What’s A Good Mile Time? Average Times To Run A Mile By Age + Sex

We do a deep dive into mile time data, so you can see how you measure up!

As runners, we are somewhat naturally competitive and often look at what is considered to be good 5k, 10k, half marathon, and marathon times to see how we stack up against our peers and others in our age and sex group.

Today, instead of looking at times for middle and longer distances, we will discuss what is perceived as a “good” mile time and see where we stand in comparison.

Good mile times and mile pace depend on many factors, such as age, sex, and fitness level.

Running Level states a good mile time across all ages and sexes is 7:04.

We will consider all of these factors as we delve deep into average and good mile run times, check out the current fastest mile times, and give you our expert tips on improving your one mile time.

Ready? Let’s jump in!

1.0 Mile written on the road.

What is a Good Mile Time?

Running Level calculates running times based on age and ability and says that a good mile time across all ages and sexes is 7:04.

To break it down a bit more, a good mile time for a male is 6:37, and a good mile time for a female is 7:44.11 Mile Times By Age And Ability – Running Level. (n.d.). Runninglevel.com. https://runninglevel.com/running-times/1-mile-times

‌Those average times to run a mile are based on an intermediate-level runner. Later on, we will look at the average mile time for all levels of runners.

What Factors Can Impact Your Mile Time?

Deciding what a “good” average time to run a mile depends on several factors, such as your age, sex, ability, and fitness level. 

Regarding sex, male runners are often faster in most competitive distances due to genetically having more muscle mass and fast twist muscle density.  

Age is another factor that can vary greatly, as younger runners may lack development and experience, and older runners may feel a slight decline in performance.

Research suggests that the prime running age category is between 25-35. However, performance declines gradually as we age, which is excellent news for all of us over 40. We still have plenty of solid running years left!2August 2017 – Volume 31 – Issue 8 : The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research. (n.d.). Journals.lww.com. https://journals.lww.com/nsca-jscr/fulltext/2017/08000/Running_Performance

‌We can’t control our age, but we can control our fitness level. With the correct training, we can improve our mile time and running level in general. We’ll get to how to do that a bit later.

People running on a track.

Typical Mile Times By Age, Sex, and Ability

Defining Running Ability Levels

To define the ability levels we’ve included, we used Jack Tupper Daniels’ VDOT Levels (based on VO2 max).

Daniels provides predicted times across different distances for each of the VDOT Levels for men and women (available here), which we’ve used in our table as the benchmark times for the 18-39 age range.

Here’s how we’d define each of the levels listed in our table, along with the VDOT that Daniels assigns to them:

  • Beginner (Male VDOT 35/Female VDOT 31.4): By beginner, we’re not referring to somebody straight off the couch who’s shown up to their first race with no training, as there’s too much variation in terms of baseline fitness and physique to provide a useful guideline time. Instead, in this sense, we’d consider a beginner to be somebody who’s relatively new to middle-distance running, perhaps entering their first race, but who is taking their training fairly seriously and has a decent base level of fitness. However, they lack experience in building an effective training program and in pacing themselves during a race.
  • Novice (VDOT 40/35.8): You’re still running casually, but with increasing experience and commitment to training. You’ve completed several races at this distance, and are looking to improve your PB in each one. The vast majority of runners will fall into one of these first two categories.
  • Intermediate Recreational (VDOT 50/44.6): You’re taking running increasingly seriously, and it’s getting more difficult to beat your previous PBs. You might have joined an athletics club or started training with a running coach, and while you’re unlikely to be competing for local race victories, you’d be hoping to finish high up the field.
  • High-Level Recreational (VDOT 60/53.4): You train seriously with a professional coach, and are among the top-performing runners in your athletics club competing for victories in local races. You are likely approaching the peak of your potential performance, with a substantial time investment in training each week.
  • Sub-Elite (VDOT 70/62.2): You are one of the strongest runners in your region, and may even compete nationally, although you’re unlikely to compete for the top positions.
  • National Class (VDOT 75/66.6): You are one of the finest runners in your country, competing for victories against all but the very best athletes in the sport. You likely run either full-time as a professional, or you make a flexible job fit around your training.
  • Elite (VDOT 80/71): You are at the pinnacle of the sport, competing for victories at the most prestigious races and representing your country at major international events.

Typical Mile Times for Men by Age and Ability

Age GroupBeginnerNoviceIntermediate RecreationalHigh-Level RecreationalSub-EliteNational ClassEliteWorld Record
Level 1
Level 2
Level 4
Level 6
Level 8
Level 9
Level 10

Typical Mile Times for Women by Age and Ability

Age GroupBeginnerNoviceIntermediate RecreationalHigh-Level RecreationalSub-EliteNational ClassEliteWorld Record
VDOT 31.4
Level 1
VDOT 35.8
Level 2
VDOT 44.6
Level 4
VDOT 53.4
Level 6
VDOT 62.2
Level 8
VDOT 66.6
Level 9
Level 10

How We Produced This Data

The tables above have been carefully created to give our readers performance benchmarks and to enable comparisons of relative performance adjusted for age and sex.

As mentioned above, we used Jack Tupper Daniels’ VDOT Levels and associated predicted performances in our table as the benchmark times for the 18-39 age range.

For the age-graded world records, we’ve used the official records ratified by the World Association of Masters Athletes (WMA), correct as of 18 March 2024.

To translate the times for ability levels across different age grades, we used our 18-39 benchmark times to establish each ability level as a percentage of the world record for a given age group.

For example, our “elite” men’s mile time for the 18-39 range was 3:51, which is 103.59% of the world record of 3:43.

So, when calculating the “elite” times for other age grades, we multiplied the respective world records by 103.59%. We replicated this approach across all of the listed ability levels.

It should be noted that this method does create some inconsistencies, with the performance gaps between certain age groups being larger than others because a particular world record happens to be an outlier.

However, we found the resulting data more reliable and with a more accurate representation of performance drop relative to age than we achieved when comparing our results to existing age-grade calculators.

For readability, we rounded all times to the nearest 5 seconds, except for all of the world records, which we left in their original form.

A person's feet getting read to run on a track.

Related: What’s A Good Marathon Time? Average Marathon Times By Age + Sex

What Are the Current Fastest Mile Times?

The current world record holder for the mile distance in the men’s category is Moroccan Hicham El Guerrouj, with a time of 3:43.13. On July 7, 1999, this record was set at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, Italy. 

The women’s world record for the mile was set by Kenyan Faith Kipyegon, on July 21, 2023, with a time of 4:07.64.

These paces just seem out of this world, don’t they? I hope they have motivated you to work on yours.

As a UESCA and RRCA-certified running coach, I have provided my top tips to help you improve your time:

A person running through a finish line.

7 Ways to Improve My Mile Time

#1: Perfect Your Running Form

Improving your running form will, in turn, improve your running economy, resulting in faster mile times or improvement in any running speed and your running paces in general.

Here are some quick tips when focusing on your running form: 

  • Keep your body properly aligned with your legs underneath you. When you step, try not to overstride but instead fall directly underneath you. Try to either fall on your mid-foot or forefoot as your footstrike to avoid injury.
  • Keep shoulders back, down, and relaxed.
  • Keep your arms bent at 90 degrees and gently swing them back and forth. Do not rotate your torso or swing your arms across the front of your body.
  • Lean forward slightly, keeping your body aligned and not bending at the waist. 
  • Hold your hands in a very light fist, relaxed. You can imagine you are holding potato chips in each hand. You don’t want to hold them so loosely that you may drop them and don’t want to squish them. Either way, you would lose your post-run snack!
  • Keep your gaze forward, always looking 3-6 meters ahead.
A person running on grass.

To work on running form, you can add specific running drills into your warm-up routines, such as the 100-up drill, high knees, a-skips, b-skips, and pose method warm-up drills.

Adding a drill or two to your warm-up routine will remind your body of how it should operate while running and will prepare you for your workout ahead.

Also, while working on your form, try to focus on one aspect at a time so you can properly perfect it.

Trying to work on everything at once will be overwhelming and may slow your progress. Choose your biggest weakness and work on that first. Then, when you’ve got it, keep scrolling down the list.

#2: Work Your Top Speed

Speedwork or interval training at short distances and high intensities will help improve your top speed. By doing so, your running fitness and speed will improve in general and help you cut down your mile finish time. 

First, take a mile fitness test to have your mile time starting point and calculate your specific training paces to apply to interval training.

A person running on a track.

Mile Test:

The best place to take a mile test is on a standard-sized track. Each loop is 400 meters, so your full mile would be 4 loops of the 400-meter track. 

1. Warm up for 15 minutes by jogging at an effortless pace.

2. Do 5 minutes of dynamic stretching.

3. Run your mile as fast as you can (as if it were a mile race) without burning out. This can be tricky to gauge if you are not used to taking these tests. I would advise starting out a bit slower than you think you can run the mile and increasing your speed as you finish each loop, running your last loop all out! 

Plug your total time into the following pace calculator. 

Let’s look at an example using the female intermediate average mile time. If you plug that data into the calculator above, you will have the following training paces as a result.

Mile total test time: 7:44
Average Pace Per KilometerAverage Pace Per Mile
Easy Pace 6:27-7:05/km 10:24 – 11:25/mile
Marathon Pace 5:53/km9:28/mile
Threshold Pace 5:27/km8:46/mile
Interval Pace 4:58/km8:02/mile
Repetition Pace 4:38/km7:28/mile

You will use your “repetition” pace for shorter interval training with complete rests and your “interval” pace for interval training with jogging recoveries

Include some high-intensity speedwork into your training to work on that top speed. Here’s an example of a 400 workout:

  • Warm-up 10-15 minutes easy
  • 6 x 400 meters repetition pace with 2-3 minutes of total rest in between each one 
  • Cooldown 10 minutes easy

You can also work 200s, 600s, 800s, kilometers, etc. at repetition pace, or at interval pace with light jogs as recovery.

A person running on a treadmill.

#3: Run To The Hills

In addition to interval training on the track or on the road, you can add in some hill work to increase your overall power, speed, and running economy.

Here is an example of a hill repeat workout to try: 

  • Warm up for 10-15 minutes on flat terrain.
  • Find a hill with roughly a 10% incline. 
  • Run uphill for 20 seconds at a hard effort.
  • Walk slowly back down to your starting point. Be sure and rest for 2-3 minutes in between reps. 
  • Repeat ten times.
  • Cool down for 10 minutes on flat terrain. 

If you don’t have hills close to where you run, you can always do these workouts on a treadmill. Most treadmills have the capacity to create a 15% grade incline.

A person running uphill.

#4: Work Your Endurance

Even though our current focus is improving our mile time, we can’t forget about keeping up our endurance and long-distance running capacty.

Short, intense workouts should only be a small portion of your weekly training plan, twice a week max. 

The other days throughout the week should be recovery runs that feel easy and enjoyable. The time and frequency of these runs will depend on your current fitness level. You can add about 10% more volume each week to build up your mileage. 

These runs will help you recover sufficiently from your interval sessions and be able to jump back into the next one, ready and raring to go. At the same time, they will improve your overall endurance and aerobic conditioning.

A person lunging with kettlebells.

#5: Hit The Gym

Strength training is critical for runners to improve their strength, power, balance, coordination, speed, and endurance and help prevent injury. All of these benefits will contribute to a good mile time. 

Two strength training sessions either on your own, or with a personal trainer, per week should be plenty to see improvement.

Here are some specific exercises that should find their way into your strength training program:

Strength Training Exercises For Runners

  • Squats: bodyweight, goblet, split, pistol
  • Lunges: reverse, walking, side, front
  • Deadlifts: bodyweight, Romanian, one-legged
  • Glute bridges: two-legged, one-legged, elevated hip thrust
  • Planks: elbow, side, trx, body saw, Spiderman
  • Push-ups, pull-ups, rows, pull-aparts, shoulder presses, and chest presses

Begin with using just your body weight and move on to adding resistance, such as dumbbells and kettlebells, as you improve.

Do your strength training routine after your runs if running is your priority so you don’t tire yourself out. Leaving 4-6 hours between sessions is ideal to give your body sufficient time to recuperate.

People doing box jumps.

#6: Add Plyometrics To Your Strength Training Routine

In addition to adding the above strength training exercises to your gym workouts, plyometric exercises are also an excellent addition to improving your power, which is very important to run a fast mile time.

Some of the main benefits of plyometric exercises include improving stability, coordination, muscle and joint strength, cardiovascular conditioning, Vo2 max, speed, endurance, and of course, power!

Plyometrics can also improve your running economy in general, which will also help you to run faster.

Plyometrics are exercises that involve fast, explosive movements, usually involving some sort of jumping.

Add a short circuit of 4 or 5 of these exercises at the end of your strength training sessions every so often. Not only will you reap the benefits listed above, but you will also finish off your workout with a metabolic blast.

A gym class doing jumping jacks.

Some plyometric exercise examples include:

Plyometric Exercises For Runners

  • Jumping jacks
  • Scissor jumps
  • Skaters
  • Box Jumps (single-leg, double leg)
  • Lateral jumps
  • Long jumps
  • Frog jumps
  • Jump rope
  • Jump squats
  • Jump lunges
  • Lateral lunges with runner’s jump
  • Star jumps
  • Tuck jumps
  • Squat jacks
  • Plank jacks
  • Burpees
  • High knees
  • Bounding
People doing burpees.

#7: Improve Your Cadence

I’m certain you have read over and over that 180 steps per minute are the “ideal” number of steps for your stride rate or cadence. However, more realistically, anything over 170 will help improve your running economy. 

We can work our cadence, or turnover, in a couple of different ways.

One, by using a metronome set at 180 ticks per minute or two, listening to music that has a rhythm of 180 beats per minute. Either way, while you are running with one of these methods, make sure you hit each foot to the pavement on each beat.

Be careful with posted playlists, as some are posted as 180 BPM but are not always accurate. You can check the songs out yourself with this BPM counter app to be sure the number of beats is somewhere between 170-180.3BPM Counter – Apps on Google Play. (n.d.). Play.google.com. Retrieved December 18, 2023, from

Include small bouts of cadence work into one of your easy runs, just a few minutes here and there, to get those feet moving and help improve your cadence.

Focusing on your cadence is exhausting as you will tend to speed up naturally, so just add in a bit of this work every once in a while. 

A person running on the road.

You can also work your cadence by adding strides, or gradual accelerations and decelerations, to one of your easy runs during the week.

The following are a couple of examples of workouts where you can include strides: 

  • 30-minute easy run with 10 x 10-second strides 
  • 45-minute easy run with 8 x 15-second strides

Be sure to leave enough time in between each stride to ensure your heart rate lowers enough for your to recover before adding in the next burst.

Now you’ve got it all, the average mile times for age groups and levels across the board, plus plenty of ways you can work on improving yours. What are you waiting for? Let’s get training! 

Check out our training guides to shave down your 1 mile run time: 

How To Run a 7 Minute Mile 

How To Run an 8 Minute Mile 

How To Run a 9 Minute Mile 

How To Run a 10 Minute Mile 

And if you are really ambitious: How To Run A 4 Minute Mile

A person running on a track.


Photo of author
Katelyn is an experienced ultra-marathoner and outdoor enthusiast with a passion for the trails. In the running community, she is known for her ear-to-ear smile, even under the toughest racing conditions. She is a UESCA-certified running coach and loves sharing her knowledge and experience to help people reach their goals and become the best runners they can be. Her biggest passion is to motivate others to hit the trails or road alongside her, have a blast, and run for fun!

5 thoughts on “What’s A Good Mile Time? Average Times To Run A Mile By Age + Sex”

  1. Greetings..!!!….Had a great and valuable time reading…A lot of info. gathered by your articles..Keep it running and running….beyond a marathon…..Should you have videos of great running times….(for eg. ben johnson famous/infamous run..for me he is a great guy…..) please give a link to those epic runs…..Stay safe and keep running….regards…hd sriram….(aka…oldmonk…omk)…..


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