Is a 10 Minute Mile Slow?

Whether you are new to running or if you have been doing it for yours, you probably find yourself comparing your time to what others are posting. Prior to delving further into the concept of pace and what is “average” or “normal” for a runner, the first thing we at Rockay want to stress is that the only person you need to compare yourself to is the person you were yesterday. Your running journey is deeply personal and if you waste time wishing you were more like someone else, well…. you’re wasting energy.

Getting Started

If you are new to the fitness journey, most running experts agree that you should probably start with brisk walking. If you aren’t able to hold a 15 minute mile or so while on a brisk walk, you may wish to improve fitness a bit prior to starting to run. Once you get there, you may be ready to implement some jogging into the workout.

10 minute mile goal pace
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Did you know that for many beginning runners they average somewhere between and 12 and 13 minute mile per hour? According to Strava, a mobile app that connects runners within a running community, the average man clocks a 9:15 pace per mile. Women on the other hand average approximately 10:40. This puts the average runner somewhere around a 9:48. Using that logic, a 10 minute mile is hardly slow!

Although among us mere mortals we often slow down with age, many elites do not peak until their thirties! What this means is that age does not have to mean loss of fitness and/or speed!

What Things Impact Speed and Pace?

There are many considerations that will determine how fast you can run a mile (or two or three or six!). The first things that typically determine how fast you can go are age and gender. Overall, younger males tend to run faster than their older or female counterparts. Next, your height, weight, and health come into play. If you are heavier you have more weight to carry, which slows many people down. Having said that, there is no shape of a runner! Runners come in all shapes and sizes!

Physical fitness, health issues, and past injuries also come into play. If you have a history of injuries you may find yourself running slower than in your youth. Finally are external considerations such as terrain, temperature, climate and weather. If you move from Wisconsin to Florida, you may find yourself struggling to hit your former speeds due to the heat. That is normal.

What is a Good Time to Run a Mile in?

As an avid runner and fitness blogger, I am often asked how fast someone should run a mile. Is a 10 minute mile slow? What pace should I be aiming for? I tell everyone the same thing. Running is not one size fits all.

Ask yourself why you are running. If you’re running for heart or other health benefits, your goal should be 30-60 minutes of cardiovascular activity a day. If you’re challenging your heart, it doesn’t care if you’re running a 7-minute mile or a 10 minute mile. It just notices you’re working it!

Is a 10 Minute Mile Good?

Of course, a 10 minute mile is good! Now, it probably won’t have you winning any races, but what does that matter? Breaking that 10 minute mile is such a big feat for many runners that there is a very large social media group devoted to the concept.

Writer Ted Spiker started a group on Facebook called the Sub 30 Club, dedicated to the concept of finishing a sub 30 minute 5K. Of course, this is ever so slightly faster than a 10 minute mile pace, but you get the drift. This group is so wildly popular there are almost 7,000 members.

What Pace Is a 10 Minute Mile?

If you’re wondering if you are hitting the 10 minute mile mark there are a few ways to determine that. First, if you have access to a treadmill, you can set the pace to a 6.0 (or six miles an hour).  If you can do a mile at that pace, you’re on track for a 10 minute mile!

Another way to determine if you are hitting that threshold is by plotting our a mile on a straight piece of road. My favorite method of trying to hit a goal pace (any goal pace!) is to use my mile stretch near my house. I have painted hash marks every quarter mile. When I’m trying to hit a mile in a certain time, I divide the time into quarters. Then, when I pass each hash mark I glance at my watch. Every quarter mile I can then recalibrate and determine if I am going to reach my goal or not!

You can also do this on a track, using the same premise.

Pushing Beyond the 10s

Once you have reached the 10 minute mile mark, aim to reach it for three consecutive miles. Next would be to try to join Ted Spiker’s crazy crew and break a 30 minute 5K. That is an awesome goal! How do you get there, though?


10 minute mile run

Well, first you need to be running consistently. Running 3-5 days each week is a good way to reach some consistency in your pace. Next, you should consider running slightly longer than your goal race distance. When training for a 5K in which you plan to challenge yourself, your weekly long run should be four or five miles long.

In addition to that, you should add some speed or tempo runs to your workout regiment. Lastly, incorporating some core work will perhaps help you reach your goal.

Don’t Lose Sight of How Awesome You Are Doing!

It’s easy to get so obsessed with the time on the watch that you lose sight of why you started this journey. Was it to get faster? Was it to win races? If you are like most people, you started this running journey simply to improve your overall fitness. If that is true for you, while it is fun and rewarding to improve – don’t be too hard on yourself. Remember: the race is long and in the end, it’s only with yourself.

The Sub Club

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