Whether you plan to run a mile running race or for any other reasons, knowing how fast people run can be useful. So what is a good mile time?
The first thing to note is that this article will focus on running a single mile, not average running speeds.
That being said your mile time will vary because of details like age, running surface, where you run, physical fitness, weather, and much more. There are however some general estimations.
One data source on over 10.000 results of 5k races has an average of 11:47 per mile (7:19 per kilometer). If you apply the ratio of world records this becomes about 10:50 as the mile time for a single mile.
In general, more experienced runners can consider 8-10 minutes a good mile time. If you are more of a running beginner, a good mile time will be closer to 12 to 15 minutes and potentially longer.
At the time of writing the world record time for running one mile is 3:43.13 by Hicham El Guerrouj set in 1999 (1).
Regardless, it is generally better to compare your mile time to your previous mile times than comparing to other people’s results today. It can be motivating and fun to note down your personal records and see them get faster over time instead of comparing yourself to someone 20 years younger with amazing genetics.
This article will go over the biggest factors in running speed, more specific mile time estimations for different ages and genders, other interesting mile-related times, and how long it takes to run a mile at different speeds.
Biggest factors in running speed
A fact that may feel annoying is that how fast you will run a mile is hard to predict correctly. This fact can make things like predicting how your mile time compares to other people feel like a guessing game.
Even so, good estimations can be a helpful starting point. By taking a few important factors into account you can make your estimations more accurate. Some of the biggest factors that influence how fast you will run include:
- Physical fitness: The first factor that influences how fast you run a mile is your current physical fitness level. If you are used to running at high speeds you will likely also run a mile than someone who has not worked out for the last few months. This is due to factors like cardiovascular and muscular endurance.
- Running surface: Your running surface can influence your mile time in a few different ways. First of all the slope of your running surface will matter a lot. Generally the steeper the slower you will run. There will also be a difference between running on a flat concrete surface vs running on a forest trail.
- Age: The next factor may be a consequence of other factors but generally from a certain point on the older you get the slower you run.
- Weather: There will be a difference in the time it takes to run a mile in a clear sky without wind compared to running in the rain with a headwind all the way.
Estimations for mile times by age and gender
There is a source that looks at 10.000’s of race results from people running in 5k races (2). This data is not perfect for finding out what a good single mile time is.
One option to get a better idea of what the possibilities are when running a shorter distance is taking a look at the speed ratio of the world records. So the world record of the mile/world record of the 5000 meters times these averages from the data (per gender).
In words, how much faster is the mile world record compared to the 5000 meters world record per mile and applying this ratio to the averages. Again not perfect but one step closer to figuring out what can be considered a good mile time.
The below tables will show you the average time per mile of these 5k runners per age and gender, how fast this is in miles and kilometers per hour, and the more “experimental” single mile time prediction. Keep in mind that these are rounded numbers.
Average mile times per age for men
|Age||5K Time Per Mile||Running Speed Men 5K||Single Mile|
Time Per Mile Prediction
|Running Speed |
Single Mile Prediction
|0 – 15||11:12:20||5.3 mph (8.6 kmh)||10:18||5.8 mph (9.3 kmh)|
|16 – 19||09:34:42||6.2 mph (10 kmh)||8:49||6.8 mph (10.9 kmh)|
|20 – 24||09:30:36||6.3 mph (10.1 kmh)||8:46||6.8 mph (11 kmh)|
|25 – 29||10:03:22||5.9 mph (9.6 kmh)||9:15||6.4 mph (10.4 kmh)|
|30 – 34||10:09:33||5.9 mph (9.4 kmh)||9:22||6.4 mph (10.3 kmh)|
|35 – 39||10:53:45||5.5 mph (8.8 kmh)||10:02||5.9 mph (9.6 kmh)|
|40 – 44||10:28:26||5.7 mph (9.2 kmh)||9:38||6.2 mph (10 kmh)|
|45 – 49||10:43:19||5.5 mph (9 kmh)||9:52||6 mph (9.7 kmh)|
|50 – 54||11:08:16||5.3 mph (8.6 kmh)||10:14||5.8 mph (9.4 kmh)|
|55 – 59||12:07:58||4.9 mph (7.9 kmh)||11:10||5.3 mph (8.6 kmh)|
|60 – 64||13:05:47||4.5 mph (7.3 kmh)||12:03||4.9 mph (8 kmh)|
|65 – 99||13:52:03||4.3 mph (6.9 kmh)||12:46||4.6 mph (7.5 kmh)|
Average mile times per age for women
|Age||5K Time Per Mile||Running Speed Women 5K||Single Mile|
Time Per Mile Prediction
Single Mile Prediction
|0 – 15||12:14:57||4.8 mph (7.8 kmh)||11:23||5.2 mph (8.4 kmh)|
|16 – 19||12:09:50||4.9 mph (7.9 kmh)||11:19||5.3 mph (8.5 kmh)|
|20 – 24||11:44:47||5.1 mph (8.2 kmh)||10:56||5.4 mph (8.8 kmh)|
|25 – 29||11:42:37||5.1 mph (8.2 kmh)||10:54||5.5 mph (8.8 kmh)|
|30 – 34||12:29:29||4.8 mph (7.7 kmh)||11:37||5.1 mph (8.3 kmh)|
|35 – 39||12:03:33||4.9 mph (8 kmh)||11:14||5.3 mph (8.5 kmh)|
|40 – 44||12:24:47||4.8 mph (7.7 kmh)||11:33||5.1 mph (8.3 kmh)|
|45 – 49||12:41:48||4.7 mph (7.6 kmh)||11:49||5 mph (8.1 kmh)|
|50 – 54||13:20:52||4.4 mph (7.2 kmh)||12:25||4.8 mph (7.7 kmh)|
|55 – 59||14:37:34||4.1 mph (6.5 kmh)||13:37||4.4 mph (7 kmh)|
|60 – 64||14:47:48||4 mph (6.5 kmh)||13:46||4.3 mph (7 kmh)|
|65 – 99||16:12:01||3.7 mph (5.9 kmh)||15:04||3.9 mph (6.4 kmh)|
Other interesting mile-related times
- 1-mile world record women by Sifan Hassan: 4:12.33
- 1-mile world record men by Hicham El Guerrouj: 3:43.13
- 2020 Olympics qualifying standard 1500 meters for females: 4:06.00
- 2020 Olympics qualifying standard 1500 meters for males: 3:37.50
The Olympics do not have a mile event, the closest is the 1500 meters. As expected these are very impressive times.
How long it takes to run a mile by speed
Besides wanting to know what a good mile time is, you may be interested in how long it takes when you speed up or down. The times in the table are minutes : seconds and rounded numbers.
|Running Speed||Time Per Mile|
|4 mph (6.4 kmh)||15:00 minutes|
|5 mph (8.1 kmh)||12:00 minutes|
|6 mph (9.1 kmh)||10:00 minutes|
|7 mph (11.3 kmh)||8:34 minutes|
|8 mph (12.9 kmh)||7:30 minutes|
|9 mph (14.5 kmh)||6:39 minutes|
|10 mph (16.1 kmh)||6:00 minutes|