We all know about the life-changing benefits of running and the positive impact it can have on your physical and mental health, including improvements in your mood and energy levels. These are just some of the reasons why you should be running a mile a day.
During a time when it seems a lot of runners are looking to train for long distance runs like half marathons, the humble short run seems to have been neglected.
In today’s world when our days seem increasingly filled with work and family commitments, it’s often unrealistic to expect someone to run 10, 20, 30 plus miles per week.
This is why running a mile day has become so popular amongst the running community in recent years. It’s an accessible way to get your daily fix of running.
In this article, we’ll explore:
- Who should be running a mile a day
- The top reasons for running a mile a day
- What I learned from running a mile a day
- Tips and advice for running a mile a day
The amazing benefits of running a mile a day and why you should try it
Who should be running a mile a day
It’s good to understand why you want to run a mile a day in the first place. In other words, assess your ‘why’ and purpose before committing to running a mile a day to see if it’s right for you.
Ask yourself the following questions in order to assess your ‘why’:
- What do I want to get out of running a mile a day?
- How do I want running a mile a day to make me feel?
- What do I want to accomplish by running a mile a day?
Once you have understood why you want to run a mile a day, this can help you draw up some attainable and specific goals.
The top reasons for running a mile day
There are many great reasons for running a mile day. Here we explore some of the top reasons.
You want to fit a run into a busy schedule
This is probably one of the biggest reasons why people opt to run short runs as opposed to long runs. With work and family commitments, it’s often difficult to fit a run into your day when you have a million and one things to do.
Running a mile, however, doesn’t demand a lot of your time, with many runners finishing the run in under 20 minutes or less.
By running a mile a day, you also start your run with the knowledge that you’re going to be running for a short period of time, so you can easily slot it into your lunch break or after work.
You are returning to running after a long break
If you’ve taken a break from running, it can often feel daunting to lace up your running shoes again and get back into it again. Whether you’ve taken a few months or years away from running, running a mile a day is a great way to break your return up in manageable chunks so it feels less scary.
If you feel running a mile a day is just too much at the moment, then consider breaking up the one mile run into walking and running intervals. For example, walk for 0.1 mile then run for the next 0.1 mile and repeat 5 times.
Walking/running intervals are common features in many beginner running training plans, including the ever-popular Couch to 5k training plan.
You are returning to running after an injury
If you are returning to running following an injury, then it’s important that you don’t put too much pressure on yourself to regain your pre-injury fitness levels. In many cases, this simply isn’t possible and you’ll need to build back your fitness and endurance following an injury.
By running a mile a day, you will be able to gently ease yourself back into running. Running a mile a day is also a great way to get back into the ‘feel’ of running. If you’ve had a long break, running may feel unfamiliar when you first start running – use these short runs to regain some of your confidence.
You want to set yourself a running challenge
Running a mile a day is a great goal and challenge to set yourself, whether you’re a beginner, intermediate or advanced runner.
Many runners look for a challenge when their current training routine has become boring or stale. Whether you’re bored of the same old running routes, or would like to make your training plan more exciting, then consider running a mile a day.
You want to improve your mental health
One of the reasons I love running is that it allows me to reconnect my body and mind. It has many mental benefits, and running has been shown to help alleviate symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression.
Running also helps to give you a better night’s sleep, with many studies showing that exercise helps you to form better sleep habits.
Related: 6 mental health benefits of running
You want to improve your physical health
Many people like the idea of running to improve their physical health, but often don’t know where to begin. Running a mile a day offers a simple way to run without having to think about it too much.
Many studies have shown that running can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, and has been shown to strengthen muscles and joints, therefore reducing the risk of disease like osteoporosis.
Running is also a great way to lose weight, with many people turning to running as a simple way to lose weight and improve their health.
You want to get outdoors more
Running offers a great way to reconnect with nature and the great outdoors. There are so many fantastic running trails in and around the UK, and the time is now to get out there and explore them.
Start by running a mile a day on some of the local trails near to where you live. Whether this be your local park or nature reserve, trail running is a great alternative to road running as it takes you off the beaten track and allows you to explore what nature has to offer.
Related: 12 trail running tips for runners
You are at the start of your running journey
Running a mile a day is a manageable distance for many beginner runners who are either starting out on their running journey, or have recently completed a programme like the Couch to 5k training plan.
Many beginner 5k and 10k training plans will get you running 1-2 miles per day in the first few weeks of the training plan, so a challenge like this is often a great way to set yourself up for something like a 5k or 10k.
You want to motivate yourself to go for a run
A challenge like the run a mile a day challenge is a great way to motivate yourself to go for a run when you really don’t feel like it.
You know that the run is going to be short and sweet so you don’t have to worry about running long distances, which can put many people off running if they’ve fallen out of love with it temporarily.
By running a mile a day, you know that the run will be over in 20 minutes or less, and you know you’d much rather be doing that than sat on a couch!
What I learned from running a mile a day
In the summer of 2021, I set myself the challenge of running a mile a day. At the time I wanted to make the most of the fine summer weather that we were having in the UK, which meant more time outdoors and amongst nature. I also wanted a way to unwind and de-stress after work, so I turned, unsurprisingly, to running!
The first lesson I learned was that the summer is by far the best time to complete a challenge like this, when you have more daylight at your disposal. Running in the dark, winter months makes any such challenge all the more difficult.
The second lesson was that in order to complete a challenge like this, you can’t worry too much about pace and distance as this just takes all the fun out of it. I knew from the beginning that one of the main reasons why I wanted to complete the challenge was to help me de-stress after a long day at work, so I didn’t really care so much that I wasn’t running at my top pace.
The third lesson I learned was that running a mile a day is all about consistency. This may sound obvious, but in order to really succeed in this challenge, you have to be consistent and show up every single day. Sure, there were some days when the run was harder, but I kept telling myself that it was just one mile so that got me through it.
Tips and advice for running a mile a day
Here are a few tips and advice for running a mile a day, some of which I’ve talked about above:
- Don’t worry about pace – just focus on completing the run.
- Pick a circular route so you start at your house and end at your house – this means you’re not adding on a couple of extra kilometres at the end.
- Set time aside each day to do your run and block it out in your calendar.
- Pick a new and interesting route at the weekend – maybe further afield – and stick to tried and tested routes during the week.
- Run with a friend on those days when you feel like you’re going to give up.
- Take photos on each run and keep as a reminder of all your runs.
- Give yourself a little pep talk before each run – you can do this!
- Finally, keep going!