The Benefits of Running 5 Miles a Day

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Running 5 miles a day is a great goal for runners, especially beginners. It’s challenging enough to bring about improvements like better heart health and increased endurance, but it’s also achievable for those just starting. This balance makes it an ideal target for building a consistent running habit.

When you decide to run 5 miles a day, there is a clear and measurable objective perfect for staying motivated and tracking progress. It’s a commitment, yet manageable enough to build into your daily routine.

In this article, we explore why 5 miles is the ideal running distance for new runners and even seasoned vets.

How Far Is 5 Miles?

In kilometers, 5 miles is a little over 8 kilometers.

On a regular 400-meter—¼-mile—outdoor running track, you’ll have to run 20 laps to cover 5 miles. If you’re running on a smaller indoor track, you must complete 40 laps.

How Many Steps Are In 5 Miles?

There’s no specific answer to this question. The number of steps in 5 miles depends on your height, stride length, and pace.

But on average, most people get between 10,000 and 15,000 steps in 5 miles, depending on these factors.

How Long Will It Take To Run 5 Miles?

This obviously varies based on your fitness and experience. If you run a 9-minute mile, you can run 5 miles in about 45 minutes. If you run a 12-minute mile, you’re looking at an hour.

This will be different for everyone, so don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Also, remember that your time will vary based on terrain (hills = slower) and weather (cool and calm = faster).

Is It Hard to Run 5 Miles a Day?

If you’re a new runner, 5 miles might seem intimidating. But for experienced runners, it’s an easy run.

The good news is that even if you’re a beginner and stay consistent and keep pushing yourself, you’ll eventually be able to run 5 miles a day easily.

Pros of Running 5 Miles a Day

Here are a few of the benefits from running 5 miles a day.

Enhanced Cardio Health

Running regularly forces your cardiovascular system to work harder. Your heart and lungs pump more blood and oxygen when running. On every run, they grow stronger.

Over time, you’ll start to notice that running becomes easier. You’ll find you’re no longer huffing and puffing, and you’ll be able to run longer before getting tired, thanks to increased oxygen levels in the blood.

Not only does a stronger cardiovascular system build up your running endurance and increase your speed, but it also lowers your chances of developing heart disease.

Stronger Bones And Muscles

Regular weight-bearing exercise – and running is a major one – helps your bones increase strength. By supporting your full body weight, these exercises are how you “train” your bones to get stronger.

Not only will your bones strengthen, but you’ll also build muscle in your legs. Your hamstrings, quads, glutes, and calves get a good workout on every run, so you can expect muscle growth and strength when you run daily.

Increased Energy Levels

It might seem counterintuitive to think that expending energy by running leads to increased energy levels, but it does.

Running boosts overall energy primarily by improving cardio health and increasing metabolic rate. As your heart and lungs grow stronger, your body becomes more efficient at delivering oxygen and nutrients to muscles, leading to higher energy levels.

Additionally, running elevates your metabolism, which contributes to a sustained increase in energy throughout the day. This combined effect of enhanced cardiovascular function and metabolism makes you feel more energetic and vitalized.

Weight Loss And Management

Calorie burn varies depending on your size, weight, and how fast you run. But the average runner burns between 80 and 140 calories per mile. So, depending on multiple factors, you can burn between 400 and 700 calories in a 5-mile run.

This can have a huge impact on weight loss. As long as you’re burning more calories than you’re eating—in total for the day, not just during your run—you’ll lose weight.

Even if you have reached your goal weight, running 5 miles a day can help you maintain that weight and avoid putting any of it back on.

Reduced Risk Of Chronic Diseases

The healthier and fitter you are, the less chance you have of developing chronic diseases. The root of most chronic diseases is inflammation, and maintaining an active lifestyle can help to lower inflammation in the body.

Exercising regularly keeps your body supplied with a constant supply of oxygen. Inflammation and low oxygen levels are closely linked, so your daily run can contribute to better health and a reduced risk of developing a chronic disease.

Improved Mental Health And Mood

A daily run means you’ll be getting a spike of endorphins regularly. These “happy hormones” have plenty of good effects, like pain relief, relaxation, and promoting a good mood.

The more you run, the stronger you’ll feel. When you feel good both mentally and physically, your mood naturally improves.

Stress Relief

The same endorphins can also have a positive effect on stress. While cortisol levels can rise while you’re running, they come down once you’ve cooled down and are eased up by the endorphins in your system.

You can also hold stress in your physical body. Things like tight neck muscles and hunched shoulders can be due to stress, and a run can help you let go of that physical stress and feel loose and relaxed.

Cons Of Running 5 Miles A Day

While running 5 miles a day is great, there are some downsides to be aware of.

Risk Of Overuse Injuries

For beginners, running 5 miles a day could be too far. If you haven’t worked your way up to 5 miles a day slowly, then your body won’t be used to the stress of this kind of exercise.

Newer runners are more at risk of developing overuse injuries. Your muscles and body aren’t used to the load yet. It’s best to increase mileage gradually to give your body time to adjust.

Overuse injuries are less likely to happen to more experienced runners who are used to this mileage.

Overtraining

Even if you’re lucky not to develop overuse injuries, you might overtrain. This happens when your body doesn’t get enough rest and isn’t properly recovered before you run again.

Eventually, you’ll struggle to find the energy and motivation to keep running because your body just won’t be able to handle the exercise.

Boredom

5 miles every single day can get repetitive. If you’re not switching it up and doing some speedwork or mixing up longer and shorter runs, the same 5 mile every day run can get monotonous.

Boredom can be almost as bad as overtraining! When you no longer enjoy your runs, it’s harder to find the motivation to keep doing it.

You May Neglect Cross-training

Running 5 miles a day is excellent way to work out, but you might neglect other exercises. Strength training may fall by the wayside because you don’t have time for it. You may also forget to cross-train if you are only focused on running 5 miles day.

Recovery Time

For beginners, a shorter recovery time is probably the biggest disadvantage of running 5 miles daily. Your body won’t have much time to recover before they’re thrown into another strenuous workout.

Failing to recover properly can easily lead to overtraining, overuse injuries, and burnout.

Is Running 5 Miles A Day Good For Weight Loss?

Weight loss is all about calories in vs calories out. In other words, you need to burn more calories than you consume to lose weight.

The key is figuring out how many calories you burn daily and making sure you eat fewer calories than that.

Running 5 miles a day will help you lose weight if you maintain a decent caloric deficit and eat healthy, wholesome foods.

How To Start Running 5 Miles A Day

Ready to start running 5 miles a day? Here’s how to get started.

Set Realistic Goals

Beginners, don’t expect to be able to run 5 miles right away. Be realistic—it could be weeks to months before you manage to run 5 miles.

Instead, simply commit to running every day. It doesn’t matter how far or how long—run as much as you can each day. Eventually, it’ll build up to 5 miles a day.

Unrealistic goals will only lead to demotivation and disappointment. Realistic ones will give you plenty of smaller milestones to hit along the way for extra inspiration and excitement!

Create a Running Schedule

Decide when you’re going to run. Maybe the morning or the evening works better for you. Set aside that time and tell the family/your roommate your running time.

If your time is flexible, we recommend creating a schedule anyway. If you have a set “running time,” it’s easier to stick to it and stay consistent.

Wear Comfortable Shoes

Your shoes can be your biggest ally on 5-mile runs. Choose shoes that aren’t just comfortable but that have good cushioning, enough support to prevent your foot from rolling, and don’t give you hotspots.

Make sure there’s a thumbs-width of space between your toe and the front of the shoe. It should fit snugly in the heel without rubbing and lock down nicely on your foot.

Warm Up and Cool Down

Warming up gets the blood flowing through your muscles. Cooling down allows time for your body to readjust after a run.

5 minutes of light walking and stretching will do the trick for both. Choose dynamic stretching for your warm-up and static stretching for your cool-down.

Start Slowly And Build Up Your Base

Don’t speed ahead the first time you get out on the road. Keep your perceived effort at around five or less. This will ensure that you don’t overdo it, and you can run further before you get tired.

Go as far as you can and then call it a day, although remember you’ll need to return home. Aim to do a little better every day, and progress will come.

Use The Run/Walk Method

Don’t be afraid to walk if you have to. Run for a set period of time – say a minute then for another minute. This is a great way to ease into running when you are new.

Pay Attention To Your Running Form

Running with poor form makes it harder. Get your form right from the start and you’ll have more success. Keep your head up as if someone is pulling a string up. Relax your shoulders and tighten your core.

Make sure your front foot lands underneath your pelvis, not in front of your body. Keep your arm close to your sides and pump them when you need more speed.

Cross-Train

Cross-training can help you build up the necessary strength and endurance to reach 5 miles a day. When you’re just starting, it’s a good idea to run every other day and cross-train in between to give your “running muscles” some time to rest.

This means to do an exercise that isn’t running. You can cycle, you can row, you can use the elliptical, or you can even do strength training, which we highly recommend or building muscle.

Take Rest Days

Take your time working up to 5 miles a day. Initially, take rest days to allow your body time and space to rejuvenate. At least one full day of rest every day is necessary, and one or two days of cross-training.

Stay Hydrated and Eat Well

How you fuel yourself can make a huge difference. Stay hydrated, and make sure you eat healthy foods even when you aren’t running.

Tips To Stay Motivated

It can be tough to stay consistent and hit your 5 miles every day! Try some of these tips to stay motivated when the going gets tough.

Sign Up For A Race

Tired of training for nothing? Sign up for a race, and you’ll have a great goal to work towards! This can give you some purpose for your daily 5-mile runs, and you might even enjoy it so much that it becomes a habit.

Track Your Progress

Tracking progress in a journal or training log can be highly motivating. If you love data, get in the habit of tracking things related to your goals. Time, pace, weight, and so on can be valuable metrics to track, so you can see improvement week after week when you compare.

Celebrate Your Achievements

Reward yourself when you reach milestones. For example, when you hit a full month of running 5 miles a day without skipping a day, go out for your favorite dinner. If you hit your goal weight, buy yourself a new shirt to celebrate. Rewards are great motivation, but no cheating!

Keep Things Interesting

Find ways to make your runs more interesting. Listen to music one run, play a mental game on your next run (make a checklist of things to spot), or gamify it with an app like Zombies, Run!

Find A Workout Buddy

If you’re the sociable type, invite someone to run with you. It doesn’t have to be every run, but once or twice a week, change things up and break that monotony a little.

Stay Flexible

Be flexible about what time of day you run or whether you run outdoors, on the treadmill, or at the gym.

Remember, consistency is key if you’re trying to build a habit, so do your best to work around things and get your run in.

Maintain A Positive Mindset

Talk yourself up. Create a vision board. Visualize—practice mindfulness. Find what helps you to stay positive, and do it.

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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.