In athletics, there are a variety of events such as middle and long distance runs like the 800 meters, 1500 meters, 5000 meters, and the marathon. In addition, there are hurdles, jumps, throws, and combination events like the decathlon. There are also short sprints.
The fastest, shortest track and field event is the 100-meter dash. This event occurs on the straightaway portion of a 400-meter track.
Most runners like to compare themselves with other peers in their sex and age groups to see how they stack up according to different running distances and times.
Even though the 100 meter dash may not be the most popular race distance for all age levels, it’s interesting to see where we all stand regarding this distance and our current fitness levels.
This guide will look at the 100 meter distance, current 100 meter world records, and what an average 100 meter time looks like based on age, sex, and fitness level.
- How Long is 100 Meters?
- What are the Current 100 Meter World Records?
- What Factors Can Impact Your 100 Meter Time?
- Average 100 Meter Times By Age and Sex
- What’s A Good 100M Time?
- Tips To Improve Your 100 Meter Time
Let’s jump in!
How Long is 100 Meters?
Before we look into the average time for the 100m dash, or what’s a good 100m time for different age groups, let’s get an idea of exactly how long 100 meters is.
100 meters is .1 of a kilometer, 328 feet, or 109.36 yards. On a standard outdoor 400-meter track, 100 meters is one straightaway on the track, excluding the curves.
In the 100m event, athletes begin in race blocks on the track lined up side by side and stay in their designated lane for the entirety of the distance.
What are the Current 100 Meter World Records?
According to World Athletics, the current 100-meter world record is held by Usain Bolt from Jamaica and was set on August 16, 2009, at the Olympiastadion in Berlin, Germany, with a time of 9.58 seconds.USA’s Florence Griffith-Joyner holds the women’s 100-meter world record with a time of 10.49 seconds. It was set in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA, on July 16, 1988.
What Factors Can Impact Your 100 Meter Time?
Deciding what’s a good 100m time depends on several factors, including your age, sex, ability, and current fitness level.
Regarding sex, most male runners genetically have more muscle mass and fast twist muscle density, which makes them faster runners overall in most distances, as you can see by the world record times listed above.
Age also affects our performance as research suggests that the prime running age category is between 25-35, and our performance begins to decline after age 35.
Our fitness level will also affect our performance no matter what distance we are running. However, fitness levels are one of the factors that we can actually control, unlike our age and sex. We can improve our 100m time with specific training sessions and exercises.
Average 100 Meter Times By Age and Sex
Let’s break down the average 100 meter times by age group, the average 100 meter times by sex, and, in addition, by fitness level to see what a good 100m time is for each range.
Running Level breaks down average running times for an extensive range of distances ranging from 100 meters to the marathon and beyond by sex, age, and fitness level. This data is divided into five fitness levels: beginner, novice, intermediate, advanced, and elite.
Here are the definitions of each fitness level according to Running Level so you can find which column will be the most accurate average for you:
- Beginner runners are defined as faster than 5% of other runners and have run for at least one month.
- Novice runners are defined as faster than 20% of runners and have been running for at least six months.
- Intermediate runners are defined as faster than 50% of other runners and have run regularly for two years.
- Advanced runners are defined as faster than 80% of other runners and have more than five years of running experience.
- Elite runners are defined as faster than 95% of other runners and have over five years of running experience. Most have dedicated themselves to competing in the sport professionally.
Let’s take a look at the average time for the 100m dash:
Average 100 Meter Times: Men
Average 100 Meter Times: Women
What’s a Good 100M Time?
Now that we have the average 100 meter times, what’s a good 100m time for your age, sex, and fitness level?
If we look at the different running level descriptions, an intermediate runner runs faster than 50% of runners.
Therefore, a good 100m time would be that of an intermediate runner for your age group.
The advanced and elite times put you in even a higher category as you would run faster than 80% or 95% of other runners, respectively.
Therefore, a good 100 meter time for men in the 20 year old age group would be 21 seconds, and a good 100 meter time for women would be 25 seconds.
To find a good 100m time that would correspond to you personally, refer to the tables above and choose your sex and age group and the intermediate level.
Then, compare that data to your current 100m running time to see where you stand compared to your peers.
Take a look at the following tips to improve your 100 meter time and sprinting speed in general.
Tips To Improve Your 100 Meter Time
#1: Train Your Top Speed With Short Sprints
Short-distance, high-intensity interval training will help improve your top speed, turnover, and running form.
For the 100 meter event, you will want to train even shorter distances in your interval sprinting workouts.
Perform these short interval workouts on a track, or if you do not have access to a track, on a flat surface where you won’t need to stop for traffic or any other obstacles that could get in your way.
Focus on good form, a powerful leg drive, and a strong arm swing while performing these sprints. You don’t want to be careless with your form and end up pulling a muscle!
Also, ensure you warm up thoroughly before working on all-out sprints.
- Warm-up: 10-15 min jog with 5 x 10-second strides
- Run: 6 x 40 meter-Flying Sprints with 3-5 minutes of recovery between each one.
- Cooldown: 10-15 min jog
- Warm-up: 10-15 min jog with 5 x 10-second strides
- Repeat 4x: Sprint 50m, rest 60 seconds, sprint 50m, rest 3-5 minutes.
- Cooldown: 10-15 minutes
#2: Include Hillwork
Including short, powerful hill repeats in your training program is an excellent way to increase your speed, power, and overall running economy.
Try some short hill sprint workouts to get started:
- Warm up for 10-15 minutes with an easy jog
- Sprint 5 seconds uphill at an effort of 9+ on the RPE scale.
- Walk back down to your starting point.
- Rest completely for 1-2 minutes at the starting point until you are ready to go again.
- Repeat 8-12 times, depending on your fitness level.
- Cool down for 10-15 minutes with an easy jog.
As your fitness improves, you can increase the uphill sprint time to 10 seconds.
For more hill repeats, check out my complete guide here.
#3: Add Track Drills To Your Warm Up
After your 10-15 minute warm-up, add some track drills to get your nervous system firing on all cylinders, your mobility and range of motion in check, and prepare you for your workout.
Here are some specific drills you can include in your warm ups:
- A Skips
- Butt Kicks
- High Knees
- Single and Double Leg Hops
- Fast Feet
#4: Add Plyometrics To Your Strength Training Sessions
As you have undoubtedly heard over and over, strength training is essential for runners to improve strength, power, and mobility and reduce the risk of injuries. Especially when performing short, powerful, all-out sprints like the 100 meter dash.
Plyometrics, or jumping exercises, are excellent for improving your muscular power. Add bouts of plyometrics to your strength training sessions with exercises such as:
- Jump squats
- Jump lunges
- Box jumps
- Single-leg box jumps
- Jumping jacks
- Jump rope
- Long jumps
- Depth Jumps
Ready to get training to improve that 100-meter time? To start, click here for more information on plyometrics for speed and power.