How Many Steps Are In A Mile? Convert Walking and Running Steps To Miles

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If you count steps every day, you’re definitely on the right track to becoming healthier and fitter, but you might wonder how to convert walking and running steps to miles so you know how far you’re actually going every day.

10,000 steps per day is the gold standard, and it’s an excellent goal to aim for. The beauty of counting steps instead of miles is that you don’t need a fancy GPS watch to track your progress—all you need is a basic fitness tracker, phone, or a pedometer.

If you’re tracking steps and you’d like to figure out the distance, this article is for you!

Read on to learn how!

How Many Steps in a Mile?

There’s no single answer here. The answer depends on each person, but on average, a person takes between 2,000 and 2,500 steps in a mile, based on fitness band/smartphone data.

That’s a general average, and your true answer will depend on your stride length and whether you are counting steps while walking or running.

Besides each person having different individual stride lengths – based on height, leg length, and gait – your stride will vary depending on if you are walking or running.

Walking a Mile

On average, people walk around 2,100 steps per mile. This ranges from 1,700 to 2,400, though, based on data.

Even though there’s quite a difference between walking and running steps, your step count could also change based on how fast you’re walking.

A slow, stroll may have more steps than a brisk walk, as your strides will likely be shorter. Again, multiple factors come into play!

Running a Mile

When running, your steps decrease noticeably per mile. You can expect to run between 900 and 2,000 steps in a mile-long run, although the mean average is around 1,450 steps.

This is because your stride length increases as you pick up speed, so you’re essentially taking fewer, but longer steps.

Factors That Can Affect Steps Per Mile

Multiple factors affect the number of steps YOU take per mile. There’s research out there to suggest that each of these factors can contribute significantly to your overall step count.

Stride Length

Your stride length is the biggest factor in determining your step count. The longer your stride, the fewer steps you’ll take. On the other hand, the shorter your stride, the more steps you’ll end up taking.

That doesn’t mean you need to shorten your stride to get more steps in! You need to walk or run naturally and avoid overstriding, which can lead to injury.

Height

Height and leg length are often lumped together when it comes to researching this factor, but this study shows that there’s a slight difference between the two of them.

Interestingly, for walkers, both leg length and the person’s height play a role in your step count. However, when you move up to running, your leg length doesn’t make much difference, but your height does.

Taller people generally have longer legs, so their stride length is naturally longer. Shorter people tend to have a shorter stride, so it’s safe to assume that shorter people tend to put more steps into a mile and tall people end up doing fewer steps.

Running or Walking

It’s important to know that your stride length naturally increases when you run as opposed to when you walk.

This means that the faster you move and the longer your natural stride length, the fewer steps you’ll take, whether you’re walking or running.

Your pace also plays a role. But in general, a slow run is still faster than a brisk walk, so it’s natural that you’ll lose a few steps when running.

Age

As we age, we tend to lose some length of our stride. This may be due to a more limited range of motion, loss of muscle mass, or other factors that go along with aging.

But if you’re an older walker or runner, you can expect to take more steps per mile than younger walkers or runners. It isn’t always the case, as your fitness level and experience level play a huge part too, but this is usually the case.

Sex

On average, men have a longer stride than women. This can be attributed to their biomechanics, but remember that other things like height, age, and walking/running form also affect it.

The Terrain You’re Walking or Running On

When you walk or run uphill, you tend to shorten your stride naturally and take more steps. Going downhill usually has the opposite effect, while flat terrain is middle ground.

The type of terrain also makes a difference. Running on firmer ground usually makes it easy to lengthen your stride, while moving across soft ground like sand or softer earth might require you to shorten your stride to keep your balance.

How to Calculate Steps to Miles

Tracking your steps but not sure how it translates into miles? Here are a few ways to calculate it fairly accurately. You’re on the right track if you’re already tracking your steps. The next step is to measure your stride length.

If You’re Walking

Your stride length will be shorter if you’re walking, as you’re more relaxed and going slower. Here’s how to figure out your steps-to-miles if you’re a walker.

Calculating Stride Length

To calculate your stride length while walking, follow these steps:

  1. Pick a starting point where you have enough space to walk 50 steps.
  2. Mark your starting point with chalk, or use some kind of marker.
  3. Walk 50 steps in a straight line, naturally.
  4. Mark your ending point.
  5. Measure the distance between the two points, and convert it to feet.
  6. Divide it by 50, and you’ll get your stride length in feet.

You don’t have to stick to 50 steps. If you want to walk a certain distance and track your steps, all you do is divide the distance in feet by the number of steps to get your stride length.

Converting Steps to Miles

Once you have your stride length, you can work out the mile value of any given step count fairly easily. Simply multiply your number of steps by your stride length and you’ll have your mile distance.

For example, if your stride length is 2.5 feet and you walked 4,000 steps, here’s how that will look:

  • 4,000 steps x 2.5 feet stride length = 10,000 feet
  • 10,000 feet / 5,280 (feet per mile) = 1.8 miles

If You’re Running

The process is pretty much the same for running, except that you’ll need to recalculate your stride length using the abovementioned method.

You’ll need to do a quick test with 50 (or any number of) steps, and divide the distance by the number of steps you’ve taken. Note that you might go further in distance with the same amount of steps, which means your stride length is longer.

Then, simply use the calculation above to calculate your mile distance for any given run based on your step count.

Importance of Knowing Your Steps Per Mile

Counting steps is valuable, especially as 10,000 steps is the gold standard for health. But knowing your steps per mile can be handy, too.

It helps you manage your exercise routine better and determine if you’re improving in fitness. This is also a great way to start moving from walking to running if you’re interested in doing that.

How to Keep Track of Your Steps

If you’re not already tracking steps but want to, here are the best ways to do so.

  • Pre-Measured Mile: A track is the perfect place. If you know your stride length, you don’t need any electronics to work your steps out accurately, as long as you know the exact distance you’re walking or running.
  • Pedometer: If you walk or run in places that aren’t pre-measured, you’ll need an electronic device to track your steps. A pedometer is the most basic, and the easiest one for those who don’t want the fancy features of a smartwatch.
  • Fitness Tracker/Smartwatch: If you’re comfortable wearing a watch, a fitness tracker or smartwatch is the best way. However, most of them will also track your distance, so there may be no need for calculations.
  • An App: Apps like MapMyRun and Strava will track your steps for you, but you need to be carrying your phone with you on your walk or run. They’ll also track your distance though, so you won’t need to do any math.

Tips to Make Step Tracking Easier and More Fun

Got a step goal? Here’s how to make the most of it, continue to hit those step goals, and stay fit, no matter what.

Set Daily Goals

If you don’t already have a daily step goal, now is a good time to set one. While 10,000 is the big number that you’ll see all over the internet, don’t think you NEED to hit that number.

Choose something that’s compatible with your lifestyle. If you work a desk job for 9 hours of your day and then go home to cook for your family, it’s not feasible to expect to get 10,000 steps—4 to 5 miles—every day. Be realistic!

Break It Down

You don’t need to do all your steps in one go! For example, let’s assume your daily step goal is 4,000 steps. You can take a short walk in the morning and knock out 1,000 steps before you go to work and one in the evening.

That leaves 2,000 steps to hit during your day, and this is where you can break it down and get creative. Find ways to add extra steps during your day, like:

  • Every time you get a phone call, get up and walk throughout the call.
  • Rather than calling your colleagues, take a walk down to their office.
  • Take the stairs every opportunity you get, rather than the lift.
  • Park further away from the building at work or the store.
  • Set a reminder to get up and take a short walk every hour.

Create a Daily Step Routine

Once you’ve broken it down as much as possible, you can create a routine if it works for you. Again, you may need to set specific times for walks or runs, like waking up before the kids are up and getting in a few thousand steps or hopping on the treadmill before bed to rack up some more.

If you have a routine and get into that habit, you’ll soon find it easier to hit your step count. And once you’re hitting it regularly, you can then start to look at increasing it and boosting your fitness.

Track Your Progress

If you’re using a fitness tracker or an app, it should store your data for you. Some pedometers might not track these metrics, and if you’re using a manual method without any electronics, you’ll need to track them manually.

Whether you’re walking or running, you can use a journal to track your steps, your mileage, how you felt, and other important information about your workouts.

Google Map Your Walking or Running Route

You can map out your route ahead of time if you want to hit a certain number of steps or a certain mileage. Simply work out the number of miles you need to hit your step count, and have fun finding routes on Google Maps that are the right length for you.

This is a fun way to find new, exciting routes and prevent boredom! Just be careful walking or running new routes as you won’t know what hazards to expect. Always let someone know where you’re going!

Join a Challenge

If you struggle with motivation, joining a step challenge could be perfect. Not only is it fun, but it helps you to stay accountable, especially if there’s a community involved in the challenge where you can communicate with others.

You can find step challenges online, on social media, and fitness websites. Some even have prizes, but it’s the accountability and the element of competition that really makes this handy for adding a dose of motivation.

Celebrate Milestones

Whether you reach your step count, increase your daily step count, or hit any other kind of milestone—no matter how small it may seem to you—celebrate it!

You don’t need to go all out. Rewarding yourself with something small that you’ve wanted to get or do can be greatly motivating.

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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.