The Life-Changing Benefits of Running a Mile a Day: How To Do It

Running a mile a day will change your life. 

That’s a pretty big statement, right? I just completed a week of running a mile a day, and I’ve gathered some notes from my personal experience, as well as some hard evidence to back it up. 

We’re going to look at:

  • The Best Reasons For Running a Mile a Day (find your WHY)
  • What I learned after a week of running a mile every single day
  • Advice and discussion on who can run a mile every day
  • Why you should start today! Running a mile doesn’t take as long as you’d think!

By the end of this article, I hope to convince you to embark on the same journey. 

The Best Reasons for Running a Mile a Day

running a mile a day

If you’re going to run a mile a day, you’ll need to have some solid reasons to get started.

Here are some common situations that might inspire you to run a mile a day. 

You’re Coming Back from a Long Break

A lot of people go in and out of running phases in their lifetime. I didn’t train properly for my first big running race, so I took a long break from running after I had trouble getting out of bed the next day! 

But I couldn’t stay away forever.

After some time, I listened to the call of the runner’s high, the personal challenge of constantly improving, and the glistening medal of completing another race. 

That second half marathon went so much more smoothly than my first one!

I cross-trained by cycling doing bodyweight exercises. I planned out my playlists much better.

Having these new approaches helped me regain my love for running races. 

Even though I jumped right into training for a half marathon after my break, taking a slower pace or a different approach can be a good way to readjust yourself to running life. 

If you disliked your past running experience, trying again with a new approach is an excellent strategy. 

You’re Ultra Busy

Training for long races can be time-consuming. That’s what keeps most people from hitting the pavement. But if you can fit running into your hectic life, then you just found the secret to fitness AND a full schedule. 

If you include getting dressed, stretching, and cooling down, you still only spend about 30 minutes on a one-mile run. 

No matter what, you can always find 20 minutes in your day for a quick run. 

You’re Dealing With Stress or Anxiety

It’s easy to panic when you’re under stress or experiencing anxiety.

Many people react by piling on more work and pressure, buzzing around chaotically to finish everything in time. 

But the key is to find something that will relax you, something to take your mind off your troubles for a few minutes. 

Running is a perfect method for de-escalating a stressful circumstance or anxiety attacks. You gain the benefits of exercise, breathing evenly, and acquiring fresh air, all at the same time.

Many find that running can even substitute for mediation, helping to calm and refresh you in difficult situations. 

And setting a goal of completing just a mile every day is easy to achieve.

It’s not a huge, audacious goal – it’s small, manageable, and meaningful

You Have Trouble Motivating Yourself to Exercise

There aren’t a lot of excuses to keep you from running a mile a day. Here are some things you CAN’T say about a mile run. 

I don’t have enough time. 

I’m too tired. 

I’ll be sore tomorrow. 

I’ll get bored. 

The weather is bad. 

For all these excuses, all you have to do is tell yourself 4 magical words: It’s just one mile. 

And that’s it! Those problems fly out the window. If it’s just one mile, you can squeeze it in or tough it out. 

You’re Making a Big Decision

When you’re deciding between one thing or another, the thoughts swirl around in your head until you’re too confused to know left from right. 

If you take a quick run every day, you give yourself the chance to clear your mind

So sweat it out. See the problem in a new environment, with a new attitude. You’ll be surprised how clear your thinking process becomes when you run a mile a day. 

8 Things I Learned From Running Every Day for a Week

running a mile a day

Here’s a little background: I can be a bit of a workaholic. I recently got trapped in the lie that I “didn’t have enough time for running.”

When Thomas suggested running a mile every day, I gladly accepted the challenge. 

Here are 8 benefits I took away from the experience of building up a running streak

1. I formed a habit.

When I accepted the fact that I’d run every day no matter what, I penciled it into my schedule every day. If I felt bogged down with work or lacked energy, I maintained a no-excuses policy and stuck with my commitment

2. I basked in the present.

There’s nothing like running to make you forget about everything else. 

While running, I enjoy the scenery around me, zoom into the lyrics and beat of my music, and enjoy conversation with my partner (when he joins me). 

3. I explored local neighborhoods and parks.

Since I tend to get bored repeating the same running route, I explored neighborhoods I wouldn’t normally wander into. I found an outdoor coffee shop near my house and a smooth stretch of road for sprinting or cycling fast.  

Many people are never tourists in their own neighborhoods, so learning all you can about the local scenery is a big bonus. 

If, however, you are planning on traveling, always be sure to bring your running shoes. It’s a fantastic way to explore a new city or foreign country. 

4. I got faster.

Running every day helped me see progress right away, which is very encouraging. My first run finished at a light jog of 10:08. On the seventh day, I finished at 8:02. 

Related: How Much Running is Too Much? 14 Signs You’re Running Too Much

5. I became more aware of my diet.

Although I’m always conscious of a healthy diet, I’m much less likely to order french fries after an evening run. Putting in that effort reminds me of my priorities. 

Why would I want to cancel my hard work by something so fleeting as junk food? 

I also became more aware of the effects of alcohol, and how much cutting back can help. I’m even considering doing a Sober October Challenge next year!

6. I expanded my comfort zone.

Typically, my running routine involves 5 days of running, 2 days of rest. I generally never run less than 3 miles and always do a long run per week. 

So running one mile every day really changed things up for me. I often felt surprised at how quickly the run was over. But after a couple days, I found that I could run without limits since I knew I didn’t have to save myself for the end. 

That kind of freedom is unique to a one-mile run and I actually relished the short time commitment and the burst of fast energy.  

7. My work became more productive.

Running daily helped me structure my activities around exercise. When I knew I had a big article to write, I planned my run beforehand to give me the energy to create with a clear head. 

Knocking my most difficult task out of the park made the rest of the tasks flow naturally and smoothly.  

8. I’m greedy for more.

After feeling the positive effects on my workflow and mental health, I look forward to my daily run. 

I may change things up by doing a couple longer runs throughout the week, and taking a rest day. But the experience of running every day for 7 days is a unique one. I’ll repeat the process from time to time.

Is Running a Mile a Day for Everyone?

Short answer: YES. 

Long answer: Running a mile a day can be a good fit for you, no matter what your current relationship is with running. 

If you’re a beginner struggling to see results, a daily run could be your chance to see a surge in progress and get you where you want to be. 

If you took a break from running and want to see a new side of the sport, it’s a great way to fall in love with running all over again. 

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

Maybe you’ll even love it so much, you’ll prolong the challenge to running every day for 30 days. 

I Finished the 7-Day Challenge. What Next? 

While you can stick to one mile a day, you’ll probably want to take it to the next level at some point. Increase your distance by running 3 miles a day

Keep going with baby steps, and one day you’ll find yourself capable of running 10 miles a day.

After that, join a race! Running alone is cathartic, therapeutic, energizing, and exhilarating. But running a race is a totally different environment and an experience you can’t miss out on. 

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).

Once you’re into the habit of running daily, and you’ve already run a race, why not train for a half marathon? If you decide to go for it, download one of our free, customizable training plans

Mia Kercher

Mia Kercher

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 where she works as co-founder of Evoke.

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