Running 5 Miles a Day: Runner’s Guide To Developing The Habit

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In this article, I’ll cover the pros and cons of running 5 miles a day, nitty-gritty details of what to expect during this journey, and tips for making it one of the most transforming experiences of your life. 

Running 5 miles a day is a noble goal for many runners. While the habit offers incredible benefits, it can be intimidating for those who approach it. 

It can be a time commitment and physical challenge – but also intensely rewarding.

Let’s get started!

running 5 miles a day

Should I Run 5 Miles a Day?

This is the first question on a runner’s mind when setting a training goal for their near running future.

You’re maybe a new runner, or have already run a 5K race, or even an established marathon runner. 

Now you’re looking for a new habit that helps you in great shape but doesn’t require a complicated training plan.

When you’re deciding, “Should I run 5 miles a day,” know that there are some pros and cons to adopting the habit. 

I’ll start with the cons first. 

Cons of Running 5 Miles a Day

You’re more prone to injuries (if you’re a new runner)

A 5 mile run every day can be taxing on a new runner’s body, especially if your body hasn’t developed good running form yet.

So if you tend to get shin splints or knee sprains, be aware that attempting a daily 5 miler might not give your body the chance to recover between runs.

If in doubt, take a day off and regroup!

Your race training will be on hold

Running 5 miles a day is best for those who are not training for an upcoming race. Going the same distance every day doesn’t add dynamics or build strength in the ways necessary to do your best in a race.

This 5-mile habit works best to provide a predictable routine and consistency in your health plan. 

5 Miles Every Day = Less Time For Cross Training

If you’re looking for all-over body fitness, running 5 miles a day isn’t actually the best thing you can do – you should be mixing up your workouts.

3-5 days of running with 2-3 days of cross-training is ideal.

If you’re not interested in weight lifting, try alternative strength drills like agility drills, or interval running with fartleks

At the same time, you can still build plenty of leg and core strength while running 5 miles a day, especially if there are hills involved!

You can burn out

Running 5 miles a day every day can get boring and repetitive.

Some people thrive with routine and need to know what to expect each day.

Others prefer to change things up. 

But once your body gets used to doing the same thing every day, it loses some of its ability to adapt and change.

After a few months, running those 5 miles won’t stress your body much – it’ll become the new baseline.

And remember, our bodies need to be stressed to improve!

Switching up your workout every once in a while helps your body stay alert and ready to be conditioned. 

how to run 5 miles a day

Pros of Running 5 Miles Every Day

Your running will improve

A huge benefit of bagging 5 miles every day is that your running will improve.

Spending the best part of an hour every day running means that your running form will naturally adapt and become more efficient.

You’ll also become faster for a myriad of reasons – your running economy improves, your cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems adapt, and your body gets more used to fuelling a 5 mile run.

Running 5 miles a day for a few months can be an awesome way to establish your running creds and get your body honed, ready to take on bigger distances or races.

In case you’re wondering, there are approximately 10,000 steps in 5 miles of running (see How Many Steps in a Mile Running? for more).

You’ll lose weight

Weight loss is one of the main reasons people adopt daily running habits.

However, I hate to say it, but losing weight is not 100% guaranteed.

When you run 5 miles, you burn a lot of calories, but all the cardio makes you hungry.

It’s just as important to monitor your diet as it is to put in the daily running. 

As a general rule, focus on eating carbohydrates from healthy sources before you run to fuel your energy. When you’re not running, eat lean protein (fish, chicken, and eggs) and lots of vegetables and fruit. 

If you’re serious about losing weight, we recommend adding in some HIIT exercises, or intervals, or hill sprints – anything that gets your heart rate racing!

Your mood will improve

There’s nothing like running to get your head out of work or complications, and just enjoy the runner’s high. 

When you are running 5 miles a day, you set aside an hour (give or take) to let your mind go wherever it wants. This is your time to listen to music, watch the scenery, and focus on breathing. 

You’ll create a consistent, go-to form of exercise 

It’s no secret that most people make a training plan for themselves, then bail after the first week or two. That’s because many people already have complications and stress in their lives. You can even do your 5 miles on a smart treadmill at home to make it even easier.

Adding in a variety of workouts, finding a time to exercise, and sticking to another difficult schedule just isn’t reasonable.

But having a consistent workout alleviates that stress and gives you results without all the complications. 

You’ll reduce your risk of heart disease

Even if you run one mile a day, you’ll still lower the chances of cholesterol, cancer, and heart disease.

Running 5 miles a day will help a little more, but this is just an added benefit to all the others. 

You’re creating an hour of ‘me time’ every day

An underappreciated side of running is that it provides an excellent opportunity to cut loose, get some ‘me’ time, and burn through some excess energy.

I often find that my head clears when I’m on a run, or I realise that something I was worried about isn’t actually that big an idea.

I also find my best ideas come to me during a run – usually after the 25-30 minute mark.

Running can be a meditative experience – or an opportunity to catch up on your favorite podcasts!

What Can I Expect During My Daily 5 Mile Run?

You can handle anything the run throws at you. But knowing what’s coming can help you enjoy the process a lot more. 

Mastering the Challenges of Running 5 Miles a Day

  • The time commitment can be tough to manage…at first. It takes 30 days to build a habit, so remember that whenever your motivation is lagging. 
  • You may be sore for several days. Even if you already run 5 miles every once in a while, doing it every day will put extra pressure on your muscles. Just don’t give up. 
  • You’ll be hungry. Burning all those calories every day will make you ravenous! Buy extra groceries. 
  • You might not see the physical changes immediately. I’m always tempted to check for changes the second I finish my run. They happen gradually, but you’ll start to notice a real change in about 2 weeks. 

Benefits: Running 5 Miles a Day Transformation

  • Enjoy your changing body! Your butt and calves will be stronger, your arms will get smaller, and the stomach will be flatter…especially if you’re careful with your diet.
  • You’ll be more motivated in your work. An hour of daily exercise helps calm the monkey mind – and give you time to reflect – and helps you focus and enjoy daily tasks. 
  • You’ll have a more positive outlook. Processing your thoughts and filling your lungs with fresh air takes away that “end of the world” feeling. 
  • You’ll have more energy. You may be tired after the run, but you’ll see an overall spike in your willingness to hop out of bed every morning. 
how long does it take to run 5 miles a day

How Long Does It Take to Run 5 Miles?

Answering this question is extremely difficult since each runner is different. But the average time to run 5 miles is 50 minutes – that’s 10 minutes per mile.

If you’re just starting out as a new runner, running 5 miles might take you an hour – or more.

If your mile time is longer than 10 minutes, you may want to consider starting out with running 3 miles a day

And remember you can always adopt a run/walk methodology.

Be sure to factor in a warmup and a cooldown, about 5 minutes for each one. 

You’ll naturally find that by running 5 miles a day, your running speed will gradually improve.

Each week, aim to run a slightly faster average. Stay competitive with yourself, always improving during each run. 

How Do I Know If I’m Ready to Run 5 Miles a Day?

Have you run 5 miles in the last few weeks? 

Have you finished a 10K race in the past month? 

Do you run at least twice a week (more than 2 miles)? 

If you answered yes to any of these questions, chances are you’ll be just fine to run 5 miles a day. Here’s a 2-step method to make sure you’re prepared. 

Step 1: Do a Trial Run

Go out and run 5 miles, then evaluate. Choose one of these levels:

I had to stop before I finished. 

It was difficult, but I finished.

That was a breeze. 

If you chose option 3, you’re good to go. If you chose options 1 or 2, follow the next step. 

Step 2: Work Up to It

You don’t have to run 5 miles a day immediately. Keep this goal in mind, and start working towards it. 

If you had to stop at 4 miles. Run 4 miles a day, then add .25 miles each week until you get to 5. 

If the run was difficult but you still finished, then slow down. Easing up on your pace will help you last the full distance. 

How to Run 5 Miles a Day: Final Tips for Making it Happen

  • Take it easy at first: don’t start off so sore you can barely move. Feel free to walk when you need to and slow down your pace. 
  • Listen to your body: If you feel pain or exhaustion, don’t just ignore it. Take rest days when you need them and give your body a chance to recover. 
  • Do strength workouts: If you’re having trouble finishing the runs, you may be lacking muscle strength. Take an extra 15 minutes to build up your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and core for an extra boost. 
  • Change up your runs: 5 miles a day is the only requirement. You can always find new routes and explore new neighborhoods and trails. Be sure to tackle some hills while you’re at it. 

What’s Next?

Once you’ve reached a goal, it’s hard to stop there. Pretty soon, you’re going to want to start a new one. 

After mastering how to run 5 miles a day, tackling a training plan will be much more doable for you. Signing up for a race and taking part in that atmosphere is a rewarding experience. 

You can move up to running 6 miles every day, which is just under 10k.

If you want to push yourself, try going for running 10 miles a day – could you do it?

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).

Since a 10K would be a breeze for you, why not start training for a half marathon? We offer free, totally customizable half marathon training plans to take you through the process. 

Download one today and have it ready to go, once you run 5 miles a day for 30 days. 

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.

2 thoughts on “Running 5 Miles a Day: Runner’s Guide To Developing The Habit”

    • Hey Mark!
      Shin splints can be due to running on hard surfaces, using the wrong shoes, ramping up your mileage too quickly…
      The treadmill is a nice temporary solution, but frankly if there’s something preventing you from running outdoors you want to fix it!
      You should gradually re-introduce outdoor running, and if you feel the shin splints coming on, stop.
      It may be worth visiting a running shoe store and getting a more forgiving pair or some insoles … more here: Shin Splints for Runners


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