pair of shoes that’s right for your feet. Figure out your arch type and check your pronation first. This will guide you to choose a pair of shoes that will support your feet properly.
Make sure the clothing and socks you choose are moisture-wicking and soft against the skin. Your apparel should also be breathable. Consider things like lightweight jackets, beanies, hats, sunglasses, and other apparel depending on the weather where you’ll be running.
Build Good Running Habits
We highly recommend keeping a daily training log or using a running journal. This will help you track your statistics and see progress, like how your speed improves over time or how many days in a row you manage to run.
Get into the habit of warming up properly as well. A brisk 5-minute walk and some running drills are good enough to get your blood flowing and your muscles ready for the 2-mile run. Cooling down with a short walk is also a good idea.
It’s also a good idea to get into good recovery habits. Use compression gear, foam roll, stretch, stay hydrated, and get enough sleep. These steps will help you to perform better every time you head out for a run.
Another habit that will help improve your running is to optimize your diet. Eat a healthy diet filled with whole foods. Avoid processed foods and foods and drinks that are high in sugar. You’ll find that your performance improves and you feel better while running.
Start By Using Walk-Run Intervals
If you can’t run 2 miles in one go, you can use walk-run intervals initially. Try running for 30 seconds and walking for a minute. This will give your muscles and cardiovascular system more time to recover between running sessions.
When you feel up to it, you can increase your running interval to 45 seconds, and rest for a minute. You might be unable to do this in your first run, or even your second or third. You may have to stick to these numbers for a few weeks before your fitness improves to the point where you can increase the interval.
The key is to gradually increase the amount of time you spend running before you need to take a walking break. Be patient—it may take some time, but this is an excellent, safe, and effective way to begin. After some time, you’ll find that you’re able to run 2 miles without stopping for a walk break!
Listening to Your Body
It’s a good idea to learn about common running injuries when you start, so you know what to look for. Listening to your body is an important skill to develop as a runner, so you can spot signs of injury early and take steps to heal properly and quickly.
Don’t feel bad about taking a rest day if you’re feeling tired. But make sure to get back to your running schedule the day after so it doesn’t become a prolonged break. If your body isn’t getting enough rest between runs, you may feel fatigued, unmotivated, and sore. Take note of these things in your journal or log so you can start looking for patterns.
Listen to your body, but be honest with yourself. Don’t take a day off just because you want to stay in bed—but don’t push through pain or discomfort just because you’re afraid to skip a day.
Staying Motivated and Overcoming Challenges
There will be moments throughout your running journey where you struggle to find motivation. If you anticipate this from the start of your journey, you can take steps to prevent it.
Joining a running club or community is a good way to stay motivated. You’ll be able to find a running buddy you can be accountable to, so you can motivate each other when things get tough.
If you have a specific goal in mind—losing weight, running a specific race, etc—it’s a good idea to write it down or create a vision board that you can look at and be reminded of your goals. This can help you to visualize yourself reaching your goals, which can help to keep you motivated.
Tracking Your Progress and Celebrating Success
You can track your progress in a running journal or in a running app if that works better for you. We highly recommend investing in a running smartwatch if you don’t already have one, which will help you track stats and progress.
You can go back now and then and compare your performances now to when you began. This will help you to see how much you’ve progressed, and progression is cause for celebration!
When you reach your milestones, take some time to celebrate. There’s no need to go overboard, but reward yourself for making it… It can also help motivate you for future milestones.
Although 2 miles might not sound like a lot, it’s a good idea to get the go-ahead from your doctor before diving into a 2-mile-1-day habit. Especially if you’re just starting out or have underlying medical conditions, which will help you get ahead of any potential problems.
This is also a good idea if you have joint problems. You’ll have to carefully choose a pair of shoes that will reduce impact and keep your feet aligned, but you can still run with joint issues as long as you take the necessary safety precautions.
If you’ve been exercising and your fitness levels are already good, you might not need to see a doctor first. But you will also need to ensure you’re wearing the right running shoes for your feet to limit your chances of injury.
Also, don’t downplay the importance of rest and recovery. It can be tempting to push yourself too hard, but if your body doesn’t recover well enough, you’ll risk overtraining and injuring yourself.