Answering The Question: How Many Miles Should I Run A Day?

Running, while straightforward in theory, can be a little difficult in practice. While going out and hitting the road is rather simple, like most workouts, it can be hard to find the balance that is right for you.

Some people need to run a lot, while others only need to run a little. That difference is going to depend on your body, lifestyle, personal needs, as well as how new you are to the activity. In this article, we will break down why and how people run to help you answer the tricky question, how many miles should I run a day?

The Importance of Starting Slow

couple running

Though there are many factors that go into running, one of the biggest is experience. More athletic people can push themselves right out of the gate, but those who are brand new should start out slow and then build from there.

If you are completely new to athletic activity, you should start with a mile a day (and you can even start a bit slower than that). You don't have to go as hard or as fast as you can right away. It is perfectly fine to keep comfortable and run in a way that best suits you.

Running a mile a day is a great way to break into running. Going too hard before you're ready can lead to problems or injuries. Rather, always stop before you get too tired. You're going to be sore, and there is no reason to cause any extra pain.

Also remember that a mile a day is simply a guideline. It can be that you want to do even less when you're just beginning. Simple one mile every other day, or breaking it down a certain number of runs per week, can also be a great way to get going.

When starting, if you do have experience with playing sports or other physical activity, you can start at two, three, or even four miles a day. Just be careful about becoming tired or fatigued too quickly. As with brand new runners, you never want to overexert yourself.

Upping Your Mileage and Your First Race

Once you get into the groove of running, you want to steadily increase the pace in a way that feels natural. As with starting out, be careful not to push too much here. Rather, keep an easy rhythm for the first few weeks, then focus on adding onto to your runs. Your mileage per day can then steadily go up from there.

Typically, you want to add a bit of time to your runs (such as 5 or 10 minutes) but extra distance is also a good way to figure out how much your body can handle. That will help you gain endurance and slowly raise your threshold in a healthy, productive way.

After you're comfortable with your personal runs, you may want to expand your horizons and take on a race. There are many races out there, but, as with everything else, it helps to start slow.

Your first race should be in the same range as the mileage of your regular exercise. For example, if you can easily do six miles, you can do a 10k. If you run three miles with ease, then a 5k is better. Always start low before raising the bar.

Daily Running to Lose Weight

Another reason people may ask "how many miles should I run a day?" is because they want to lose weight. While there is no one set distance you can run to shed pounds, there are some general guidelines that will help you work towards your goal.

Losing weight is going to differ from person to person. Every body type is different, and they will all respond to exercise in various ways. Even so, the general rule is that you must burn roughly 3,500 calories to lose 1 pound.

To put that measurement into perspective, you need to run around 17.5 miles per week at a rate of 12 minutes a mile to lose half a pound. Of course, if your speed increases, that changes. In addition, those numbers only hold up if your caloric intake is just enough to support your weight. Always account for your daily diet as well.

Also note that smaller bodies burn less calories than larger ones. A larger person will generally lose weight more easily from running than a smaller one. Keep that in mind along with the above information when trying to calculate your distance.

Different Mileage for Different People

family of runners

Truth is, there is no one way to answer "how many miles should I run a day?" because everybody is different. However, if you follow the above rules and know your body, you should be able to find a groove or routine that best suits you. If you take it slow and are careful about your limits you will be a seasoned runner in no time. 

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