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Average Human Running Speed: Learn How to Increase Your Pace

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If you are a frequent runner, you must be familiar with the struggle to maintain pace or even increase speeds. No, this is not just something that new runners in the community face but it can happen any time during your running journey to fitness and well being. Do not worry if this has not come up as a concern for you as it could sooner or later. Best to know the facts, figure what your pace is, and maybe even how to improve your running for future. Read on in this article to find out about the average human running speed, how fast can humans run in theory, average human walking speed, and more. A lot of training routines do not incorporate how to increase speed and pace efficiently. Most can leave you exhausted and without any improvement in speed or other aspects of your running. Read on to find out which of these exercises you should try out to improve speed and overall pace.

Table of Content

  • Average Human Running Speed
  • Jogging off the Pounds
  • Find the Right Pace
  • Setting the Pace
  • 3 Speed Workouts for Beginners
  • What is the Difference Between Threshold and Tempo Runs

 Average Human Running Speed

The influx of great runners in the olympics has made everyone wonder how fast can a human run?

The fastest human speed recorded is 27.8 mph by none other than Usain Bolt, having run 100 meters in 9.58 seconds! However fast this is, scientists say that the human running speed can actually in theory reach 40 mph. Now this might have you thinking more about yourself, how fast can the average human run? This is a debated topic due to numerous opinions on what an average human being is, but recorded it is in the range of 10 to 15 miles per hour. This assumes that the average was taken from humans at the peak of their running days.

No matter what the statistics say, you are to remember that every individual differs from the next. There are factors such as body type, age, gender, fitness and more that can also determine your speed. These conditions are not the same for everyone which is why you do not need to pay attention to what is considered the average human speed in order to train yourself. Stick to what suits your body best and never push yourself harder than you can take.

average human running speed
Running Speed 

Jogging Off the Pounds

Many people are most comfortable with just jogging. This helps them maintain a steady pace and moderate speed. Runners that like to run jog and take their time with their runs may not have the best time scores for long distance runs or short distance ones. This is all alright, as long as it corresponds to their specific goals and liking. If you do not set your target at improving speed or pace and your average jogging speed is what makes you comfortable, then that is more than fine. Everyone jogs once in awhile, even the professional runners. It allows you to lose weight without draining you completely and you can do it everyday.

Fast running or speed training can be terribly exhausting for a runner and must be practiced in lesser amounts than jogging. The only time you should make a change is when you are getting bored with the same old routine or you would like to increase speed and race times. Runners training for a marathon could also benefit from speed training and can increase their average human running speed. This change can be implemented moderately to fit into your existing regime and to better suit your running speed and capability.

If you combine a lot of jogging and a small amount of fast running into your daily routine, you can create the perfect recipe for speed and pace improvement.

Find the Right Pace

Before you start out with your new routine, you should be aware of certain aspects of your body and find out the amount of pressure and strain you can take. You do not want to push yourself too hard and end up tearing a muscle or spraining an ankle. Always do as much as you can and you will see the benefits of taking it easy instead of a full blown workout that causes harm.  

  • Fitness Level

The first thing you need to figure out is your fitness level. You need a well trained body to amp up your average human running speed. This is vital to establishing a good speed training plan in place. If you do not train regularly then you should be more cautious about taking big risks and going to hard to achieve the desired speed or pace.

A professional athlete may cover a distance of a mile in five minutes whereas a new runner may take over twelve minutes. The average of most runners is around seven minutes to complete a mile. By knowing your speed you can determine how much faster you want to go and what acceptable changes your body can take. 

how fast can a human run
Maintain good fitness level for fast pace run
  • Age and Gender

The speed of a runner will normally peak at the time of early adulthood which is around the age of 18-30. At this age range one will see the best performance and better fitness levels. As we age our body cannot maintain this peak and performance will slowly decline, it happens to everybody.

 Even the best athletes must train harder to keep up to their previous times, and after a certain age will retire from fast running altogether. There is also a difference in the capabilities between the genders and for this reason pro races are divided according to these two factors. This makes the races more fair and helps runners do their best. 

  • Distance Pacing

The pace you are running at can also depend on the situation at hand. A fast paced runner doing a mile at a time may complete it in under seven minutes, but if he were to complete 26 miles then he will cover a mile of this race at a much slower time. He would be doing this to save his energy by pacing himself slower than his normal race time, if he does this than he could have conserved enough energy to complete more miles efficiently. You must decide your pace and learn the speed training according to your goals and what type of race or distance you are aiming to complete.

human running speed
Distance running for faster speed levels
  • Safety Tips

When comparing race times with other runners or even with what is considered the average for a runner of your age, you must understand that it all comes down to your body and its ability. The very structure and dimensions of your body can come into play affecting your speed. The length of your legs, foot type, hip bone structure and other features can determine how fast your body is able to push itself. Weak joints and stiff muscles are common causes of running injuries, learn your body type to know what you may be prone to getting in future. Training can by far improve your chances at better speeds despite your physiology but keeping a steady pace of improvement can prevent the risk of injury. For the most precautious approach, do not increase speed or distance more than ten percent per week. 

Setting the Pace

Now that you know your specifics, let’s get into starting to build a pace. From here, once you find the right one for you, start your speed training.

Tip #1. Walking's Just Fine

You know what’s your own ability is and you are aware of the risks of pushing yourself too hard. The average human walking speed is 3.1 mph and the average time to walk a mile is 20 minutes. If you are satisfied with the average walking speed you are currently going at, however slow it may be, then there is nothing wrong with staying within your comfort zone. As mentioned earlier, it all depends on your goals, if they are not set to increasing average running speed, then why train to improve them unnecessarily. Jogging or even walking can still burn fat, keep you fit, and meet your requirements hassle free.

Tip #2. Keep It Between 5 and 6 MPH

If you do want to increase your speed then let’s help you build your pace. 

  • The first step is to start running at an easy pace for around 30 minutes. This means that you run around five to six miles an hour, and while running you are able to talk without running out of breath. To know if you are maintaining this pace correctly try singing a song, and if you can go on for a long time then you may need to increase pace by a little bit.
  • Now that you have established an easy pace, this will be your target for all runs. Run at this pace for thirty minutes and for a few weeks almost everyday. If you consistently do this then you can become more fit, training your body to get used to the speed. You also learn to pay more attention to the rate at which you are breathing, tolerate the muscle pain and post run burn. 
  • Do not jump to thinking that these runs are not doing anything to improve your speed or reach your goal, if you want to get better times you will need to start out at a good steady pace first. When you do feel you are getting used to the runs and feel more fit, you can begin to slowly increase speed. To do this, don't increase your speed to your full capacity but add one run in the week that is faster than the pace you are currently running at.
  • Next try adding two faster runs per week, however, stick to this and don't try to push yourself more. Space out these two fast runs in the week to allow your body to recuperate after.
fast running
Pace your speed with right techniques

3 Speed Workouts For Beginners

You now have a steady pace to begin your speed training. The top three speed workouts are Fartleks, Tempo runs and Interval runs. Read through them and figure out which speed training you would like to implement into your routine.

By learning these speed workouts you can better maintain the lactic acid build up in the muscles, and improve your oxygen intake as well as utilisation by the body. Improving these aspects of your body’s ability will help you last longer in a race and reach faster speeds. Again, we advise you to not push too hard. You may not realise it at the time but you may be damaging your muscles by straining yourself. Go at your routine slowly and at a steady pace, with a little dedication and patience you will go a long way.

Try out these speed workouts to achieve the best results. They are set at an easy level so that you can ease into the training and not exhaust yourself.

Speed Workout 1: Fartlek

The word ‘Fartlek’ in Swedish means ‘speed play’ and this is one of the most easiest and fun ways to add speed into a normal run. To try one out, just start out with a small warm up and then play around with your speed for short periods of time.

Essentially it means you increase your speed by sprinting to a set point ahead of you and then slow down again. Going fast for a short burst is the speed interval and then your subsequent slowing down is the rest interval. There is no set distance for you to keep your speed interval at, it all depends on you.

You can try out running 200 meters for thirty seconds and then keeping a rest interval of sixty seconds, or run for a minute and slow down for two minutes, it’s up to you! Just remember that the rest interval should be sufficient for you to recover from the sprint in the speed interval. Cool down after with stretches for around five to ten minutes.

how fast can humans run
Fast paced Fartlek

For more information on this training routine, check out Fartlek: A Swedish Training Trick for Better Running. You can even find more fartlek workouts for various training phases!

Speed Workout 2: Tempo Run

This type of speed training is slightly more structured than the fartlek. You are to run a set distance or time at faster speeds or sprints. This pace will be hard on you but make sure you still manage to keep at it and are not strained. The tempo run emphasizes the importance of warming up and cooling down as they are rigidly incorporated into this speed workout. 

To try a tempo run, start with a five to ten minute warm up and move on to running at a fast pace for fifteen minutes, and finally cool down for another five to ten minutes. You can even manage all of this without stopping at all, warm up by slow running for a mile, break into a sprint for two more miles, and then slow down again for another one mile.

Remember that your faster running pace may be slower in comparison to a fartlek as there is a longer time period or distance involved. Take into account of the incline, temperature, and other factors before trying to go faster in the faster running portion of this workout. You can slow down the pace if there are other interferences, do not drain all of your energy in a single workout.

average human speed
Energetic Tempo Workout

Speed Workout 3: Interval Workouts 

This type of training involves intense and short periods of running and then a similar or longer time for recovery. This differs from the temp run as it pushes you to the limits of your ability for a short span and then allows more than adequate time for you to get back on our feet again. This way, you are running at your fastest and then slowing down to an easy run, jog or walk, depending on how tired you are.

To try this workout, start with a warm up and then run at your fastest speed for two minutes.

After the time is up you will be out of breath and begging to slow down, this is where your recovery comes in and you can slow your pace or walking speed for three minutes. The workout incorporates a recovery time to allow you to get up again and get ready for the next intense interval. After many times of practicing this routine, you will finally be able to adapt to the hard intervals and gain strength in the long run.

average human running speed
Intense Interval Workout 

What is the Difference Between Threshold and Tempo Runs? 

As a runner, you would have heard the terms threshold and tempo runs They are very similar but still different in their working. They revolve around lactic acid, a by product of the intense workouts where anaerobic metabolism takes place.

  • Threshold runs basically involve a pace where this lactic acid cannot build up and collect in the bloodstream during a workout and rather stays at a stable level.
  • Tempo runs are normally longer than threshold runs and help you adapt to long distance and endurance running. You can probably hold a tempo run for several miles.

We hope you managed to improve your pace with the speed training workouts we recommended! Share you best running times with us in the comments below. Let us know if you found any workout exceptionally effective than the rest.

Remember that to go faster you must first take it slow!

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