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The magic 4 miles

I think it’s interesting: that after a few days, or a holiday without running, when momentum is lost and you have to kick yourself up the arse to get out there again, we always go for a 4-or-near-abouts-miler. In Maria’s last post, she worked out a 4-mile route when she needed to hit the roadĀ and I have a foolproof 4.35 (yes, exactly) route I go on to get me back in my stride.

OK, so not ALL of us, but I was thinking today about how magic 4 miles is. It’s long enough to feel like a good run (unless you’re the likes of Mo Farah or course); you can be out, back, showered and breakfasted in the hour; you can burn 400 calories by doing so, and that four times a week is a lovely 1600 calories, which researchers have found can prevent cardiovascular disease and prolong life. See, even moderate running has its benefits. Who has the time to run 75 miles a week? Not M&MRC, that’s for sure.

When Maria and I got together on Skype last weekend she told me where she’d been that day in the cold of Buenos Aires; a 4-miler. When my boyfriend stepped out to do a run with me the other weekend (which doesn’t happen very often) I picked a nice 4-miler to go on, which would show him some extra loops he could add to his own routes. He might have started off slow, but during the 4 miles, he picked himself up until we were burning it the last half mile to a sprint finish down our road, neither wanting to back off. If he had gone on his usual run after a hiatus, he wouldn’t have been able to do that. Most of the time, he’ll head out for longer runs, but not often at all. Today he said: “I’m going to go shorter distances, but more often.” That’s the spirit.

So, when in doubt, 4 miles it is. It’s perfect. Just half again is a 10km, which is psychologically fabulous. Although, if you’re anything like me, you won’t be back, showered and lunched in an hour with that one.

For more running health benefits (of 4 miles or more) checkĀ out this useful site: