Transform Your Life by Running 3 Miles a Day

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It’s no secret that running can change your life. We’ve seen countless stories of runners who have been transformed, not only physically, but mentally as well.

Want to transform your life by running? You can, just by getting into a running habit and falling in love with the sport.

You can transform your life by running 3 miles a day. If that sounds like a huge task, don’t worry!

In this article, we’ll explain why it’s an excellent goal to have, and how to build a running habit so you can continue to reap the benefits for years to come.

Let’s get into it!

Why Run 3 Miles?

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced runner who’s been on hiatus, running 3 miles is an easily achievable, realistic goal that is also challenging and rewarding.

3 miles offers enough challenge to help you push yourself, without being so long that you get frustrated and quit early on.

Also, 3.1 miles is 5 kilometers, so you can aim for running a 5k race once you’re used to running 3 miles at a time.

This means that there are multiple competitive events that you’ll be able to do if you can run this distance comfortably.

What Are the Benefits of Running 3 Miles a Day?

Fast and Efficient Workout

Once you can run 3 miles comfortably, you should be able to do it in an hour or less. That makes it an effective workout in a fairly short period of time.

An hour a day is easy to fit in between your daily tasks. You can go for an hour-long run before work or even later in the day—but remember to wear reflective gear if you’re running in the dark.

The better you get at it, the faster you will be able to run. Eventually, you can be running a 5k—3.1 miles—in less than 30 minutes.

Improves Endurance

Running is an excellent form of exercise as it strengthens both the muscles and the cardiovascular system.

The more you improve your running fitness, the stronger your heart and lung function will be.

This not only improves your endurance for exercise, but it can also help your body to resist damage to the cardiovascular system by illness.

Burns Calories

Burning calories is what leads to fat loss. Depending on your level of intensity and your weight, running can burn a large number of calories in a single session.

Although your body will use recently ingested carbohydrates as its first fuel, once it’s exhausted those, it moves on to burning stored fat.

This is important for those who would like to lose weight with their running, although it needs to be used together with a calorie-controlled diet.

If you burn more calories in your day than the calories you eat, you will end up losing weight. Running 3 miles a day allows you to burn an extra 300 to 400 calories—roughly 100 calories per mile.

Improves Overall Health

As your running fitness improves, so will your overall health. Your cardiovascular system strengthens, your immune system is bolstered, and your chances of osteoarthritis are reduced as it’s a weight-bearing activity.

Once your body is used to running, you will also find that your muscles and joints don’t become painful as easily as they used to.

A reduction in body weight can also have positive effects on your health. Running can also help you to get off medications as it strengthens the body and helps it to fight back against illness and heal injuries faster.

Relieves Stress

As well as better physical health, your mental health will also improve when you’re running 3 miles a day.

Not only does exercise stimulate the release of endorphins—happy chemicals—but running is also a way to clear your mind and get away from the screen or the stresses of life.

Stronger Bones

Running is a weight-bearing exercise. Although it is high-impact, doing a weight-bearing exercise actually strengthens the bones and contributes to better bone health as you get older.

Research shows that people who regularly take part in weight-bearing exercises are at a decreased risk of developing osteoarthritis.

Mental Strength

Building the discipline to go for a 3-mile run every day isn’t easy. But as you do so, you will also be building mental strength. When you need motivation to push through the difficult days, that mental strength is what you will draw on.

Muscle Strength

Running is an effective muscular workout, especially for the lower body. You will build strength and muscle in your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves, as well as developing better stability in your ankles.

Running also helps to build strength in the hip flexors and lower leg tendons.

Healthy Hobby

Running 3 miles a day is fun and an excellent away-from-the-screen hobby to spend time on. It’s also very satisfying to watch your own progress and see how far you’ve come, while still having the challenge of new races, longer distances, and bigger goals to reach.

How to Develop a Running Habit

Maintain a Daily Log

One of the best ways to build a running habit is to document your exercise every day. You can use a running journal or just a notebook.

You want to note things like how long it took you to run 3 miles, how you felt during the run, and how you feel after the run.

You can also take note of things like what you ate before the run, how much water you drank, or any aches and pains you felt while running.

This will help you to see your progress and you will also start to see patterns in your running that either help or harm your progress.

Run at the Same Time Every Day

One of the best ways to develop a habit is to do it at the same time every day. If you know that at 4 am or 6 pm every day is when you need to run, you can work the rest of your day around that.

Not having a set time every day makes it easier to forget to run or to get too busy. You can set a reminder on your phone for 15 minutes beforehand so you have some time to get ready, but choosing a particular time every day can be very helpful.

Start to Walk/Run a 3K

If you struggle to run a full 3 miles at first, you can alternate between walking and running throughout the 3 miles.

Start by running. You should run for as long as you can, and then walk for a short period of time until you feel that you can run again.

As time passes, you will find that you’re running further before needing to walk. Eventually, you will be able to run the full 3 miles without needing to walk at all.

Warm Up Properly

Even if you are running slowly or alternating between running and walking, you need to warm up before you run to ensure that your muscles perform at their best.

Do some running drills or light dynamic stretches. These will get your running muscles working and prep them for the run that is to come.

Know Your Purpose

Why are you interested in running 3 miles a day? Maybe it’s to lose weight, improve health, and become more active.

Or perhaps you have a goal to run a race in memory of a loved one, or you just want to challenge yourself to do something you’ve never done.

Regardless of your reason, remembering why you chose to do this can be a powerful motivating force when you start to feel like giving up.

If you need to be reminded, you can place pictures or write notes in your running journal or surround yourself with pictures and inspiring quotes to remind you of your goal.

Add Variation

Even though you are training for a 3-mile run, you can vary your training sessions so that you don’t become bored or lose motivation.

Alternate your regular 3-mile session with a fartlek session or HIIT session. Or you can do a weight training session or another form of cross-training.

Rest to Recover

Although we are talking about running 3 miles a day, sometimes you need a rest day in order to recover. You should rest for at least one day per week.

If you start to feel fatigued, ill, or extremely unmotivated, you should take an extra rest day each week until you are feeling stronger.

Your recovery can include things like compression gear, heat or cold treatment, healthy nutrition, foam rolling, and stretching.

Stretch

You should do dynamic stretches before your run to warm up and after your run to help speed up your recovery.

If you can, try to do one or two full yoga sessions per week to stretch your muscles and increase your flexibility.

Involve Friends and Family

You don’t have to run alone. Ask your friends and family if they want to join you as you transform your life by running 3 miles a day.

Some may join you and others will definitely encourage you along the way. If you tell people your goals, you will also find that you’re accountable to them, which can help to keep you motivated.

Improve Your Diet to Gain More Results

Maintaining a healthy diet will help you to perform at your best when running. You should be consuming 80% whole, healthy foods like meat, vegetables, and whole grains.

You should also increase your water intake—even when you aren’t running—to ensure that you don’t suffer from the negative effects of dehydration.

How Long Should It Take to Run 3 Miles?

Most beginner runners take 10 to 13 minutes to run a single mile—running slowly without walking.

This means a full 3 miles can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 45 minutes for a relatively new runner to finish.

However, there is no right or wrong time to run 3 miles. As a beginner, you may run 3 miles in over an hour.

With practice, you will find that that time slowly improves until you are running less than 30 minutes per 3-mile run.

Are There Any Risks Involved in Running 3 Miles a Day?

If you have been inactive, you should consult your doctor before you start training for running 3 miles a day.

You should ask your doctor for advice if you have cardiovascular problems or joint problems.

You should make sure that you’re wearing running shoes with enough cushioning and shock absorption to protect your feet.

If you progress slowly and steadily and take time to rest and recover, you should be safe to work your way towards running 3 miles a day.

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AUTHOR

Ben is an avid road and trail runner, and has completed multiple marathons and ultras. A former running store owner, he now shares his knowledge and experience writing these articles.