Want To Run A Faster 2 Miles? How To Improve Your 2 Mile Run Time

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Although many runners eventually gravitate towards running longer distances, beginners often stick with one and two-mile runs as they build their leg strength and cardiovascular endurance for long-distance running.

Even once your fitness improves, and you can do plenty of longer workouts, a fast 2-mile run can still be a fantastic, efficient workout. 

But what is a good 2-mile time? More importantly, how do you run a faster 2 miles?

In this article, we will discuss training tips and strategies to run a faster 2 miles so that you can smash your current 2-mile PR and get your fastest 2 mile run time yet.

We will cover: 

  • How Far Is 2 Miles?
  • What Is a Good 2 Mile Time?
  • How to Run A Faster 2 Miles

Let’s dive in! 

A person running trying to run a faster 2 miles.

How Far Is 2 Miles?

For runners who are more familiar with kilometers, 2 miles is approximately the same as 3.2 kilometers.

If you decide to run two miles on a standard 400-meter running track, you will need to run just over 8 full laps.

Alternatively, if you’re running along city blocks, you’ll need to run about 40 blocks to run 2 miles, although the exact length of a city block can vary, depending on the city and specific block.

What Is a Good 2 Mile Time?

Let’s face it: we’d all like to run a fast 2 mile time, but what is “fast” for 2 miles? What is a good 2 mile time?

These are tricky questions to answer because there are quite a few factors that can affect your running speed, and what qualifies as a good 2-mile run time can vary depending on your age, sex, and experience level.

Running Level, which calculates running times based on age and ability, reports that a good mile time for men is 6:37, and a good mile time for women is 7:44. 

Using these times, we can extrapolate that a good 2 mile time would be 13:14 for men and 15:28 for women.

However, since a mile is only half of a 2-mile run, it can certainly be argued that these times are overly ambitious. 

A person running outiside.

If we look at the data for 5k times, Running Level shows that a good 5k time for a man is 22:31. This is the average 5k time for men across all ages. 

A good 5k time for a woman is 26:07. This is the average 5k time for women across all ages. 

If we take these averages, we can calculate the equivalent 2-mile performances, yielding a time of 14:30 for men and 16:50 for women.

Since these 2-mile times were extrapolated from a longer distance, it’s safe to assume that running a bit faster would be even better.

Therefore, for the purposes of this discussion, we can say a good 2-mile run time for men is in the neighborhood of 13:14-14:30 and 15:28-16:50 for women.

Note that these times are based on intermediate runners.

How to Run A Faster 2 Miles

Whether you have run 2 miles faster than these generalized ranges or can barely run one mile in that amount of time, it should be possible to improve your 2-mile run time and run a faster 2 miles.

Here are some tips to run a faster 2 miles:

People running in the city.

#1: Build Up Your Endurance 

When you first start running, just building up the stamina to run 2 miles without stopping can be quite a feat, and getting through the entire 2 miles without getting completely exhausted is a challenge in and of itself. 

However, if you increase your stamina by running longer, the 2-mile distance will feel physically easier and mentally less daunting, allowing you to focus your energy on running faster rather than just trying to complete the distance without stopping.

The most effective way to increase your endurance is to add a weekly long run to your training.

For example, if you are currently running 2 miles a day every day that you run, turn one run per week into a long run by gradually increasing the distance.

You only need to add about five minutes or a half mile per week to the long run; don’t jump up the distance too aggressively.

Build up to a long run of 4-6 miles, depending on your fitness level and running goals.

Your long run will help increase your cardiovascular, muscular, and mental endurance so that you can run longer without becoming exhausted to the point that you need to slow down or stop.

People running in synch.

#2: Increase Your Training Volume

Increasing the number of miles you run per week or your training volume is one of the best ways to improve your running stamina, strength, and speed.

Although you can certainly train to run 2 miles by just running a couple of days a week, increasing your mileage by increasing the number of days you’re running will accelerate your cardiovascular and muscular adaptations to running.

Essentially, the more you run, the more frequent and potent the training stimulus your body will receive to adapt to your workouts. 

Your heart and lungs will strengthen, your blood volume increases, your blood vessels become more numerous and elastic to increase blood flow, and your muscles, bones, and connective tissues get stronger.

With that said, because running is a high-impact activity, there is a limit to how many days you should run.

Take at least one rest day per week (and 2-3 days if you’re a beginner) to allow your bones, joints, muscles, and connective tissues time to fully rest and recover.

You can perform any type of low-impact cross-training exercise once or twice a week instead of running to reduce your risk of injuries while still improving your fitness. Examples include swimming, rowing, cycling, walking, and using the elliptical machine.

A person running in the city.

#3: Work On Your Pacing

Many new runners struggle with pacing and partitioning their energy evenly throughout the duration of the run. They may start out a run at a relative sprint compared to the pace they are able to manage in the second half.

One way to run a faster 2 miles is to improve your pacing. Try to run at a steady pace throughout the entire 2 miles rather than starting out too fast and fizzling out.

#4: Incorporate Speed Workouts

Adding speed workouts to your training program is one of the most effective ways to run a faster 2 miles.

Examples of speed workouts to train to run your fastest 2 miles include running 400-meter repeats or 800-meter repeats on the track (such as 8-10 x 400 at goal pace) or adding bursts of fast running during your distance runs outside or on the treadmill (called fartlek workouts).

Intervals or speed workouts improve your leg speed and condition your heart, lungs, and muscles to handle faster paces at the same effort level.

Running at different paces also helps target different metabolic systems, which helps your muscles become more efficient at generating energy during exercise.

People bounding on a track.

#5: Add Hill Sprints

Incorporating hill sprints into your training program will help improve your running form, turnover, leg strength, and speed, all of which confer to improving your running performance.

When doing hill workouts, your focus should be on running as fast as you can, exaggerating your running form so that you drive your knees up and pump your arms vigorously.

Choose a hill that takes 30-60 seconds to sprint up, and maximize your turnover by staying light and quick on your feet.

#6: Work On Your Running Form

Many beginner runners are focused more on just getting through the run and breathing deeply rather than using good running form.

Using proper running form can improve your running economy by helping you move more efficiently with less energy cost.

This means you can run with less effort, allowing you to run a faster 2 miles without fatiguing.

You can get your running form analyzed at your local running store or ask a friend to take a video of your gait.

People running on a track.

#7: Increase Your Cadence

When most people think about running faster, they try to elongate their stride and take long, loping steps.

However, your stride length is only one of the two factors that determine your running speed. To run a faster 2 miles, you can also increase your running cadence, which is the number of steps you take per minute. 

Moreover, studies show that increasing your cadence is a safer way to run faster because increasing your cadence reduces the risk of injuries, whereas increasing your stride length can increase the risk of injuries.

When you run with a faster cadence, you are forced to keep your feet more directly under your center of mass rather than well behind your outstretched foot, as is the case with overstriding.

This reduces the peak impact forces on your joints and conserves your forward momentum.

A rack of dumbbells.

#8: Start Strength Training

Strength training will help you run a faster 2 miles by strengthening your muscles and connective tissues.

The stronger your legs become, the easier the relative workload on your legs when you run, enabling you to have a more powerful stride.

Ideally, you should do 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.

With consistent training, a varied workout routine, and a few tweaks to your running technique, you should be able to run faster and further, improving your 2-mile run time.

Ready to work toward your fast 2-mile run? Start with some of our strength training workouts specifically for runners:

Bodyweight Workout For Runners

Resistance Band Workout For Runners

A runner smiling looking at her stats on her phone.
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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