Whenever we hear someone say “I’m running a 10k tomorrow” or “I’m doing a half marathon this weekend for charity”, the most common collective response is usually “Wow, that’s a long way!”.
Truth is, nobody knows EXACTLY how long those lengths actually take.
Everyone views distance in various ways. Some prefer to use kilometers, while others understand distance better in miles or meters.
Some need another type of physical comparison to help them visualize distance properly.
Whether you’re going to run a 5k, 10k, 15k, half marathon, or a marathon (or if you’re simply curious), here’s everything you need to know about these distances in miles!
How Many Miles Is A 5K?
A 5K run is the most commonly run distance for beginner runners. Despite this, not many runners know exactly how many miles a 5K is.
To answer this question, a 5K run is 3.1 miles.
While this isn’t a certified unit of measurement, the equivalent of a 5K/3.1-mile run is running around a baseball diamond 45 times.
Note: The most common distance for fun runs is also 5K. But otherwise, a fun run and a 5K run don’t have much in common.
How Long Does It Take to Run a 5K?
Running a 5K in 28 to 36 minutes is a reasonable goal for an everyday runner (a mile in around 9-12 minutes).
As a comparison, fast runners finish a 5K in about 15-20 minutes, and the world record is 12:35.
For walkers, one mile takes between 15 and 20 minutes.
The length of time it takes to run a 5k depends on skill level, stamina, and speed.
The average running speed for a male per mile is 11 minutes, and the average running speed for a female per mile is 13 minutes.
This means that depending on your speed and skill level, you can easily finish a 5k run in under an hour.
Contrary to popular belief, 5k runs are one of the most popular race lengths in the world.
Even the most experienced runners will utilize 5k races for training purposes, and they provide a doable challenge for beginners.
5k races are fairly straightforward to train for. The best way to train for a 5k is simply to run!
As the distance isn’t too long, runners don’t have to commit to a crazy strict diet or training schedule to complete a race within a certain time.
The key is to start slowly and aim to run 10 minutes at a time without stopping.
It doesn’t matter the speed it takes to run 10 minutes, because you will eventually gain more speed and stamina through training.
Eventually, it will take around 10-15 minutes to run a whole mile, and then around 40 minutes to run a 5k!
How Many Miles Is A 10k?
Obviously, a 10k is double the length of a 5k. This means that the conversion to miles as a unit of measurement is simply doubled!
A 10k run is 6.2 miles.
This is the equivalent of running around 91 football fields.
As a 10k is double the length of a 5k, this distance is a popular one for charity runs, races, and training for longer distances.
It is most commonly run by intermediate runners who have “outgrown” the length of a 5k, and wish to challenge themselves to a longer distance.
How Long Does It Take to Run a 10K?
The average length of time for someone to complete a 10k run is approximately an hour, though this can vary depending on skill level.
If you run 10 minutes a mile, you should finish a 10k in 1 hour and 2 minutes.
Interestingly, the world record for running a 10k is 26 minutes – and that isn’t an easy feat!
As expected, the training for a 10k is slightly more extensive than for a 5k.
There are several programs designed to improve speed and stamina depending on your personal strengths and weaknesses, varying from 4-week to 10-week plans.
While this isn’t a necessity, it’s common for people to run a 10k once they are comfortable with a 5k.
Still, this doesn’t mean that beginners and non-runners can’t walk a 10k for exercise or a charity event!
How Many Miles Is A 15k?
Using the figures from above, we know that a 10k run + 5k run = a 15k run. But what does this mean in terms of miles?
A 15k is approximately 9.3 miles long.
This is the equivalent of running around the bases of a baseball field about 135 times.
As expected, it takes a little more training and skill to run a 15k than it takes to run a 10k and a 5k.
How Long It Takes to Run a 15K?
This is where stamina plays a vital role next to speed. It’s not easy to maintain a certain speed for such a distance as a beginner.
If you run a mile within 10 minutes, it should take you about 1 hour and 33 minutes to run a 15k/9.3-mile race.
Of course, this doesn’t count for parts of the race that take longer to run.
As 15k runs are more challenging than 10k races, this distance is commonly run by intermediate and advanced runners who are looking to compete in more races.
This is quite a long distance for some charity fun runs, unless a charity offers longer distances for competitive runners.
Runners will typically follow a specific training course to complete a 15k run.
These courses can run anywhere from 4 weeks to 12 weeks, all of which consist of running with gradual increases in distance and enough time to allow your body to recover.
How Many Miles Is A Half Marathon?
Here’s where it gets more competitive. Half marathons are the second-longest-running distance in the competitive world.
A half marathon is 21.1 kilometers or 13.1 miles.
It is the equivalent of running the length of an Olympic swimming pool about 422 times, or running around a 400-meter track just under 53 times.
However, this doesn’t just mean half marathons are run by elite runners.
How Long Does It Take to Run a Half-Marathon?
On average, a runner will complete a half marathon within 2-3 hours. The cutoff time is typically around 3.5-4 hours, wherein the race will finish and anyone who hasn’t crossed the line will be driven to it.
In a lot of cases, such as national and interstate half marathons, beginner and intermediate runners will participate in a half marathon to push themselves mentally and physically, or to raise money for charity.
Half marathons vary in terms of who can apply, but in the majority of cases, they are open to all applicants.
Participants will commit to various training courses, including 12-20 week-long training periods that allow enough time for your body to rest.
This will also typically include a diet to improve performance.
How Many Miles Is A Marathon?
A marathon is the longest traditional competitive running distance. Marathons are 42.195 kilometers or 26.2 miles long.
This is the equivalent of running about 105.5 laps around a 400-meter running track.
As you can imagine, marathons are a true test of endurance, stamina, speed, resilience, and commitment to training.
In the early years, the distance varied depending on the venue. The marathon was standardized at 42.195 km in 1921 by International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF). IAAF maintains only metric distance (mile distance is an approximation).
How Long Does It Take to Run a Marathon?
The speed at which someone runs a marathon is hard to determine because each course is different and they take a different amount of time to complete.
On average, if you consistently run each mile within 10 minutes, you can expect to finish a marathon in 4 hours and 22 minutes.
Alternatively, if you walk each mile within 15 minutes, a marathon will take you 6 hours and 33 minutes.
With such a long distance, it’s imperative that marathon participants commit to months of training to prepare their bodies for the big day.
Training courses will vary from running days to cardio to cross-training days, alongside the essential resting days for your body to heal.
While some might assume that the majority of marathon runners are competitive athletes, this isn’t always the case.
A lot of intermediate and novice runners will participate in a marathon to raise money for charity, to tick off their marathon bucket list, or as a personal challenge.
Plus, you don’t have to run a marathon, as there’s always the option to walk it. Some marathons are especially walker-friendly, as they allow enough time for walkers to finish.
How Long Is an Ultramarathon
Ultramarathons are races longer than traditional marathons.
Typical distances are 50 km, 50 miles, 100 km, and 100 miles.
There are also time-based races of 6, 12, and 24 hours and multi-day events (the winner is the runner who covers the most distance).
Long distances and harsh terrain make these ultramarathons the toughest events of all.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Running 5 Miles A Day Good?
Technically speaking, any type of running daily is brilliant.
Running 5 miles a day is a little over 8k and will take the average person about 50 minutes to slightly over an hour to complete.
However, running 5 miles a day isn’t necessarily beneficial for training for a race.
You will need to increase the distance each week to push yourself further, otherwise, the route and style become too predictable.
Is Running 10 Miles A Day Too Much?
While it is impressive to say you can run 10 miles a day, this is an excessive distance to run every day.
It mostly depends on your fitness level and intentions, because running this distance daily can be beneficial for advanced runners.
However, for beginners and intermediate runners, 10 miles a day is a lot for your body.
It’s important to provide variety in your weekly exercise routine, such as running 10 miles once or twice a week, committing to cardio and cross-training twice a week, and allowing the other days for your body to rest.
Without allowing your body to rest properly, you risk the chance of physically and mentally burning out, resulting in a multitude of potential injuries.
So, there you have it!
Hopefully, this guide has taught you everything to know about how many miles it takes to run a 5k, 10k, 15k, half marathon, and a marathon.