7 Reflections on Running At Least 1 Mile Every Day for 2+ Years

September 12, 2021

I’ve run at least one mile every day for the past 784 days. What follows are reflections on my running streak. Whether you are thinking about starting to run or are currently running regularly, there are some nuggets in this article for you. Everything is based on my personal experience from running daily for the past 2+ years.

Breathing

I now primarily breathe through my nose while running. Needing to breathe through my mouth is a sign that I’m running too fast. I was a mouth-breather for the first year of my streak, and then my cousin suggested that I breathe through my nose. The transition was slow but meaningful. I was ecstatic when I breathed through my nose for one whole mile. Within a couple of months, I became a dedicated nose-breather while running.

If I’m attempting to break a personal record (PR), I start breathing through my nose and then transition to my mouth as soon as nose-breathing becomes a struggle. Nose-breathing slows me down, but that’s a damn good thing if I’m not running in a race or trying to break a PR. It makes it easier for me to maintain my target heart rate of 152 bpm.

Pacing

I didn’t realize the importance of pacing until I watched the Athletics finals events in the 2020 Summer Olympics. The thing that stood out the most was the acceleration of the Olympians on the final leg for the 1500m to 10,000m runs.

I tried to pace myself on a 3-mile run the next day but failed. I tried again a couple of days later and succeeded. I broke my 3-mile PR with a time of 18:06. My miles were 6:00, 6:10, 5:56. Yesterday, I ran 3 miles at a 6:17 pace to break my Miami 3-mile PR. My miles were 6:17, 6:18, 6:15.

Resting

Resting is essential but doing nothing for a full day is not. Nearly all of us think we need to take full days off. But what does this mean? Did we forget that we are resting for 23 hours if we engage in an activity at the same time for one hour every day?

Our bodies are made to move. I’ve run every day for more than two years but not always at average or fast speed, and I’ve often had 30+ hours of rest in between runs. If you run for 30 minutes at 6 am and then run the following day at 6:30 pm, then you’ve rested for 36 hours. If you usually run 2 miles at a pace of 8 minutes per mile, running one mile at 12 minutes per mile could be considered resting.

Don’t avoid running daily for the sole reason of rest. Running every day keeps the momentum going while building discipline and resilience.

Running Shoes

According to various sources, the general consensus of the number of miles that running shoes are good for is 300-500 miles. I don’t follow this sentiment. The only injury I’ve gotten over the past 2+ years was when I sprained my ankle after crashing into a car door while riding a bike. I continued to run every day and was back at full speed 2 weeks after the incident.

During the first year of my streak, I ran 900 miles in previously-owned Adidas cross-training shoes. I ran 1100 miles in a new pair of On Running Cloud X shoes during the second year of my streak. A couple of weeks ago, I purchased a pair of On Running Cloudflow shoes and plan to run around 1000 miles in them. Perhaps I’ll win a race or two. They are more comfortable than the Cloud X shoes and seem to be more durable as well.

In the beginning, just run. Run in shoes that are comfortable enough. In the future, treat yourself to well-reviewed and respected running shoes. How many miles you run in your shoes is up to you.

Time Commitment

My minimum time commitment is 15 minutes. When viewed from this perspective, running every day isn’t crazy. This time includes changing into running clothes, tieing shoes, walking outside to the starting point, running one mile, and walking back inside. I do this when traveling or when otherwise crunched for time.

My bare minimum time commitment is 7 minutes. In July of this year, I ran a 6:20 mile in my water shoes while waiting in line to go kayaking at Oleta State Park. It was a spur-of-the-moment decision. The line was slow, and I hadn’t yet run that day; it was hot as hell, and thus I started to regret having to run later. After thinking about it for 2 minutes, I took off.

My typical time commitment is 60-90 minutes. This includes what I listed above and also warming up, yoga after running, and showering.

Ideal Distance

The most ideal running distance for me is one to three miles. It took almost two years and an ankle sprain to realize this. I enjoy longer runs; two of my favorite routes in Miami are six miles. But longer runs equate to more time commitment and a greater risk of injury.

Engaging in sprinting intervals would take up less time, but I fear that the risk of injury is greater than 1-3 mile runs. Plus, I enjoy running. I want to run every day. This is why I’ll continue to focus on 1-3 mile runs while tossing in longer runs in the 4-10 mile range now and then.

The End

My running streak will end. All things do. I thought it ended in April when I sprained my ankle. Thankfully, I managed to jog through a week of pain and was back to full speed within 2 weeks.

When the roads are pure ice while visiting my family in Michigan, I run on snow-covered yards. If a hurricane blasts through my hometown of Miami Beach, I’ll run in the parking garage even if it’s flooded. I’ve run when the wind chill was 0 and when the heat index was 100. I’ve run in torrential downpours and with 25-30 mph winds. And as I mentioned above, I ran in water shoes while waiting in line to go kayaking.

I’ll run whenever, wherever, and however, but not forever.

For further reading, take a gander at this article that I published a few eons ago: 8 Tips from Running 1+ Miles for 300 Consecutive Days.