Is a 10-Minute Mile Good for a New Runner?

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If you’re new to running, it can be hard to tell if you’re doing well or if you need to up your training. There’s a lot of conflicting information out there about what you should or shouldn’t be doing according to your age, fitness level, experience, and training schedule.

It can be easy to get overwhelmed! So we thought we would start with a round number that’s easy to remember and run—running a mile in 10 minutes.

Is a 10-minute mile good for a new runner? How can you get there if you aren’t already?

Let’s have a look at the information, the numbers, and the training you need to do it.

Is a 10-Minute Mile Good for a New Runner?

If you’ve just started running, hitting a 10-minute mile is a great pace for a new runner. However, it does depend largely on the runner.

For example, a 20-year-old new runner with a good fitness level will find it much easier to run a 10-minute mile than a 60-year-old new runner who’s just stopped smoking and wants to get in better shape!

The former will most likely find a 10-minute mile to be too slow. The latter will likely find it challenging to reach 10 minutes per mile.

Therefore, we can say that a 10-minute mile is a good average for an in-shape new runner. If you’re coming into running from a background of poor health and low fitness levels, it’s likely that a 10-minute mile goal is still a little ways away.

Why Is It a Good Pace for a Beginner?

Every runner is different, and so is every run. This makes it very difficult to get an accurate minute-to-mile ratio, especially when considering how many factors are at play when tracking data.

But a 10-minute mile is a good pace for a beginner as it’s faster than jogging but not so fast that you should fatigue too quickly.

Most new runners have no problem starting off at the required 10-minute mile pace but struggle to keep up that same pace throughout the entire run.

As a result, most beginners end up running 12 to 15 minutes per mile because as they fatigue, they have to slow down and perhaps walk parts of the mile.

If you’re in this category, you are still doing well for a new runner. You should be able to hit a 10-minute mile within a few weeks if you focus and train 2 to 3 times per week towards that specific milestone.

It’s a good goal for a new runner to work towards, as you will get closer and closer to it as your fitness level improves.

As you gain strength and build endurance, you will be able to run at a fast pace for longer periods of time before needing to rest.

What Pace Is a 10-Minute Mile?

Many runners—even new ones—have a smartwatch or fitness tracker that tells you what your pace is. In order to run a 10-minute mile, you will need to run at a pace of 6 miles per hour.

If you are working on split times—training on a track—you should be averaging 2:30 for each lap around the track—¼-mile.

How to Run a 10-Minute Mile

If a 10-minute mile is one of your goals, you can achieve it with focused training, careful actions, and patience.

Let’s have a look at some of the things you can do to reach a 10-minute mile. All of them should be done below your 10-minute pace—6 mph.

Workouts to Improve Speed

You should include 1 to 2 speed workouts or tempo workouts into your weekly training schedule. These should be done on a flat track or terrain to get the best results.

These will help to build both speed and endurance over time.

1. Interval Workout

To do interval workouts, we suggest starting with 200 meters—⅛-mile. This is a 1/2 way around the track, so keeping track of distance is easy as you’re running.

You will run for 200 meters and then walk the next 200 meters. Repeat this 12 times in total—which will be 3 full rounds of the track.

Once you can do that workout easily, change to 6 repetitions of 400 meters with a 200-meter walk in between. You might need to pay more attention to the track markers to keep your distance here.

When you’re comfortable with that workout, increase it to 3 repetitions of 800 meters of running and 400 meters of walking.

This progression will help you build up your speed and boost your endurance as you start to run longer and longer distances.

2. Strides or Short Sprints

Strides are like short interval sessions. You will base these on time rather than distance, so setting up your smartwatch for time alerts may be worthwhile, so you know when to stop and start.

Begin by doing 8 sessions of 40 seconds running and 40 seconds walking. Then, move up to 12 sessions of 30 seconds running and 40 seconds walking. From there, you can move to 16 reps of 20 seconds of running and 40 seconds of walking.

You should do all of these within the same workout, which is about 26 minutes in total. You can do this exercise on a hill or on stairs when this workout needs some more challenge.

3. Tempo Run

A tempo run is a steady run. You should warm up for 10 minutes, including some strides and running drills. Then, run 2 to 3 miles at a pace slower than your 10-minute mile pace—a 12 or 13-minute mile pace–but faster than your typical pace.

Once you’ve finished, do a brief cool down for 10 minutes, including some light stretching.

Other Ways to Run Faster

Running Form

As well as incorporating training runs into your weekly training schedule, you should pay careful attention to your running form.

If you’re serious about running, we highly recommend getting a running coach who can view your form and make suggestions. They will also be able to help you implement the suggested changes.

You can include running drills in your warm-up routine, which are designed to help you maintain good posture and form.

You should also pay careful attention when you’re running and take notice of the mind-muscle connection. If you feel that your form is off, it’s a great idea to take a video of yourself running and ask the advice of an expert.

Fixing your form will not only help you to run faster, but you will also be less susceptible to injuries.

Hydration and Nutrition

Staying hydrated can help you reach your 10-minute mile goal. The more dehydrated you are on a run, the more your performance will suffer. In contrast, the better hydrated you are, the better you’ll perform.

Make sure you have water with you to sip when you run. You can use a running belt to keep your water close by or invest in a hydration system that will allow you to easily carry more water and access it.

Nutrition is also important. Maintain a healthy diet in order to avoid gaining weight, which can slow you down when you run.

Feeding your body healthy, easily digestible protein will boost muscle growth, while healthy carbs will ensure that the muscle glycogen levels are ready to push you through your next race.

Carbo loading is an excellent idea when it comes to race time to give you a nutrition and performance boost.

Avoid Overtraining

Not getting enough rest in between your training sessions will have an adverse effect on your performance.

You need to rest for at least 2 days every week between your training sessions. This allows the body time to recover from your training and rebuild the muscles.

Your fitness levels increase when you incorporate proper rest into your schedule. It can be tempting to skip rest days and continue training, but you’ll be at risk of overtraining, excessive fatigue, and increased injury risk.

Focus on Recovery

Pay attention to your recovery and take action to help your body recover faster and more effectively.

Along with eating healthy food and staying hydrated, you can foam roll your muscles, get a sports massage, use a heat pack or cold pack to promote recovery or use compression garments.

These should be done on your rest days, and you can also do them immediately after your run when you get home.

Cross-Training

Adding cross-training into your training schedule will help you to build muscle. More muscle improves your energy metabolism, and it can also help power you forward on your runs.

Some excellent forms of cross-training for new runners include swimming, cycling, elliptical, rowing, or weight training.

You should incorporate cross-training 1 or 2 days per week in between your running sessions. Not only does this actually boost performance, but it counts as “active recovery.”

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AUTHOR

Ben is an avid road and trail runner, and has completed multiple marathons and ultras. A former running store owner, he now shares his knowledge and experience writing these articles.