Running can be a daunting prospect for many of us. The very thought of pounding the pavement for mile after endless mile is enough to get us running in the opposite direction. That said, while five, ten, or more miles may be beyond our ability, most of us can handle two miles a day. Getting into the habit of running two miles a day will provide you with a whole host of benefits. It will help you lose weight, improve cardiovascular fitness, and increase muscular endurance. As a personal trainer, I’ve introduced many of my clients to the benefits of running by easing them into a two-mile-per-day routine. Some began by alternating walking and running every 400 yards as they built their cardio fitness. In this article, I’ll discuss why and how you should add a two-mile daily run into your schedule.
Benefits of Running 2 Miles a Day
Here are the advantages of running two miles daily:
Running two miles will burn between 160 and 300 calories, depending on gender, speed, and weight. A 125-pound female running 5 miles per hour will burn around 160 calories. A 200-pound person running 6 miles per hour will likely use up approximately 300 calories. Combining the two-mile daily run habit with a reduced-calorie diet built around healthy choices will help you lose around a pound of fat per week. Work out your basal metabolic rate (BMR) and reduce that by 250-500 calories daily. Your BMR is the number of calories your body needs to meet its energy needs for the day. Go here to calculate your BMR.
Improved Cardiovascular Health
Running just two miles per day will steadily improve your cardiovascular fitness. It will help to lower your blood pressure, reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol, make your heart a stronger, more efficient pump, and improve your lung’s capacity to process oxygen. As a result, your risk of heart disease and related cardiovascular illness will be reduced. Blood circulation around your body will be enhanced due to running two miles a day. That means transporting oxygen and nutrients to your body’s cells will be more efficient, resulting in more energy.
Running every day will make you a happier person. Your daily run will release endorphins in the brain that improve your mood. These feel-good chemicals bring on what is known as the ‘runner’s high.’ They help to overcome stress and anxiety, promoting a feeling of connectedness with your body and an overall sense of euphoria. Running is also known to increase serotonin levels. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps to regulate emotions. The more serotonin you have circulating in your body, the more your mood will improve.
Getting into the two-mile daily running habit will make you a more productive person. Running at a moderate pace is a very mindful activity. It allows you to clear your mind to better focus on the tasks ahead of you. In addition, running for a couple of miles reduces fatigue and stress. As a result, you will have more to give to your daily tasks. The dopamine rush you experience after a run will also help you stay energized and motivated in the hours after your run. If you can, schedule your daily run early in the morning. By doing so, you’ll set yourself up for a great day.
How To Get Started
As a beginner, you should stick to a structured running program. This will ensure that you make incremental progress without over or under-training. Having a running schedule for the week is also very encouraging and motivating. As you tick off each session, you’ll have a visual reminder of the cumulative effect of your training sessions. A good habit to get into is logging your runs. You can do this on paper, your computer, or your smartphone. Write down the details of your run, how you felt, how far you went, and how long you went for. In addition to your running program, you should cross-train. This simply means doing any other form of fitness that isn’t running. This may be playing tennis, cycling, or lifting weights. It is vital, however, that you pace yourself very well. You do not want to overdo it and end up burned out. The hardest part about going for a run is getting out the door. Recruit the support of the people you live with to give that extra push to get you over the door stoop. Tell them to be ruthless. When you start running, you should begin very slowly. When you start, you can expect that you won’t be able to go very far. In fact, you shouldn’t even try to. If you do, you are putting yourself at risk of injury. If you are unable to run two miles, begin by walking. You might only be able to walk for half a mile at the start. Gradually build up until you can walk the entire two miles. Then, set the goal of alternating walking and running every 400 yards. Gradual progression will get you to two miles running at a moderate pace.
There is no special requirement for what you need to wear for your two-mile run. Just make sure you wear clothing that allows freedom of movement, that your skin can breathe, and that provides adequate protection against the sun.
Take your pulse once per week during your running program. This will allow you to monitor your cardiovascular fitness. As you become fitter, your heart can pump more blood around your body with each heartbeat. This will result in a lower heartbeat. Be sure to take your pulse at the same time of day and under the same conditions. It is good to check it on a Monday morning just after waking before you are out of bed. As the weeks pass, you will see a constant lowering of your pulse rate.
You must warm up before you start running. There are three critical reasons why warming up is essential. First, it prepares your body for the physical demands of running by increasing blood flow to your muscles and raising your body temperature. Second, it helps to prevent injury by loosening up your muscles and joints. Finally, it mentally prepares you for your run by focusing your mind and getting you into the right mindset. A good warm-up should last for around 10 minutes and include dynamic stretches and light cardio exercises such as jogging in place or jumping jacks.
In conclusion, incorporating a two-mile daily run into your schedule can have numerous benefits for your physical and mental well-being. From weight loss and improved cardiovascular health to enhanced mood and productivity, running has a positive impact on various aspects of your life. By following a structured running program, pacing yourself, and wearing appropriate attire, you can gradually build up your endurance and enjoy the rewards of a consistent running routine. So, lace up your running shoes and hit the pavement for a healthier and happier you.