How Long Does It Take to Run a Mile? From Newbie To Advanced!

by Josh | Last Updated:  October 12, 2020
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Marathon running is a very healthy sport for building endurance and stamina. It is one of the healthiest forms of cardio workout and can help you lose weight, build core strength, and improve your heart rate by working on your breathing.

Running for extended periods helps you gain stronger bones, improves your body’s cardiovascular fitness, burns plenty of calories, and strengthens your muscles as it’s a tough exercise that needs a lot of activity to perform.

A milestone that runners usually set for themselves is the goal to run 1 mile. Achieving these milestones helps them identify where they stand physically and makes for up a very effective exercise.

The gist of today’s articles revolves around how long it will take you to achieve this milestone, so let’s discuss this question.

How Long It Will Take for You to Complete a Mile?

How fast a person can run depends on several factors such as genetics, the fitness level of the said person, the age of the person, sex, and endurance level. However, what’s the major factor is the fitness level of the person, and it matters more than your age or sex.

A fit person can easily beat an older person in the running; we all know that. The reason is that for you to complete a run, you require endurance to tolerate the long duration of heavy breathing and possibly anaerobic respiration.

It also depends on the distance you are running, how many runs you have to complete, and the run pace. A noncompetitive, casually fit runner completes a mile in about 9 to 10 minutes.

A beginner might take more time, such as 9 to 15 minutes, and the timing can then be improved as they build endurance and get used to the extended breathing during the run. Professional marathon runners can complete a mile in about 4 to 5 minutes.

Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco sets the world record for completing a mile in 1999 at a staggering 3:43.13 of timing. We have covered the timing it will take for you to run a mile based on endurance factors; let’s now look at and compare other factors.

Mile Run Times Based on Age Groups

Age also influences running abilities, and it’s a factor that decides how fast you can run. For most of the runners, they have experienced their optimal running speed between the ages of 18-30.

How Aging affects Running Performance?

The science behind it says that every person loses about 1 percent of their fitness per year. Because their aerobic capacity goes down, they find it difficult to perform the exercises they used to perform when they were younger.

Athletes will still uptake a higher amount of oxygen than a non-athlete, but the loss rate will be the same for both of them. An average will lose their fast-twitch-muscle fibers (used in sprinting) more than he loses the slow-twitch-muscle fibers (used in endurance).

About 40% of muscle loss occurs for athletes between the ages of 40 and 70. Other conditions show up due to old such as weight gain, secretion of Adipokine (a hormone which has negative effects on muscle growth), and muscle loss.

Average Running Speed per Mile In 5k

The following data is about the average running speed per mile of 10,000 runners in a 5K race and was collected from the United States in 2010.

Age GroupMen (minutes per mile)Women (minutes per mile)
0 – 1511:12:2012:14:57
16 – 1909:34:4212:09:50
20 – 2409:30:3611:44:47
25 – 2910:03:2211:42:37
30 – 3410:09:3312:29:29
35 – 3910:53:4512:03:33
40 – 4410:28:2612:24:47
45 – 4910:43:1912:41:48
50 – 5411:08:1613:20:52
55 – 5912:07:5814:37:34
60 – 6413:05:4714:47:48
65 – 9913:52:0316:12:01

As we are done with the factors associated with age that can impact running Performance, let’s now look at the factors associated with sex and their relation to runners’ running Performance.

Outdoor cross-country running in summer sunshine
Outdoor cross-country running in summer sunshine

Factors Associated to Sex and Their Impact on Running Performances

Differences between the sexes of the runners often affect the results of the race. There are some biological differences between male and female sex that affect the running performance of the runners.

Let us now look at all the factors associated with sexual differences between males and females and how they affect the athletes’ running performance and the races’ outcome.

Heart Size

Male hearts are 20-25% larger compared to female hearts, especially the left ventricle. This larger heart size increases the ability of male athletes to pump oxygenated blood throughout the muscle fibers, which require energy in the form of ATP to perform running, and thus this larger heart size results in a more explosive force to be generated by male athletes during the run.

Hormonal Differences

We all know that the main hormone associated with male sex is Testosterone, while the main hormone associated with female sex is estrogen. Testosterone stimulates mass muscle development in male bodies.

Testosterone increases the concentration of red blood cells and hemoglobin in the body, and both of these are crucial for the transport of oxygen throughout the body. The average male body can carry around 11% more oxygen than a female body.

This increases the amount of oxygen intake, results in a more efficient supply of energy to the muscle fibers, which increases the chances of male athletes to run faster.

However, estrogen has an advantage over Testosterone as well, which is that estrogen is an antioxidant that fights free radicals throughout the body.

Muscle Composition

Muscle composition differences between males and females are not huge, but male bodies can develop muscle fibers faster than female bodies.

Body Fat

Females have an additional 5-10% body fat for childbearing. This makes it harder for a female to run at the same pace as male bodies and requires them to put more work on their bodies when they are in a gym to lose that fat.

Injuries

Females are generally considered at a higher risk of injuries than male athletes because of multiple factors such as their menstrual cycle that result in them losing estrogen and putting them at risk of injury.

Along with females have a wider pelvis, which increases the stress on the lower extremities and increments female athletes’ chances of injury.

Participation Levels

The discussion on whether women are less likely to win sports compared to men is becoming a hotly debated topic. However, there are more factors to examine here than those mentioned above. The actual results do not match up with a biological determinist point of view.

Women today make 34.82% of global participation in marathon running. The first time a woman participated in a marathon run was in 1972, compare this to male marathon runs, which were happening as far back as 1896.

The lack of participation and representation in marathon running is also a decisive factor why there’s an illusion that women accomplish less than men in sports as an Oxford study suggests that women’s times in running are improving at a much faster level compared to men and that by the year 2156, the fastest person in the world will be a female.

When it comes to marathon running, there’s also a study that shows that women seem to be an advantage during an extended duration of running as men tend to slow down their pace during long marathon durations. Research from Oxford also suggests that women are better able to pace themselves during marathon races due to a lack of Testosterone.

Now, as we have discussed sexual differences between males and females and their impact on running Performance, let’s shift our attention towards the pace.

Running Pace and Its Impact on Running Performance

Finally, the pace is also an essential factor that determines the result of a marathon run. The pace is the number of minutes you take to complete a mile or kilometer. Pace determines how fast you will complete your run.

At the start of the run, you might slow down your pace to store some energy in your body so you can use it later. Slow and steady wins the race; this saying is true for marathon running as well.

The reason behind the slow pacing is that sprinting and marathon running are two different things, while the former requires to be extremely good at handling anaerobic respiration, the latter requires you to have a viable aerobic breathing technique that can assist you in completing a run.

Do not run at full speed as it will quickly deplete you off all the oxygen stored in your body and will shift the breathing to anaerobic mode. Rather, come up with a plan, figure out the best running pace.

Then keep the pace maintained throughout the marathon for best results. Never forget to warm up for 10 minutes before you start your running so you can prepare your body for the run.

Now, as we are done with all the factors that decide the run results, let’s look at some tips that will help you complete a mile.

Employ Viable Breathing Technique

Often runners commit the same mistake of breathing with their mouth open when they run, and it’s not beneficial for the run and, in many cases, might be harmful in the long run. They often inhale through the nose and exhale through their mouths, and this is ineffective and does not help you in any way.

What you instead need to do is to adopt a rhythmic pattern to your breathing. You need to inhale and exhale using both your nose and your mouth. This breathing method allows your diaphragm to engage in maximum oxygen intake and keeps your breathing steady.

It also allows you to exhale carbon dioxide quickly. Along with viable breathing, you need to add rhythm to it. You can use the 2:1 breathing method, i.e., breathe in for two strides, and breathe out for one stride.

Consider Slowing Down When You Are Out Of Breath

It’s common to get ahead of the pace when you are running and deplete yourself of oxygen. When this happens, you should consider stopping for a while or start walking until you get your breathing back and replenish your energy before starting to run again.

Maintain a Good Posture

While running, you need to keep your body in the correct shape, keep your shoulders relaxed, do not lead forward while running as it makes it harder for you to properly breathe. Keep your posture upright as it opens airways for you and assists you in proper breathing.

Take Assistance from Your Arms While Running

You can reduce your legs’ workload by taking assistance from your arms while running; it’s smart to use them. Keep your arms in a 90-degree position so they can swing gently from the shoulder and make sure to keep them relaxed.

Make sure that your arms do not float forward as it will be a sign that you are leaning too much forward with your body. When you take a step forward, the opposite arm should come out forward and vice versa.

Avoid Twisting Your Upper Body

Do not twist your upper body when you run. The reason behind it is that it takes too much energy, which you could have used in performing other tasks such as running faster. Get rid of your habit to twist your body when you run to maximize your speed potential.

Move your hands back and forth throughout a straight line and avoid crossing them over your body. You can do several tricks to keep your body free from twists such as thinking of a jacket with a zipper.

The zipper will create a line from your chest to the lower body; if your hands cross over that line, then that mean you are twisting your body.

Final Thoughts on How Long Does it Take to Run a Mile

Everyone needs to start somewhere and while you may not be a 5 minute mile runner you can start to work on your ability to reach that long term goal by getting started.

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I grew up in a home where most our days were spent inside, and sports were not a family priority. I did play soccer and baseball as a kid, but the older I got, the more I lost interest. To regain my health, I decided to adhere to the three tenets of health and longevity. I hope you will join me, by making it your purpose to live as long and well as possible.