Running every day is an experience like no other, and cultivating a habit like running 3 miles a day can lead to transformations in several areas of your life.
Still, so many people have different ideas about it.
If you’re just starting out as a runner, the idea may seem daunting to you. You might be inspired by the idea and eager to reach that goal with a new habit in your life.
You might even be horrified by the idea! You could be thinking, 3 miles a day? Who would do that to themself?
Trust me, I’ve been through all those emotions. Running 3 miles is a challenge when you first start out, but once you reach it, the level of pride you feel is unmatched.
In this post, I’m going to guide you through the process, including:
- The 6 physical and psychological benefits of running 3 miles, or 5 kilometers, a day
- Why 3 miles (why not 5? Why not 1?).
- How To Start Your 3-Mile-A-Day Habit – What You Need To Know!
If you’re ready to kickstart your new running routine, then let’s go!
The 6 Benefits of Running 3 Miles a Day
We’re going to break these benefits down into physical and psychological groups!
Here we go !
Physical Benefits of Running 3 Miles a Day
When most people start running, the first thing they consider is the effect it will have on their body. And reasonably so!
You’ll probably notice big changes to your appearance and feeling when you start running every day!
Benefit 1: You Can Burn Calories and Lose Weight
Weight loss is a common reason for running. And many people have great success with that. The trick to weight loss is to have a calorie deficiency in your daily diet, which means you need to burn more than you eat.
You can keep track of what you eat and what you burned with a daily log or an app like My Fitness Pal.
How many calories you burn in a 3-mile run depends on factors like your weight and how fast you run, but the average amount would be about 100 calories per mile. Time your first few runs and then use a calorie calculator to find out how many you burned.
Related: Does Running Burn Fat?
Benefit 2: Running 3 Miles Is a Fast and Efficient Workout
Lack of time is one of the biggest reasons people avoid exercising. We all know that time is precious.
Work, family, and friendships can easily take every waking moment you have!
But you have to make time for yourself. And that’s the great thing about a 3-mile run: it doesn’t suck a lot of time out of your day.
When you’re just starting out, you’ll take more time to finish your run. But as you do it more and more your time will keep getting faster, making that time commitment even less.
Try starting with an initial goal of 35 minutes to finish your 5K. That will give you a time estimate to should block out each day.
As you go, you’ll get faster – and more efficient at getting ready, and the post-run routine.
Benefit #3: Reduction and Prevention of Many Health Risks
Running every day keeps the doctor away. Those who build up a running streak are less likely to experience:
- Knee pain: When your body is used to the activity, your knees and ankles won’t flare up as badly as they would for someone who rarely exercises. Your body adapts to running surprisingly quickly, and you’ll notice that your running form improves too.
- Cardiovascular disease: Since running takes so much work from the heart, that gets your blood pumping and flowing through your whole body. It not only reduces cardiovascular disease but also blood clots and high blood pressure.
They say prevention is the best cure, and running is one of the simplest and more effective ways to work some ‘prevention’ into your life!
- Related: Is Running Bad For Your Knees?
The Psychological Advantages of Running 3 Miles a Day
A commonly overlooked aspect of running is its effect on your mental health.
But ask any regular runner why they run, and they’ll almost always include the mental benefits of running.
For me personally, I find that no matter what is going on in my life, no issue seems too big after a 30-minute run.
Side note: you’ve probably heard of the runner’s high. It’s an exhilarating feeling that can kick in when you’re around 45 minutes (or slightly more) into a run. You might have to go a little further than 3 miles to get it, so get training and make the runner’s high your aim!
Benefit 4: Running is Stress Management
Stress may sometimes feel like an unavoidable pain in your daily life, but that is not the case. There are techniques you can follow to minimize stress.
Running is one of them.
Of course, the activity releases endorphins into your brain which relieve pain and make you feel emotionally relaxed. But there is also stress relief in the simple act of setting aside time in your day for physical exercise.
That 30 minutes of running allows you time alone with your thoughts (or music), and the concentration of achieving a physical goal.
That focus distracts your mind from its problems and can help you face them later.
So next time you begin to feel that overwhelm kicking in, throw on your running shoes and head out for your daily 3 miles.
Since it doesn’t take too long, you can squeeze it in whenever suits you – running at night before bed is a great option!
Benefit #5: Running Helps You Sleep Better
Running 3 miles a day will prevent insomnia.
Even if you go to bed feeling tired, you can still have a hard time sleeping.
Lack of physical exercise is a big cause of that. That 30 minutes a day of cardiovascular exercise will improve your longed-for sleep quality.
Pro tip: try running at the same time every day, whether in the morning or late evening, to further boost your sleep.
Benefit #6: Daily Running Creates a Routine
Routines are crucial for a healthy lifestyle.
Organizing your schedule takes away wasted time wondering what you’ll do next.
When you know what time you’ll wake up, what time you’ll exercise, and everything you need to do that day, you’re much more likely to finish all that’s on your to-do list.
That will leave you with some extra time for your hobbies or relaxation at the end of the day.
Why 3 Miles?
You may be wondering why we recommend 3 miles. Why isn’t it 1 mile? Or 5?
When it comes to setting goals, you have to pick an achievable range.
If you set it too low, you’ll reach it quickly and then taper away.
If you set your sights on a 5-mile run, it will seem impossible, and will be hard to motivate yourself to get there.
Since 3 miles is roughly the distance of a 5K (3.1 miles), you can put your training to practice by running a 5K race.
Nothing solidifies a passion for running like joining in a race.
Accomplishing this with other runners will give you a taste of the community and enthusiasm that comes with running.
Not only that, you may decide to keep going and build up to longer runs. But you don’t have to think about that now.
In case you’re wondering, there are approximately 6000 steps in 3 miles of running (see How Many Steps in a Mile Running? for more).
If you find 3 Miles a Day too easy, then read more on How To Run 5 Miles a Day.
Related post: How Many Miles Should I Run Each Week?
How to Start Running 3 Miles a Day
Once you get started on your running plan, it will help to know some of the challenges runners face at the beginning and how to overcome them.
Challenges Beginner Runners Face
- Depending on your past experience, it can be hard for most beginning runners to run for more than 1 minute without stopping.
- Low motivation is the biggest culprit for giving up. After a few runs that end in a sweaty heap, many people decide to quit. When you introduce running into your daily routine, it’s hard for jogging to compete with your cozy couch at home.
- Time is a rare resource. The dedication to running will force you to give up sleep, recreation time, or going out with friends.
Our 7 Tips For Starting Your 3 Mile A Day Habit
Try out these tried and tested strategies to get over the beginner’s hump and learn to love running.
1. Download a Plan to Run/Walk a 5K
The only way to run the whole thing is to run as much as you can, take a brief walking break, then run again: that’s the heart of the run walk method.
Want to add or take away a week from the plan? Just edit it in Google Sheets to tailor it to your schedule. Otherwise, download a PDF that’s ready to go.
2. Remind Yourself Why You’re Running
Knowing why is a powerful motivator to press on. When you don’t have the motivation to get up early for your run, just remember why you set this goal.
Whether it’s for weight loss, health, personal achievement, or a step towards a bigger race, seeing that finish line will keep you going.
3. Run At The Same Time Every Day
The easiest way to make sure you stick to your new running habit is to do it at the same time every day.
Whether its first thing in the morning (my preference), or after work (great for stress relief), sticking to a routine makes it easier to follow through with your activity every day.
The last thing you want is to run out of time and willpower on a given day, and end up skipping a day.
Knowing exactly what you want will help you get it.
4. Keep a Daily Log
Whether it’s a calendar or large notebook, take the time to jot down how far you ran each day and how your run went. Write what you want to improve tomorrow.
Evaluating your run and making plans for future runs will grow your excitement to get out again tomorrow.
The simple act of crossing off each day on a calendar after you complete your 3 miles is shown to build the habit and make it more likely you’ll stick to your routine.
5. Invite a Friend
If you’re worried about the quality friend time you’ll have to shave out of your schedule, invite a friend to join your journey. You can run together physically or follow each other virtually, on the Apple watch or through apps like Strava.
6. Don’t Just Run 3 Miles Every Day
Running 3 miles a day is an awesome healthy habit to cultivate, but after a while, you want to make sure it’s not the only form of exercise you’re getting.
You can mix up your running days with a fartlek session or a slightly longer run, or give your feet a day off and do some strength training (which makes you a stronger runner and less fragile as an athlete). Next, move up to running 4 miles a day.
Trust me – one day you’ll find yourself capable of running 10 miles a day.
7. It’s Okay to Have Rest Days
You may get exhausted and burned out if you run every day without any rest. Feel free to plan one rest day per week to recharge your body and renew your enthusiasm for another week.
Now you’ve established a daily running habit, why not do some habit-stacking and add on some more daily routines, such as a daily cold shower? (more on cold shower benefits).
More resources to help you start your running journey: