Is A 10-Minute Mile Good (Or Slow) For A Beginner Runner?

Is A 10 Minute Mile Slow

Whether you are a beginner runner or a seasoned veteran, there is always the tendency to compare your mile times and distances against other runners – be them friends or people online. 

  • If you are a beginner runner, your average mile time might be closer to 12-15 minutes, depending on your age and overall fitness level.
  • A 10-minute mile is a good and excellent goal for a beginner (but it takes practice before you reach that pace).

Most runners pride themselves on how long it takes for them to run a mile. But is 10 minutes good for a mile? 

Is a 10-Minute Mile Good?

Running a mile in 10 minutes is definitely a good time for a beginner when you compare it to the averages!

The average time it takes to run a mile depends greatly on various factors, including age and gender. 

Average Times For A Mile

  • According to statistics, it takes men around 9 minutes and 18 seconds to run a mile. For women, it takes 10 minutes and 40 seconds.
  • The average time for both genders is around 9 minutes and 48 seconds.

These numbers are therefore important to bear in mind when assigning yourself targets. After all, our personal physical performance is not necessarily comparable to everybody else’s. 

How To Get To A 10-Minute Mile

Here’s how to overcome the limitations to run a ten-minute mile.

1. Include Easy Running in Your Training

Instead of trying to push too far too quickly, focus on building up your endurance slowly over time.

As you train to run a 10-minute mile, incorporate some slower, easier runs.

Many BEGINNERS mistakenly assume they must always train at their target pace.

Running at a slower pace than your target is better, however.

For a target of a 10-minute mile, you can run easy, and long runs a couple of times per week at a significantly slower pace (for example, 11:30 minutes per mile).

2. Setting Goals

Now that isn’t to say that you should be pushing yourself – quite the opposite!

But the best way to enjoy what you are doing and show improvement is to try and be better than you were yesterday.

This doesn’t require you to kill yourself with exercise. It means setting smaller, incremental goals.

Make sure you challenge your limitations, improve your stamina and endurance, and maintain a fitness state that benefits you.

3. Putting Health First

If you are running for exercise, then the important thing to think about is your health, not your running time. 

For good cardiovascular health, getting at least 30-60 minutes of activity every day is recommended. Running every day might not be the best option, but incorporate other activities with running and have rest days.

This is more important than keeping track of times. Your heart doesn’t care whether you run a mile in 10 minutes or not.

4. The Right Mindset

The fact is that everyone is different, which makes COMPARING yourself with other runners an almost futile undertaking.

Any personal trainer or running coach worth their salt will tell you the same thing. 

A common misconception in sports is that you have to be the best. While this might be true in competitive sports, recreational runners should be focused on only one thing – being the best they can be. 

Is A 10 Minute Mile Slow

Common Limiting Factors For A 10-Minute Mile

Aside from gender and age, there are some limiting factors that can affect the speed we are capable of achieving.

1. Age Is A Significant Factor For Mile Times

While age is definitely a factor in slowing us all down, many elite athletes don’t reach their physical peak until they are well into their thirties. 

This shows that with the right training, the proper diet, and the appropriate personal goals and expectations, there is no reason at all that we can’t keep running well into old age. 

Of course, it is essential to be realistic. With a positive outlook and the proper preparation, there is no reason why a healthy older person can’t continue to run at a pace that suits their circumstances.

2. Height & Weight

Obviously, larger-framed individuals will find it harder to reach a ten-minute mile than their slender counterparts.

Similarly, people who are notably taller will be carrying more weight, will accrue more wind resistance. They will not always be able to reach the same speeds as shorter runners. 

3. Physical Fitness

Physical fitness, past injuries, and health issues also come into play when determining our physical limitations.

This might seem like a depressing thing to consider, but knowing our limitations is incredibly important when setting ourselves goals and challenges.

4. Environment & Climate

Finally, the problem might not be with us at all – it could be the terrain we are running in limiting our potential.

This is especially true of rugged areas with uneven terrain, as well as marshy areas with softer, sloppy terrain.

Both of these provide resistance in different ways, and can seriously hinder your overall time. 

This is also true with climate and weather.

If you are used to running in more moderate climates, running in hot, humid weather can be challenging. It may take time for your body to adjust to the differences, affecting your running time and ability.

The Bottom Line

Is a 10-minute mile good? Depends entirely on who you ask.

A ten-minute mile is considered a pretty fast pace for someone who has never run before. But it would be reasonable for someone who has already been running for a while (and who is already aiming for even a faster mile).

If you want to break through that barrier and set a personal record, you will need to train for it. The key to success here is consistency.

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