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Here’s How Many Steps There Are In A Mile Running

Plus, the main factors that affect stride length.

As a certified personal trainer and running coach, I work with quite a range of individuals, from beginners who are just starting a running or fitness routine to competitive half marathon and marathon runners who are running over 80 miles per week.

While the latter group of athletes tends to be focused primarily on improving performance, beginners are often trying to establish a workout program with fitness goals centering around weight loss or improving overall health and wellness, which is when information like how many steps there are in a mile running becomes important.

Increasing your daily step count or achieving a minimum threshold for physical activity levels has been shown to provide numerous physical and mental health benefits and decrease the risk of various chronic diseases.

Therefore, using a pedometer, Fitbit, Apple Watch, or other fitness tracker that can keep track of your daily step count is a great way to ensure your average number of steps per day is meeting your daily step goal or the physical activity recommendations for overall health.

Knowing how many steps there are in a mile running or walking can help you plan your aerobic workouts both in terms of achieving your fitness goals and daily step count goals for overall physical activity.

In this guide to how many steps there are in a mile running, we will discuss factors that affect the average number of steps and provide an estimation for how many steps are in a mile based on your walking speed or running pace and your leg length.

A person taking a step.

What Is the Difference Between a Stride vs Step?

Before we look at the average number of steps in a mile running or walking, let’s quickly differentiate the terms step and stride.

A stride is one complete revolution of the gait cycle, beginning at initial ground contact or heel strike and ending when that same foot makes ground contact again.

For example, one walking stride would start as soon as you land on your right heel.

Then, it would continue as you push off on the right foot, land on the left foot, push off on the left foot, and then finally end just as the right heel makes ground contact again.

A step is half of one stride, so there are two steps for every one stride.

One walking step would be from the time that the right foot first makes ground contact at heel strike to when the left foot makes ground contact at heel strike.

Then another step would be taken from this point in the gait cycle—left foot heel strike—to when the right foot again makes ground contact.

A person running seeing how many steps there are in a mile.

What Factors Affect the Average Step Length?

There are various factors that can affect the average number of steps in a mile for any given individual.

The primary factors1Poleur, M., Ulinici, A., Daron, A., Schneider, O., Farra, F. D., Demonceau, M., Annoussamy, M., Vissière, D., Eggenspieler, D., & Servais, L. (2021). Normative data on spontaneous stride velocity, stride length, and walking activity in a non-controlled environment. Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases16(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13023-021-01956-5 that impact your step length or stride length are your height, age, sex, and the pace that you are running or walking.

#1: Leg Length

Height typically affects leg length, which in turn affects stride length.

In general, people who are taller have longer legs, which means that the average step length or average stride length for a taller runner or walker will generally be longer than for a shorter person, even when both runners or walkers have the same running speed or walking speed.

For example, if you compare the number of steps in a mile at a brisk walking pace of 15-minute miles between someone who is 5 feet tall, versus someone who is 6 feet tall, generally, the person who is 6 feet tall will have a longer stride length and thus take fewer steps per mile.

The shorter runner will have a higher cadence but shorter stride length, which means that he or she will be taking more steps per minute, but each walking step will be shorter or cover less distance than the taller walker.

A person running surrounded by yellow-leaved trees.

#2: Speed 

Running pace or walking pace also impacts your average stride length.

Generally, the length of your step increases the faster you run or walk.

Therefore, your average step length for brisk walking will be longer than your average step length during leisurely walking at a slower pace, and your average running stride length while jogging will be shorter than your average stride length during a fast run.

For example, one of the few studies that have really investigated the average stride length for runners evaluated running stride lengths for women in the 1984 Olympics based on race distances.

The analysis conducted by Jack Daniels2Step it up: Does running cadence matter? Not as much as previously thought. (2019, March 27). University of Michigan News. https://news.umich.edu/step-it-up-does-running-cadence-matter-not-as-much-as-previously-thought/ revealed that the average stride length running a marathon was 4‘10“, or 58 inches, for elite women.

In contrast, the average stride length running the 800m race was 6‘8“, or 80 inches.

This is significantly longer—about 1.4 times as long—for running the shorter distance at a faster speed than the average stride length for the marathon distance.

It makes sense that the faster you are running, the fewer steps you will take to cover the same distance, since increasing stride length and cadence are the two factors that help you run faster.

It is important to note that all of the athletes in this study were, by nature, elite runners since the data was gathered from the Olympic Games.

Recreational runners not only will likely have a shorter running stride length due to running slower, but even the mechanics may be different for elite runners, thus impacting running step length.

A person running along the coast.

#3: Age and Sex

Age and sex can factor into the number of steps in a mile primarily in terms of how age and sex influence the walking pace or running speed and leg length of the person.

In other words, women and seniors tend to have a shorter stride length and thus take more steps per mile than either a man or younger person, mainly because the average woman is slower and shorter than men3Poleur, M., Ulinici, A., Daron, A., Schneider, O., Farra, F. D., Demonceau, M., Annoussamy, M., Vissière, D., Eggenspieler, D., & Servais, L. (2021). Normative data on spontaneous stride velocity, stride length, and walking activity in a non-controlled environment. Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases16(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13023-021-01956-5 (both of which make for a shorter average running stride length for females vs males or average shorter step length).

Similarly, older adults tend to have poorer balance, lower muscle mass, and a lower cardiovascular fitness level, all of which can result in a slower pace for walking and running and can reduce average stride length.

Many fitness pedometers and watches4Barreira†, T., Rowe‡, D., & Kang‡, M. (2010). Parameters of Walking and Jogging in Healthy Young Adults. International Journal of Exercise Science3(1). https://digitalcommons.wku.edu/ijes/vol3/iss1/2/ use a default average step length of 2.2 feet (0.67 meters) for women and 2.5 feet (0.762 meters) for men, which can be converted to 4.4 feet and 5 feet for the average stride length for women and men, respectively.

In general, there is a lack of research data available to analyze these factors enough to really understand how age and sex influence the average number of steps in a mile.

A person running.

What Is the Average Number of Steps In a Mile Walking?

According to the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center,5STRIDE ANALYSIS. (n.d.). Ouhsc.edu. https://ouhsc.edu/bserdac/dthompso/web/gait/knmatics/stride.htm the average step length for women is approximately 26 inches and the average step length for men is approximately 31 inches.

This research also reports that the average person takes 2000 steps per mile while walking.

The 2,000 steps per mile for the average person estimation is used by basic pedometers and fitness trackers to estimate the distance walked based on the exact number of steps you take.

However, a study6Hoeger, W. W. K., Bond, L., Ransdell, L., Shimon, J. M., & Merugu, S. (2008). ONE-MILE STEP COUNT AT WALKING AND RUNNING SPEEDS. ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal12(1), 14–19. https://doi.org/10.1249/01.fit.0000298459.30006.8d in the American College of Sports Medicine’s (ACSM) Health & Fitness Journal demonstrates how factors such as leg length (height) and walking speed can affect the average number of steps in a mile walking. 

How Many Steps There Are In a Mile Running

The following chart provides the average number of steps in a mile running at different speeds based on height from data and running speeds collected in the ACSM study.

You can find your approximate height in inches or centimeters using the columns on the left, and then see the average number of steps in a mile running at different paces in the columns to the right.

Height (inches)Height (cm)6 min/mile8 min/mile10 min/mile12 min/mile
60 inches152.41136142317101997
62 inches157.481109139616831970
64 inches162.561082136916561943
66 inches167.641055134216291916
68 inches172.721028131516021889
70 inches170.181001128815751862
72 inches182.88947123415211808
74 inches187.96920120714941781

You can also get the exact number of steps you run in a mile by wearing a running watch or fitness tracker that counts your steps during your training or race.

To dive deeper into the average stride length, check out this net article:

References

  • 1
    Poleur, M., Ulinici, A., Daron, A., Schneider, O., Farra, F. D., Demonceau, M., Annoussamy, M., Vissière, D., Eggenspieler, D., & Servais, L. (2021). Normative data on spontaneous stride velocity, stride length, and walking activity in a non-controlled environment. Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases16(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13023-021-01956-5
  • 2
    Step it up: Does running cadence matter? Not as much as previously thought. (2019, March 27). University of Michigan News. https://news.umich.edu/step-it-up-does-running-cadence-matter-not-as-much-as-previously-thought/
  • 3
    Poleur, M., Ulinici, A., Daron, A., Schneider, O., Farra, F. D., Demonceau, M., Annoussamy, M., Vissière, D., Eggenspieler, D., & Servais, L. (2021). Normative data on spontaneous stride velocity, stride length, and walking activity in a non-controlled environment. Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases16(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13023-021-01956-5
  • 4
    Barreira†, T., Rowe‡, D., & Kang‡, M. (2010). Parameters of Walking and Jogging in Healthy Young Adults. International Journal of Exercise Science3(1). https://digitalcommons.wku.edu/ijes/vol3/iss1/2/
  • 5
    STRIDE ANALYSIS. (n.d.). Ouhsc.edu. https://ouhsc.edu/bserdac/dthompso/web/gait/knmatics/stride.htm
  • 6
    Hoeger, W. W. K., Bond, L., Ransdell, L., Shimon, J. M., & Merugu, S. (2008). ONE-MILE STEP COUNT AT WALKING AND RUNNING SPEEDS. ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal12(1), 14–19. https://doi.org/10.1249/01.fit.0000298459.30006.8d
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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.

2 thoughts on “Here’s How Many Steps There Are In A Mile Running”

  1. Hi Thomas. Interesting stuff. The 10,000 step target for many people certainly leads to some difficult … discussions … sometimes. Seemingly unlikely step counts are given for what seems like relatively modest exercise activities. Inevitably the doubters try to work out likely step rates and how likely the indicated count was to have been accurate. Compounded by offering their own step counts for the same activity – which, as you have demonstrated, can vary. Perhaps your article will help to resolve some of these discussions. Perhaps … 🙂

    Reply

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