Nathan Pennington Running in The Distance

Running 5 Miles a Day | Tips to Run Faster

Are you wondering if running 5 miles a day is enough? If so, welcome to RunDreamAchieve. I am glad you have made it here. I always tell my clients that the focus should always be on quality over quantity. Of course, if you are aiming to run a sub 2 30 marathon you will need to run more than 5 miles a day. So, running 5 miles a day is not going to be enough depending on the goals of the athlete.

What is your goal? Is it to qualify for the Boston marathon? Are you focused on just starting from scratch? Do you have as your goal to run a half marathon under 2 hours? You can still get in legitimate shape running 5 miles a day. Are you a beginner? You may need to run 5 miles a day twice per week for starters. Once you start building upon your fitness you can add in additional mileage.

Running 5 Miles a Day Benefits

There are numerous benefits to running 5 miles per day. One, you will strengthen the ligaments, joints and muscles of the body. I would focus on spending a minimum of 4 weeks running easy, aerobic mileage leading into your training build up. The major mistake I see a lot of runners making is trying to start their speed workouts too quickly. So, it is a wise move on your part to start slowly.

Marathon Sub 3 Hour Training Plan
Coach Pennington finishing in 4th place and as the top American at the 2007 California International Marathon in 2:19:35

The longer your build up, the better. The reason being is you won't be in a rush to get into great shape. I have built training plans here that range in distance from 8 and all the way up to 24 weeks in length. Are you planning on running a 10k to the marathon distance? If so, a 4 to 6-month training block is best. 4 to 6 months is plenty of time to train and prepare properly for races of this length.

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Is Running Five Miles a Day Too Much?

Running fives mile a day will build endurance and burn fat. You definitely want to build your fitness as you lead into your upcoming races. So, running easy for a period of 4 to 8 weeks prior to starting your heavy training is best. 1 pound of fat equals 3500 calories. You will burn around this much in a week of running if you run 7 days a week. Of course, heavier athletes will burn slightly more calories per mile than lighter athletes.

Also, to lose weight you also have to ensure to burn more calories than you are ingesting. The vast majority of runners won't have to worry about gaining weight. The reason being is many are running plenty of mileage to still enjoy what they eat. Do your best to steer clear of empty calories. For example, candies, soda and other types of food that are junk.

Am I Fit if I Can Run 5 Miles?

Yes. That being said, don't get bent out of shape if you can't run 5 miles without stopping. Remember, runners of all capabilities have to start somewhere, myself included. It took me from running from 1992 to 2007 to run under 2:20 for the marathon. In addition, I had several setbacks along the way. It is not easy to sustain 5:19 mile pace (3:18 per kilometer) for 26.2 miles or 42.2 kilometers. So, I, too, had to slowly build up my endurance before I could perform at this level.

Below are some running tips I wanted to share with you which I hope are helpful to you. I know we all have different goals. I work with athletes who are beginners all the way to the elite level. My goal with this website was to build resources for runners to help them succeed. The running courses I have built go in-depth on the specifics of running under time barriers that many runners have.

There are many other visitors to RunDreamAchieve who are interested in training plans. So, I created them based on the training principles I have learned from some of the world's top distance running coaches. Again, the goal here is to speed up your learning curve and get you a new personal best.

Run Your Long Runs Faster

A major mistake many runners make is running too slow too often. Of course, your goal may not be to run a sub 3 hour marathon. Perhaps you are just seeking to build fitness. Regardless, running a portion of your long runs at faster paces will help improve your body's lactate tolerance. The world's top middle to long distance runners spend a higher percentage of their weekly volume at higher intensities.

The result is they are able to sustain race pace longer than the average runner. So, it isn't just because they are Kenyan. I have outrun world-class Kenyans myself. No, it wasn't easy. That being said, they bleed red just as you and I. The secret is to train the way they train. Run fast and jog on easy days. I have trained with sub 2:10 marathoners who would jog at 9 minute mile pace on their easy days. Remember, these are men who can run under 5 minute mile pace for 26.2 miles.

So, if they can do that so can you and I. Below are some examples of the types of faster, varied paced long runs I was doing prior to running 2:19:35 for the marathon…

  • 2 mile jog, 8 miles@5:30 mile pace, 2 miles easy, 1 mile in 4:55, 5 miles@5:55 mile pace, 2 miles easy, 1 mile in 5:00, 1 mile cool-down (22 miles)
  • 1 mile jog, 10 miles@5:35 mile pace, 2 miles easy, 2 miles in 11:00, 5 miles@6:00 mile pace, 1 mile jog (22 miles)

Run Longer

Remember, always alternate a faster, varied paced long run like you see above with an easy, relaxed long run the following week. No, you don't need to run this fast or this far in the early stages of your training build up. Is your goal to run a sub 4 hour marathon? If so, you need to get 9:09 mile or 5:41 kilometer pace to feel easier. The reason I listed a couple example long runs above is to give you an idea of how to set up your long runs.

I would always jog my long run the following week after harder long runs you see above. You can still get in great shape running 5 miles a day. There are many runners who run only a couple days a week. That being said, many others who run 6 to 7 days a week. Advanced and elite-level runners run 7 days a week. Again, it all comes down to what your goals are.

What has been the longest you have run in the past? If training for a half marathon or marathon you may want to lengthen your long run out to 17 to 23 miles in length. Yes, this will take time to achieve. Your long run may be 7 to 8 miles at the start. The good news is that the body always adapts. So, be patient and take your time and you will soon be running much longer for your long runs.

Do 1, Vo2 Max Workout Per Week

Speed development is essential whether training for the mile or the marathon distance. The more fast twitch muscle fibers you can recruit, the better. You will not produce this physiological effect by running easy. So, you do have to stress the energy systems of the body adequately. We are running at 95 to 100 percent of our maximum heart rate running at vo2 max effort.

Vo2 max is your body's maximum oxygen uptake. You are running at speeds so fast you can't clear lactic acid faster than it is building up. So, we have to take a break between our reps or intervals. I would recommend not start your next interval until your heart rate is back down to 120 beats per minute.

Below are some examples of the types of speed workouts you will see in our training plans. In addition, are the types of vo2 max workouts I have used throughout my career to set new personal bests…

  • 1 mile warm-up, 6x1mile, 1 mile cool-down
  • 1 mile jog, 3×2 mile on the track or roads at 15 seconds faster than goal race pace, 1 mile jog cool-down
  • 16x400m, 8x1K, 10x300m
  • Hill repetitions i.e. 10x200m/10x300m
  • Road intervals i.e. 3-4x5K, 5x1mile@10K race pace effort

Focus on Running Longer at Your Anaerobic Threshold

We run at between 85 to 88% of our maximum heart rate at our anaerobic threshold. Tempo runs are examples of running at AT pace. A mistake I see a lot of runners making is not running long enough at this effort. Remember, the more time you spend training at this effort and at your vo2 max the easier your goal race pace is going to feel.

Tempo run length will depend on the race you are focused on. Below are some of the duration time frames I would focus on if I was seeking a new personal best for these distances.

1 mile to 5K: 3-4 mile tempo run

10K: 7-8 mile tempo run

Half-marathon/Marathons: 8-14 mile tempo runs

I highly recommend investing in a heart rate monitor. I use the Garmin 245 and have used many other models over the years. What I love about heart rate monitor training is they help to ensure you don't overtrain. So, you focus more on staying in the correct heart rate zone rather than guessing how fast you should be running.

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Mentally Rehearse

Mental training is commonly overlooked when training for endurance events. Remember, running fast is a mental sport. The world's best middle to long distance runners combine both mental as well as physical preparation to get world-class results. So, spend 10 minutes daily mentally rehearsing performing at a high level. In addition, see yourself getting across the finish line with your goal race time on the clock.

The best time to do this is when you first get up in the morning or when you go to bed at night. I used this tactic to go from 2:43:36 to 2:19:35 for the marathon. Also, to lower my half marathon from 1:10.29 to 1:07.06. Yes, it works but you have to be patient. Again, you have to combine both mental as well as physical workouts into your routine to see legitimate results. Consistent action is essential here. No slacking.

Hydrate Well During Long Runs

You may be able to get away with not drinking in a 5k but not the 10-mile to marathon races distances. A common mistake I see many runners making is drinking far too little during their races. One major way to correct this is to start practicing drinking during your long runs. I would drive my long run course and drop water bottles out every 3 miles.

So, you can practice drinking on the way out and on the way back. Remember, you want to make your mistakes in training, not the race. Find out how much fluid your stomach can handle during your long runs. Have you ever watched the best long distance runners on television?

They are not sipping in their races. They grab their water bottles and hydrate well. In addition, they are taking several gels during their races. Gels will provide 100 to 150 calories immediately to the body when ingested. So, hydrating well and taking in some additional calories during your longer races will help set you up for success.

Closing Thoughts

Running 5 miles a day is enough for most athletes. I hope that these running tips have been helpful to you. So, run 5 miles a day to build your fitness and burn fat. You can extend the duration and paces of your runs as you become more anaerobically and aerobically fit.

Make sure to subscribe to the RunDreamAchieve YouTube channel. I create new training and racing videos there each week to help runners such as yourself get to the next level in your training.

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