Here’s what running a 5k on my lunch break for a week did to my fitness

I started running on my lunch breaks and it completely changed my motivation toward fitness for the better

Woman running through a park
(Image credit: Future)

The task of trying to balance work with a consistent fitness regime can be really hard going. After many tiresome weeks of trying to fit in my running training early in the morning before work, or later in the evening between dinner and bed, I decided to try running on my lunch break for a week, and the outcome did wonders for my fitness and motivation. 

It's really easy to beat yourself up about not fitting in a workout, but rather than let it bother you too much and put yourself off the idea of exercise altogether, try to look at where you do have free time in your day and what type of exercise could be feasible here. For me, I found joy in putting on one of the pairs of best running shoes for women and completing a 5K every day for a week during my lunch break. 

Not only is going for a run completely free, but you don't have to run that far or that fast to feel the benefits from it. According to a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, running for around 2.5 hours a week (at a slow or moderate pace), or 30 minutes of running five days a week, helps people to achieve maximum longevity benefits. Within the study, both men and women who ran this amount had significantly lower chances of dying from things like respiratory diseases or strokes.

I obviously can't account for these results myself after a week. However, after running for around 25 minutes a day for a week, I noticed genuine changes happen to my fitness.

I've always loved running, so my fitness was already at a fairly standard level, but the consistency of running at the same time every day for a prolonged duration really helped to improve my stamina and endurance. Or at least mentally you know that you can run further than a 5K when you do have more time, because you have consistently reached this baseline distance for a whole week.

Setting up a running watch to track a run

(Image credit: Future)

As much as I enjoy walking, especially when living in a city and using it to avoid busy public transport, I feel like I get more out of running. I have dabbled with walking toward a 10,000 step goal on one of the best running watches before, but I've never liked seeing a little message appear on the screen telling me to get up and move when I am working to deadlines at my computer. Whereas running at a higher intensity for 5K every day on my lunch break weirdly helped me feel like I was running off the other, much more sedentary part of my day. However, walking can get similar results to running—check out our walking or running: which is better for weight loss guide for more details. 

Lastly, if you find yourself feeling unproductive or lethargic at work, I do invite you to try a lunchtime run. The separation from your screen to being outdoors and moving gives your brain an essential rest from what might be challenging you or boring you. In a research paper which looked into running and its effect on the brain, researchers discovered that as little as ten minutes of moderate-intensity running increases blood flow to the part of your brain responsible for mood control and executive functions.

I certainly noticed a series of positive changes to my fitness and motivation after completing a 5K on my lunch break every day for a week. If you're not a fan of outdoor exercise perhaps you could fit in a twenty-minute run on one of the best treadmills into your working day?

Jessica Downey

Jessica is an experienced fitness writer with a passion for running. Her career in journalism began in local news and she holds a Masters in journalism. Jessica has previously written for Runners World, penning news and features on fitness, sportswear and nutrition. 

When she isn't writing up news and features for Fit&Well covering topics ranging from muscle building, to yoga, to female health and so on, she will be outdoors somewhere, testing out the latest fitness equipment and accessories to help others find top products for their own fitness journeys. Her testing pairs up nicely with her love for running. She recently branched out to running 10Ks and is trying to improve her time before moving on to larger races. Jessica also enjoys building on her strength in the gym and is a believer in health and wellness beginning in the kitchen. She shares all of this on her running Instagram account @jessrunshere which she uses for accountability and for connecting with like-minded fitness lovers.