As with many things in our lives, the question "How Long Does It Take To Run 3 Miles?" doesn't have ultimate answer. However, we'll dive deep into the topic to define a good rule of thumb, analyze the available data, and uncover interesting facts.
We will start by explaining how long it takes to run 3 miles for people without any background in the running, followed by an average time to run three miles for professional athletes, and end with the world record for a 3-mile run.
The time it takes for a person to run a particular distance depends on two factors:
- the actual speed or pace of a runner
- physical capabilities of an athlete to maintain this speed
With current speed, it is straightforward—the faster your run, the less time needed to complete three miles. See the table for how long it takes to run 3 miles depending on the pace/speed below:
However, physical fitness is more difficult to measure, as no objective scale exists.
We all have different health conditions and previous sports experiences. Although, there is a distinct definition in every runner's mind that we struggle to express—what is a good result and what is "a broad potential for improvement?" This article will explain this and back our findings with running statistics.
We will analyze the public results of several recent 3-mile races throughout the US and define what paces and times it takes to run 3 miles correspond to the top, average, and rookie runners. We will establish four levels of running proficiency by assuming the following:
- Those who overperform 25% of the race are regular healthy people
- Those who are better by 50% are beginners demonstrating first results
- Those who overtake 80% are amateur runners in good shape
- Those who lead 90% are professional athletes.
To make the math work and represent the real-world physical fitness level of different runners, we analyzed seven of the biggest 5k/3-mile past races in the USA that had over 5,000 participants each and took place in Chicago, Miami, San Francisco, Atlanta, Boston, Philadelphia, and New York.
#1 How Long Should It Take to Run 3 Miles For a Healthy Person
To calculate the average time to run 3 miles for a regular healthy person without previous professional sports experience, let's admit that a good result is getting into the top 75% of all racers by the finishing time. For instance, if there are 1,000 participants in a race, an ordinary healthy person takes 750th place, overtaking 250 runners that are, well, pretty much less healthy than they are.
It takes a regular healthy person to run 3 miles between 33-36 minutes. This corresponds to an 11-12 pace for a mile or 5.00-5.45 miles per hour on a treadmill. This makes a good result for a person that doesn't do regular sports and hasn't intentionally prepared for a run.
Read also: How Long Should It Take to Run a Mile?
#2 How Long Does It Take a Beginner to Run 3 Miles
Let's assume that a decent result for a rookie runner will be overtaking half of the participants and getting in the top 50% of fastest runners in an average-sized race. In our example of the 1,000 participants race, this will be obtaining 500th place and overtaking 500 other runners.
The average time to run 3 miles for a person that jogs occasionally or does other endurance sports is between 28 and 32 minutes. This time amounts to a pace of about 10 minutes for one mile or 6 miles per hour.
Read also: How Long Does It Take to Run 10K?
#3 The Average Time to Run 3 Miles For an Amateur Runner
Suppose those medium amateur runners overtake 80% of their rivals and get into 20% of the quickest athletes in a race with average crowd size. For example, in a 1,000-participant race, an average amateur runner will take 200th place or higher and overtake 800+ other athletes.
Thus, it takes 24-27 minutes for an average amateur athlete to run 3 miles. This amounts to a pace of 8-9 minutes per mile or roughly 7 mph on a treadmill. This is a good result for enthusiasts that run 2-3 times a week and total 10-15 miles weekly.
#4 How Long It Takes to Run 3 Miles For a Professional Athlete
Since professional athletes get into the top 10% of the finishers in every race, they leave 90% of the slower runners behind. For instance, if there were 1,000 runners in a race, professional athletes would overtake 900 and take at least 100th place in the results.
This way, a professional runner takes 19 to 23 minutes to complete a 3-mile race. This is a decent result for those who follow a running blueprint, have a running goal in mind, and regularly complete at least 40 miles a week.
Please don't confuse professional athletes with elite runners that set world records. The latter compete for podium results and prize money and could make up 1% to 5% of the fastest runners in significant events.
Read also: How Long It Takes to Run a Marathon?
#5 Effective World Records for 3.1-Mile Runs
According to World Athletics (formerly IAAF), there is no official 3-mile race or respective record. The closest ones, however, are 5k and 5,000m runs which equal roughly 3.1 miles. The difference between 5k vs. 5,000m isn't apparent—it's the same distance. However, 5,000-meter races occur on an oval indoor or outdoor stadium, in contrast to 5k (5 km), which only happen outside.
According to the table above, it takes 13-15 minutes for the world's best athletes to run 3 miles with an over 5-minute-per-mile pace, or more than 12 mph.
#6 Average Time to Run 3 Miles vs. Navy Running Standards
Marathon races and all other running events usually split results into categories, at least by gender and age. We'll research official Navy Physical Readiness Test (PRT) requirements to cover these variabilities.
Important notice: there is no 3-mile run standard according to PRT, so we'll use 1.5-mile run time standards to estimate 3-mile run results.
#7 So, After All, How Long Does it Take to Run 3 Miles
Well, it depends. The article covered all significant factors, including speed, physical fitness, gender, and age. Although, many more determinants impact your 3-mile run results and what should count for a good result for you:
Conditions of the trail:
- Weather conditions (temperature, wind, and humidity)
- Altitude, elevation gain, and ground
Overall sports background:
- Previous experiences in endurance sports like cycling, swimming, or skiing
- Body shape (height, weight)
During a run:
- Stress and mental health
- Physical stamina
Regardless of all these determinants, here is the summary table for how long it should take to run 3 miles depending on the runner's experience:
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 a Mile
Average Time to Run 10K
Average Time to Run Half-Marathon
Average Time to Run Marathon
FAQ about time to run 3 miles
Is running 3 miles in 30 minutes good?
Yes, 3 miles in 30 min or 10 min pace for a mile is a decent result for a regular healthy person and a running beginner. Keep running regularly, gradually increase your weekly mileage, and give a heads-up for better results soon!
Is running 3 miles in 45 minutes good?
Well, this result represents less than 10% of the 3-mile runners. It's great that you make it to the end. Although, with 2-3 months of regular jogging, you can improve your results.
Is running 3 miles hard?
Not really. Every healthy person can complete a 3-mile run. Moreover, many people often walk more than 3 miles a day. So, you can definitely run the distance, although preparing upfront and starting slow is strongly recommended.
How many calories do you burn running 3 miles?
On average, you burn around 450 calories while jogging 3 miles. The faster you run and the more effort you put into it, the more calories you'll burn. Your speed or pace is the significant determinant here; however, it also depends on your height, weight, age, gender, overall physical fitness, running surface, and weather conditions.
How fast should you run a 3-mile by age?
There is no standard here. Given the US Navy's Satisfactory Running Standards for a 1.5-mile run, the estimated recommended time to run a 3-mile race by age is:
- 25-30 minutes for 17-19 year-olds
- 27-31 min for 20-24 y.o.
- 28-32 min for 25-29 y.o.
- 29-33 min for 30-34 y.o.
- 30-33 min for 35-39 y.o.
- 31-34 min for 40-44 y.o.