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How Long Does It Take To Run A Mile + Tips To Run Faster

Setting yourself a running goal? Trying to get a bit fitter and faster? Or now that you can run continuously without stopping, you want to know how long should it take to run a mile.

Read on for advice on average mile times for both elite runners and beginner runners. Plus get some tips on how to run a mile faster.

This post looks at:

  • How far is a mile?
  • How many laps is a mile?
  • How long does it take to run a mile for a beginner?
  • How long does it take the average person to run a mile?
  • How long does it take to run a mile at different paces?
  • What is the average mile time?
  • Tips to run faster.

Let’s get started!

how long does it take to run a mile

How Far Is A Mile?

If you’re more used to metric measurements, one mile in meters is 1609 meters, 1.6 km.

How Many Laps Is A Mile?

The fastest mile times are on a track. One mile is 4 laps of a standard 400m athletics track.

Or to be exact 4 x 400m plus 9m extra.

How Long Does It Take To Run A Mile For A Beginner?

A good mile time for a beginner runner is 10-12 minutes but the average mile time will be slower for longer distances. These times are based on race results so training miles will be typically slower.

How Long Does It Take The Average Person To Run A Mile?

A good mile time for an average runner across all ages, genders, and abilities ranges from 7 to 11 minutes for women and 6 to 9 minutes for men.

These good mile times are based on research by Running Level. This related post for average mile times by age group and sex includes average times for female runners and male runners based on their experience levels.

Running Pace

Pace is the time taken to complete a run divided by the distance in miles. This is your running pace in minutes per mile.

Pace is the inverse (flipside) of running speed – the distance covered in an hour measured in miles per hour.

It’s easier to use pace when you’re working out your expected average time for longer runs.

mile time

How Long Does It Take To Run A Mile At Different Paces?

You can quickly convert speed in miles per hour (mph) to pace in minutes per mile (min/m) by dividing 60 by speed. To help you here are some common running times:

  • How long does it take to run a mile at 5 mph? 12 min/mile.
  • How long does it take to run a mile at 6 mph? 10 min/mile.
  • How long does it take to run a mile at 7 mph? 8.6 min/mile.
  • How long does it take to run a mile at 8 mph? 7.5 min/mile.
  • How long does it take to run a mile at 9 mph? 6.7 min/mile.

What Is The Average Mile Time?

Average mile run times refer to typical running times based on data collected from a set of runners. Often data is collated from past races or training apps such as Strava.

A lot of different factors can affect running speed and average mile times such as:

  • Is the data from training runs or racing?
  • The distance of the runs. Runners can run faster over shorter distances. Your average mile time running 10 miles will be a lot slower than a flat-out run over just one mile.
  • Running terrain, altitude, elevation, and weather conditions will all affect one-mile running times.
  • The size of the data group – the larger the data set the better to get an accurate representation of running speed.
  • Age, gender, current fitness level, and running experience of the data group. An in-shape runner will run faster than a complete beginner.

Average mile times are only an approximate guide to actual running speed. Most of the time, average mile times quoted are slower than the time it takes most runners to run a timed mile on a running track.

How Long Should It Take To Run A Mile?

The world record time is 3:43:13 set by Hicham El Guerrouj for men and 4:12:33 set by Sifan Hassan for women.

We are all slow compared with these elite runners. That’s why it’s best not to get too focused on average mile pace across all abilities and instead work on improving your own mile time.

Becoming a runner is a journey. A beginner runner works on getting the basics dialed down. Proper running form, being able to run without stopping, strength training to build a resilient runner’s body, and competing in your first 5K race.

How long it takes to run one mile isn’t important in those first few months of running. Concentrate on running a little further each week and building your running base – this will be enough to improve your running times.

More experienced runners, 6 to 12 months into their running journey, can start to work on speed. At this stage, improving your average mile run time can be a great way to become a better runner and will improve your running over longer distances.

Tips To Improve Your Running Speed

Being able to run a faster mile will help with your running times over all distances from 5K to a half marathon or longer distances.

Elite marathon runners have extremely fast average mile times. Eliud Kipchoge’s world record of 2:01:09 set at the 2022 Berlin Marathon had an average pace of 4:37 min/mile. Incredible! Kipchoge’s fastest mile time is 3:50.40.

These times may seem superhuman but Kipchoge’s average marathon pace is 20% slower than his fastest mile time. Training to run faster will make longer race distances at a slower speed seem easier.

So how do you train to improve your fitness level and run faster?

average mile times

#1 Running Form

It’s best not to overthink your running form, but there are some basics to get right when you first start running:

  • Run tall – keep upright and avoid slouching.
  • Look forward and focus on the ground 10 to 20 feet ahead. This will help you run tall and avoid stumbling on uneven terrain.
  • Find a natural arm swing. Arms relaxed, shoulders down with your arms bent at 90 degrees.
  • Try and improve your cadence. This is your step rate – the number of steps you take per minute. Cadence for novice runners is normally 160 to 165 – try and aim for at least 170+ steps per minute.
  • Land with your feet under your body. If you’re over-striding your foot strike is slamming your weight down onto your heels.

The best way to improve running form is with speed drills and strides.

#2 Strength Training

Stronger running legs can run faster plus they’re less prone to injury. For beginner runners bodyweight exercises for runners are the best way to train stronger legs and all-over core body strength.

Tips to run faster
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#3 Speedwork

Add speed sessions to your training such as interval runs, fartlek, and hill repetitions to boost your heart rate. To run faster, interval sessions need to be short such as 200-400m intervals, and even shorter bursts of speed.

Try out the speed sessions in this article: How To Run A Mile Faster In Just 4 Weeks.

Fit speed sessions into your training schedule around your long runs and easy runs allowing plenty of time for rest days and recovery.

It’s easy to get carried away with speed training and push too hard too soon. Be wary of the risk of injury and work within your level of fitness.

For more tips read this related post: How To Run Faster (Tips To Achieve Your Best Times)