Running 2 Miles a Day: Here are The Benefits and How To Start

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It’s the perfect amount of running to keep you going every day without getting burned out. That’s why so many people swear by running 2 miles a day.

It’s an achievable distance that can be part of a sustainable daily running habit, which can lead to numerous health and mindset benefits!

Any time you’re thinking you don’t have enough time to run, just remember: it’s 2 miles. 

You can definitely do 2 miles.

In this article, we’re going to walk through . . .

  • what happens when you run 2 miles a day
  • the main mistakes people make with a 2 miles per day challenge
  • how long does it take to run 2 miles a day?
  • our expert coach tips for kicking off a 2 mile per day habit!

We’ll also discuss future goals once 2 miles a day is easy!

running 2 miles a day transformation

Why Set the Goal of Running 2 Miles a Day?

Everybody sets and achieves goals differently. Some people can’t function without a 5-year plan – starting with couch to 5K and then winning the Honolulu ultramarathon

Others see a training plan like that and feel sick to their stomachs. 

I could never run a marathon or ultramarathon, much less in 5 years. 

Others may get excited and start the plan, only to lose their way and quit, having set their sights too far right off the bat. 

Don’t get me wrong. You can run an ultramarathon if you set your mind to it and follow a steady plan. 

But if that thought makes your head spin, start with a smaller chunk.

You don’t ever have to run more than 2 miles if you don’t want to. Once you get there, re-evaluate. 

Related post: How Many Miles Should I Run Each Week?

running 2 miles a day

In case you’re wondering, there are approximately 4000 steps in 2 miles of running (see How Many Steps in a Mile Running? for more).

Running 2 Miles a Day To Lose Weight – Does It Work?

You certainly can lose weight by running 2 miles every day.

But I should warn you: running is not a magic ticket to weight loss. 

Some people start to run, expecting to shred pounds quickly. Watch out for the 2 mistakes they’re making so you can avoid them. 

1. They don’t treat food like energy.

2. They recover from runs with sugary, high-calorie drinks and energy bars. 

It’s actually weirdly common for newcomers to start gaining weight from running – but the causes are all from starting exercise, and the effects are short-lived, thankfully!

Related: Does Running Burn Fat?

Mistake #1: They Don’t Treat Food Like Energy

While food is a delicious way to express ourselves and experience community with others, it is also meant to fuel our bodies with the energy to move. 

If you want to lose weight, you’ll have to do an overall analysis of your diet to see if you’re passing the ‘fuel’ mark and crossing over to excess.

Here are the questions you should ask yourself:

Am I getting the recommended daily intake of protein?

How many carbohydrates am I eating?

What percentage of my fats are natural healthy fats and what are unnecessary trans fats?

Do I eat a hefty portion of vegetables with every meal or do I fill up on bread and meat?

Am I eating a variety of fruits that add nutrients to my diet and help my body recover after a run? 

If the answers aren’t all a yes, just know you’re only human like the rest of us. But if you want to lose weight, the first step is awareness about nutrition. 

You need to know what energy each food group provides your body and how much you should eat each day. 

That doesn’t mean you have to start a special diet or count everything you eat, but work on becoming more conscious of food nutrition. 

To get a better idea of what you ingest every day, track your diet for 3 days in a row on a calorie counter. They’ll tell you how many calories each meal added to your day. Be sure to record your runs too – because they’ll subtract what you burned. 

After the 3 days, you’ll have a better idea of what kind of calories you’re ingesting every day. Then you can work on building that deficit to lose weight. 

In other words: cardio exercise like running helps lose weight, but to truly see an improvement you’ve got to attack your diet!

running 2 miles a day

Mistake #2: They Recover From Runs With Sugary, High-Calorie Drinks and Energy Bars

We’ve all grabbed a Cliff Bar or two off the shelf near the checkout counter. They’re tasty snacks. But one Cliff Bar contains 250 calories, 40 grams of carbohydrates, and 9 grams of protein. These are not snacks. They’re more like a solid meal. 

Cliff Bars help people running long distances or doing extreme sports, needing to replenish their bodies after major depletion. But snacks this high in calories are unnecessary for a 2-mile run. 

The same idea goes for sugary drinks like Gatorade. While they do replenish your electrolytes, they are filled with processed and unnatural sugars (hard for your body to digest). 

Pineapples, coconut water, and bananas will do the same job, with better results for your weight loss goals. 

running 2 miles a day

How Long Should It Take to Run 2 Miles?

That number will be different for everyone. If you are a brand new runner and are following the run walk method, it could take 25 – 30 minutes to run 2 miles. 

But if you’re already capable of running 2 miles without stopping, the common time frame is 16-22 minutes. 

Since you’ll be running every day, expect your time to increase fast.

After just one week of running 2 miles a day, many people finish 1-2 minutes faster per mile. When you run consistently every day you get massive gains. 

Many people decide to run 2 miles a day just to improve their running speed. If your cadence is a little slower than you would like, running a shorter, faster distance can jump-start your pace and get you a notch faster than you were before. 

Since it doesn’t take too long, you can squeeze it in whenever suits you – running at night before bed is a great option!

running 2 miles a day

Running 2 Miles A Day Transformations To Expect

Daily running will absolutely help you develop habits to keep you fit and running regularly.

But there are mental health benefits to running that can change your life from the inside out. 

How does running have such lasting effects on your day-to-day motivation?

Running every day makes your schedule more consistent 

Want to cross off more on your to-do list every day? Setting up a well-oiled routine is the first step to make consistency happen. 

Running every day is a habit which you can then start to build other good practices on top of through something called habit stacking.

Running every day freshens your outlook.

With all the challenges we face at work or in life, it can be hard to keep your outlook positive. Maybe you always feel tired. Maybe you’re not making the progress you had hoped to make. Maybe you’re at odds with someone in your life. 

But when you successfully run 2 miles every day, that means you’ve got determination. You’re strong. You can make anything happen you put your mind to. Any time those frustrating thoughts crowd your mind, push them away by reminding yourself you’re on a path to success. 

running 2 miles a day

Running every day makes your body healthier

Whether your goal is weight loss or something else, I guarantee that running will make you healthier. And when you feel healthier, your brain gets healthier too. 

Rigorous exercise for 30 minutes a day gets more blood flowing to your brain. This extra activity works to fight some of the natural brain reductions that occur as time goes by. So when your brain is operating at a higher level, you’ll feel more energetic as an effect.  You might even start to hit that beautiful runner’s high!

Be aware, new runners might experience a case of runner’s itch!

Running every day gives you a goal. 

Setting a goal on a regular basis sets you up for achieving more in the long run. The American Psychological Association says that achieving your goals helps you accomplish more goals in the near future. 

The 2-mile run challenge will not only set you up to run farther in the future, but it will also help you accomplish more goals in your daily tasks. 

running 2 miles a day

Tips for Running 2 Miles a Day 

To achieve higher motivation and weight loss, there are some proven, practical steps you can take to run every day. 

Schedule Your Run Ahead of Time

If you can, run at the same time every day. Having that consistency will create a stronger habit. 

If not, start the week by saying something like, ‘I’ll run at 7AM on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday,’ but I’ll run at 7PM on Tuesday, Thursday, and the weekend.’ 

Either way, write it out as a physical statement. You’ll be more likely to follow through if you have it in writing. 

Plan Out Your Meals for the Week

Since running takes an extra chunk out of your weekly schedule, you will have to adjust something else to make the time commitment manageable. 

Some people like to prepare their meals ahead of time, putting soups and other dishes in the freezer. But if that’s not quite your style, a simple menu will do. Go to the grocery store and make sure you have all the ingredients you’ll need for the week. 

Knowing what you’ll eat ahead of time will save you hours. Plus, you can plan a healthy diet for the week, which will get you on track for your weight loss goals. 

It’s also a good idea to cut down on your alcohol consumption – you don’t have to commit to a Dry January or Sober October-style challenge, but just be aware that drinking the night before will usually leave you with lower energy and dampen your mood.

running 2 miles a day transformation

Pick a Time in Your Day When Your Motivation Lags

You might disagree at first, but motivation lags because of inactivity.

If you’ve been straining your brain all day, your body will suffer from that. The blood doesn’t pump as quickly, and you lose focus. 

If you find that your energy saps after lunchtime, use your lunch hour to do your daily run. You’ll find the mid-day kickstart a game-changer. 

When you choose a time in your day that normally exhausts you, replacing it with an energizing run will make you learn to love running

Setting Your Next Goal

Once you get the hang of running 2 miles a day, you’ll want to move on.

First, start running 3 miles a day, then running 4 miles a day. After that, you may as well train for a 10K

A good goal is to run your best 5k. Here’s our couch to 5k guide, and below is my 4-week plan which is designed for active people (perfect if you’re on a 2-miles-per-day kick):

Couch to 5K: Complete Training Plan and Running Guide 2

We Want to Help You With Your Running Journey 

Download one of our free training plans

Customize it in Google Sheets to fit your personal schedule, then hit the track – running 2 miles a day is easiest when you just start!

running 2 miles a day to lose weight
Photo of author
Mia Kercher is a hiker, cyclist, and runner. After finishing her first marathon in 2013, she continued the sport but found a new passion in trail running. She now explores the glorious mountains in Portland, Oregon.

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