Running 3 miles a day is a great goal to work towards if you’re wanting to improve your physical and mental health.
Many people turn to running for many reasons, whether that be to improve their fitness, improve their mental health, lose weight or simply get outdoors more.
3 miles is seen as an achievable distance for many.
Many runners run 3 miles a day in order to reach their goal of running a 5k or longer distances like a 10k.
So what exactly are the benefits of running 3 miles a day? And what’s the best way to go about it?
In this guide we’ll explore:
- Why run 3 miles a day?
- Am I ready to run 3 miles a day?
- What are the benefits of running 3 miles a day?
- How much weight can I lose by running 3 miles a day?
- How long does it take to run 3 miles?
- How long does it take to walk 3 miles?
- 6 tips on running 3 miles a day
Let’s get started!
Why run 3 miles a day?
Many runners turn to running 3 miles a day because it is considered an achievable distance.
3 miles is long enough so you feel the benefits of that all important ‘runner’s high’ – but it’s short enough so you don’t feel like you could collapse in a heap on the floor after your run.
Running 3 miles a day is also a really great way to get into your daily dose of exercise without causing too much disruption in your schedule.
You’ll finish your run in under 45 minutes, depending on how fast you run, meaning it’s fairly simple to fit it into your lunch break or before you start work.
Before you decide to run 3 miles a day, think about what you want to achieve by running (almost) a 5k every day.
Improving your fitness, losing weight and getting outdoors more are common goals for runners.
Related: Running 2 miles a day: Benefits + how to do it
Are you ready to run 3 miles a day?
The beauty of running 3 miles a day is that it’s an achievable running distance for many.
If you’ve recently completed the Couch to 5k training plan, for example, you will have already completed a 5k at the end of your plan which is 3.1 miles.
Likewise, if you’re a more intermediate runner, then running 3 miles a day offers a gentle way to get your daily dose of running.
Many runners choose to run 3 miles a day, but there’s nothing stopping you from using the run-walk method to complete the distance.
Related: Running 5 miles a day: Pros and cons + 6 actionable tips
What are the benefits of running 3 miles a day?
You may be thinking: “Is running 3 miles a day good for you?”
There are many well-documented physical and mental benefits of running, and by running 3 miles a day you will definitely see physiological changes in your body.
Here are the benefits of running 3 miles a day:
- Improves cardiovascular fitness
- Improves heart health
- Reduces the risk of chronic health conditions
- Helps with weight loss
- Improves muscular endurance
- Improves bone health
- Boosts your mood
- Helps you to sleep better
Improves cardiovascular fitness
There is a lot of evidence that shows the link between regular exercise and improved cardiorespiratory fitness.
According to a 2018 study, several large studies have consistently demonstrated benefit for those that participate in light and moderate physical activity over a sedentary lifestyle.
Improves heart health
Those who start running on a regular basis reduce their risk of heart disease by 35% to 55%.
Running also strengthens your heart muscles – it strengthens the walls of your heart which increases overall heart efficiency.
Reduces the risk of chronic health conditions
According to a 2015 study, running has benefits in the prevention of obesity, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis and hip replacement, respiratory disease, cancer and disability.
The study adds that running, even in low doses, is associated with a substantial reduction in cardiovascular and all-cause mortality.
Helps with weight loss
Running burns more calories than most other activities, burning roughly 100 calories per mile.
In particular, high intensity interval training (also known as HIIT) involving running burns the most calories per minute.
HIIT activities like interval training and hill repeats continue to burn calories even after exercise has finished.
This ‘afterburn effect’ has been shown to burn significantly more calories over time.
Related: How many miles should I run a day? Benefits + risks of running every day
Improves muscular endurance
Activities like running, swimming and cycling are great examples of sports that improve your muscular endurance.
Muscular endurance is essentially how long your muscles can sustain exercise over a period of time.
By running regularly, you will improve your muscular endurance and ultimately improve your overall health and fitness.
Improves bone health
Running is a weight-bearing exercise. This means the weight-bearing bones in runners in the legs, pelvis and spine tend to be stronger than the same bones of inactive people.
Low bone density has been linked to stress fractures and frailty in later life.
Boosts your mood
When you run, blood circulation to the brain is increased and the part of your brain that responds to stress and improves your mood is affected.
This change temporarily improves your reaction to stressful situations and triggers ‘feel good’ hormones that can elevate your mood.
Running also has positive effects on your confidence, motivation and self-esteem.
Helps you to sleep better
Regular exercise can improve the quality of your sleep and help you sleep through the night.
According to a 2021 study, exercising could help prevent health risks associated with poor sleep, like heart disease, stroke and cancer.
Related: Does running burn belly fat? 10 effective tips + 3 workouts
What are the risks of running 3 miles a day?
Now we’ve looked at the benefits, it’s worth noting that there are some risks associated with running 3 miles day.
If you’re new to running especially, then it’s important you think carefully about your running and fitness goals.
For many, being able to run 3 miles a day requires a certain level of fitness, endurance and stamina.
That’s why many beginner runners choose to use the walk/run method before building up to running longer distances.
Running longer distances when you’re not ready to could lead to overtraining, burnout and injury.
Similarly, if you’re a more experienced runner, running every day may not be the best option for you either.
Rest days are important to any well-rounded training plan – no matter the distance – so it’s crucial you take rest days seriously and don’t skip them.
The bottom line? Running every day has its benefits and risks.
It’s important you consider these before understanding if running 3 miles a day is for you.
Related: Walking 4 miles a day: Is it good for weight loss?
How much weight can I lose by running 3 miles a day?
It is estimated that running 1 mile burns on average 150 calories.
So if you run 3 miles a day, you will burn an extra 450 calories each day.
Research tells us that roughly 3,500 calories equates to about 1 pound of fat.
By running 3 miles a day for one month, you may be able to lose around 3.5 pounds per month.
The minimum guidelines for physical activity are 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week.
You’ll be safe in the knowledge that you’ll be doing at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week.
Studies have also shown that high intensity interval training (HIIT) increases your ability to lose weight and burn calories.
So if your goal by running 3 miles a day is weight loss, by combining running at a steady pace with high intensity interval training, you will soon be able to reach your weight loss goals.
Related: Running for weight loss: The most effective running workouts to help you lose weight
How long does it take to run 3 miles?
How long it takes for you to run 3 miles will depend on various factors, including your age, gender, fitness levels and running experience.
The average time to run 3 miles is 21 to 26 minutes if you run continuously without stopping.
If you use the run-walk method to run 3 miles, then the average time is 26 to 35 minutes.
Related: How to use Jeff Galloway’s magic mile running test
How long does it take to walk 3 miles?
If you don’t fancy the idea of running 3 miles a day, then the next best alternative is to walk 3 miles a day.
On average, it takes about 1 hour to walk 3 miles.
Related: Walking 3 miles a day: 5 surprising benefits
6 tips on running 3 miles a day
Now you know all about the benefits of running 3 miles a day, here are 6 tips to help you run 3 miles a day.
#1 Be consistent
As with any type of exercise, the key to success is consistency.
You need to train consistently to develop your fitness and improve your performance.
By keeping up your daily running habit, you will soon see improvements in your physical and mental health.
You will also see benefits in your running performance and form.
#2 Wear the right gear
Running gear will go a long way to make your runs more comfortable, no matter what time of year you’re running in.
A good pair of running shoes are a must for any runner. The right pair of shoes will provide comfort and stability.
Check out my guide on finding the right running shoes for more tips and advice.
You’ll also want to wear running gear that helps and doesn’t hinder your run.
Running leggings/shorts, running socks, a warm base layer and a running jacket are all essential pieces of gear.
#3 Fuel and hydrate
By running 3 miles a day, you will be using a lot of energy and fluids that all need to be replaced.
Aim to eat a balanced diet that provides you with the right amount of carbs, protein and healthy fats to fuel your runs.
You’ll also want to ensure you are drinking enough fluids to replace the sweat lost on runs.
#4 Perfect your form
As you’ll be running more regularly, you’ll want to take note of your running form and understand what improvements could be made.
Proper running form looks at everything from your posture and arm swing to your stride and running cadence.
Improper running form can lead to imbalances in your muscles and even injury, so it’s worth taking some time to understand what you could improve.
#5 Listen to your body
Running 3 miles a day can be quite gruelling at first, but over time your body will soon get used to this new habit.
However, if at any point you feel pain when running, stop and identify what could be causing the pain.
Don’t be tempted to run through the pain as this could make the pain worse or lead to a bigger injury.
#6 Stretch and foam roll
Running daily may mean you feel greater muscle soreness and stiffness after your runs.
Stretching and foam rolling is a great way to help alleviate soreness after your runs.
Aim to stretch it out after each run in the form of a cool down. Remember also to warm up before each run.