How Fast Does An Average Person Run? (Explained)

Couple jogging and running outdoors in nature


You may remember the good ol’ days on the playground and all of the fun you had with the other kids.

At this point in life, the social hierarchy was determined by who could run the fastest and beat their friends in a race.

If rumors started coming up about a new kid in town who could run 100 miles per hour (mph), the reigning champ would need to defend their title by winning in a race.

Despite the rumors on the playground, no one can actually run at a speed of 100 mph.

How fast does the average person run?

How can you make yourself run faster?


How Fast Does An Average Person Run?

american man running


Males run at an average speed of 8 mph, and women run at an average speed of 6.5 mph.

People running for their lives, not for recreational purposes, can run at an average speed of 12 mph.

Athletes and gym enthusiasts tend to be faster than the average person and may run at a speed as high as 14 to 17 mph.

The numbers change when referring to endurance and long-distance trails.

Sprinters running a short distance average 10 mph.

However, it’s hard to maintain that momentum for a long distance.

When using data on the average running speed for five kilometers, males have an average running speed of 5.9 mph, and women have an average running speed of 5 mph.


Mile Time

Sometimes, speed isn’t measured in miles per hour, but rather the time it took to run a certain distance in minutes and seconds.

Most of us remember running the mile in high school gym class, but we probably don’t remember the time we got.

Test yourself again to discover where you stand compared to other people your age.

See the following average times it takes males and females to run the mile at different ages:

  • 16 to 19 (male) = 9:34
  • 16 to 19 (female) = 12:09
  • 20 to 24 (male) = 9:30
  • 20 to 24 (female) = 11:44
  • 25 to 29 (male) = 10:03
  • 25 to 29 (female) = 11:42
  • 30 to 34 (male) = 10:09
  • 30 to 34 (female) = 12:29
  • 35 to 39 (male) = 10:53
  • 35 to 39 (female) = 12:03
  • 40 to 44 (male) = 10:28
  • 40 to 44 (female) = 12:24
  • 45 to 49 (male) = 10:43
  • 45 to 49 (female) = 12:41
  • 50 to 54 (male) = 11:08
  • 50 to 54 (female) = 13:20
  • 55 to 59 (male) = 12:08
  • 55 to 59 (female) = 14:37
  • 60 to 64 (male) = 13:05
  • 60 to 64 (female) = 14:47
  • 65+ (male) = 13:52
  • 65+ female) = 16:12

According to the data, males run the mile in less time (on average).

Also, people get slower as they get older.


Walking Speed

If you simply can’t run anymore and slow down to a walking pace, you can assume you are moving at the average human walking speed of three to four miles per hour.


The Fastest Of The Fast

Usain Bolt (JAM)


While it can be valuable to know the average speed of most humans, it can also be interesting to learn about the fastest people and things out there.


Usain Bolt

Many people consider Usain Bolt the greatest sprinter of all time.

He astonished the world when he completed the 100-meter dash in 9.58 seconds in 2009.

This comes to almost 28 mph.


Florence Griffith-Joyner

In 1988, Griffith-Joyner became the fastest female sprinter by finishing the 100-meter dash in 10.49 seconds.

She still holds that title to this day.


Eliud Kipchoge

It’s not only about speed, but it’s also about endurance.

Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge earned the title as the fastest long-distance runner by running a marathon in a time of 2:01:39, which comes to a pace of about 4 minutes and 38 seconds per mile.

He also holds the third-place title as well.



To help establish a frame of reference about the speed of humans, see some of the top speeds of famously fast animals:

  • Cheetah = 70 mph
  • Horse = 40 mph
  • Bear = 30 mph
  • Cat = 30 mph
  • Dog = 20 mph

Ideally, you will never find yourself in a race with these animals since all of them can outrun a human relatively easily.


Factors That Determine Speed

Young woman is running in sunny nature


Certain things contribute to your running speed.

Understanding these variables can help you make decisions that will propel you forward at a significantly faster pace.


1. Clothing

You need to wear lightweight clothing that fits properly and won’t weigh you down while still allowing for proper airflow.

Some of the best materials for you to use include nylon and polyester.

You also want clothing that can hold up to the weather outside, especially in cold and wet conditions.


2. Shoes

Protect your feet by wearing proper running socks and running shoes.

Most importantly, the shoes must fit correctly.

If you wear the wrong shoes or the wrong-sized shoes, you can develop blisters and sores.

In some cases, you can even cause serious injuries.


3. Terrain

It takes a lot more effort to run uphill than it does to run downhill.

If you are running up a mountain, your running speed will be much slower than it will be on the way down.


How To Become Faster

young man stretching in the park before running at the sunset focus on shoes


If you have a race coming up, you may want to know what you can do to increase your running speed.

Here are some ways to become a faster runner.


1. Increase Strength

When you run, you carry your entire body weight using the strength of your legs.

If you have strong legs, you will be able to produce more power and run faster.

You can develop strength by visiting the gym and running regularly.


2. Maintain Weight

Too much weight will slow you down.

You want to stay within a healthy weight range for your height, age, and gender.

In order to maintain a healthy weight, it’s wise to watch what you eat.

That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t indulge from time to time when there’s cause for celebration.

However, in general, you should try to follow these simple nutrition tips:

  • Replace red meat with chicken and fish
  • Reduce your sugar intake
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Eat small portions
  • Say no to fried foods, chips, and high-fat desserts


3. Stretch And Recover

Before you start running, you should stretch out your body.

Some of the common stretches people do before running include:

  • Lunge with side bend
  • Standing quad
  • Lateral squat stretch
  • Calf stretch

After your run, you should massage any sore areas on your body.

You should also give yourself a day or two to rest before your next run, especially if you are new to running workouts.

Your body needs time to adjust to the new stress it’s taking on, and you need to give yourself time to recover before running again, or you risk potentially hurting yourself.


4. Breathing Exercises

Your body requires sufficient oxygen, especially when running.

For that reason, you should learn breathing exercises specifically designed for cardiovascular activity.

You may use different breathing techniques when running a sprint compared to running long-distance.

However, there are some common practices you will utilize in any situation.

When breathing, breathe through both your nose and your mouth.

You should also breathe from deep within your diaphragm.

Many people follow a rhythmic 3-2 breathing pattern that alternates between foot strokes.


5. Perfect Your Form

Every runner has a form that they follow when running.

However, not all runners use the best form.

If you want to be faster, you should learn how to improve and perfect your form.

It all starts with the core and maintaining good posture, keeping a mental and literal forward gaze.

You also want to keep your shoulders firm but loosen up your arms and hands.


6. Stay Hydrated

Hydration is always important, but it’s even more important when you are running.

Running produces about 20 times more heat than normal, causing high perspiration levels, which can cause us to become dehydrated.

When dehydrated, you may experience cramps and headaches, causing your running performance to go down.

About two hours before you go out for a run, drink two glasses of water.

Then, drink another glass of water about 15 minutes before your run.

Bring water with you to drink while you run as well.


Benefits Of Running

Portrait of a senior man in fitness wear running in a park


Why do people run anyway?

Well, there are numerous physical and mental benefits to regular running exercise that may inspire you to get the running shoes out yourself.


1. Burns Calories

For people looking to lose weight, running provides a simple and cost-effective option, thanks to how effective it is.

If you run at a challenging speed, you can burn up to 100 calories in a single mile.

You may have to run a couple of miles to work off last night’s dessert, but you can do it.


2. Reduces Risk Of Heart Disease

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States.

Running is a great way to keep the blood pumping through your heart, keeping it strong.

It also encourages good blood pressure and cholesterol levels, which also contribute to heart health.


3. Improves Mobility

As we get older, our bones start to deteriorate.

Running can keep them strong.

Furthermore, your body will be trained to constantly be in motion, keeping you mobile and flexible throughout your day.


4. Relieves Stress

When you run, you release tension.

Any stress you may carry with you can fall off of you, too.

You will feel lighter and less stressed about the other things you face throughout the day.

At the very least, you get a small break from those stressors while you exercise.


Common Running Injuries

The boy's leg with a patch on the asphalt


You won’t get the full benefits of running if you have to stop due to an injury.

Understanding the most common injuries can help you prevent them in advance.


1. Blisters

Blisters develop as a result of your foot constantly rubbing against your shoe, which is why it’s so important to have the right shoes and socks.

If you notice a blister developing, stop running at the next convenient moment to prevent it from getting worse.

You can still run if you get a blister, but you should bandage it first.


2. Shin Pain

The shin refers to the front portion of your calf.

Some runners get a pain that extends the length of your shin.

In most cases, shin pain goes away on its own after some rest, but it’s also important to remain hydrated.


3. Soft Tissue Injuries

The two most common soft tissue injuries are pulled muscles and ligament sprains.

These injuries create a significant amount of pain.

Mild cases will heal within a few days with the help of some ice.


4. Fracture

In some rare cases, runners may experience a fracture or a broken bone.

This generally happens if someone falls or gets distracted.

Fractures require surgery to reset the bone, and you will go through a long healing period.


Walking Vs. Running

Group of women in their 30s walking together in the outdoors


Running requires a lot of effort.

Some people can’t run for very long before they bring it down to a modest walking pace.

Some people never make it past a walking pace.

While running burns significantly more calories than walking, it’s better to walk than not exercise at all.

A 160-lb woman running at five miles per hour will burn about 600 calories, but the same woman walking at 3.5 mph will only burn about 300 calories.

Keep in mind that you need to burn about 3,500 calories to lose one pound.

Walking also doesn’t present as many physical risks as running, making it more practical for people with previous conditions or new to exercising.

You can make walking more challenging by going up an incline or holding weights.

You can also walk just a little bit faster until you eventually hit a running pace.


Getting Started Running

Young couple running on the street be running for exercise


If you want to take up running, it may not feel as natural as you’d like at first.

Here are some tips to get you up and running.


1. Start Small But Dream Big

You can’t expect to run the New York Marathon after a week of training.

However, you can start small by simply running around the block or to a specific destination.

Gradually expand your area as you get more comfortable.

Eventually, you will make it to the marathon.


2. Remain Consistent

If you want to see visible change, you need to dedicate yourself to running.

Make a point to run at least three or four days a week.

Instead of running every day, focus on running more and more each workout.


3. Stay Positive

You may get discouraged when you find yourself gasping for air on the side of the road.

However, you need to remain positive, even if it hurts in the beginning.

The pain will go away.


4. Shake It Up

Many people get bored while they run.

Keep it interesting by changing your regular routine.

Try different trails and make the most of your exercise by getting your fill of nature, too.



The average man runs at a speed of eight miles per hour.

Don’t just run, though.

Learn how to run faster than the average person while also keeping yourself safe from injuries. You will look better and feel better.

Plus, you will be able to beat all of your friends in a race.

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