Sure, over the course of a month the schedule of running a single mile every day seems onerous, maybe over a week it does too.
Wherever you are in your running journey, this is a challenge that most runners should be able to do and is a great start for a beginner.
Try it for a month and you may be pleasantly surprised with the results, even if you are coming back from an injury or simply want to up your fitness.
The challenge also comes with several benefits as we will outline, along with nine reasons why you should run a mile a day.
In this guide, we will look at the benefits of running a mile a day and the nine reasons why you should do it.
The Benefits Of Running A Mile A Day
A lot of runners set themselves up with a training schedule that aims to up their mileage gradually by starting slow then building up.
By simply sticking to running (or walking) a single mile a day, you can easily keep track of your progress.
Not only is it a simple distance to cover, you should still feel the benefits of overall running which includes improving your bone health and cardiorespiratory fitness.
The plan is simple and you also remove the increased mileage of long-distance runs that could result in an injury that sees you out of action for a while.
If you are only running a mile a day you can pick and choose when you decide to go.
Perhaps early morning to beat the rush and set yourself up for the day or late at night if you prefer to sneak in a run before bed.
Getting out for a mile a day is also a great way or spending time outdoors to boost your mood and mental health.
Running a mile a day also helps you get to grips with a prospective training plan.
Let’s say the training plan suggests you should be able to run 10 miles a week.
If you manage to complete a week of running a mile a day then you only have to go a bit further to complete it.
Sure, you might have to cover the distance with fewer runs during the work on the training plan yet your body will have already proved it can do it.
If running a race in the summer is a fitness goal that you want to aim for then start the year off with running a mile a day for January.
That way you can begin to get over the excess of the festive season and start to enjoy some fresh air, even if it is quite brisk.
Once January is out of the way, you can start a training plan that builds up your mileage gradually.
With each passing month, you can set yourself targets to reach so that by the time you are on the start line for that race you will be confident that you can finish the race.
Studies have shown that there are various health benefits to the mile a day running challenge.
From improving your self-esteem and confidence in running to maintaining your blood pressure and cholesterol at healthy levels.
The challenge should improve your cognitive function, improve your heart health, and strengthen your joints, muscles, and bones.
If you begin the challenge in January, there should be a pronounced improvement in the winter blues as well as helping out your stress and anxiety levels.
The Nine Reasons Why You Should Run A Mile A Day
The reasons for running a mile a day may differ for individuals depending on their own situation.
It could be the ideal way to get started if you want to become an experienced runner, it could also be a way of eventually reaching your fitness goals.
Starting at such a relatively short distance but consistently may be the best way for an athlete to recover from a long-standing injury or for a beginner to work out if running is for them.
A Great Way To Start Your Running Journey Or Recover From An Injury
For any beginner wanting to get into running, the mile a day challenge is the ideal start.
You could even do the Couch to 5k program after you have thrown yourself into this as your next running challenge.
Such programs as Couch to 5k typically involve running either a mile or two per day for the first two weeks so you can get started with this before committing to a 5k or more.
Starting small by running a mile a day is also important if you are coming back to running after suffering an injury.
Particularly a serious joint or muscle injury as you will want to build up your stamina gradually as your body recovers from the time away.
No matter if you were running marathons before the injury, any recovering athlete should be prepared to go easy with their recovery to get back to a previous fitness level.
Going too long, too fast is likely to cause a follow-up injury which would hamper the overall recovery.
Even if you have taken a break from running, it can take a while to build back your stamina to their previous levels.
You may not want to get out for a 10-mile run yet a mile a day will seem a lot more straightforward.
With this method, you can break up a long distance into chunks you can manage over the week.
Maybe it is not so much a mile a day as a mile and a bit more though you can also break up the mile with some walking if it proves too difficult at first.
Increased Motivation To Go For A Run
If you can commit to running a mile a day then it really should not be too difficult to muster up the motivation to get out for a run.
No matter the weather, no matter how your day has gone, if you can stick with the challenge then you should have an increased motivation to run.
This is ideal preparation for running a race as you never quite know what the weather will be on the day and if you have run in snow or sunshine you will know what to expect.
It does help if the distance is only a mile as it seems short but also sweet so you are not counting down each mile as you only have to finish one.
It should be far easier to get motivated to run a single mile every day for a week than it is to run seven miles once a week.
That distance can seem so much longer that even if you only have to do it once, the distance can seem daunting the more you think about it.
That can put runners off and make it seem like a chore.
With a mile a day challenge you should know how long it should take to complete so you will know that in a few minutes it will be done and you have the rest of the day to recover.
More Time Spent Outdoors
Running a mile a day is a commitment and dictates that whatever the weather, you will need to be out there at some point to finish your daily mile.
Try not to see that as an ultimatum, rather a chance to experience the outdoors in all its forms. That could mean a gloriously sunny day when you can get away with a loose shirt and a headband.
However, it could also mean getting wet in the rain so you can test your running and also a supposedly waterproof jacket you bought for such an occasion.
Running a mile a day does not have to include the same tedious route.
You could research the area for some running trails that you could test yourself on, perhaps with some slopes or a nature scene that you could explore.
A single mile can mean getting away from the sidewalks and seeing what nature exists in your local area.
Forming Good Running Habits
Whether you are a beginner at running or someone who has been running for most of their adult life, the mile a day challenge can offer the chance to form some good running habits.
Perhaps you need to work on your form as over long distances you have found yourself getting tired, over a single mile you can perfect it.
If you have wanted to work on your sprint, you can tailor the mile so that you begin jogging, then move into a moderate pace before a spring finish.
For anyone wanting to finish strong, running a mile can be a great opportunity for working on running technique.
You may also want to work out which hydration and fueling options you want to go for so you know how to prepare for a longer distance.
If you are eventually training for a race then knowing whether nuts and raisins are ideal to consume while running should be confirmed once you finish a mile.
If you still feel queasy then it may be worth finding other options that are less demanding on your stomach such as gels and powders you can add to water.
You may not feel the benefit after a mile yet you should know if you feel ok having ingested them before you set off.
Getting Closer To Your Fitness Goals
Running a single mile may be a daunting challenge for any beginner runner yet it is a start.
Once you have completed the challenge for a month you should have realized the physical and mental health benefits.
The challenge can then set you up for getting closer to your overall fitness goals, whether that be losing weight or completing a race.
Run It Your Own Way
There are several ways of running a single mile and that does not simply mean figuring out what time of day is best for you.
What you do during that mile is important too as it could mean exploring a part of the city you are yet to discover, perhaps finding a new coffee shop you have always wanted to try.
You can get closer to nature by running up a hill or through a park.
Should you go for an intense mile then you can build up your motivation by designing your tailored playlist to listen to.
For a more leisurely mile, you can listen to an audiobook or a podcast so the time spent is actually spent doing something that you may struggle to find the time for.
You could also mix up your routes so tomorrow’s mile takes in somewhere new.
Improving Your Physical Health
There are several ways to improve your physical health through running and the one mile a day challenge is a gentle introduction to that.
You may not even realize the health benefits until a week has gone by and you notice how better you feel.
It could even be a transformation for your health as the act of running reduces the risk of diseases like osteoporosis.
Not only will you strengthen your joints and muscles, but also reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease so it is worth committing to.
Improving Your Mental Health
If you particularly struggle with your mental health, the mile a day challenge is a great way to change that.
Not only does running help you focus the mind, it’s also an ideal way of getting away from it all to think things through and you occasionally get a great idea.
If you feel particularly stressed before the day then running a mile can help you relieve the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
While this is a great reason to run during the day, the benefits for an individual’s mental health persist even after they have recovered from the exertion.
Studies have shown that running is a form of exercise that can help an individual enjoy improved sleep habits and give someone a better night’s sleep. Plus, there are all those endorphins that come a runner’s way.
Setting Yourself Up For A Bigger Challenge
Once you have completed the mile a day challenge you should have gained confidence. Not only to complete the Couch to 5k program but maybe also Couch to 10k and go from there.
If you have always wondered whether you could complete a half marathon then remember that it is only double the distance of a 10k run.
Knowing that you can complete a mile a day is one thing, why not two miles a day as preparation for a particularly long distance?
The mile a day challenge also gives you an idea of how a training plan can work for you.
By remaining consistent for a week, you know how far you can push your body to throw yourself into a tailored training program for a race.
Of course, that should mean runs of a longer distance yet with the added bonus of actual rest days.
That’s right, days when you do not actually need to run but simply recover from the last run in preparation for the next one.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Running A Mile A Day Help Me Lose Weight?
This largely depends on your overall health and fitness. If your body is conditioned to run marathons then running a single mile a day is not going to make a huge difference.
If the challenge is undertaken at the start of a fitness journey then simply going out for a run marks a great start to improving your fitness.
Should the decision to start running be linked to building muscle and burning fat then a mile a day is an ideal start.
From there you can build a training plan that covers longer distances to move you closer to long-term goals by burning more calories each time.
Can Running A Mile A Day Help Build Muscle?
Running a mile a day is a great way to build up your fitness goals yet whether it will support building your muscles depends on the way you run that mile.
If you can sprint for some of the mile then this recruits an increased number of type II muscle fibers, these are known as ‘fast-twitch’ muscle fibers which power you through.
Even at a moderate pace, you will build up your type I (slow-twitch) muscle fibers. However, running at a low-intensity will likely fail to build muscles as this largely results in hypertrophy.
When you begin the mile a day challenge, it is easier if you do not concern yourself with your speed or pace. Just get each mile done, one day at a time and build from there.
If you feel you can go faster then great, fit in a sprint finish yet worrying about how your times may lengthen is only going to stress you out when one of the main reasons for running may be to reduce your stress.
If you are keen to begin the challenge then try to schedule it around summer when you have more daylight during the day which means more vitamin D and running in the dark is a challenge in itself.
The most important thing about the mile a day challenge is consistency. Take it one day at a time and stick at it as most people are not used to running every day.
Even though it may seem like a short distance, simply putting on your running shoes and getting out there every day is an achievement in itself.
There are some days when you simply do not want to head out yet after around a week it should seem like a habit you can really get into.