After you’ve been running for several months or longer, it’s natural to become interested in increasing the distance that you run. For example, you might progress from running 2-3 miles a day to 4 miles a day, and then maybe even 5 miles most days.
Another good approach to increasing your endurance and aerobic capacity for running is to build up the length of a long run. Rather than uniformly increasing the distance you run for your everyday runs, you can add a weekly long run and build up the distance of that endurance workout.
A good option would be to keep most of the runs each week at 3-5 miles but to substitute one of them for a long run of 6 miles. Running 6 miles will take longer but will afford excellent fitness benefits.
But how long does it take to run 6 miles? What’s the average 6 mile run time?
In this article, we will look at the average time to run 6 miles and will help you answer, “How long does it take to run 6 miles?” in the context of your own personal fitness level and running speed.
We will cover:
- How Far Is 6 Miles?
- How Long Does It Take to Run 6 Miles?
- How to Run 6 Miles Faster
Let’s jump in!
How Far Is 6 Miles?
If you’re more familiar with kilometers, the notion of running 6 miles might feel completely foreign.
Because one mile is equal to 1.609 kilometers, running 6 miles is approximately the same as running 10k (6.2 miles).
If you decide to run 6 miles on a standard 400-meter running track, you will need to complete just over 24 full laps.
How Long Does It Take to Run 6 Miles?
One of the first questions you’ll want to answer when you’re planning to step up your long run distance to 6 miles is, “How long does it take to run 6 miles?”
As should be inferred, the amount of time it will take to run 6 miles depends on the pace you are able to maintain for the 6 miles or your average running speed.
Factors that affect your average running speed include your fitness level, experience level as a runner, effort level, body size, sex, age, the terrain you’re running on, and the weather conditions.
With that said, most runners will run 6 miles in 30-72 minutes, though this is quite a big range, so it’s not particularly useful for budgeting your own workout time.
Let’s consider the average time to run 6 miles.
When it comes to training runs, according to Strava, the average pace for a logged run is 9:53 per mile.
Taking this information, we can extrapolate out the average time to run 6 miles.
9:53 = 9.88 minutes x 6 miles = 59.38 = 59:17
Therefore, we can estimate the average 6 mile time for training runs to be about 59 minutes and 17 seconds, or just about one hour.
Again, this is a good ballpark for how long it takes to run 6 miles for a regular training run.
When it comes to racing 6 miles rather than just doing a 6-mile training run, the average 6 mile run times drop significantly.
Running Level reports that the average 10k finish time for men across all age groups is 46:43.
This means that the average male runner runs a 10k at a pace of 7 minutes and 31 seconds per mile pace or 4 minutes and 40 seconds per kilometer.
For women, the average 10k finish time is 54:13, which works out to 8:43 per mile and 5:25 per kilometer.
Because the 10k distance is just a bit longer than 6 miles, it’s reasonable to use this data as a ballpark for the average 6 mile times for race efforts.
Since the range of abilities varies widely, we’ve put together a table that shows you how long it takes to run 2 miles at different common running speeds and paces.
|Speed (mph)||Pace (min/mile)||How Long Does It Take to Run 6 Miles?|
How to Run 6 Miles Faster
No matter if you are well ahead of the average time it takes to run 6 miles or substantially slower, every runner can take steps to improve their 6-mile run time.
Here are some things you can do to run 6 miles faster:
#1: Build Your Endurance
The first time you run six miles, just finishing the distance will be a challenging feat, and you might have to take a walk/run approach to budget your energy.
Once you can run 6 miles without stopping, you can work on running faster.
One of the best things you can do to start running 6 miles faster is to gradually build up the length of one long run per week.
This long run will help develop your cardiovascular and muscular endurance so that you can run longer without stopping.
The better your endurance becomes, the easier it will feel to run 6 miles, allowing you to focus on running faster instead of still struggling to complete the distance without stopping.
#2: Increase Your Volume
Increasing the number of miles you run per week or your training volume is a highly effective way to build your running stamina, strength, and speed.
If you’re only running 6 miles once a week and doing just 1-2 shorter runs the rest of the week, gradually add additional runs on other days until you’re running 5 per week.
You should have at least one rest day per week.
If you are prone to injuries, swap out some of your runs for low-impact cross-training exercises to reduce your risk of injuries while still improving your fitness.
#3: Run Intervals
Adding speed workouts to your training program, whether in the form of intervals on the track or fartlek runs (throwing in bursts of fast running during your distance runs), is one of the most effective ways to run faster.
Interval workouts improve your leg speed and condition your heart, lungs, and muscles to handle faster paces without feeling exhausted.
#4: Incorporate Hill Sprints
Hill sprints are often considered mostly for shorter-distance races, but they are a great way to improve your running form, turnover, and leg strength and speed, which can still be helpful for longer runs.
Form and turnover are key. Pick a hill that takes 30-60 seconds to sprint up.
#5: Don’t Neglect Tempo Runs
Tempo runs involve running at your lactate threshold pace, which occurs around 83-88% of your VO2 max.
The lactate threshold is the point at which your body has to switch from producing most of the ATP (cellular energy) through aerobic metabolism to producing most of the energy through anaerobic glycolysis.
This metabolic switch is accompanied by fatigue and pain in the legs because anaerobic metabolism produces acidic byproducts.
Tempo runs help increase this tipping point, allowing you to run faster and further before fatigue sets in.
Tempo runs are usually at least 20 minutes or longer at threshold pace, whereas threshold workouts can involve shorter intervals at this pace.
Threshold pace is roughly the pace you could run if you were running all out for one hour.
Therefore, if you run a 7-minute/mile pace for a 10-mile run, your finish time will be 70 minutes, so your threshold pace might be somewhere around 6:55 per mile.
If you are a slower runner–say running 10 miles in 90 minutes–your threshold pace might be closer to your 10k race pace (8:45 or so).
#6: Pay Attention to Your Pace
Your average 6 mile run time will improve if you’re able to run at a steady pace.
One of the challenges for beginner runners is developing a sense of pacing.
It’s common to start a run by running way too fast in hopes of getting a good time.
However, if you don’t have the fitness level to support that fast pace for the entire run, you end up slowing down so much that your finish time is even slower than it would have been if you had run at an even pace that you could have handled for the whole run.
Trying to hold a steady pace throughout the entire 6 miles will help you run a faster time.
#7: Start Strength Training
Aim to perform 2-3 total-body strength training workouts per week, focusing on compound exercises like squats, lunges, step-ups, deadlifts, push-ups, pull-ups, rows, and core exercises.
Strength training builds muscle, which reduces the relative workload of running on the muscles of your legs.
This enables you to have a more powerful stride and prevents your legs from feeling so tired in the later miles of a long run.
Strength training also reduces the risk of injuries by strengthening your muscles, connective tissues, and bones so that they can better handle the impact and forces of running.
With consistent training and a balanced, varied workout routine, you should be able to run faster and further, improving your 6-mile run time.
For some strength training workouts to get you started in that aspect, check out our bodyweight workout for runners.