What’s A Good Running Pace? Average Running Speed By Age + Sex, Explored

When you run a race, it is easy to see how you stack up compared to others in your age group or gender category. 

However, for everyday training and for those runners who take a solely recreational approach to running and never enter races, it can be helpful to know what the average running speed of a human is.

So, how fast does the average human run? What is a good running pace? How fast does a human run for an everyday training run? What is the average run speed of a human for various distances?

In this article, we will look at average running speeds for different distances, aiming to answer the questions: What is a good running pace, and how fast does the average human run for various distances?

We will cover: 

  • What’s a Good Running Pace?
  • Average Running Speed for Humans

Let’s jump in!

A person tying their shoe.

What’s a Good Running Pace?

Whether you are trying to determine what is a “good“ running pace or even the average human running speed, there are a couple of key factors to consider in order to best answer the question.

For example, when determining the average human running speed, are you wondering about the average speed a human can sprint all out for a 100 meter dash or the average human running speed when running a mile or full marathon?

Here are some of the top factors that determine a good running speed or the average pace for runners:

#1: Age

Children run slower than adults due to their smaller body size and immature development.

Essentially, young runners are still developing and growing, which means that they may have shorter legs, less muscle mass, less muscle strength, and poorer cardiovascular efficiency.

The peak age for maximal speed is generally in the mid-20s for sprinting and shorter distances and slightly older (upwards to the early 30s) for long-distance running.

After the mid-30s, and certainly after the age of 40, the average running speed for humans drops and continues to drop more significantly with every decade of life.

After the age of 30 or so, we begin to naturally lose muscle mass, and anabolic hormones, such as testosterone, begin to decrease.

Aerobic fitness and endurance also begin to slowly decline with age.

People running.

#2: Sex

Your biological sex (gender assigned at birth) also has a significant impact on what constitutes a good running pace.

Note here that the terms “men“ and “women“ refer to males assigned at birth and females assigned at birth, respectively.

Given the differences in body composition, mainly the higher body fat percentage in women vs men and the longer limbs and stronger muscles of men vs women, the average running speed for men is faster than the average running speed for women.

For these reasons, world records for running distances, from sprinting, through the mile, to long-distance races such as the marathon, are faster for men and for women.

The exception here is potentially with ultramarathon running, where female runners seem to be able to potentially match or even outperform male counterparts.

People running.

#3: Distance 

As mentioned, answering the question, “What is a good running pace, or how fast can most people run?“ chiefly depends on the distance you are discussing.

The average sprint speed is much faster than the average mile pace, average 5K pace, average 10K pace, average half marathon pace, and average marathon pace, all of which get progressively slower as the distance gets longer. 

Therefore, when it comes to the average speed for runners, or what qualifies as a “good running pace,“ you absolutely have to narrow down the distance you are interested in assessing.

#4: Effort

When determining a “good running pace,“ you must consider whether you mean a good pace for a training run or a race/max effort.

The average running speed for a race will be faster than when running the same distance in training.

People running.

#5: Experience Level

The last key factor that must be considered when determining the average running pace for men and women or a good running pace for women and men is the experience level of the runners.

A good running pace for a beginner is going to be slower than a good running pace for an experienced runner or elite runner.

All runners can remember back to their first couple of runs when they were woefully out of shape, and their bodies had yet to adapt to the physical stresses and cardiovascular demands of running. 

It takes time to build up your endurance, strength, and aerobic capacity as a runner, as well as to hone and practice your pacing strategies.

Therefore, running a 10-minute mile is good for a beginner who has only just begun running recently or who hasn’t been doing much consistent training.

People running.

It is expected that your mile time will improve significantly as your body adapts to running and you step up your level of training and comfort with the sport.

Novice and beginner runners are still building up their cardiovascular fitness, musculoskeletal strength, and neuromuscular coordination to run well.

Runners who have been running for at least six months or numerous years have already developed their cardiovascular fitness and strength.

It takes time for the physiological adaptations from running training to manifest in the body, and it takes time to adequately build up your training volume and intensity in a safe and progressive manner. 

Again, here the thinking is that a beginner runner is still developing and has more potential for significant improvements. 

For example, if a novice or a beginner runner can run a 7-minute mile with very little training, he or she not only displays quite a bit of natural talent but likely will be able to run a mile much faster after following more consistent training. 

So, how fast does a human run? Let’s check it out!

People running.

Average Running Speed for Humans

Note that speed refers to miles per hour or kilometers per hour, whereas “pace“ refers to how long it takes you to run a mile or a kilometer at that particular speed.

Given the variety of factors just discussed that can affect a typical running speed for a human or a “good running speed,” here are some specific data points for the average speed of running different distances for men and women and good running speeds for men and women of different levels:

What’s the Average Running Pace for Training? 

According to Strava, the average running pace for a logged run is 9:53 per mile. This works out to an average running speed of just over 6 miles per hour.

This data is aggregated from millions of users from 2021.

This average running pace is for all logged runs—training runs, workouts, and races—so the average training pace for runners might be slightly slower (since race pace runs would bring down the average running pace in this data set).

Other Strava reports suggest that the average running pace for a man is 9:03 per mile and 10:21 per mile for a woman. Here, we can see that the running speed for men is indeed faster than the average running speed for women.

Someone jogging.

What Is the Average Jogging Speed?

According to some sources, the average jogging speed is 4 to 6 mph, which corresponds to a jogging speed of 6.44 to 9.66 kilometers per hour.

Therefore, if we take the average jogging speed to be 5 mph and 8 km/h, we can say that the average jog pace is 12 minutes per mile or 7:30 per kilometer.

Average Running Speed for the Mile

Running Level reports that the average mile time across all ages, genders, and abilities is 7:04.

This works out to an average running speed of 8.49 mph or 13.66 kph.

Average Race Finish Times

Run Repeat provides a race distance finish time calculator that allows you to compare your running race performances to the finish times of age- and sex-matched runners based on data collected over 20 years from 35 million race results from more than 28,000 races. 

You can look at the average running speed for the 5k, 10k, half marathon, and marathon, which can be used to estimate the average running pace for each distance based on sex and age.

People running.

Using the 50th percentile finish time for each race distance, we created the following table to show the average running pace for different race distances based on sex:

DistanceAverage Finish TimeAverage PaceAverage Men’s Finish TimeAverage Men’s PaceAverage Women’s Finish TimeAverage Women’s Pace
Half Marathon2:14:5910:181:59:489:082:24:0310:59
People setting up to sprint.

What Is the Average Running Speed for Sprinting?

Engineer Calcs did an interesting analysis in 2019 to determine the top human sprinting speed based on factors like age, skill level, and sex.

Sprinting records from sites like Athletic.net and Wikipedia.com and race results from the 2018 World Masters Athletics Championships in Malaga were used to average sprint speeds based on the top 10 100-meter performances for each group. 

We updated the data to be current and then calculated the average human athlete sprinting speed across both sexes to be 18.23 mph (3:17.5 minutes per mile), or 29.33 kilometers per hour.

The average sprinting speed for men is 19.52 mph (3:04.4 minutes per mile), or 31.4 kilometers per hour, and the average sprinting speed for women is 17.12 mph (3:30 minutes per mile), or 27.55 kilometers per hour.

If you are curious to see how the average human running speed compares with the running speed of different animals, check out our guide that looks at the running speed of different species of animals here.

A cheetah.
Photo of author
Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, as well as a NASM-Certified Nutrition Coach and UESCA-certified running, endurance nutrition, and triathlon coach. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

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