What is a 13 Minute Mile?

How fast you can walk or run one mile is based on many factors. It primarily depends on the speed and total distance you have planned to complete. One of the essential factors is your current fitness level, and the other is your heart rate zones. A 13 minute mile is a decent start for beginners and also for those who are trying to survive a marathon – not qualify for Boston.

What is a 13 minute mile?

A 13 minute mile (4.6 miles per hour or 7.4 km per hour) can be considered both an extremely easy/slow jogging pace or a fast intense walking pace. 13 minutes per mile or an 8:04 minutes per kilometer is a conversational slow pace for new runners to start out with. A 13 minute mile can ease a runner’s body into running at a much slower rate thus reducing the possibility of injury.

What MPH is a 13 minute mile?

A 13 minute per mile pace can be either walking or running. As a run, it is extremely slow, and as a walk, it is extremely brisk fast walking both at conversation pace. A 13 minutes per mile running pace or walking in effect amounts to 4.6 miles per hour (7.4 kilometers per hour), and it is not difficult to achieve.

Is a 13 minute mile good for a beginner?

For new runners, they might find it difficult to achieve a 13 minute per mile pace in the beginning. It is a cakewalk for those who run every day. On average, a runner can complete one mile within 9 to 10 minutes at conversation pace (RPE 2-4). As a matter of fact, the Elite marathoners can complete their one mile run in around 4 to 5 minutes.

According to fitness specialist, even a beginner, after some time, can run a mile with the time range of 12 to 13 minutes by taking a few walk breaks in between. So it is okay for beginners to take a little longer till they have built their strength. Actually, it is a good range of running to start with. 12 to 13 minutes per mile is a comfortable and relaxed run.

While running at the above pace, you can finish a sentence without huffing and puffing. It is a conversational pace (RPE 2-4). The average running pace is somewhere between 9 and 12 minutes per mile.

What is a 13-minute mile on the treadmill?

A 13-minute mile on the treadmill is roughly the equivalent speed of 4.6 miles per hour or 7.4 km per hour. For more treadmill conversions see the table below:

Treadmill Pace/Speed Conversions

  • min/mile = minutes per miles pace       
  • mph = miles per hour     
  • min/km = minutes per kilometer pace
  • kmph = kilometers per hour
Treadmill Pace/Speed Conversions

What is the 5K finish time for a 13-minute mile?

If you run a 13-minute mile you will finish a:

  • 5K (3.1 miles) in 0:40:18 (40 minutes 18 seconds)
  • 10K (6.2 miles) in 1:20:36 (1 hour 20 minutes 36 seconds)
  • 15K (9.3 miles) in 2:00:54 (2 hours 0 minutes 54 seconds)
  • 21.1K (13.1 miles – Half Marathon) in 2:50:18 (2 hours 50 minutes 18 seconds)
  • 42.2K (26.2 miles – Marathon) in 5:40:36 (5 hours 40 minutes 36 seconds)
  • 50K (30.1 miles – Ultra Marathon) in 6:43:53 (6 hours 43 minutes 53 seconds)

Are you interested in walking a half marathon? Check out this post – Can you walk a half marathon 4 hours (pacing charts included)?

13-minute mile walking pace

When you walk 13 minutes per mile it is at a fast walking pace. If you are taking a comfortable, quick walk, it will take around 15 minutes per mile. A relaxed walking pace would be around 20 minutes per mile i.e., 3 miles per hour.

Walking 13 minutes per mile is an average-intensity exercise for new runners or slow for experienced runners. At this speed, you breathe harder, but you can speak in full sentences.

Age and gender affect your pacing ability

Age and gender make a difference to the running ability. However, it should be noted that the deciding factor is always the fitness level of a person. To complete a run, you need endurance. Most elite runners reach their peak performances between the ages of 18 to 30.

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Tips to follow to run a 13 minute mile

Increasing distance every week

It is vital for you to slowly build up your distance or mileage to stay away from injury. On your daily runs, you should keep in mind what speed is suitable for your current fitness level. Every two weeks, you can add more miles to your running or walking schedule. Try to beat your earlier time. This will help you to build your endurance and speed.

Listen to your body

Take proper rest of one or two days in a week as per the need of your body. It is essential to give your body adequate rest to avoid injuries. One should not overdo or exert too much. When you push yourself too far, you risk injuries.

Add speed to your runs

Increase speed to your run gradually. If you are new to running, you can take a comfortable pace of 20 minutes per mile in the initial stage. Once you build up your endurance, you can increase the speed of your run.

Improve walking ability

Before you start running, first, you should build up your walking ability. You should walk for 30 minutes at least three times a week until you get used to it. You can start running once you build your stamina or after you find that you can walk fast without any difficulty. It is important for you to build up your fitness level before you start walking. Fitness levels and heart rate zones are two important aspects that you need to concentrate on at all times. You should focus on a few zones before you start walking. Let your heart rate zone decide your walking speed.

Heart Zone

To have a relaxing and comfortable workout zone, you should have a maximum heart rate of 50% to 60%, which is a healthy heart zone. Even though you are breathing heavily, you can have a full conversation. This is the lower end of the average-intensity zone.

Fitness Zone

In this zone, your maximum heart rate should be 64% to 76%. You are obtaining average-intensity exercise with this heart rate. Though you breathe heavily, you still can manage to talk. You can speak in short sentences, but you cannot sing.

Aerobic Zone

Your maximum heart rate should be 77% to 93% in the aerobic zone. At this heart rate, you have vigorous-intensity exercises. You breathe very hard, and you can speak only short syllables.

Though you may not win marathons you can definitely survive them and live to race another day. You will be rewarded with many physical and mental benefits by running 13 minutes per mile:

Physical Benefits of a 13 minute a mile:

  • A 13-minute mile promotes an efficient running form that leads to less tired muscles and fewer injuries.
  • This strengthens your torso muscles, legs, and arms.
  • It prepares your respiratory system to be more productive.
  • It effectively adapts your tendons, ligaments, bones, and joints to the stress of running.
  • This increases the effectiveness of mitochondria, helping you improve your use of glycogen and oxygen storage levels.

Mental Benefits of a 13 minute a mile:

  • Mentally you become stronger.
  • You have time to appreciate your surroundings and just being.
  • Makes you become a more patient person and a more patient runner. It also teaches discipline as well as to handle physical discomfort.
  • It tests your level of perseverance.

How to Improve on your 13 minute pace target

1. Don’t compare yourself to other walkers or runners

Never compare yourself to others. Speed will automatically come after you have built up your endurance level. You can walk or run comfortably by working on your stamina or building up endurance. Improve your walking or running speed by going for walks and jogging every day for at least six days a week. If you have to shamelessly use walk/run intervals to get you to where you need to be. Foremost, don’t worry about what other runners are posting on social media because they are more than likely only showing you the highlights of their perfect runs and not the dirty atrocious runs we runners make from time to time.

Check out the post, 6 things running coaches wish you would stop doing.

2. Use walk/run intervals to transition from walking to running

What’s the difference between run/walk and walk/run?

Run/Walk emphasizes more on putting more minutes into running instead of walking. Walk/Run emphasizes more walking than running. Both are beneficial at getting new runners’ bodies, minds into a steady running state – the goal of walk/run interval.

How do walk/run intervals work?

Walk/run intervals are good for people that have never really exercised or run before or for walkers that want to slowly get into running. Perfect candidates for this method are obese and overweight individuals, aged exercisers that haven’t been physical in a long time, or individuals that might not be able to fully run due to physical impairments.

How do run/walk intervals work?

Run/walk intervals are good at getting relatively in-shape runners or runners who haven’t run in a while back to a more solid aerobic base.

A run/walk method is beneficial in building up your endurance slowly over time without putting your body at risk from continuous running. Start with small goals, maybe run for 3 minutes and then take a 2-minute walk break to recover. This will help you to keep your heart rate up and your breathing in check. Continue this method for a couple of weeks until such time that you are comfortable.

What is a 13 minute mile

Super easy conversational pace run using run/walk intervals of 3 minutes running and 2 minutes walking. Ironically the pace ended up being extremely close to a 13 minute mile!

After two weeks, you can aim for a 5-minute run and a 1-minute walk. You can continue with this method until you get more endurance and strength. If you want to walk or run faster or improve on your 13 minutes per mile pace, you have to train yourself hard and work consistently without fail.

How can I run a mile when I’m out of shape?

If you’re interested in taking a free, non-sense approach to training your mind and body to run 1 mile without stopping look no further. Grab my free training planning here – How to run one mile when you’re out of shape?

Also, you might want to read this post about how long it should take to run 1 mile.

3. You vs. You not You vs. Competitor

As far as running goes, you are your own competitor. It’s not about running faster than anyone else. It’s about breaking your previous records. For a detailed post about your inner battle royale, check out You Vs. You – Who will win?

4. Set a Goal

Running is about reaching the goals which you have set forth for yourself. Any goal is a worthy goal as long as you write it down and the goal causes you to grow in some way. A simple goal It could be like running five to ten minutes over the previous day.

5. Start slow and gradually increase the intensity

A new runner can start with low-intensity running. At this speed, you should be able to speak properly while running. If it is a walk, your brisk walk should maintain moderate-intensity. There is not much of a difference between low-intensity running and brisk walking.

It is easier to combine the two into stable running. You should walk slowly with small steps because longer steps cause you shin irritation.

6. Smile when you run a 13 minute mile

A 13 minute mile run is more about enjoying the run rather than running for competition. You don’t need much training and the run should be a comfortable and self-gratifying run with its various benefits. Don’t forget to smile when you run. When you smile you’re releasing endorphins helping to stem off pain and the act of smiling makes you feel better and relieved. An easy conversational pace run that is fun and healthy is hard to beat. The positives of running will always exceed the negatives of running so don’t give up if you have a few bad runs (5 questions to ask yourself after a bad run).

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If you’re really struggling with running

Running takes longer than most physical activities to form such as walking 3 miles a day. While walking 3 miles a day can seem fairly easy to achieve for most of the people on earth, running 3 miles a day for a new runner is next to impossible. Your body has to go through both physical and mental adaptions that you don’t need for walking 3 miles. Your body must be conditioned to take the impact of running continuously for mile after mile which is done through neuro-muscular adaptions of your muscle fibers to your bones and ligaments.

While most people given enough time can eventually get into a running routine some of us still struggle with running. If you find yourself struggling as a new runner, check out my detailed post about – Why running is so hard – 35 tips to make your running easier.

Are Half Marathons Bad For You?

The short answer – No! Take a detailed dive into the health benefits of running half marathons:

Are Half Marathons Bad For You?

Coach Scott is a published author and RRCA certified running coach (Level 2). He has published over 20 books including, Beginner's Guide to Half Marathons: A Simple Step-By-Step Solution to Get You to the Finish Line in 12 Weeks! (Beginner To Finisher Book 3), which has become an Amazon International #1 bestseller. Scott specializes in helping new runners become injury-free race finishers. He recently completed his 14th half marathon race. 

 To sign up for a FREE half marathon training schedule, log sheet, and pace predictor CLICK HERE.

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  • Avatar Madhu Basu says:

    How much distance should you add each week to your previous week’s mileage? Is there any minimum or maximum amount that we should strive for?

    • Coach Scott Coach Scott says:

      Hi Madhu! This is a great question and not a simple one to answer. First of all, we have to consider the overall fitness level of the runner. Has the runner run before? Have they ever exercised before? Do they have any prior health issues or nagging injuries?

      I would say that brand new runners that have never exercised much at all need to start with 3 to 4 days of exercising (note I didn’t say running). They should begin by using a walk/run strategy with the majority of their miles on the walking side. Sometimes new runners can’t even run 1/4 of a mile (1 lap around the track) and need to ramp up slowly to be able to run 1 mile comfortably (see a detailed free plan that I wrote here –> https://halfmarathonforbeginners.com/run-one-mile-youre-shape/).

      After they can run 1 mile comfortably they will probably be running about 4 miles weekly (3-4 times a week @ a total of about 4 miles). This could take anywhere from 2 to 9 weeks depending on how out of shape a new runner is. The key is to take adequate time to get their minds and muscles prepared to run longer and faster distances.

      The faster a runner can tell themselves that they’re a runner (even if they aren’t really running yet) the quicker the mental switch will flip and give them more determination to run more.

      The next stage will simply be to move into extended the length of time they are running or the distance they are running. With beginners, I tend to use more time-based training rather than mileage-based training. It’s easier to focus on the time rather than the miles/kilometers ahead. I would have a beginner start training for a 5K at this point. The 5K race serves a huge array of benefits, but the biggest benefit for a new runner using a beginner training plan is that it will keep them from running too much, too soon, or too fast (the number 1 reason why new runners fail). Secondly, it gives them a new goal to accomplish keeping them motivated to run more.

      Along the training path for a 5K a new runner will start off running about 4 miles a week and gradually increase their mileage by about a 1/2 mile to 1 mile. So at the end of a 9 week 5K training plan, they should be running (or run/walking) anywhere from 7 miles to 13 miles total running volume per week. The 5k training plan is actually helping a new runner build their running base which they will need when they move onto the bigger races such as the half marathon, marathon, or ultra-marathon. After the 5K race, a runner can continue running the 8th and 9th week of the 5K plan. They can slowly add in a mile every week or every other week to a long run and slowly increase their mid-week runs by 1/2 mile each week.

      Unfortunately, there isn’t a hard number but rather a range of miles they should be running. Having said that not all runners are the same. Some progress faster and others slower. Some runners tend to use a percentage to increase their long runs each week, for instance, a 10% increase over your past running week or adding 1 mile to your long run.

      As a running coach, my goal is to help guide the runner within their physical boundaries and give them that extra push if they need it. I want all runners to run safely and sustain a lifetime of injury-free running which requires running, recovering, and nutrition. Also, I try to coach the runner into being their own running coach. You do this by telling them to listen to their body which will help prevent injuries. When you need to rest – rest.

      Here are some other super detailed posts that go into more of the question:



      Take care and sorry for the long-winded answer but really it depends on the runner.

  • >
    12-Week Half Marathon Training Plan based on your current fitness level!