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How To Run A Mile Without Stopping: Training Plan + 8 Tips To Get Started

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Beginner runners often want to know how to run a mile without stopping. 

Perhaps they have attempted a few runs and found that they are completely breathless by the end of the block, or have been running for a couple weeks but can’t seem to run a mile without stopping to walk somewhere along the way.

If this sounds like you or you are thinking about starting running and want to know how to run a mile without stopping, you’re in good company. 

Running a mile without stopping is likely among the top three most popular running goals amongst beginner runners.

In this article, we will discuss how to run a mile without stopping by building your stamina along with a training plan for beginner runners that will progress you to running one mile nonstop.

We will cover: 

  • How Far Is a Mile?
  • How Long Does It Take to Run a Mile?
  • Tips for How to Run a Mile Without Stopping
  • How to Run a Mile Without Stopping Training Plan

Let’s get started!

A person running on the road.

How Far Is a Mile?

It may seem a bit basic, but it’s always a good idea to have some familiarity with the distance you have as your running goal.

A mile is the equivalent of 5,280 feet or 1,609 meters. On a standard running track, a full mile is just slightly longer than four complete laps.

How Long Does It Take to Run a Mile?

Many new runners want to know how long it takes to run one mile. Of course, it depends entirely on how fast you are running.

The majority of runners can run a mile in under 15 minutes. This is equivalent to 4 mph, which is attainable with a very brisk walk.

Beginner runners might be able to run a mile in the 9-12 minute range, with several minutes of variation on either end.

Running Level, which calculates running times based on age and ability, reports that a good mile time for a male is 6:37, and a good mile time for a female is 7:44. However, these times are based on an intermediate level runner.

The mile times listed for beginner runners are much slower—9:25 for men and 10:49 for women, both of which get progressively slower after the age of 35.

The important thing to keep in mind is that your running pace does not matter when you are first starting out. 

The goal is simply to run a mile without stopping, and once you build up your endurance and have more experience running, you can work on increasing your speed.

A person running with a hat on.

Tips for How to Run a Mile Without Stopping

Here are some tips for how to run a mile without stopping:

#1: Use a Walk/Run Approach

If you are looking into how to run a mile without stopping, it probably feels counterintuitive to learn that walking can actually help you get better at running and run longer without stopping.

However, taking walking breaks and using a run-walk approach to your workouts is a great way for beginner runners to actually run longer.

Walking breaks give you a chance to catch your breath and slow your heart rate, and because walking is a lower-impact activity, your joints and muscles also get a break. 

This will allow you to do a longer workout, which will be more effective at building your endurance so that you’ll be able to run a mile without stopping.

#2: Slow Down

Many beginner runners feel like they’re super slow, but the truth is that most new runners are actually running too fast.

Slowing down your pace will help you be able to keep running without stopping because you’ll be able to take in enough oxygen through your breathing and have your heart deliver it to your working muscles at a rate that keeps up with your exercise intensity.

Rather than focusing on your pace at all, just pay attention to your effort level and/or heart rate. Try to run (or jog!) slow enough so that your effort level does not go higher than a 6 or 7 on the rate of perceived exertion (RPE) scale.

This is a subjective way to describe your effort level on scale from 1-10, where 10 is your maximal effort that you might be able to hold for a quick full-out sprint.

This may mean you need to run really slowly, and that’s okay!

A person looking at their heart rate monitor.

#3: Use a Heart Rate Monitor

Wearing a heart rate monitor is a great way to tell if you’re running easy enough.

Generally speaking, the aerobic exercise zone is considered to be 70-80% of your maximum heart rate. 

This means that when you are running, your heart rate should not get higher than 80% of your max heart rate.

For example, if your maximum heart rate is 180 bpm, your heart rate while running should be in the range of 126-144 bpm. 

You can predict your maximum heart rate by using the formula 220-age in years. 

Although this isn’t the most accurate estimation, it’s a decent place to start if you aren’t sure of your actual maximum heart rate.

#4: Use Good Form

Running with proper form reduces the risk of injuries and helps you run further without stopping as it makes running less exhausting and more comfortable.

Try to get a gait analysis at your local running shoe store or ask a friend who runs to take a video of your form and give you pointers.

A person running on the beach with sunglasses and headphones.

#5: Relax Your Breathing

If you’re running too fast, you might feel like you’re nearly gasping for breath or are huffing and puffing.

It’s important to slow your body and slow your breathing. Breathe deeply from your belly.

Short, fast, rapid chest breaths aren’t as efficient and don’t get enough oxygen into your body, so you just end up having to breathe even harder and faster to try and meet the oxygen needs of your muscles.

#6: Be Consistent

Running a mile without stopping takes consistency and determination. 

To effectively increase your stamina and build the strength in your heart, lungs, and legs that you need to run, you have to run at least 2-3 days per week to create enough of a stimulus to cause physiological adaptations.

Running sporadically—say, one random day each week or so—isn’t going to really help your body get accustomed to running. 

Therefore, it’s going to be very difficult to make actual progress and get fitter.

A person tying their shoe on the track.

#7: Get Running Shoes

If you are going to be running regularly, you have to have proper running shoes.

Head over to your local specialty running store or sporting goods store and get fitted for the right kind of shoes for your feet and biomechanics.

#8: Progress Your Workouts

Unless you are in really good shape from other types of exercise, you probably can’t run a mile without stopping on day one of your journey as a runner. That’s ok!

That’s what training is all about.

You will build up to running one mile without stopping (and eventually more!) by gradually progressing the distance you run during your workouts.

When using the run/walk approach, you will begin to run longer and the walking breaks will become shorter and less frequent.

A person running on the side of the road.

How to Run a Mile Without Stopping Training Plan

The following training plan for beginner runners will help progress and teach you how to run a mile without stopping.

Remember: your pace doesn’t matter. Walk, jog, and run at a pace that feels right for you in that particular workout.

Brisk walk 5 minutes

10 x 20 seconds easy jog with one minute of walking in between

Cool down by walking 5 minutes
Walk 1-2 miles or 20-30 minutesBrisk walk 5 minutes

10 x 30 seconds easy jog with one minute of walking in between

Cool down by walking 5 minutes
RestBrisk walk 5 minutes

8 x 45 seconds easy jog with one minute of walking in between

Cool down by walking 5 minutes
RestBrisk walk 5 minutes

Jog slowly for 2 minutes

Brisk walk 5 minutes
Brisk walk 5 minutes

8 x 1 minute easy jog with one minute of walking in between

Cool down by walking 5 minutes
Walk 2 miles or 30-40 minutesBrisk walk 10 minutes

10 x 45 seconds easy jog 30 seconds of walking in between

Cool down by walking 5 minutes
RestBrisk walk 5 minutes

6 x 90 seconds easy jog with one minute of walking in between

Cool down by walking 5 minutes
RestBrisk walk 5 minutes

Jog slowly for 4 minutes

Brisk walk 5 minutes
Brisk walk 5 minutes

4 x jog ¼ mile with walking one minute in between

Cool down by walking 5 minutes
Walk 2 miles or 30-40 minutesBrisk walk 10 minutes

10 x 90 seconds easy jog 30 seconds of walking in between

Cool down by walking 5 minutes
RestBrisk walk 5 minutes

2 x jog 1/2 mile with 2 minutes of walking in between

Cool down by walking 5 minutes
RestBrisk walk 5 minutes

Jog slowly for 6 minutes

Brisk walk 5 minutes
Brisk walk 5 minutes

6 x jog ¼ mile with walking 30 seconds in between

Cool down by walking 5 minutes
Walk 2 miles or 30-40 minutesBrisk walk 10 minutes

Jog ¾ of a mile

Walk 3 minutes

Jog ½ mile

Cool down by walking 5 minutes
RestBrisk walk 5 minutes

2 x jog 1/2 mile with 30 seconds of walking in between

Cool down by walking 5 minutes
RestBrisk walk 5 minutes

Jog one mile without stopping

Brisk walk 5 minutes

You don’t have to follow this training schedule to a T. Rather, it is a guide to help you build your endurance to be able to run a mile without stopping.

If you end up feeling really sore or tired after a workout, feel free to take an extra rest day the next day. It’s always best to err on the side of caution and rest rather than push through if something hurts. 

Stick with it though and believe in yourself. You can run a mile without stopping.

Once you’ve run one mile, you may think about taking the next step, the 5k!

A sign that says go the extra mile. How to run a mile without stopping.
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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