Getting in shape and running is a New Year’s resolution for many people. It’s also something that many people want to pick up throughout the year. Whether you want to get ready for summer or a big event like a family wedding, running is a great way to get in shape.
If you haven’t run before and want to start, this is the article for you. I’ve been there, so I’ll include tips that helped me and why it’s great to start by running two miles a day.
Two miles doesn’t seem like much, but it’s a great goal to get started. You’ll quickly see progress and stay motivated to continue in your running journey.
The distance is long enough that it won’t be too easy, but not too much that it’s overwhelming. Let’s see how two miles a day can transform your life!
Why Should You Start Running
I rediscovered running after a challenging event in my personal life, and it’s been helpful to me in so many ways.
Running has been great in getting me more physically fit. It’s also helped me become a mentally stronger and more confident individual.
You can expect to see similar benefits from running.
We all know that running is one of the best cardio workouts out there. You’ll get your heart rate up no matter how long or hard you run.
This will help improve your lung capacity. Your cardio fitness will increase over time as you get more accustomed to it.
If you want to live a long time, you have to stay healthy, and physical exercise is a huge component of that.
Running helps you stay in shape and do something healthy every day. This will make you feel younger even as you get older!
You can burn calories with exercises like walking, but running is one of the best ways to burn calories (and fast).
You’ll burn approximately 30% more calories running versus walking. That’s a pretty large difference.
Finally, this is one of the best benefits of running: endorphins! If you struggle with feeling down or want to improve your daily mood, a run will do it.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been kinda grumpy, but I’m super pleasant once I get back from a run.
Why Should You Run Two Miles a Day
All right, you might be saying. You’ve convinced me on the running part, but why two miles? That seems like an arbitrary distance.
Shouldn’t I be doing more? Or maybe less if I’m just getting into running?
If I told you to run five miles, that might feel overwhelming. But two miles is less than a 5k.
And you probably know how far away a mile is from your house. Just run there and back—two miles.
This is an achievable distance for most people.
Reasonable Amount of Time
Similarly, it’s a reasonable amount of time.
If you run a 10-15 minute mile, it will take you 20-30 minutes to run two miles, which isn’t a huge time commitment. Plus, it fits the advice to exercise 20 minutes a day.
Build Up Mileage
Finally, when you’re getting into running, it’s important to start small and slowly. Take your time to build up mileage so that you don’t hurt yourself.
Running two miles a day is a perfect way to do that so that you can work up to longer distances.
Will Running Two Miles a Day Help You Lose Weight?
For most people, one of the reasons that they want to get into running is to lose weight. And it’s definitely true that you’ll burn calories, which can lead to weight loss.
Yet, it’s important to remember that it’s not enough on its own.
You also need a healthy eating plan that will work with your new running habit not against it.
If you run two miles and burn over 200 calories but celebrate by getting a sugary treat at the coffee shop – you’re canceling out the benefits from running.
How Many Calories Will Running Two Miles Burn?
Obviously, this varies greatly based on speed, terrain, physical fitness of the individual, weight, and so forth. But you’ll likely burn between 200 and 400 calories running two miles.
A general estimate is 100 calories per mile for individuals in a normal weight range.
The American Council of Exercise has a chart for roughly how many calories people of different weights burn per minute.
It is pretty consistent no matter how fast you’re running. You’ll just have to run faster if you want the same amount of calorie burn in a shorter amount of time.
For example, someone who is 120 pounds tends to burn 11.4 calories per minute. That means if it takes you 25 minutes to run two miles, you’ll burn 285 calories.
Someone who is 160 pounds tends to burn 15.1 calories per minute. If that person takes 25 minutes to run two miles, he or she will burn 378 calories or almost 400 calories. That’s quite a bit different.
It will also vary based on what terrain you’re running on. Hills will burn more calories than flat terrain.
So if you live at the beach as I do, you should expect less calorie burn than if you’re running in the mountains. If you have to work harder, you’ll burn more calories.
How To Start Running Two Miles a Day
The best thing you can do is just get started and don’t worry how ugly it is. Start because then you can get some forward momentum. If you can see if you can run with a friend or family member for some support.
There is nothing wrong with alternating between running and walking. Or even after you’ve been running for a while.
People who use the run/walk method with designated times for breaks often end up running faster.
Don’t Overdo It
The most important thing you can do run at a pace that is comfortable to you. It doesn’t matter how slow it is. Just do what is comfortable to you and you’ll start to speed up.
If you can’t say the Pledge of Allegiance without gasping for breath, you’ve failed the talk test and should slow down.
Warm-Up and Cool Down
Finally, don’t make the newbie mistake that you don’t need to warm up or cool down. You’re liable to injure yourself without getting your legs properly warmed up and ready to go. Just do a quick 5-minute warm up and end with a 5-minute cool down.
If it took you 20 minutes to run two miles, that’s only a total of 30 minutes for the whole workout. If it took you closer to 25 minutes, again, that’s only 35 minutes for the whole workout. Totally worth it to avoid injuries.
How To Make Running a Habit
We all know the advice that to make something a habit we have to do it for 21 days.
While you don’t have to be that precise on the number, it is something that you have to do consistently for a while to get some steam to keep going.
Here are some ways to do that…
Schedule It Into Your Day
Turn your run into a calendar appointment and don’t miss it just like you wouldn’t skip a meeting with your boss or an appointment at the eye doctor.
The worst thing you can do is schedule it and then not do it. Then you’re telling yourself it’s okay to skip runs. So just do it.
Don’t Sweat a Missed Day
That said, you don’t need to worry about missing a day. Maybe it was pouring out or you were just too exhausted.
Pick up the next day where you left off. You’ll gain momentum again and you’ll be able to keep going.
Keep a Running Log
This is one of the best things you can do to keep it up. Start marking somewhere when you’ve gotten runs in and maybe even writing down how far and how fast.
I put checks on my calendar every day that I’ve run at least a mile.
For me, it’s highly motivating to see the multiple checkmarks. As you get started running, this might be a great way to keep you going too.
Sign Up For a Goal Race
Finally, there’s nothing like having a goal in mind to motivate you. If you’ve been waiting to run a particular race, register for the race and then start training.
If you know that you have a race coming up, you’re more likely to make sure to get your runs in, speaking from experience. Make sure, though, that you pick your races wisely so that you’ll be motivated to train.
Running is one of the best habits that you can start, and there’s no day like today! If you want to make running a part of your life but haven’t been able to before, try starting with running just two miles a day!
There’s a good chance that you’ll get some momentum, catch the bug, and keep going. All because you started with a reasonable distance of two miles and you were able to see how you were getting faster and stronger at that distance. Good luck!