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What to expect running 30 minutes a day (and how to start)

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Running 30 minutes a day – is it good for you?

The internet is full of stories of people who have attempted to run for 30 minutes a day. 

From people who have never run for more than 5 minutes before to others that are looking for a new fitness challenge, it seems like everyone is looking to transform their running.

So whether you’re looking to improve your physical health, lose weight or simply get outdoors more, running 30 minutes every day may be for you.

In this guide we’ll look at:

  • Why run 30 minutes a day?
  • Are you ready to run 30 minutes a day?
  • Is running 30 minutes a day good?
  • What does running 30 minutes a day do?
  • Can I lose weight by running 30 minutes a day?
  • How far can I expect to run in 30 minutes?
  • What are the risks of running 30 minutes a day?
  • Running 30 minutes a day Q&A
  • Running 30 minutes a day for 30 days: What to expect

Ready?

Let’s go!

running 30 minutes a day

Why run 30 minutes a day?

If you’re new to running or if you’ve been running for years now, the benefits of running 30 minutes a day are far and wide! 

Before you start your daily running habit, you will want to think about why you want to start running for 30 minutes each day in the first place.

Perhaps you want to improve your health, lose weight or even simply get outdoors more?

Whatever your reasons, make sure they are personal to you

In other words: what do you want to get out of running 30 minutes a day?

The good news is there are many documented benefits of exercising daily.

Not only does it improve your physical health, it has lots of positive effects for your mental health and emotional wellbeing. 

Even being outdoors for 30 minutes alone each day is enough to boost your mood and leave you energised for the rest of your day.

So before you start running, think about why you want to run 30 minutes a day and go from there.

Related: Running a mile a day: Benefits + 9 reasons to do it

Are you ready to run 30 minutes a day?

Depending on your running goals, fitness levels and experience, running 30 minutes a day may be a good challenge for you to work towards. 

But the first question you need to ask yourself is: “Are you ready?”

Running for 30 minutes continuously without stopping requires a fair bit of endurance and stamina

As soon as you start your run you have to be confident that you can maintain a running speed for the entire 30 minutes.

Running for 30 minutes on a daily basis requires even more stamina and endurance to keep you going throughout the week. 

If you’re new to running or building up to your first 5k, then you may want to review whether running 30 minutes every day is an achievable and realistic goal for you. 

Of course, you can choose to add walking breaks to your run, or break it up into two smaller 15 minute runs if you feel you cannot run the whole 30 minutes.

Walking and running intervals are a great way to build up your endurance and stamina until you are ready to run continuously.

If you’re already running for 30 minutes or more each day, then running 30 minutes each day will be a welcome addition to your training routine. 

Related: Running 3 miles a day: Benefits + how to start

running 30 minutes a day

Related: How often should you run? Here’s a breakdown

Is running 30 minutes a day good?

You may be wondering: “Is running 30 minutes a day enough?”

Guidelines tell us that you should be doing at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise each week. 

By running 30 minutes a day, you’ll be safe in the knowledge that you’ll be smashing this goal.

Indeed, running 30 minutes a day is seen as an achievable goal for many beginner and intermediate runners alike. 

One of the biggest draws is that it’s compact enough to fit into a busy schedule.

So if you have a demanding job or a busy family life, a 30-minute workout may just be what you need to kickstart your fitness routine. 

It’s also short enough so that you don’t feel exhausted at the end of the workout. 

The bottom line? Whether or not running for 30 minutes a day is good will depend on your own goals.

Related: What is the 75 Soft Challenge? Benefits + how to do it

What does running 30 minutes a day do?

Aerobic exercise like running has many benefits for your physical health. 

There have been many studies that have proven the benefits of running. 

One study from the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that even 5 to 10 minutes a day of low intensity running is enough to extend life by several years, compared with no running at all. 

Running helps to:

  • Improve your cardiovascular health.
  • Improve your heart health. 
  • Build your muscular strength.
  • Increase your bone density.
  • Lower your blood pressure and resting heart rate.
  • Reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity and certain cancers. 
  • Lower your cholesterol. 
  • Lose weight and burn more calories.
  • Improve the quality of your sleep. 

And it’s not just the physical benefits of running that keep people coming back for more.

Running has many benefits for your mental health. It helps to:

  • Reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety.
  • Boost your confidence and self-esteem. 
  • Elevate your mood.
  • Improve your energy levels. 
  • Connect you with nature.
  • Improve social connections. 

Related: Walking one hour a day: Benefits + expected results

running 30 minutes a day

Can I lose weight by running 30 minutes a day?

Yes! In fact running is one of the best ways to burn calories compared with other forms of aerobic exercise like cycling.

It is estimated that running for one mile burns on average 150 calories.

Let’s say you run 3 miles in 30 minutes. You can therefore expect to burn around 450 calories each time you run. 

Research tells us that you need to burn roughly 3,500 calories to shed one pound of fat.

So by running 30 minutes a day for one month, you may be able to lose around 3.5 pounds per month. 

If you combine running with other forms of physical activity like high intensity interval training (HIIT), you’ll go even further to reach your weight loss goals.

HIIT is a great form of exercise for weight loss as your body burns calories during and after a high intensity workout.

Studies have also shown the positive effects on your metabolism as a result of doing high intensity exercise. 

Related: How many miles should I run a day? Benefits + risks of running every day

How far can I expect to run in 30 minutes?

How far you run in 30 minutes will depend on your running pace and speed.

Typically, most runners can expect to run anywhere from 2.5 miles to 5 miles in 30 minutes. 

Most runners fall between 3 to 4 miles.

Related: How to walk 5000 steps a day: 5 tips for success

running 30 minutes a day

What are the risks of running 30 minutes a day?

Now you know more about the benefits of running 30 minutes every day, let’s look at the risks.

If you’re new to running it’s important you review your running and fitness goals before diving straight into a daily running habit.

As we mentioned earlier, being able to run for 30 minutes without stopping requires a certain level of fitness, endurance and stamina.

If you don’t think you’re quite there yet, then try a walking/running programme like Couch to 5k first.

Running longer distances when you’re not ready could lead to overtraining, burnout and even injury. 

If you’re a more experienced runner, running every day is an option for you but you may also want to consider whether it’s the best option.

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 30 minutes a day is for you.

Related: How many days a week should I work out? 4 game-changing workout routines for runners 

Running 30 minutes a day Q&A

Q: Is running 30 minutes a day enough to train for a 5k?

A: Most runners run a 5k (3.1 miles) in around 30 minutes. 

However, if you’re training to run your first 5k, then it will depend on your own set of unique circumstances.

It is recommended you follow a 5k training plan as it will tell you exactly when you need to run and when you need to take a rest day based on your running experience and fitness levels.

There’s no use running for 30 minutes every day if you’ve only just started running as it may be too much for you. 

Q: Is running 30 minutes a day enough to train for a 10k?

A: Most runners run a 10k (6.2 miles) in 1 hour or less. 

As with a 5k run, it completely depends on your set of circumstances before understanding if running daily is enough to get you where you want to be with a 10k run.

Check out a 10k training plan before deciding on whether running 30 minutes each day is suitable for you.

Related: How to run for 30 minutes without stopping

running 30 minutes a day

Running 30 minutes a day for 30 days: What to expect 

Many people view running 30 minutes every day for 30 days as a worthwhile fitness challenge. 

As we explained at the start of this guide, the internet is full of stories of people who have attempted to run for 30 minutes a day. 

If you do decide to run for 30 minutes a day for 30 days, here’s what to expect.

Day 1: 

The first run is always the hardest. You’ll likely feel out of breath as soon as you start running but don’t let this deter you!

In fact, it’s normal to feel like this as your body starts to ramp up its oxygen levels to accommodate the higher demand needed for your run.

Once your body gets there and you are getting the required oxygen needed to run, you should feel better. 

But it often takes 10 minutes or so for oxygen levels to ramp up. 

You may feel tired and fatigued in the evening after your first run. This is also completely normal as your body gets used to these new activity levels. 

Day 2:

You may feel some soreness after your run on day 1.

Now is a good time to think about warming up and cooling down after each run to reduce the risk of muscle soreness. 

Take it easy on your run and listen to your body if at any point you feel any pain or discomfort.

Don’t feel embarrassed if you need to walk at any point during your run. 

Over the next 28 days you will be building up your stamina and endurance gradually. 

Days 3 to 7:

By the end of the first week you should hopefully be getting into your stride. 

Many runners feel like they have a breakthrough by the end of the first week. 

Remember to maintain a comfortable pace – you should be able to comfortably hold a conversation while running without getting out of breath.

You may also want to think about your running schedule over the coming weeks. 

How best can you fit your run into your daily routine to guarantee success?

Days 8 to 14:

You’re nearly mid-way through the challenge! Yippee!

By the halfway point some runners feel great and keep running, whereas others may hit a wall and have to really motivate themselves to continue.

Whatever camp you’re in, remember why you started running in the first place and really tap into that.

Be sure to check in yourself on a daily basis to see how you’re feeling.

Running every day can be a huge change for the body so make sure you’re not ignoring any feelings of pain or discomfort. 

Days 15 to 25:

By days 20 to 25, you should really be getting into the swing of it. 

If you’re running continuously for 30 minutes already – great job!

If not, keep at it and you will get there with practice and patience.

By this point you should notice some physiological changes in your body if you have been running daily.

These include physical and mental changes – from improved endurance and stamina to weight loss.

Days 26 to 29:

You’re on the home strait now. Well done!

Use the next few days to really focus on your running performance and completing the challenge. 

Are you running as efficiently as possible? What’s holding you back from completing your runs? What has worked well so far?

Day 30:

Congratulations! You did it!

On the last day of the challenge it’s recommended to do a check-in with yourself to understand how it all went.

What went well? What didn’t go so well? What could you improve next time? How did you motivate yourself to run? 

Related: How to run a 5k in 30 minutes or less

Caroline Geoghegan
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