If you’ve arrived at this page it’s probably because you’ve asked the question how long does it take to run a mile, or perhaps you’re curious to find out how fast you can run a mile yourself.
Different people run at different speeds, so the answer to the question of how fast a person can run a mile depends on their running experience, level of fitness and, to a certain extent, genetics.
All of these factors can have an influence on how fast you can run, and therefore how long it will take you to cover a mile in distance.
Elite vs casual and non-runners
The fastest elite runners can run a mile in between four to five minutes. That is obviously much faster than a regular person.
The average, casual runner can typically run a mile in less than ten minutes, with many people taking around nine or ten minutes to travel that distance. This is why the phrase, to run a ‘ten-minute mile’ is commonly heard in running circles.
For someone with no running experience, you may not be able to run a mile non-stop the first time you try, as it requires some training and level of cardiovascular fitness that can take a while to build up.
For this reason, if you’re on this page because you searched for ‘how fast can I run a mile?’ and you’re not a runner, you should expect it to take you more than 12 minutes, possibly closer to 15 minutes.
By comparison, if you were to walk a mile, it may take you upwards of 15 minutes, depending on your walking speed. Some people may take 20 minutes or longer, depending on their level of fitness and physical ability, among other factors.
Hills affect how fast a human can run a mile
Another factor that will influence how fast you can run a mile in is how much elevation gain or loss there is on that particular road or trail you’re planning to run.
If your running route involves going up or down hill, then this will make you slower or faster compared to running a mile on a flat path.
Trail running is typically slower than road running, because hiking trails and fire roads typically have a lot of hills, as well as obstacles and uneven terrain to negotiate, which can slow you down.
Additionally, if it’s very hot or humid weather, then that may also affect your running speed, as would a strong headwind or tailwind.
All of the above factors also apply to walking and hiking. Hiking on hilly terrain can take significantly longer than on a flat path, especially if it’s exposed to hot or other challenging weather conditions. For hiking advice and tips, read our hiking essentials guide.
How many miles will you run in one go?
It’s also important to consider how many miles you are planning on running. Most runners will be able to run just one mile pretty quickly, with an all-out, intensive effort.
However, if you’re planning on running several miles in one go, such as for a 5k or longer race such as a half marathon, then your time per mile will be slower because you need to be able to sustain that running pace for a longer period of time.
How many miles is a 5k run?
When you are new to running, a popular running distance to aim for is a 5k. But if you’re used to measuring distance in miles, how many miles is a 5k run?
The answer is 5k is the same as 3.1 miles.
You can use this conversion to work out other distances from kilometers to miles, and back again. One mile is equivalent to around 1.6 kilometers.
Many countries, including Europe, use Kilometers and other metric measurements. Additionally, in the running world, many race distances are described in kilometers, so it’s helpful to be able to at least approximately convert the distances to miles to appreciate how far they are.
Popular running races measured in kilometers include 5k and 10k. You may also see ultra marathon races that are 50k or 100k distances.
If you’re curious about ultra marathon running, we have a lot of information and advice which you can find by searching on this page.
How to work out how fast you can run a mile
The easiest way to answer the question ‘how fast can I run a mile’ is to use a running GPS watch.
A running GPS watch will use satellite tracking with frequent updates to track your location and distance you cover. Good watches are very accurate and can track the exact time it takes you to run a mile, or any other distance you choose.
An alternative to a running GPS watch is to find a running route that measures exactly one mile. This can be harder to do, however with tools such as google maps, you should be able to find a straight, flat paved route that is a mile or longer.
When using this method to measure your mile, check that it is not going to be busy with people or traffic, and avoid routes that have traffic lights or road crossings, as you don’t want to put yourself at risk or have to stop (and slow your mile time) while you wait for a red light to go green.