Running a mile is not as simple as it sounds. There are many factors that affect how long it takes to run a mile. In this article, we’ll take a look at why running a mile is such a complex task and how you can make it faster.
Before 1954 people believed that it wouldn’t be possible to run a mile in less than 4 minutes.
Yes, until Roger Bannister beat that time and ran a mile in 3 minutes 59 seconds.
The current world record is sitting at 3 minutes 43 seconds.
But in reality, how long it takes to run a mile does depend on several different factors.
There are things like age, gender, and your level of running that will come into play when running a mile.
Factors That Will Affect Running Time
When considering how fast it will take to run a whole mile, it’s not as simple as saying a single time as not everyone’s the same and running under the same conditions.
The three main factors fall under age, gender, and experience level.
When performing and competing in sports age is quite an important part of it as there is definitely a peak age where the human body is at its most physically capable.
When you’re young, under 18 years of age you’re still able to perform really well in running and other physical activities, but the body is still underdeveloped.
So, as you get older than that you come into your peak physical years from around 20 to 35. Then any age older than that you get slightly worse at physical performance.
When it comes to gender it sounds misogynistic to say, but men are going to outperform women in the majority of physical activity, this is purely because men develop more muscle mass which allows for greater muscular strength and endurance.
So typically, when asking how long it’ll take to run a mile, it’ll be a different answer for men and women.
This can be broken up into 3 different categories. Beginner, intermediate and advanced.
Beginners will typically be someone who has only just started running and has maybe a tiny bit of experience.
Someone who has just started running is only going to be able to run a mile in a slower time frame than someone who is more experienced and has built up better fitness levels.
An intermediate runner will have been running for a while and relatively frequently, this will mostly be for health or pleasure reasons but will be a decent amount faster than a beginner.
Then the advanced runners, this level of experience is quite broad as it can be someone who just runs a lot, someone who competes for fun, and then can go as far as elite-level athletes.
The advanced runners will be hitting faster than average times and be able to run a mile much quicker.
Average Mile Times
When asking how long it takes to run a mile, looking at average mile times for different genders, ages, and experience levels is a good way to do it.
Women’s Average Mile Times
For women running the average mile time for those up to the age of 19 and are still considered beginners will be roughly 10 minutes and 55 seconds. For the Intermediate level of running, it should be about 8 minutes and 30 seconds.
Then for the advanced level for children and teens, the average time is roughly 7 minutes and 9 seconds.
Women between the ages of 20 and 35, the beginners should be running around 8 minutes and 31 seconds, intermediate will be running roughly 7 minutes 41 seconds and the advanced level will be hitting times of 6 minutes and 27 seconds.
When women get older the average time for up to 50-year-old will be 15 minutes and 47 seconds for beginners, intermediate runners will average at 8 minutes and 17 seconds and the advanced will clock in at 6 minutes and 54 seconds.
Men’s Average Mile Times
As far as men go, the children and teens will be running 9 minutes 37 seconds as a beginner runner, intermediates will be running at 7 minutes and 23 seconds, and finally advanced level runners will clock around 6 minutes and 5 seconds.
For those in the peak category of 20 to 35 the beginner level runners should be averaging a time of 8 minutes and 39 seconds, intermediate runners will average 6 minutes and 39 seconds and finally, the advanced level could be running a 5-minute 29 mile.
Then for the older category, the beginner will be clocking in at around 14 minutes and 7 seconds, the intermediate running a mile in 8 minutes 14 seconds, and the advanced runner clocking in at 6 minutes and 10 seconds.
How Long Does It Take?
Now we’ve looked at the average times of genders, experience level, and age we can get a good idea of how long it can take.
So, when running a mile, it’s a good idea to think about where you sit in the factors.
Are you a beginner, young man?
If so, then you will be running a relatively fast mile compared to an older woman who is also a beginner.
So a good way to find out how long it takes would be to go run a mile, record yourself and evaluate it against your effort level.
This way you’ll be able to get a rough time and see if you can do better, or train a bit more to get a faster mile time.
No matter what is your time, don’t compare yourself to other people. The speed at which you run a mile really depends on yourself.
Your personal best may be an impressive time but that doesn’t mean you’ll be running that time each run, you may be having an off day, or perhaps haven’t run in a while.
If you’re looking to improve then you should only be comparing yourself, to yourself. Consistent running and recording will help you to improve your time.
Always remember that everyone is different and times are going to vary for everyone.