What is a "good" running speed?

Subscribe to What is a "good" running speed? 24 post(s), 13 voice(s)
Voices: lizanneh, mh1, JerseygirlTris, shanel, laxcola, SeanC, stansj, keithtny, CeeA, StevenG, Raymoondo, wpw, and runrunrun

Aug 12, 2008 1:23pm

lizanneh lizanneh
757 posts

I Burned 5,000 Calories! I Lost 10 Lbs! I Lost 5 Lbs!

If someone is running 2.5 miles, what is an average speed? (minutes per mile) What is a good speed?

I know that men are typically faster than women, and as people age beyond High School they tend to get slower, but just looking for a general idea.

I read somewhere that the average was 8-9 minutes per mile. I run with some people who do that speed, and a few who are closer to 5:30 – 6:00 minutes per mile. Just trying to get an idea what is reasonable for me to expect with enough work.

Aug 12, 2008 3:37pm

mh1 mh1
77 posts

I Did 1,000 Pushups!

A good speed isn’t absolute but rather pinned to your current fitness level, age, gender, etc. I’ve read a few places that you should focus on achieving your target heart rate (THR) in determining what an appropriate speed is.

THR = ((HR max x HR rest) × %Intensity) + HRrest


Intensity should follow the ranges of
Beginner or low fitness level 50
– 60%
Average fitness level 60% – 70%
High fitness level 75% – 85%

HR max is maximum heart rate as professionally determined (I like to use 180, though this will vary)

So, from your resting heart rate of 72bpm and assuming average fitness level (we’ll say 65% intensity), your target heart rate would be

(180bpm-72bpm) x 65% + 72bpm = 142bpm

Personally, I don’t gauge my heart rate but instead try to compete with what I ran when I was younger. You could also check the times from a local 5k for your age group and adjust as appropriate both in lowering the time (because pushing to the winners’ times might be way too fast a pace) and distance (account for running at a faster pace if running less than 5k and a gentler pace if running more).

Aug 12, 2008 7:42pm

JerseygirlTris JerseygirlTris
18 posts

My rule of thumb: a good speed is one that YOU can endure for the distance you want to run.

Some days I can do a 10 min mile, others I’m lucky to do 12.

Aug 13, 2008 10:26am

lizanneh lizanneh
757 posts

I Burned 5,000 Calories! I Lost 10 Lbs! I Lost 5 Lbs!

The heart rate thing absolutely won’t work for me. We have a sensor but I’ve never been able to get it to give me results, and I have a really hard time taking my pulse while I’m running. Frankly, I have a hard time taking my pulse while I’m just sitting at my desk too!

I didn’t run as a kid (hated it), so I don’t have a previous speed to compare to. I run with some younger girls who do the 2.5 miles in about 20 minutes. I would be ecstatic if I could meet that pace, but then people I work with are telling me that’s still slow? I don’t get it.

Aug 13, 2008 5:08pm

JerseygirlTris JerseygirlTris
18 posts

Why are you worried about what people you work with have to say about your fitness goals? Seriously, you should run at what you are comfortable with. If you keep at it long enough you will get better (faster).

Don’t give up!!!

Aug 13, 2008 6:30pm

shanel shanel
2 posts

I am with JerseygirlTris on this one – I run stupid slow. I have never ever ever been a runner at all and currently my Nike+ says I am running a 18-19 minute mile. Sure it seems slow, sure it seems like it’ll be a long time till I can run a 5k, but I’ll be honest:

Never in my life could I have told you I thought I would be able to run (at whatever speed) for an entire mile.

But I can and I do.

Just get out there and put one foot in front of the other.

Aug 13, 2008 7:58pm

shanel shanel
2 posts

Addendum: turns out my sensor has been pretty far off… Turns out I am actually running a 12:30 mile or so! Yay!

Aug 14, 2008 12:51am

lizanneh lizanneh
757 posts

I Burned 5,000 Calories! I Lost 10 Lbs! I Lost 5 Lbs!

Oh I don’t care what people I work with say about my fitness goals. In fact, we weren’t talking about my fitness goals when the subject came up. I was just trying to figure out if my perception (that the people running it 6 minutes faster than me were doing a good speed) was off-base.

I looked at some local 5K results which confirmed to me that they are nuts.

I run at about 10:30 per mile right now, and consider myself supa-slow, but it doesn’t bother me as long as I finish and I keep improving.

Aug 14, 2008 6:44am

laxcola laxcola
55 posts

I did Le Tour de France! I Swam 50 Miles! I Biked 100 Miles! I Ran 100 Miles! I Burned 50K Calories! I Burned 25K Calories! I Did 1,000 Pushups! I Burned 5,000 Calories!

I agree you should try not to worry about anyone else. What I have been trying to do is improve on my previous workouts. As long as I’m improving it gives me a motivation for the next run/swim/lift.

I like the heart rate monitor because it gives you a true response to if you are not working as hard as your previous runs.(you’ll also notice over time how you’ve improved on this too)

I do have goals thou which I try to meet each week that lead to a long term goal. For example each week I try to shave 10% off my previous mile time. I’m trying to get down to a 6 minute mile but I’m trying to do it gradually.

Aug 14, 2008 9:01am

lizanneh lizanneh
757 posts

I Burned 5,000 Calories! I Lost 10 Lbs! I Lost 5 Lbs!

Yeah, a heart rate monitor would be good but for some reason I haven’t been able to find one that works for me. :(

Aug 14, 2008 10:06am

SeanC SeanC
26 posts

Liz – Which monitors have you tried? I have a Suunto and my wife has a Polar. Both work very well.

Aug 14, 2008 10:51am

lizanneh lizanneh
757 posts

I Burned 5,000 Calories! I Lost 10 Lbs! I Lost 5 Lbs!

Sean, my problem has been with the transmitter belts. I can’t get them to read my heart rate consistently (or at all sometimes). The specific one I have is Norditrak, so I’m sure it’s not great, but I’m hesitant to fork out $$ for other ones when I’m not sure any belt-driven measuring device will work for me. I’ve tried a few others (can’t remember the brands) that friends have and had similar problems.

But that really is neither here nor there. I still can’t convince my colleague that people who run 7 min/mi aren’t slow.

Aug 14, 2008 3:37pm

stansj stansj
63 posts

I Did 1,000 Pushups! Conqueror I Burned 50K Calories! I Burned 25K Calories! I Ran 100 Miles! I Biked 100 Miles! Centennial Champion

Not sure how old it is… but some of the older ones (like mine) are not encoded. Thus, if you are running with others, your receiver (the watch part) may not know which transmitter (strap) to listen to. The encoded ones lock on to your signal and helps to prevent interference.

Also, another issue I have with mine is if the strap sensors are not wet, then it will not read your heart rate. Not a problem in summer time, but if you are just starting running you may have to get the monitor strap wet with some water… Not soaked, but moist.

And the final point I have is sometimes your bra can mess it up. If you are wearing a metal under wire one and it keeps hitting the strap it can cause bad readings… I always wear a running bra instead… Ummmmm … I mean my wife always does.

Aug 15, 2008 11:41am

lizanneh lizanneh
757 posts

I Burned 5,000 Calories! I Lost 10 Lbs! I Lost 5 Lbs!


It is a few years old! But I’ve had problems even running by myself, so it’s more likely to be issues with dampness or problems b/c of my figure and/or clothing (bra/etc.). I have gotten it wet before I use it.

I may have to buy one with a return guarantee so that I can try it a bit more thoroughly than I’ve been able to try the ones friends have.

As for this subject…I’ve set my goal based on a 5k instead of 2.5 miles, and my goal is to run it in 28 minutes by October 15. So that would be a 9 minute mile…nearly 90 seconds off my current average pace, and a bit father than I run currently.

Aug 25, 2008 7:00pm

keithtny keithtny
19 posts

I Ran 100 Miles! I Burned 5,000 Calories!

As someone who got back into running this past November, I think JerseyGirlTris has some of the best advice. Especially your first year of running, you just want to go at a pace that’s comfortable for you. You’ll actually find that your pace will pick up over time. I know for me I started at around an 11 minute pace and now run 5Ks at around an 8-minute mile pace, which usually puts me in the top third or so in my age group during races.

To answer your question about your friends, I think 5:30 pace is phenomenal and wouldn’t ever try to measure myself against someone like that.

Another good general rule of thumb I picked up from a personal trainer who trains runners is to not try to increase your pace or your distance in the same week, and to not try to increase either by more than 10% per week. Anyway, just my two cents. Best of luck! There’s nothing quite like runner’s high in my book.

Sep 10, 2008 3:22pm

CeeA CeeA
36 posts

I also don’t have luck with heart rate monitors. Personally I find them to be a bigger burden than anything else. The about average time is 10 minutes a mile.

If you’re looking to improve your time try going for a bit longer of a run. When I first started running (about a month ago) I ran 1.4 miles and after that walked somewhere between .6 and 1.2 miles.

After a week of that I decided to run the 1.4 miles walk for .4 miles and then run for another .5 miles.

After two weeks of that I attempted a 5K. I was able to run for 2 miles straight (lots of inclines in my circuit) and ended up having to walk the rest. The important thing is to keep going and to not cut yourself short. The longer you run you will find that the faster you get.

My first 5K time was 31 minutes, now I my personal best is at 27:12 (rested) and an average of 27:27 (not rested). Not that bad of an improvement! So just keep at it and keep running. You’ll get faster throughout time.

Sep 11, 2008 10:11am

lizanneh lizanneh
757 posts

I Burned 5,000 Calories! I Lost 10 Lbs! I Lost 5 Lbs!

I ran my first 5K on 9/5. I ran the entire thing in 33 minutes, without walking once. I know that’s super slow (10:45 min per mile), but i am really proud of running the entire thing.

I have also heard that the best way to increase your speed is to increase your distance, and the speed will naturally come.

Sep 11, 2008 11:01am

StevenG StevenG
397 posts

Top Contender I Lost 50 LBS! Champion I Did 1,000 Pushups! 30 pound challenge! 30 pound challenge! I Walked 100 Miles! Rod worthy Champion Top Contender Bye Bye Fatty I did Le Tour de France! I Lost 35 Lbs! I Lost 20 Lbs! I Lost 10 Lbs! I Lost 5 Lbs! I Biked 100 Miles! Channel Champion

Congrats on completing the 5K @lizanneh!

Sep 11, 2008 12:46pm

CeeA CeeA
36 posts

liz, congrats! My time wasn’t that great either the first time. Right now I am stuck in a 27:27 rut. But hey, it will come. Hopefully I can break 27 by the time it dips into the 30s.

Sep 11, 2008 2:33pm

lizanneh lizanneh
757 posts

I Burned 5,000 Calories! I Lost 10 Lbs! I Lost 5 Lbs!

Thank you! My goal is 28 minutes, so CeeA, you are evidence that I can do it, since your starting time was just a little faster than mine.

Thanks for the encouragement, all.

Sep 11, 2008 3:16pm

CeeA CeeA
36 posts

In 2 weeks you will definitely be at your goal. Hang in there!

Sep 11, 2008 9:20pm

Raymoondo Raymoondo
32 posts

5 miles an hour is a great pace for training long distances.

Sep 13, 2008 7:57pm

wpw wpw
4 posts

Regarding your question about what is a good running pace you’ve got some good advice, it really depends on where you are coming from. I have a good friend who with no athletic background went from being a couch potato to doing an Ironman in under 8:30.

The key is to be consistent and find a protocol that you can stick with over time. Most people get frustrated with a heart rate approach because they don’t have a well developed aerobic system and in order to “go fast” they blow through their heart rate zones.

Apr 30, 2009 9:17pm

runrunrun runrunrun
1 post

I noticed recently that correcting the running posture a bit, adds to running efficiency and the speed as such.

One tip to increase the speed, while maintaining your regular speed try speeding up a little bit between lets say 2 electric poles, then go back to normal and alternate between the 2 for some distance, if you are feeling stressed you could always revert back to your normal speed.
An example: Go at normal speed for 5 mins,
Speed up a little bit for next 3 electric poles or say 0.1 mile.
back to normal speed for another 2-3 poles,
speeup again for 2 poles etc..

I hope it makes sense.

Login to Reply