Running a mile is a standard benchmark for measuring physical fitness and endurance levels. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned runner, understanding how long it takes to run a mile can help you set goals, build a roadmap to achieving them, and track your progress.
In this article, we'll cover:
- How Long Should It Take to Run a Mile For a Healthy Person
- Average One Mile Time by Age for Men vs. Women
- How Long Does It Take a Beginner to Run 1 Mile
- Average Time to Run a Mile For an Amateur Runner
- How Long It Takes to Run One Mile For a Professional Athlete
- Effective World Records for 1-Mile Runs
- Factors that Affect the Time It Takes to Run a Mile
- How to Improve Your Mile Time
It isn't easy to define a benchmark for health, as many individual factors influence your ability to pick up the pace and maintain speed. To address the average time it takes to run one mile for various age groups and experience levels, I analyzed 1-mile race results of the seven most significant running events in the US during 2019-2022. To ensure statistical significance and diversity, we analyzed races with more than 2'000 participants in California, Texas, Ney York, and Florida.
Please note, there is no versatile scale that can size any person. We're all unique, and the article encourages you to get better results with a one-mile run.
#1 How Long Should It Take to Run a Mile For a Healthy Person
To define the average time it takes a healthy person to run a mile, we'll suppose that a regular human in an ordinary shape without chronic diseases gets into the top 75% of any significant race event. For example, if there are 2000 racers, the healthy person would overtake 500 runners and finish at least 1500th.
The time it takes a healthy person to run one mile is 9-11 minutes, regardless of age, gender, and fitness level. It equals the 5.5-6.7 mph speed on a treadmill and is 5 minutes faster than walking a mile. This is a good result for a person without decent sports background and special preparation.
Read also: How Long Should It Take to Run 3 Miles?
#2 Average Mile Time by Age for Man vs. Women
A mile running time also varies by age. As we get older, our bodies naturally slow down. However, regular exercise and training make it possible to maintain or even improve your mile time and pace as you age.
To give you an idea of what a typical mile time might be, we analyzed the finish times of more than 15'000 runners of 1-mile public races. Here are some average times for different age groups and genders:
*The average mile times are calculated using the median function. Unlike the average, it considers the distribution between groups and better represents the "middle" pace.
Please note that running a mile as fast as possible is not the ultimate goal. Training without injury is much more critical. These are just averages, and everyone's body is different—some people may run the distance faster or slower than these averages due to various factors. I encourage you to compare to yourself in the past and compete with your personal best time and speed.
Read also: How Long It Takes to Run 10K?
#3 How Long Does It Take a Beginner to Run 1 Mile
Suppose that a rookie runner overtakes half of the participants of a crowded race. For instance, if there are 2,000 athletes, the beginner will take 1,000th place or higher.
It will take 8 to 9 minutes to run a mile for someone new to running who jogs semi-regularly and prepares at least four weeks before the race. It corresponds to 6.7-7.5 mph speed on a treadmill.
#4 The Average Time to Run a Mile For an Amateur Runner
Let's assume that an amateur runner gets into the top 20% of fastest athletes of a one-mile race. For example, in a running event with 2,000 participants, they will finish the 400th or higher.
It takes 6-8 min for an amateur runner to complete a mile race. This time equals the 7.5-10 mph speed on a treadmill. It is an excellent result for a person with several years of sports background and decent preparation. These athletes train 3-4 times weekly to improve their overall fitness and pace.
Read also: How Long Should It Take to Run a Marathon?
#5 How Long It Takes to Run One Mile For a Professional Athlete
Let's consider that a professional runner belongs to 10% of the fastest one-mile racers. They are not elite athletes that compete for medals and set records but can get into the top 3 in their age/gender group. In our example, with 2,000 participants, the pro athlete would obtain at least 200th place.
A professional athlete takes 5 to 6 minutes to run 1 mile. This time corresponds to a treadmill speed of 10-12 mph. It is a great result for athletes with 3+ years of running experience. To achieve this result, they work out 4-5 times a week and log 30-40 miles for the same period.
#6 Effective World Records for 1-Mile Runs
The current world record for a mile run is 3:43 for men and 4.12 for women.
So, elite athletes can run a mile in less than 4:30 minutes. It equals more than 13.3 mph speed on a treadmill. They compete for the podium and prizes and can set course records.
#7 Factors that Affect the Time It Takes to Run a Mile
Several factors affect the time it takes to run one mile. These include:
- Body shape and fitness level. The fitter you are, the faster and longer you can move. Excessive weight can also limit your running capabilities. If you're not in good shape, starting slowly and gradually increasing your distance and pace is essential.
- Age. As we get older, our bodies naturally slow down, and it takes longer to run a mile. However, regular exercise and training can help offset the effects of aging. Moreover, you can encounter a lot of runners much older than you that can quickly overtake you on a race. Physical fitness and sports background beat age difference.
- Gender. Men tend to have an advantage over women in running a mile due to differences in muscle mass and cardiovascular fitness. It doesn't mean women can't overtake men on a race; just men have an unfair natural advantage in speed. However, consistent practice and good physical shape can neglect the difference and change the status quo.
- Training and preparation. The more you train and prepare for running a mile, the better your time will be. A proper training program combined with enough rest makes a change. They say, hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard.
Note that everyone's body is different and that there is no "normal" time for running a mile. Genetics, overall health, and previous injuries can also affect your pace and endurance. It's essential to focus on improving your best and not compare yourself to others.
#8 How to improve your mile time
There are several things you can do to improve your mile time. These include:
- Comprehensive training program. Incorporating strength training will build your muscle. Special running exercises and workouts in your training schedule can improve your speed and endurance. Rest and recovery, like enough sleep and stretching exercises, are essential for muscle recovery and preventing injuries. Lastly, gradually increasing the difficulty of your training, such as jogging a longer distance and running at a faster pace, can help you avoid a plateau in your progress and sustainably bet your personal best.
- Proper technique. A good jogging technique can help you run more efficiently and prevent injury. It includes maintaining a straight posture, landing on the midfoot, keeping your arms at a 45° angle at your sides, and not over-striding.
- Appropriate running shoes. Comfortable and lightweight running shoes will help you keep up the pace and maintain the speed longer. Proper size and fit are essential to keep your feet securely locked and prevent common injuries. Lastly, proper sneakers, regardless of brand, are good for 600 miles. Afterward, it is dangerous to use them for running and needs to be replaced.
- Diet and nutrition. Eating a well-balanced diet high in carbs and protein will fuel your body and ensure high performance. Proper hydration is also essential—drink at least 2 liters of water a day and even more on workout days.
Lastly, improvement takes time and consistency. Setting realistic goals, tracking your progress, and staying encouraged when you don't see an immediate improvement is the key to how long it will take you to run a mile.
This article is a part of our “Average Running Time” series. For more information about the average time it takes to run different distances, see the other articles from the series:
Average Time to Run 3 Miles
Average Time to Run 10K
Average Time to Run Half-Marathon
Average Time to Run Marathon
FAQ about average mile time
How Long is One Mile?
One mile is equal to:
- 5,280 feet
- 2,500 steps
- 1,760 yards
- 1,609 meters
- 4 laps around a standard-sized track
- 1.6 km
In running, a mile is a standard distance and pace measure for track and field events, road races, and training runs. It is also a popular distance for runners to track their progress and measure their overall fitness level.
What is a good 1-mile time?
A good mile time varies depending on fitness level, age, gender, body shape, physical fitness, and running experience.
As a good rule of thumb and very average benchmark, a good 1-mile time is:
- For women, 7:40 or less
- For men, 6:40 or faster
They correspond to the performance of amateur runners and will take you to the top 20% of finishers in significant races.
Is a 7-minute mile quick?
A 7-minute/mile is a good time for a recreational runner. This is a good pace and faster than the average mile time for most people. It corresponds to an 8.6 mph speed on a treadmill.
Is a mile in 6 minutes good?
A mile in 6 minutes is considered a breakneck pace and is achievable by savvy runners with years of practice.