If you’re a beginner runner, running 4 miles a day may seem like an enormous challenge. And yet, if you’re reading this article, you’re clearly ready for a challenge. You’re ready to set a goal and reach a new level of achievement.
Maybe you prefer getting your cardio from an elliptical machine.
Or maybe you hit the treadmill for a mile or two then call it quits. If so, you should consider starting a 4 mile habit.
This distance is accessible to most people with just a little bit of conditioning.
In this post, we’re going to get into the benefits and challenges of running 4 miles a day – plus training tips from the experts!
Let’s jump in!
How Long Does It Take To Run 4 Miles?
The average time to run 4 miles is around 45 minutes. This is a pace of just over 11 minutes per mile. Most new runners are capable of that pace. If you think you aren’t… you might surprise yourself!
Of course, the average time for a 4-mile run doesn’t mean you have to shoot for that pace.
When you’re first starting out, go at a comfortable pace.
A good rule of thumb is the ability to hold a conversation while running. You should be able to chat with a friend during the run. If you can’t, you may be pushing yourself too hard. Aim for a rate of perceived exertion of around 3 or 4 out of 10.
Don’t let pace or time limits define your running style. All that matters is that you’re running and working towards running 4 miles a day.
Regardless of the pace you run, you may be wondering how long your training will be to run 4 miles a day.
If you’re starting from zero, meaning you never run and never exercise, you should be able to work up to a 4 mile run in just about a month, depending on your training program. Once you’re there, doing it every day will be your next challenge.
In order to start running you need to… start running!
Just get out there and get a mile in. You might find that running 1 or 2 miles is something you’re capable of already.
Anyone who runs is a runner.
Don’t let fear or worry keep you from getting out there.
Interval Training Can Help You Stretch Out Your Mileage
Once you are able to comfortably handle a couple of miles, there are a few tricks you can use to crank it up a notch. One of those is interval training.
Instead of running at a regular, even pace throughout your 4 miles, try mixing it up.
Breaking your run into fast, hard intervals followed by easy jogging or walking to recover not only makes your 4 miles more interesting, it introduces a new training modality to the mix – and the hard sessions will make you faster, stronger, and improve your running economy.
There’s a few options!
During interval training, you want to run the fast intervals as hard and fast as you’re willing to go, then dial things right down on the slow intervals.
How should you introduce interval training?
Here are some options!
- Fartleks are a form of random, fun interval training – go fast for a nominal time or distance – for example, to the end of the road – then recover for a short while. There are no real rules with fartleks, so you can mix it up as you please (these are great for trail running which has natural undulations).
- Hill running is another good way of incorporating fast and slow intervals into your training – running uphill can be a huge challenge!
- Regular interval training means running fast and slow for prescribed distances or times. Try this: go hard for 2 minutes, then recover for 2 minutes. Interval training doesn’t need to be rocket science!
- HIIT running workouts and hill sprints are more advanced forms of interval training you might want to try as you progress.
As you can see, interval training can be a great way to help you push yourself little by little. You can use it as a way to make your 4 mile runs a little easier. You can also use the technique on your 2 or 3 mile runs as a way to prepare yourself to start running longer distances.
Strength Training Will Build Stamina for Running
Working up to a 4-mile run can also be achieved through strength training. Sure, running is the best way to get better at running. But it isn’t the only thing you should be doing to reach your 4-mile goal.
Lifting weights has amazing benefits on your overall fitness.
As your muscles get stronger you become more capable of powering through longer runs. Strength training shouldn’t be looked at as something only those ultra-muscular people at the gym are allowed to do. Everyone, at every fitness level, can do strength training workouts.
Ahmed Helmy is a licensed doctor of medicine and a plastic surgeon. He relates his experience with many different patients.
“When you have low stamina, you get fatigued quickly. You need to be able to endure the entire track, but for some people, the stamina hits too hard.
With this in mind, my advice would be to focus on stamina and endurance training.
Here are a few tips that might be useful:
- Carefully plan your workouts. Try to schedule strength training on the same days as cardio workouts. This is a good way to gradually build up stamina – you’ll be able to extend the miles you can run slowly, but effectively.
- Don’t rest too long between each set. By shortening rests to a maximum of 90 seconds, you are also going to get a boost in endurance.
- Combine high-intensity training methods with weights. This is a great way to build more endurance – which helps you push through toward the four-mile line.”
Finding ways to get in some strength training sessions will definitely be worth it. Think of strength training as something you’re doing as part of your running, not in addition to it.
If you’re going to run 4 miles a day, you should try to add at least a couple weight lifting sessions into your week. Letting it go longer than that won’t get you the same benefits that come from staying consistent in the gym.
Eat Well and Drink Water To Keep Yourself Going
Running 4 miles a day will burn a lot of calories. Make sure you’re eating properly to account for it. Check out our recipe for No-Bake Runner’s Energy Balls for some tasty inspiration.
Hydration is also important. If you sweat a lot during your runs, you will need to replace the lost fluids. Chugging a big glass of water after a run usually feels good, but you need to drink water throughout the day to make sure you’re fully hydrated.
Running 4 Miles a Day: The Transformation
Making the decision to get to 4 miles a day is the first step in your transformation. If you keep at it, you’ll be able to increase your mileage over time and will eventually feel like your whole life has been upgraded.
Here are some of the benefits you’ll see as you transform your body and your life:
- Increased Metabolism: You will be burning hundreds more calories every day. It will eventually become a habit and your body will adjust. Once this happens, you’ll be able to feel healthier overall while your body continues to perform at its higher level.
Just be sure not to fall into the trap of over-compensating and eating too much throughout the day. As you start running every day, you will definitely feel hungrier as your body burns more calories to keep up.
Many runners complain that they don’t lose weight because the hunger pangs lead to much more snacking then they’re used to.
- Better Sleep: Running every day will help form better sleep habits. By burning off your excess energy, you will be able to fall asleep faster and get better quality sleep. To get the most benefit to your sleep schedule, try to run in the morning or early afternoon. Raising your heart rate late at night may have the reverse effect and keep you up later.
- Better Mood: Running is proven to have huge positive impacts on your mental health. It is a great way to relieve stress. It gets you outside, and it gets you some time to yourself. When you hear people say that they want to go for a run to clear their head… it’s because it works!
With all of these benefits, it’s easy to see how starting to run 4 miles a day will lead to a transformation of both your body and your overall mindset.
Once you’ve built up the base, you’ll have the freedom to expand your running even further. Eventually, you’ll want to increase your mileage and find your training sweet spot. If you’re like many runners, you’ll end up wanting to increase your distance over time. You may even end up running 10 miles a day.
The next step is not always running more miles a day – you might just try to work up your running streak. Another option is to train for a half marathon. Your training will look a little different, but you’ll be able to join an official race – an experience every runner should have.
If you decide to go for it, make sure you check out our free library of training plans to find a plan that will get you to the finish line!