How Long Does It Take To Run a Mile? + Tips To Improve Your Time

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When you are just getting started on your running journey, one of the first running goals that most beginners set is to run a mile without stopping. Running a mile without stopping can seem really daunting during your first couple of workouts when you may be barely able to run for more than a block without needing to walk.

However, with a little bit of training and staying consistent with your workouts, you will soon find that you will not run not only be able to run one mile but several miles in a row.

But how long does it take to run a mile? What is the average time to run a mile or the average mile time for beginners and more experienced runners?

In this article, we will look at how long it takes to run a mile and average mile run times for runners of different levels.

We will cover: 

  • How Far Is a Mile?
  • What Is the Average Mile Time?
  • How Long Does It Take to Run a Mile At Different Paces?
  • Factors that Affect How Long It Takes to Run a Mile

Let’s jump in!

A person running on a track.

How Far Is a Mile?

For runners and walkers who are more familiar with kilometers, one mile is 1,609 meters, which is equivalent to 1.61 kilometers.

If you decide to run a mile on a standard 400-meter running track, you will need to run just over 4 full laps because a mile is 1609 meters, and four laps on the track is 1600 meters

Although the exact length of a city block varies based on the city and streets, most city blocks are approximately 1/20th of a mile, so if you want to run a mile along the city streets, you will need to run about 20 blocks.

What Is the Average Mile Time?

Once you decide you want to start running, a common question becomes, “How long does it take to run a mile?”

Knowing the average time it takes to run a mile can help you budget your workout time within your schedule and set reasonable goals as you build your fitness.

Although we will discuss the average time to run a mile, it should come as no surprise that the amount of time it will take you to run a mile will depend entirely on the speed at which you are running or the pace that you are maintaining over the duration of the run.

A person running on the road.

Depending on your running pace, running a mile can take anywhere from a little under 5 minutes (if you’re an elite runner!) to over 15 minutes, although most people will cover the distance somewhere in the 6-13 minute range.

Since this is a fairly big range, let’s consider the average mile time for most runners, though it’s not that easy to suss out this information.

According to Strava, when it comes to training, the average pace for a logged run is 9:53 per mile.

There are millions of Strava users, and this data comes from the average across both sexes over the entire year (2021), so this is a good approximation of a typical training pace.

Of course, most of the runs logged on this fitness app are longer than a mile, so this average mile run time represents the average pace per mile during a longer run rather than the average run mile time if you try to run an all-out mile on a track.

A person running through a tunnel.

According to Running Level, a “good” mile run time is 7:04. This is the average mile time across all ages, sexes, and experience levels.

A “good” 1 mile run time for men is 6:37. This is the average mile time for men of all ages and experience levels. 

Taking the average run mile time for men in their running prime (ages 25-30), the average mile run times can be further broken down based on ability levels. 

Here are the average mile run times for men in the 25-30 years old age range:

  • Beginner Runners: 9:25 (5:51 minutes per kilometer)
  • Novice Runners: 7:48 (4:51 minutes per kilometer)
  • Intermediate Runners: 6:37 (4:07 minutes per kilometer)
  • Advanced Runners: 5:46 (3:35 minutes per kilometer)
  • Elite Runners: 5:08 (3:12 minutes per kilometer)
  • World Record: 3:47 (2:21 minutes per kilometer)
A strong runner on a track.

Turning to average mile times for women, Running Level reports that a good mile run time for women is 7:44, which is the average mile time for women across all ages and experience levels.

For women in the 25 to 30-year-old category, the average mile running times are as follows:

  • Beginner Runners: 10:40 (6:38 minutes per kilometer)
  • Novice Runners: 9:00 (5:36 minutes per kilometer)
  • Intermediate Runners: 7:44 (4:49 minutes per kilometer)
  • Advanced Runners: 6:48 (4:13 minutes per kilometer)
  • Elite Runners: 6:05 (3:47 minutes per kilometer)
  • World Record: 4:13 (2:37 minutes per kilometer)

How Long Does It Take to Run a Mile At Different Paces?

Since the range of abilities varies widely, we’ve put together a table that shows you how long it takes to run a mile at different common running speeds in miles per hour and kilometers per hour.

You probably won’t know this number unless you’re running on a treadmill, but the table can also be helpful working backward the other way, in that you can look at your average mile run pace and then determine how many miles or kilometers you can run in an hour if you maintain the same pace.

A person running down the road.

The table is set up to show the miles per hour, and kilometers per hour, followed by how long it takes to run one mile at that specific speed in minutes and seconds.

Total Mile Time: (min: sec)
MphKm/hTotal Mile Time: (min: sec)MphKm/hTotal Mile Time: (min: sec)MphKm/hTotal Mile Time: (min: sec)

Factors That Affect How Long It Takes to Run a Mile

There are several different factors that affect your running speed, or how long it takes you to run a mile, including the following:

#1: Your Fitness Level

Runners with a higher aerobic capacity (VO2 max) and better endurance are able to run a mile faster than runners in poor physical shape. 

#2: Your Experience Level

We often conflate fitness level and experience level, but they are actually two distinct factors that can affect how long it takes you to run a mile. Experience with running will help you better pace yourself and know how to fully push yourself when you are trying to run as fast as possible. 

Novice runners often struggle to hold back enough at the beginning of a run, even one as short as a single mile, and run out of gas towards the end. This can decrease your overall performance and will increase your average mile run time.

A person running at a strong effort level.

#3: Your Effort Level

How hard you’re pushing yourself when you run will affect your average mile run time. Are you trying to run a mile as fast as possible, or are you running at a comfortable, conversational training pace? 

In other words, are you looking to set a mile PR or trying to run a mile at a good training pace so that you can build up your endurance and run longer without stopping?

#4: Your Sex

Average mile times tend to be faster for men than for women because men have a greater percentage of lean body mass relative to fat mass and a larger cardiovascular “engine“ (heart and lungs).

#5: Your Age

Older runners tend to run slower due to a decrease in muscle mass and aerobic capacity.

#6: Your Body Weight and Composition 

Runners who have a higher body fat percentage may potentially run a mile slower than those with a lean frame because it is more muscularly- and cardiovascularly demanding to move a larger body, and body fat does not contribute to an increase in strength. 

Of course, there are tons of runners who live in “overweight” or “obese” bodies who are faster than leaner runners.

Two people running in the sand, which will effect how long it takes to run a mile.

#7: The Terrain

The terrain you run on can affect your running speed. For example, running a mile on a treadmill, track, or flat road is easier than running on hilly roads (or a treadmill on an incline) or trails, soft grass, or sand.

Regardless of your current fitness level and experience level, it should be possible to improve your mile run time.

The best way to run a faster mile time is to follow a structured training plan with a variety of workouts, including distance runs to build endurance, speed workouts and hill workouts to increase leg speed and strength, strength training workouts, and technique drills, including strides and form drills.

Ready to take on this challenge and get that mile-time PR? Take a look at some more in-depth tips on how to run faster here so we can help you get there!

People running on a track.
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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