What’s A 5K In Miles? Your Guide to Average 5K Time By Age And Gender

Looking for what’s a 5K in miles? Simple. A 5k is 3.1 miles.

Here’s the truth. The 5K is one of the most popular road races in the world. The reason? Training for a 5K requires relatively little effort—unlike training for a half marathon or marathon—and the event is over fairly quickly.

But before you add a 5K to your bucket list, you may be pondering: what’s the average 5K time by age? What factors impact it? And how to run your best race?

Fret no more.

In today’s article, I’ll dive into how long it takes the average runner to run a 5K and why knowing this helps.

More specifically, I’ll cover:

  • What’s 5K In miles?
  • The average 5K pace
  • How long it takes to run a 5K
  • The average 5K time by age
  • How to train for a 5K
  • How to improve your 5K times
  • Fastest 5K time
  • And so much more

Sounds great?

Let’s get started.

How Many Miles is A 5K – The Exact Distance

First things first, how long is a 5Kin miles?

Let’s start at the beginning. The “K” in 5K stands for a kilometer, so a 5K is technically 5 kilometers long.

But if you live in one of the three strongholds of the imperial system of measurement– The United States of America, Myanmar, and Liberia—it might be easier for you to understand how far a 5K in miles.

Technically, one kilometer is the equivalent of 0.62 miles. Thus, a 5K race is precisely 3.1 miles long, which is a great distance for newbie runners to conquer.

To put that distance in perspective, a 5K is the equivalent of running:

  • 45 laps around a baseball diamond
  • The length of 45.5 football fields, including both end zones.
  • The length of an NBA basketball counts over 174 times.

Note – Keep in mind mile markers are used on the racecourse instead of kilometers markers in the U.S. You can also learn more about marathon distance here.

5Ks Are Great

It shouldn’t be a surprise that 5Ks are one of the world’s most popular road races.

According to Running USA survey, there were around 9 million 5K registrants in the U.S. alone in 2019. That’s a lot of people. (but since the pandemic, most races in 2020 and 2021 were canceled).

A beginner runner? Try this couch to 5K plan.

Want to take things to the next level? Try running a 5K in 30 minutes.

So what’s the secret behind this success?

Most people in decent shape can do it, and you can also be one of them.

At over three miles, a 5K isn’t an event you have to train for months and months for—in fact, as long as you have got a good base level of conditioning, you’re good to go.

Following a couple of months of training, anyone should be able to complete a 5K without stopping to walk.

Are you a complete beginner? No worries. My couch to 5K running plan should get you started on the right foot.

What’s more?

5K events are abundant and easy to find, especially in the spring, summer, and fall months.

How Long Does It Take To Run A 5K?

Let me ask you a quick question.

How long does it take for an average runner to run a 5K?

30 minutes?

45 minutes?

Or longer?

Here’s the truth.

Just like anything else, there’s no universal answer as what makes a good 5K time depends on many factors such as age, fitness level, gender, experienced, terrain, and weather conditions—to name a few.

But, overall, if you can finish a 5K in under 25 minutes, then you have got a good time. (Learn more about the average time to run a mile here)

5K in Miles – The Average 5K Pace

What’s a great time for one runner may be a setback for another.

All in all, the average running speed per mile during a 5K race is roughly 11-minute for men and 13-minute for women, resulting in finish times of about 35 and 42 minutes.

The keyword here is a beginner.

Runners with years of experience might be able to run a 7- or 8-minute mile pace, completing the race in 20 to 25 minutes.

Check the chart below for more:

Average 5K pace in miles

Average 5K Time By Gender

Thanks to genetics, men, on average, are faster than women (the reason for having men & women division in sports, after all).

Therefore male runners will finish more quickly than female runners.

If you’re a complete beginner, you can use the national average statistics in the tables below to get a rough idea of your performance results.

Average 5K Time By Age

Younger runners tend to run faster than older ones. Expect to run your best 5K time between the ages of 20 and 30. The older you’re, the longer a 5K race will take you to finish.

Sure, an older runner with years of experience may outpace a younger beginner, but the young still holds a big advantage.

That’s why age-grading was invented, which is the ideal way to place all 5K competitors on a level playing field regardless of age and gender.

average 5K time by age

Terrain and weather conditions

The best running surface for the 5K consists of flat terrain, which allows you to keep a consistent and steady pace.

What’s more?

Extreme temperatures and precipitation influence how fast you can run a 5K.

Some other factors include:

  • Your height
  • Your weight
  • Your running shoes
  • Your mental game
  • Your motivation
  • Your warm-up routine
  • And so much more.

How Does Speed Affect Your 5K Time

To estimate how long it takes to run the 3.1-mile distance, you’ll have to factor in your pace.

Let me give you some concrete examples:

  • If you run a 5-minute mile 5K, you’ll finish it in 15 minutes, 30 seconds.
  • If you run a 6-minute mile 5K, you’ll finish it in 18 minutes, 35 seconds.
  • If you run an 8-minute mile 5K, you’ll finish it in 24 minutes, 48 seconds.
  • If you run a 10-minute mile 5K, you’ll finish it in 31 minutes.
  • If you run a 12-minute mile 5K, you’ll finish it in 37 minutes.

To Conclude  – The Average 5K Time Time For a Beginner

As a beginner runner, aim to complete a mile in roughly 10 to 12 minutes. This means clocking in the race in 30 to 40 minutes.

If you just took up running, you may be more comfortable doing a mix of running and walking to begin with.

Planning to walk the whole distance? No problem. It’ll take you about 15 to 20 minutes to walk a mile. If your brisk walk, you should be able to complete a 5K in around one hour.

5K in Miles – Average 5K Time For Intermediate

Intermediate runners, specifically those who run 15 to 20 miles per week and have been doing it for more than a year, can expect to clock in a 5K at 22 to 25 minutes,.

This is roughly an average speed of 7- to 9-minute per mile over the course.

5K in Miles – Average 5K Time For Advanced Runners

If you’re logging up to 50 miles per week and have been doing it for a relatively long time, then you’re an advanced runner.

Typical elite running plans involve plenty of speed work, such as intervals and fartlek, as well as distance running.

With proper training, it’s possible to finish a 5K race between 15 to 18 for men and 18 to 21 for women.

Of course, chances are you are not going to take the gold at this 5K pace, but you’re definitely at the top of the top when it comes to running competing in this distance.

And that, my friend, is a great achievement in itself.

Average 5K Time By Age  – Winning Times

The chart below explains in detail the exact finish time you’ll want to aim for if you’re looking to cross the finish line first at a 5K event.

Average 5K winning time by age


The Fastest 5K Time

The average 5K time for advanced runners is under 16 minutes for men and 18 minutes for women.

As of 2020, the current IAAF world record time is held by Kenenisa Bekele at 12:37.35 for men and at 14:11.15 minutes for women held by Tirunesh Dibaba.

Rating Yourself

If you already have experience running 5K races, then you can also rate yourself.

If you finish a 5K in:

  • 12- to 14-minute – You’re an Olympic-level athlete.
  • 14- to 18-minute – You’re one of the best runners in the world.
  • 18- to 22-minute – You’re very competitive and faster enough.
  • 22- to 25-minute – You are an average runner.
  • 25- to 30-minute – You’re fit enough to run
  • 30- to 40-minute – You’re a complete beginner
  • Above 40 minutes – You are unfit but trying to run. We all have to start somewhere, right.

Measuring Your 5K Pace

There are many tools you can use to help measure your paces, such as apps and fitness trackers that will monitor your speed and distance and keep it in a log.

You can also manually set your running pace if you’re training on a treadmill, then play around with it as you get fitter and stronger.

5K Running tips – How To Improve your Times

Now that you know how many miles in a 5K, let’s look at some practical ways to help achieve your best 5K time.

Although the 5K is one of the relatively short races, the 3.1-mile distance is nothing to scoff at.

Try to run it with no experience, and you’ll soon realize that’s not actually as easy as it seems.

To make sure you train right for a 5K, do the following:

Build Gradually

To get faster, focus on building up slowly over a few weeks or months.

Don’t try to chew more than you can swallow—or else you’re going to hurt yourself.

As a beginner, set aside at least 8 to 12 weeks of training before you stand on the starting line of the race.

In the early weeks, start with 20 to 30 minutes sessions at a slow pace, then gradually increase duration and intensity as you get more fit.

That’s the golden rule of getting fit without getting hurt.

I’d recommend that you start with a walk/run program, like this one.

You should also complement your running by doing low-impact exercises such as cyclingweight lifting, swimming, ad elliptical training.

You’re more advanced? Then Try the following 5k training plans

Interval Training

Once you can run at a slow pace for 30 to 40 minutes without panting for air, start doing some interval training.

This method helps you exhaust your body by pushing yourself as hard as possible for a set time and then allow for a rest period.

Then repeat.

One example is to do two minutes of running at a slightly faster 5K pace goal, followed by two minutes of slow jogging as recovery.

Perform this for five rounds for a total of 20 minutes.

Have A Pacing Strategy

Keeping a consistent pace is challenging during a race, especially when you add in factors such as racing vibe, other runners, terrain, fatigue, wind, etc.

For this reason, plan for a flexible pacing strategy to help you achieve your average goal pace.

The strategy I’d recommend is to do a negative split—this means running the second of the race faster than the first.

Still confused?

It’s actually quite easy.

All you have to do is to start the race easy, then finish it strong, but do it in a planned and well-thought-out manner.

Here’s a breakdown for a 10:00 mine per mile average pace

  • Mile One – 10:30 MPH
  • Mile Two – 10:00 MPH
  • Mile Three – 9:30 MPH
  • The last portion (0.11 mile) – As Fast As You Can


To conclude, whatever your finish time is, that’s a good 5K time. Knowing what’s a 5K in miles is the first step. Now it’s time for work. Get out there and start training right now!

Please feel free to leave your comments and questions in the section below.

Thank you for dropping by.

David D

What is a Fun Run & How Long Is One

Can Running Help Cure Your Hangover?

Fun runs have gained a lot of popularity over the past few years—and for good reasons.

Enrolling in a fun run is a fantastic way to motivate yourself to be a little fitter and healthier without coming off as too serious.

But, if this is your first time planning—or thinking about—doing a fun run, then you must have a lot of questions.

Fret no more.

That’s where today’s post comes in handy. Yes, it’s time to run for fun. In this article, I’m going to delve into everything you need to know about fun runs—from what gear to use to what to expect during the event itself so you can have the best color fun run

Sounds exciting?

Let’s lace up and dig in.

What is A Fun Run?

A fun run is an enjoyable, stress free, athletic event that involves either road running or cross country running.

The typical fun run is quite different from your classic road race.

Fun runs have a party-themed atmosphere.

You can enjoy the event with friends, family, and other competitors as you indulge yourself in music, dancing, and photo ops.

These color-themed runs also may include novelty categories such as age wearing costumes, etc.

And, sure, you can run or walk, too.

It’s up to you.

Most fun runs are often organized to raise funds for a charity, with sponsors covering the fees of organizational costs.

Fun runs can also be organized as a side event to more serious races, such as a marathon.

How Long is a Fun Run

The distance can vary according to a number of obstacles, the age group, fitness level, and the type of fun run.

Typical fun runs are short enough for beginners to cross the finish line and long enough for advanced runners to challenge their speed and time.

Besides the various types of a fun run, the most common distance is a “5K fun run”, which is a 3.1-mile run.

In doubt?

Get in touch with the event organizers for more information on the conditioning level needed and the distance options available.

How Long Does it To Finish A Fun Run?

The time it’ll take you to complete a fun run will depend, of course, on the distance of the run and your conditioning level, but as a matter of fact, no one really cares.

After all, fun runs are meant to be fun.

No more.

No less.

Don’t be too serious.

As long as you’re having fun, there’s no reason to worry about the finish line.

Additional Resource – Here’s your guide to cross country running

Happy couple runners exercising running outside on street. New York City active lifestyle, joggers athletes training outdoor in traffic.

Are you Fit Enough?

Most fun runs are designed so anyone, regardless of their fitness level, can join in and have fun while doing it.

If you’re planning to partake in a fun run, keep in mind that most fun runs are have having a blast for a good cause.

I hate to sound like a broken record, but here we are.

So it’s better to be a part of one and finish it at a slow pace than not at all.

In fact, feel free to walk, jog, or walk/jog if you’re not fit enough to run the whole way.

How To Prepare For A Run

To make sure you have the most fun at your next fun run, do the following:

Have A Plan

Getting ready is key in any event.

If you have never run before, but decide to run a 10K the next day, then you’re better off not running at all.

In fact, you might get hurt or burned out as you’re not quite as fit as you thought.

However, having training can help you start on the right foot and make progress along the way.

At a minimum, you should be following some form of consistent training in 8 to 12 weeks prior to the fun run event.

Additional resource – How long does it take to walk a mile

What To Wear

When competing in the classic 5K race, technical running attire is the rule.

But, such gear isn’t required for a fun run.

In fact, I’d recommend that you choose clothing that you don’t mind getting so dirty that you’ll have to throw away at the end.

The clothing could also be something you plan on using exclusively for color fun runs if you’re into it for the long haul.

Keep in mind that there will be colored powder coming your way in every direction, so remember to protect your mouth and eyes with a bandana and a pair of sunglasses, especially if you have allergies.

Your Running Shoes

Along with clothing, expect to ruin your running shoes due to all the different colors getting thrown your way.

By the same token, opt for a worn-out pair of shoes that you longer use for your training.

You can also devote a pair to fun runs that you only use for such events.

Or, you should also consider buying a cheap pair that you won’t mind throwing away at the end of the race.

The Run Itself

As I have already explained, fun runs are a far cry from your classic 5K races.

Don’t take the race too seriously.

Just relax and trust the process.

You don’t need to worry about being the first or the last to cross the finish line.

Nobody really cares.

It’s just for fun.

I know.

It’s easy to get competitive when participating in a race, but stop yourself from falling into that trap.

You should also use the fun run time to embrace your inner child and let him—or her—come out and play.

Make it a rule not to take the fun out of the fun run—pun intended.

The Post Fun Run Party

Expect a festival at the finish line.

This party is a fantastic way to keep up the fun vibe and wrap up the whole event.

The lively atmosphere and upbeat music can create even more friendship and fun between the participants.

Take time to rejoice in the color party at the end of the fun race.

After, a fun run, as the name implies, is simply about…FUN.

No more.

No less.

So don’t take it too seriously.

How Far Did I Run? 4 Simple Ways To Measure Your Running Distance

running in the sun

How far did I run?

If you’re looking for an answer to this question, then you have come to the right place.

As a runner, tracking how far you run is one of the most important numbers to monitor

But keeping track of this metric can be a pain without the right tools.

In this article, I’ll explain the main ways that you can measure your running distance without a hassle.

How Far Did I Run? The Benefits

Even if you’re a recreational runner logging the miles for stress relief and the joy of it, this metric can be helpful.

Let’s look into why.

Predict Race Times

When you keep track of your running distances in some form of workout journal,  you can predict your finish time for a race by periodically reviewing your logs.

Find The Sweet Spot

Knowing how far you run can help you determine how far to run in future runs.

This not only ensures that you’re getting the most out of your runs but also for planning your running routes.

When you don’t plan your running routes, you risk either under-or overestimate yourself, which can compromise your running success.

Overcome Training Challenges

Keeping track of your running distances helps you overcome running obstacles.

For example, if you struggle to keep your weekly mileage in cold weather, consider substituting a few outdoor runs with treadmill workouts.

Improve Motivation

Keeping an eye on your weekly mileage can help remind you of your commitment to logging the miles.

Be Your Own Coach

Keeping track of your running stats, especially your distance, pace, and relevant factors, can also help you review your training plan and make the right changes when needed.

How Far Did I Run? 4 Ways To Measure Your Running Distance

There are many options for tracking running distances.

You may find that you like one method over the other.

Use Google Maps

The most convenient tool for planning how far to run is, hands down, Google Maps.

All you need to do is to input in the start and endpoint of your running route, and voila!

You can also rely on the tool for available transports options, especially in densely populated areas.

This provides you the option of a new route as a footpath or cycle path.

Check the following YouTube tutorial on how to make the most out of Google Maps as a runner.

GPS Watch

Another convenient way of keeping track of your running distance is by using a GPS device.

Standing for Global Positioning System, GPS relies on a set of 24 satellites (owned by the U.S.) to provide positioning, timing, and navigation.

The system works by measuring the time it takes for signals to be received from these satellites.

You can put GPS technology to use using many tools.

The most common tool is by wearing a GPS running watch, such as Garmin.

GPS tracking works best when there’s a clear view of the sky and need to connect to at least three satellite to make out your position.

That’s why GPS devices tend to be fallible when running on trails or under imperfect weather conditions.

How far did I run

Use Apps

Not many years ago, one needed a special GPS unit to measure distance through satellite technology.

Not the case anymore.

Now your Smartphone has a built-in GPS system you can use to track your distance and speed, using many of the widely available apps.

The GPS function of the apps is essentially the same.

Using a GPS network, the app measure the distance covered, time, and other factors such as elevation gain, calorie burned, heart rate, and much more.

Running apps can also serve as a form of a digital running journal so you can assess your progress in real-time.

They also come with a social media component so you can share your progress with your friends, too.

There are a plethora of running apps available, and most of them are free.

Some apps come at a fee, allowing limited use of the app features.

Other apps also allow a short free trial period.

Some of the best running apps include:

Mapping Sites

If you prefer to run without your phone and don’t want to shell a couple of hundreds of dollars on a running watch, you can determine your running distance by tracing your route post-run using one of the popular and free run-mapping websites.

Here are two recommendations.

On The Go Map. Powered by Google Maps, this one gives you the ability to track routes on an interactive map of any city.

Choose a starting point, then choose others along the course, and then choose a finish point.

And voila!

Map My Run – offering similar features to the previous one but asks you to sign up for a free account.

Additional resource – How long is a 100-mile race?

How Far Did I Run – The Conclusion

So how far did I run? Today you’ve the answers you seek.

The simple guidelines shared here are enough not only to help you work out how far did you run but also to plan your runs much more effectively and easily. But if push comes to shovel, heading to a track should be enough. Learn how many laps is a mile here.

What’s not to like! Really!

Please feel free to leave your comments and questions in the section below.

In the meantime, thank you for dropping by.

Keep Training Strong

David D.

How Long Does It Take To Run A Mile? Average Mile Time Guide

Looking for practical answers on how long does it take to run a mile? Then you have come to the right place

Whether you’re a beginner runner or an elite marathoner, the average time to run a mile is likely one of those statistics you keep track of.

Monitoring this pace is a fantastic way to track your progress and speed while training.

But working out a one-size-fits-all average for the mile can be problematic.

As you might already know, mile speed depends on several factors.

In today’s article, I’m going to dive deep into the average mile time as well as how to improve it.

I’m also going to consider the different factors that affect your running speed.

Sounds great?

Let’s lace up and dig in.

How Long Does It Take To Run A Mile?

According to data from more than 300 million runs inputted into Strava in 2018, the average running pace around the world is 9 minutes and 48 seconds (9:48).

The number varies from men to women—9:15 for men and 10:40 for women.

According to the same source, the average running pace in the US is 9:44 overall, with roughly 9:07 for men and 10:21 for women.

Don’t worry if your current average pace is a little bit higher than those marks.

The strava community encompasses runners from all levels and backgrounds—beginner runners only make a small portion.

Average Time to Run a Mile For A Beginner Runner

Here’s the ballpark if you want a rough estimate: a beginner runner is expected to run a mile in 10 to 15 minutes, or four to five miles an hour.

The Factors That Impact Average Mile Time

How long does it take to run a mile depends on several factors, including your age, gender, fitness level, and genetics.

Let’s break down the essentials:


Age impacts running speed as most people can run their fastest between the ages of 18 and 30.

Don’t take my word for it.

A  data-analysis that looked into 10,000 runners who participated in a 5K reported that the average minute per mile for runners of various ages was 11:47 per mile.

Male runners in the 16 to 19 years old range finished the race with an average pace of 9.34.

Females within the same age group finished in 12:09.

The finishing times go up gradually as the age group got older.

Here’s a chart showing the average running speed per mile in a 5K (from the same source).

Average running speed per mile in a 5K


AgeMen (minutes per mile)Women (minutes per mile)

Gender and Average Mile Time

Gender is another factor that influences how fast you run one mile—or 12 miles—with men being faster than women.

This speed disparity may come down to muscle mass.

In general, having more fast-twitch muscles in the lower body increases running speed.

Additional resource – Average time to walk a mile

Fitness Level

Although age and gender are not under your control, you have a lot of say over your level of fitness.

Research shows that non-elite but relatively in-shape runners typically run one mile in 9 to 10 minutes, on average.

If you just took up running, you might finish one mile in closer to 12 to 15 minutes as you build up your endurance.

Additional resource – How To Run An 8-Minute Mile?

Your Outlook

Even your mindset and emotional state can impact your average time to run a mile, and that’s too under your control (with proper training).

Outdoor Conditions

Weather and temperature can also impact how you run.

If it’s cold, you might run your fastest.

It takes significantly longer to run a mile when it’s hotter.

All in all, the temperature sweet spot for running is in the range of 50 to 56 degrees, with zero wind and no rain.

running a mile

Average Mile Time And Elite Runners

An elite runner can clock in a mile at roughly 4 to 5 minutes.

At the time of writing this (December 2020), the world record for men is a staggering 3:43:13 for one mile set by Hicham El Guerrouj, Moroccan athlete, in 1999.

In general, anything under four minutes is very, very, fast for men and under five minutes a mile for women is very, very fast!

Of course, recreational runners, just like you and I, will never come anywhere close to these times, but there are plenty of things we can do to improve our times for the mile distance.

Let’s look at a few.

Fact: The legendary Sir Roger Bannister was the first recorded human to run a sub-four-minute mile.

Up to that time, many pundits believed that it’s impossible for the human body to break the 4-minute mile.

How to Improve Your Average Mile Time

Regardless of your current mile speed number, there are many things you can do right now to improve your average mile run time.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Start slow. If you’ve zero running experience, don’t try running a mile as fast as you can—you might not even make it to the end. Instead, make it a goal to first run a mile without stopping.
  • Progress gradually. Respect the 10 percent law, increasing your weekly mileage by no more than 10 percent from one week to the next.
  • Get ready. Start every run with a proper 10-minute warm-up, then finish it with another 10-minute for a cool down.
  • Stay safe. Avoid wearing headphones when running on roads. Stay visible. Run against traffic. And follow all rules of the road.
  • Have your fluids. Stay well hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day—not just around your runs.
  • Have the right running shoes. Head to your local running store and ask the staff there for technical advice on pick a pair that best matches your style and goals.
  • Run other distances. The best way to improve your endurance and speed for the mile is to run longer distances as a part of your running plan. As a rule, make one of your weekly sessions a longer run than the rest.
  • Well-rounded training. Perform a variety of running workouts, including easy runs, long runs, interval runs, fartlek, and long runs.
  • Supplement your road miles. Cross-train at least twice a week. I’d recommend strength training and yoga to keep your muscles challenged and flexible.
  • Stay consistent. That’s the only way for you to keep improving on a regular basis.


What makes a good mile time for a beginner can vary depending on your starting point. That’s why the average time to run a mile varies across runners of different ages, skills, gender and fitness levels.

If you’re an average runner, you should be really satisfied when you can clock in your mile within 9 to 10 minutes. Otherwise, start at wherever you’re at and keep on improving. The rest is just details.

How Long Is A Marathon? (& How Long Does It Take To Run One?)

How Long Is A Marathon

Have you ever wondered just how long a marathon really is? Or perhaps you’re curious about the captivating story behind this legendary race? Well, my friends, you’ve arrived at the perfect pit stop to quench your marathon curiosity.

In today’s post, we’re diving headfirst into the world of marathons, uncovering the secrets and shedding light on the burning questions that have been keeping you up at night.

I’ll explore the awe-inspiring distance of a marathon, how it’s meticulously measured, and the remarkable story that birthed this epic endurance race. I’ll even take a detour into the thrilling realm of marathons in the Olympics and delve into the lasting impact of the iconic London Marathon.

But wait, there’s more! If you’re a beginner dreaming of conquering the marathon challenge, fear not. I’ve got you covered with essential tips and insights on how to kick-start your marathon training journey like a pro.

Let the adventure begin!

How Long is A Marathon?

Picture this: a daunting journey that spans 26.2 miles (or 42.195 kilometers), pushing the limits of human potential and unleashing the warrior within. Yes, my friend, I’m talking about the hallowed grounds of the marathon—an endurance test of colossal proportions.

You might be wondering, “Who decides this distance? Is there some governing body overseeing this Herculean endeavor?” Well, fear not, for I bring you tidings from the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the esteemed authority that has decreed 26.2 miles as the official marathon distance. This isn’t just a wild guess, mind you; it’s backed by meticulous research and the wisdom of countless running scholars.

Now, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of how these courses are measured. Imagine a scene straight out of an action movie: a group of dedicated individuals armed with bicycles and precision tools, accompanied by three assigned judges and even a police escort. They traverse the course not once, not twice, but thrice, ensuring the utmost accuracy in their measurements.

And here’s an interesting tidbit: while marathons in the United States are often measured in miles, the rest of the world favors the metric system, using kilometers to quantify this monumental feat. So, whether you’re chasing miles or kilometers, the essence of the marathon remains unyielding—a true testament to human perseverance.

Now, if your mind is still struggling to comprehend the enormity of a marathon, let me paint a vivid picture for you. Imagine your daily commute, that familiar journey of 16 miles. Running a marathon means traversing that distance 1.5 times..

Here’s another mind-boggling comparison: picture yourself running around a 400-meter track. Now, lace up your imagination and join me for an astonishing 105 laps. Yes, my friend, that’s the equivalent of completing a marathon. It’s like circling the track over a hundred times, a testament to the unyielding rhythm of your footsteps and the indomitable spirit that propels you forward.

And if you’re still not convinced of the magnitude of this feat, consider this: running a marathon is akin to covering the length of a football field a staggering 461 times! Each stride taking you closer to the finish line, leaving a trail of determination and sweat in your wake.

It’s no wonder that completing a marathon is an achievement that eludes all but a select few. Less than 1 percent of the population dares to undertake this monumental challenge, and for good reason. It requires dedication, perseverance, and an unwavering belief in your own capabilities.

How Long It Takes To Run A Marathon?

How long it’s going to take you to run a marathon depends on your speed.

On average, a marathon takes about four hours to complete—the world’s record is just over two hours.

As a beginner, you should focus on training fully for the entire 26.2 miles and make it to the finish line in one piece.

As your skill improves, you can try to beat your personal best for the marathon.

Here’s a simplified marathon pace chart:

  • At a 5-minute mile pace, it will take you 2:11:06 to run the whole marathon distance.
  • At a 6-minute mile pace, it will take you 2:37:19 to run the whole marathon distance.
  • At a 7-minute mile pace, it will take you 3:03:32 to run the whole marathon distance.
  • At an 8-minute mile pace, it will take you 3:29:45 to run the whole marathon distance.
  • At a 9-minute mile pace, it will take you 3:55:58 to run the whole marathon distance.
  • At a 10-minute mile pace, it will take you 4:22:11 to run the whole marathon distance.
  • At an 11-minute mile pace, it will take you 4:48:24 to run the whole marathon distance.
  • At a 12-minute mile pace, it will take you 5:14:38 to run the whole marathon distance.
  • At a 13-minute mile pace, it will take you 5:40:51 to run the whole marathon distance.

What’s A Good Marathon Pace?

The concept of a good pace is as individual as your fingerprint, shaped by an intricate interplay of factors. Your fitness level, age, and even the whims of Mother Nature all contribute to this enigmatic equation. Picture it as a delicate dance where your unique attributes twirl with the elements around you, forging a pace that is uniquely yours.

Think about it: a “good” pace for a seasoned athlete with bionic legs might be a breathtaking sprint for someone just starting their running journey. Meanwhile, a veteran of the marathon battlegrounds may find solace in a consistent rhythm that carries them through the miles, regardless of time. It’s all about perspective, my friend.

Moreover, the terrain on which you embark on your marathon odyssey can dramatically alter what’s considered a “good” pace. Imagine tackling a flat course with the grace of a gazelle, effortlessly gliding towards the finish line. Now, shift the scene to a treacherous mountainous terrain, where each step is a Herculean effort. In these contrasting landscapes, what once seemed like a good pace may require a profound adjustment.

paleo diet

What is The Average Marathon Finish Time?

The captivating world of marathon finish times! Brace yourself, my friend, for I come bearing intriguing tidbits of knowledge gathered from a meta-analysis of over 100 million race results spanning the globe from 1986 to 2018. These numbers reveal the symphony of accomplishments achieved by the wondrous realm of recreational runners.

As the clock ticks away, the average marathon finish time emerges, painting a vivid portrait of determination and endurance. Drumroll, please! The average recreational marathoner triumphantly crosses the finish line at the mark of 4 hours, 32 minutes, and 29 seconds. Quite an accomplishment, wouldn’t you say?

Now, let’s unveil the subtle nuances that differentiate the male and female counterparts in this grand marathon dance. On average, our valiant male runners conquer the marathon at a time of 4 hours, 52 minutes, and 18 seconds, showcasing their formidable spirit. Meanwhile, the remarkable women of the marathon world leave their mark with an average time of 4 hours, 48 minutes, and 45 seconds, truly an awe-inspiring feat.

But wait, there’s more! The beauty of marathons lies in their tapestry of diversity. From the fleet-footed elite marathoners who defy time, crossing the finish line in just over two hours, to the spirited warriors who revel in the journey, their finish times stretching past the six-hour mark. Each participant weaves their unique tale, showcasing the resilience of the human spirit.

Why Is The Marathon 26.2 Miles?

Now that we have established that a marathon is 26.2 miles, let’s take a look at history.

The First Olympics

Let me transport you back in time to the majestic origins of the marathon, where history and myth intertwine to create a tale of triumph and sacrifice. Picture yourself in the ancient days of the first Olympics, where the distance of the marathon was but a fluid concept, waiting to be molded by the footsteps of heroes.

As the early Olympic Games unfolded, the marathon events spanned approximately 25 miles, a rough approximation that traced the path from the quaint village of Marathon to the grandeur of Athens along the longer, flatter route. It was a distance that encapsulated both challenge and spectacle, setting the stage for legends to be born.

The Myth

Now, let me regale you with a story that has echoed through the ages, a tale that has become the very essence of the marathon’s mystique. Cast your gaze back to the year 790 B.C., to the plains of Marathon, where an epic battle raged between Greek warriors and the invading Persian army. In the heart of this conflict, a courageous Greek general named Miltiades emerged as a beacon of hope.

With valor and strategic brilliance, General Miltiades led his troops to a momentous victory, striking a blow that resonated throughout history. However, news of this triumph needed to be swiftly carried to the people of Athens, who awaited word of their fate. Enter Pheidippides, the valiant messenger entrusted with this pivotal task.

Pheidippides, fueled by adrenaline and an unwavering sense of purpose, embarked on a daring journey. From the battlefield of Marathon, he embarked on a grueling run of approximately 25 miles, pushing his body to the limit. Without pause or respite, he sprinted towards Athens, his mission etched into his very being.

Finally, as he arrived in the assembly, his words rang out with sheer exhilaration, “nenikēkamen!”— “we have won!” in the timeless language of the Greeks. Exhausted and triumphant, Pheidippides collapsed, his body succumbing to the arduous journey he had undertaken. His sacrifice became etched in the annals of history, a testament to the indomitable spirit of the human race.

To commemorate this extraordinary feat, the distance of the 1896 Olympics, the revival of the ancient Games, was set at 25 miles. It was a homage to the endurance and courage displayed by Pheidippides, forever etching the marathon into the fabric of athletic lore.

The Marathon Nowadays

Fast forward to the present day, where the marathon has evolved into a global celebration of human endurance and athletic prowess. Let’s embark on a journey through time to explore the modern landscape of this iconic race, where passion, determination, and glory intertwine.

It was in the vibrant city of Athens, in the year 1896, that the first Olympic Marathon event captured the hearts and imaginations of spectators worldwide. The course, spanning 25 miles or approximately 40 kilometers, traced a path from the historic Marathon Bridge, steeped in tales of ancient triumph, all the way to the majestic Olympic Stadium in Athens.

A throng of eager participants, their hearts pounding with anticipation, ready to push their physical and mental limits to the edge. Among them, a mere 25 brave souls stood at the starting line, their eyes fixed on the challenge that lay ahead. As the starting gun resounded through the air, their quest for greatness commenced.

With each stride, the competitors navigated the undulating terrain, their bodies pushed to the brink of exhaustion. The unforgiving distance tested their endurance, calling upon reserves of strength they never knew existed. But through the pain and fatigue, they pressed on, fueled by an unwavering desire to conquer the course and etch their names in history.

As the finish line loomed in the distance, the air crackled with anticipation. The cheers of the crowd grew louder, a symphony of encouragement urging the weary runners to push beyond their limits. And when the dust settled, when the echoes of their footsteps faded, only nine triumphant souls had conquered the grueling marathon.

Among them, a local hero emerged—Spyridon Louis, a humble Greek water-carrier who transcended the realms of ordinary mortals. Clad in sheer determination and the spirit of his ancestors, he crossed the finish line, his body bathed in sweat and his heart ablaze with victory. The crowd erupted in thunderous applause, their admiration transforming him into a legend overnight.

Spyridon Louis became a symbol of triumph, not just for Greece, but for the world of marathon running itself. His golden laurel wreath adorned his brow, a testament to his unwavering spirit and the indomitable human will. In that moment, the marathon transcended its physical boundaries and became a beacon of hope, inspiring generations to embrace challenges and chase their dreams.

The Changing Distance of The Marathon

Following 1896, the next few Olympic marathon events varied in length quite a bit, but the principle was that as long as all the participants run the same course, there’s no need to keep the distance exactly the same.

Check the following table.

City Year Kilometers Miles

St Louis19044024.85

The Birth Of The Official Distance

Picture this: the year is 1908, and the stage is set for the marathon of a lifetime. The course, meticulously crafted to showcase the grandeur of England, stretched from the majestic Windsor Castle to the iconic White City Stadium—a formidable journey spanning 26 miles. As the runners gathered at the starting line, anticipation crackled in the air, for this was no ordinary marathon.

Now, here’s where the plot thickens. The organizers, with a stroke of brilliance, crafted a unique finale fit for royalty. As the runners neared the culmination of their arduous journey, the finish line was cunningly extended an extra 385 yards. Why, you ask? Well, dear friend, it was all for the pleasure of the British royal family.

Yes, you read that right. The finish line was strategically moved so that it aligned perfectly in front of the esteemed viewing box of the royal family. It was a spectacle meant to captivate and honor the regal spectators, adding an extra touch of grandeur to the race. And thus, a tradition was born.

As the runners approached the final stretch, their bodies pushed to their limits, a resounding cry filled the air. “God Save The Queen!” echoed through the streets, a tribute to the monarch and an expression of admiration in the last mile. This tradition, rooted in the pages of history, still lingers in the hearts of marathoners today, an ode to the unforgettable 1908 London Olympics.

Marathons Nowadays

Nowadays, marathon events take place virtually everywhere on the planet, from the North Pole, the Amazon, the Sahara to the Great Wall of China.

There are 100’s of organized marathons around the globe each year, with roughly 400,000 marathon finishers in the US alone.

Beginner Marathon Training Tips

Now that we’ve quenched your curiosity about the length of a marathon, it’s time to delve into the practical side of things. So, you’ve set your sights on conquering a marathon? Well, my friend, buckle up because we’re about to embark on a journey of preparation and perseverance.

Before you dive headfirst into marathon training, there’s a crucial step you must take: building a solid base. Think of it as laying the foundation for your marathon dreams. You wouldn’t construct a magnificent skyscraper without a sturdy base, would you? The same principle applies to your running journey.

To ensure you’re well-prepared for the challenges that lie ahead, it’s recommended to have been hitting the pavement for at least six months prior to starting marathon training. This means consistently logging miles, lacing up your running shoes at least three times a week. You see, running is not just a one-time sprint; it’s a marathon in itself—pun intended.

Now, if you find yourself in the camp of those who have yet to experience the thrill of pounding the pavement, fear not! There’s a sensible approach for beginners like you. Instead of diving straight into the deep end of marathon training, it’s wise to begin with shorter distances, such as the 5K or the 10K. Think of these races as stepping stones, gradually building your endurance, strength, and confidence.

Preparing For A Marathon

So, how do you go about preparing for this epic race? Well, the answer lies in following a well-crafted training plan. Picture it as your roadmap to success, guiding you every step of the way towards race day glory. Trust me, having a plan in place will do wonders for your confidence, injury prevention, and overall motivation throughout the grueling months of preparation that lie ahead.

Now, you might be wondering, what makes a training plan so important? Well, let’s take a peek at the science behind it. Research studies have shown that individuals who follow structured training programs experience greater improvements in performance compared to those who simply wing it. It’s like having a secret weapon in your arsenal, ensuring you’re fully equipped to conquer the challenges that come your way.

Think of your training plan as a meticulously crafted masterpiece, tailored specifically to your needs and goals. It’s your personal trainer, mentor, and cheerleader all rolled into one. By following a plan, you’ll gradually increase your mileage, incorporate speed work, engage in cross-training, and strategically schedule rest days to allow your body to recover and grow stronger.

Remember, my friend, the marathon is not a walk in the park. It’s a monumental undertaking that demands dedication, perseverance, and a touch of grit. But fear not, for your training plan will serve as your guiding light, illuminating the path to success and helping you navigate the ups and downs of the marathon journey.

Marathon Training Plans

Let’s dive into the realm of marathon training plans! Allow me to present you with a curated selection of my favorite plans that cater to every runner out there, from the first-time finisher to the seasoned speedster. The choice is yours, and it all depends on your goals and aspirations. After all, only you can truly know what resonates with your running spirit. So, without further ado, let’s explore these fantastic training options:

The Walking Marathon Schedule: Are you planning to conquer the marathon distance at a walking pace? Fear not, for this plan is designed especially for you. It recognizes the unique challenges and triumphs of walking the entire distance, ensuring that you have a structured and achievable roadmap to guide you on your incredible journey.

The Couch to Marathon Plan: Ah, the classic transformation tale! If you’re a complete beginner, lacing up those running shoes for the first time, this 26-week training schedule is your ticket to the marathon world. Step by step, it will take you from the couch to crossing that illustrious finish line. No previous running experience required—just a dash of determination and a sprinkle of commitment.

The Intermediate Runner Plan: So, you’ve already dipped your toes into the running waters. Perhaps you can comfortably run for an hour or have conquered a few 5Ks and 10Ks. Well, my friend, this plan is tailored precisely for your level of expertise. It will elevate your training, helping you build endurance, speed, and confidence as you progress towards the marathon distance. Prepare to take your running prowess to the next level.

The Advanced Marathon Plan: Ah, the seasoned marathoner, with a collection of race bibs and finisher medals to prove your mettle. This plan is for the experienced runners out there who have already conquered numerous marathons and are hungry for a new personal record. It will challenge you, push your boundaries, and fine-tune your performance to unlock your true potential.

Additional resource – How long is a 100-mile race?

How long is a marathon  – The Conclusion

There you have it!

If you’re looking for answers to how long is a marathon distance as well as some of the history and random tidbits about it, then today’s article should get you started with the basics.

The rest is just details.

Please feel free to leave your comments and questions in the section below.

In the meantime, thank you for dropping by.

Keep Training Strong.

David D.

The Couch To Half Marathon Plan For Beginner Runners

couch to half marathon

Going from the couch to half marathon is a challenging undertaking. But it’s worth it. When you train for a half marathon as a beginner, expect to lose weight, improve your energy levels, reduce stress, and improve your overall outlook and confidence.

Would you like to reap some of these benefits than some more?

Then keep on reading.

In this article, I’m sharing with you a training plan that will carry from the couch to the starting line of a half marathon—and across the finish too!

More specifically, I’ll dive into the following topics:

  • What is a half marathon race?
  • How many miles in a half marathon?
  • What’s a good half marathon finish time?
  • How to start training for your first half marathon
  • How long your long runs should be
  • The exact half marathon pace chart you need for success
  • A step-by-step couch to half marathon training plan
  • And so much more

Sounds great?

Let’s lace up and dig in

Medical Note: I’d love for the record to clearly state that I’m not a doctor, nor a professional runner. What I’m sharing here is nothing more than my personal experiences and observation. Don’t take it as professional advice. If you have a medical condition or feel the need for professional help, please get in touch with a professional. And always remember to get the green light from a doctor before starting a new exercise or diet program.

What is A Half Marathon Race?

The race is a fantastic medium-sized event.

The half marathon event is one of the most popular running races in the U.S, with about four times as many finishers as a marathon.

In fact, nearly two million people crossed the finish line of the half marathon in 2019.

To learn more about the history of the half marathon, check the following:

The History of the half Marathon

The Half Marathon on Wikipedia

How many miles is a half marathon

The Half Marathon Pace Chart You Need To Run Your Best Race

How Many Miles Is A Half-Marathon?

Before we get into the practical plan, let’s first talk about how long a half-marathon actually is.

A half marathon is 13.1 miles.

13.1 miles may not seem as much, but it’s an impressive distance.

It’s actually the equivalent of 231 football fields,

Getting ready for a half marathon is also the ideal stepping stone to a full marathon—it offers you the basic endurance and strength needed to increase distance.

What’s A Good Time For A Marathon?

A good race time for any event can differ vastly based on the runner’s age, gender, fitness level, racecourse, and so on.

What’s more?

Thanks to the distance of a half-marathon, you’ll more than likely be impacted by factors such as temperatures and weather.

So it’s actually a lot to consider.

Survey reports that male runners finish half-marathon with an average of 2:05:15 in the US, while female runners clocked it at roughly 2:23:45.

That’s about a 9:30-mile pace for men and an 11.00-mile pace for women.

In general, breaking the two-hour mark in a half marathon is considered a good finish time for beginners, especially those with some running experience and would love to push themselves.

Check the following chart for the exact breakdown of common couch to half marathon running paces:

Half marathon pace chart

Progress Slowly

The best way to improve your endurance when you’re a complete beginner is to use a run/walk method.

This method is a mix of jogging intervals interspersed with walking breaks.

This helps you get fit without getting hurt.

The typical run/walk session starts with a 10-minute brisk walk as a warm-up, then you alternate between a set time of running with a set time of walking for a set period of time.

Then finish it with a walking cool-down.

How do you know that you’re doing it right?

It should feel challenging but also sustainable.

Don’t chew more than you can swallow—or else, you’ll get hurt, and you don’t want that.

For example, in the first session in week one, jog at an easy pace for one minute and then follow it with one minute of walking to recovery.

Then repeat the cycle for a total of 10 rounds.

That’s all.

As the weeks go by, you slowly increase your running time and take less for recovery until you’re running straight for 30 to 40 minutes without taking any breaks. (that’s typically around week 8 or 9).

As the plan progresses forward, aim to increase the time spent running and reduce the walking until you’re running non-stop.

couch to half marathon
couch to half marathon

The Long Run

Around week 10 or 11 of the couch to half marathon plan, you’ll start doing one long workout a week, usually on the weekend.

Why do you need to do so?

Long runs are the bread and butter of endurance training, especially half marathon training.

These help build endurance and strength—and get you used to spend long times on your feet.

What’s more?

If you plan to eat during the race, use the same strategy out on your long runs, so you’ll know what type of food works the best for you.

Experimentation is key.

It’s also an ideal time to practice your diet and hydration strategy during the race, especially the few longs runs in the last few weeks.

Additional resource – Maintaining muscle when marathon training

How Many

For the couch to half marathon plan, build up slowly your long run to at least 10 to 12 miles before the event.

You may start with a 4 to 5 miles run, adding one mile every two weeks.

It’s up to you and how much your body can handle.

As the plan progress, you’ll be asked to finish two 10-mile long runs to get your body ready for the 13.1-mile distance.

Once you finish these without a problem, then know for sure that you can run 13.1 miles without succumbing to fatigue half-way.

Long Run Pace

Don’t worry about your long run pace.

As long as you’re spending time on your feet and increase your physical and mental endurance, you’re going in the right direction.

Additional resource – How long is a half marathon


While logging miles should make up the bulk of any endurance running plan, working on improving your range of motion and strength to ward off injuries is also important.

You’ll want to build and/or keep aerobic fitness while also giving your muscles and joints a break from the wear and tear of running.

That’s where cross-training comes into the picture.

Cross-training refers to performing non-running exercises that can help you score gains in your main sport, which is running.

Don’t take my word for it.

Research has shown that performing non-running activities such as swimming and elliptical training can help keep, even improve, fitness and performance in runners.

Some of the best cross-training examples for runners include:

  • Elliptical training
  • Swimming
  • Rowing
  • Biking
  • Pool running
  • Strength training
  • Yoga

Take Care of Your Body

Improving running performance isn’t about logging one mile after the other.

Your recovery is also crucial.

In fact, it can be as important as the training itself.

Recovery days allow your muscles to bounce from the hard work as a result of hard training.

That’s why any well-rounded, effective running plan should also focus on recovery, especially when following an endurance running program.

Schedule one day for complete rest.

This is especially crucial during the early weeks of the base-building phase.

Don’t force your body to do more than it can handle.

Additional resource – When to skip a run

Pay Attention To Your Body

It’s key to pay attention to your body training.

If you find it hard to finish a certain session or are dealing with pains and aches, it might be a sign that your body hasn’t fully recovered.

When it’s the case, either take more days off or repeat the current week program.

You can also keep the same running duration but do more walking and less running.

The Couch to Half Marathon Training Plan Explained

My plan will have you hitting the pavement three times per week, but don’t worry if that seems too challenging.

Throughout the first few weeks, every session involves alternating between jogging and walking, and the distance (as well as the intensity) you’ll cover do builds up slowly and gradually.

That’s, after all, the essence of the walk/run method, which is the best way to get fit without getting hurt—as I always say.

As you get fitter, you’ll spend more time jogging and less time walking until you can run straight for one hour.

Then it’s more endurance building from there.

Each session connects to the next until you can eventually run for about two hours in on your long run by week 15.

But don’t try to get ahead of yourself.

Start at the beginning and work it up from there.

The rest is just details.

Remember also that you’ll be doing other forms of exercise besides running.

That’s cross-training.

And don’t feel like a loser if you miss a session—that happens to the best of us.

We cannot always control our circumstances.

Note – if you already can straight for 30 minutes at slow pacing without much huffing and puffing, then feel free to pick the training plan from week 8.

Personalize The Couch to Half Marathon Training Plan

The most important thing to understand about this plan that it is not written in stone.

Feel free to adjust it to make fit your own lifestyle and fitness needs.

Sure, I’m listing specific sessions, but the plan is all about flexibility.

Feel free to follow my plan as spelled out, or, especially if it’s moving too fast for you, or change it up to include less running and more walking.

You call the shots.

couch to half marathon plan



There you have it.

If you’re serious about running your first half-marathon, then the above couch to half marathon plan should get you started on the right foot.

Please feel free to leave your comments and questions in the section below.

In the meantime thank you for dropping by.

How to Plan a Running Route?

how to plan a running route

Outdoor running is one of the best things you can do to take care of your health.

But, often than not, it is not as simple as heading out the door and hitting the pavement, especially when you’re serious about your miles.

To get the most out of your outdoor runs, you’ll want to plan the perfect route.

Whether you’re a beginner runner or already training for your 9th marathon, in today’s post, I’m going to share with you the tools you need to find and plan the perfect running route.

Sounds great?

Let’s get started.

Why Plan Your Running Routes?

Planning your running routes is key—or else it’s not easy to tell how far you have run or will run.

This can cause you to either over-or underestimate yourself, which can cause more harm than good.

The last thing you’d want while running is to find yourself 6 miles from home base dying of thirst or needing to go to the bathroom and still have to return back home somehow.

What’s more?

Planning your running routes helps you improve motivation, stay more consistent, and provide more terrain variety.

It also helps make your training safer and more enjoyable.

What’s not to like!

How To Plan A Running Route?

Here are some of the measures to take to help you plan your running routes so you can have the most out of your runs.


Stay Safe

The most important factor to consider when planning a running route is safety.

The last thing you’d want is a running course that’s going to give you an upsetting experience.

Here’s how to ensure road safety.

  • Learn more about the course. If this is your first time trying a running route, try to find out as much information about it in advance. You can use Google Street View to zoom in on routes—you can also try driving or biking through it first.
  • If you live in a highly-populated city, pay attention to traffic or crowds in your surrounding area. Avoid busy streets and over-crowded sidewalks. That’s why it’s best to run early in the morning before the rest of the world starts waking up.
  • Proper light. If you plan to run early in the morning or late in the evening, make sure the course is properly lit.
  • If you plan to hit the trails, find out more about the sort of animal you could run into. For more on how to deal with animals while running, check this post.
  • Leave word. Always tell a family member or a friend where you’re going to run and when they should expect to hear from you back.

Use Apps

Whether you prefer to log in the miles on a familiar road or are a keen trail runner out there to explore uncharted terrains, there are many apps out there to help you run more efficiently.

Running apps can help you monitor pace, duration, distance, calories, elevation, and so much more—all to help you reach your running goals.

Of course, there’s an app—more like a dozen—for planning running routes.

Here are my best recommendations:

  • Plot Route. This works very well if you prefer to plan your running route on a laptop. As you plan your course, this tool will work out your running distance and provide you the option of adding running speed.
  • You can find the “route” tool in the premium version of Strava. Just put in how far you’d like to run and whether you want to avoid hills.
  • This one lets you sift through dozens of crowd-sourced routes, then filter them by length, ascent, and more. To check routes on MapMyRun, go to the Routes page and put in your address. The result should come up with a list of various user-created routes in your region.

Can’t find what you’re looking for on an app? Try Os Maps.

Ordnance Survey (OS Maps) is a hugely popular map-building tech that works well for planning running routes.

Sure, you might need to subscribe to get some of the features, but the free version has to offer.

Additional Resource – Here’s how to create a running program

Google Maps

The most useful tool for planning any type of route is undoubtedly Google Maps.

Google earth, both the browser-based and desktop versions, have built-in measuring tools that can help you plot running routes.

What’s more?

Planning your own running routes with Google Maps is quite simple.

1 – Determine your starting point, either by clicking the arrow icon (if you’re at the starting point) or by entering an address.

2 – Be sure to zoom in and out as well as drag the map using the map controls.

3 – Start drawing your running course by clicking on the map to set the starting point, then choose points along the course you’d like to create to work out the distance.

Sounds too complicated?

Check out the following YouTube Tutorial to learn how to plot running routes using Google Maps.

Plan Your Route According To Your Run

Whenever you plan a new running route, think about objectives too.

That’s why you should match your route to your run.

In other words, your routes have to satisfy your workout intention—or else, you might be heading in the wrong direction.

What type of terrain do you want to cover?

How far you’d like to go?

Are you looking for hills?


Planning on doing an easy run?

Choose a route where you can have the opportunity to get lost in the surroundings and not worry about speed.

Or, if you’re planning on doing speedwork, head to a track rather than the busy streets of your city.

how to plan a running route

Change Up Your Running Routes

To keep things interesting, try doing more runs on grass, hills, gravel, sand—anywhere as long as it’s doable and safe.

Adding variety to your training can also force your body to adapt and get used to various running scenarios, making you into a better runner.

Additional resource – Guide to urban running

How to Plan a Running Route – The Conclusion

There you have it!

If you’re looking for practical ways to plan your running routes, then this article should get you started on the right foot—both figuratively and literally.

The rest is just details.

Please feel free to leave your comments and questions in the section below.

In the meantime, thank you for dropping by.

Keep running strong

David D

How Many Calories Do you Burn Running a Mile?

running for weight loss

Would you like to learn more about how many calories do you burn running a mile as well as the factors that impact it?

Then keep on reading.

Running is a fantastic form of exercise—not only to boost your endurance and build strong legs but also to burn calories—like lots of calories.

In fact, running burns so many calories that weight loss is one of the main reasons people get into it.

Conventional wisdom says that we burn roughly 100 calories running one mile.

But, in reality, this is just a loose average that actually varies from person to person, as you’ll see below.

In today’s post, I’ll outline the exact factors that influence calorie burn during a mile run as well as how to make the most out of your training so you can reach your weight loss and fitness goals as soon as possible.

Sounds great?

Let’s get started.

How Many Calories Do you Burn Running a Mile?

The general rule is roughly 100 calories per mile burned for someone weighing 180 pounds.

But, let’s say, what if you weigh 120 pounds?

Then you might burn no more than 60 calories running the same distance.

Calories Burned Running a Mile – Why such disparity?

There are many factors that influence the number of calories you burn running a mile.

These include metabolic variables, such as body weight, body composition, age, and performance factors, such as intensity and incline.

Calories aside, it is imperative to bear in mind that there is no shortcut whatsoever if you want excellent heart health. You need a combination of exercise, staying within the right weight limit, and integrating a proper selection of supplements to get and keep a robust heart. Speaking of supplements, coq10 with turmeric comes to mind. Aside from neutralizing cellular oxidative damage, it’s a co-enzyme that the body needs to turn food eaten into useful energy. Furthermore, low levels of CoQ10 increase your likelihood of developing heart disease.

Let’s explain a few.

Your Body Weight

Heavier people burn more calories per mile as it requires more fuel to move a larger body for the same distance at a given pace.

For example, a 150-pound runner running at a 10-min mile pace for one hour would burn roughly 700 calories, but someone weighing 240 pounds training at the same intensity would burn around 1,100 calories.

Check the following chart explaining calorie burn for running for an hour at six miles per hour at different weights:

Weight (lbs.)Calories


Other than weight, speed, or intensity, drastically impacts the number of calories you burn running one mile.

The faster you run, the greater your energy expenditure—a result of increased effort, which forces you to burn more calories.

For example, a 160-pound runner training at a 13-minute pace for one hour would burn roughly 700 calories.

But if the same runner trained at 10-minutes per mile pace for the same duration, they can burn up to 900 calories in total.

Speed also affects how many calories you burn after exercise.

As a rule, the more intense you run—and exercise in general—the more fuel is burned off recovering from the effort.

This is what’s known as post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC).

how many calories do you burn running a mile

Fitness Level

Another variable, yet important, for how many calories you burn while running is your fitness level.

All in all, runners with years of experience may burn calories more efficiently—as in fewer calories—compared to those just starting out.

In fact, the better your conditioning gets, the fewer calories you burn.

This is one of the reasons some runners experience weight loss plateaus—even gains—during their training (Check my full post about the subject here).

Additional Resource – How Many Calories Should a Runner Eat

Running Surface

Whether you log your miles on the road, trails, sand, or a treadmill, your running terrain also affects your calorie burn.

A challenging terrain may increase the burn.

Running 3 miles on a flat surface is relatively easy compared to a hilly route that has you trudging steep ascents.

This is because you have to use more of your muscles to keep your balance and stay upright while running on a challenging surface.

And as you can already tell—the higher the effort level, the more calories burned—simple logic.

Weather Conditions

Your running economy also impacts calorie burn and is greatly affected by temperature.

In fact, research shows that running in the cold may burn more calories than running in mild temperatures, making it easier to lose weight.

Running in the heat may also increase your calorie by increasing your perceived exertion level.


Anecdotal evidence suggests that men often find it easier to lose weight than women, but the research is still inconclusive.

In general, men may burn more calories than women when running a mile only because men tend to be bigger than women, and as I already explained, weight affects calorie burn, like a lot.

As a rule, the larger a person, whether male or female, the more calories they burn.

Keep in mind that the survey says that men are, on average, five inches taller and weigh roughly 25 pounds more than women.

How Many Calories Do you Burn Running a Mile – Examples

Here are a few examples of calorie burn for different runners of various ages, weights, and gender.

This should give you a better idea of the disparity in calorie burn between various people.

Example – 1: Running 5.0 MPH, or a 12-minute mile, over flat terrain for a 40-year old female.

  • If you’re 120-pound, you’ll burn 90 calories per mile.
  • If you’re 140-pound, you’ll burn 100 calories per mile.
  • If you’re 160-pound, you’ll burn 115 calories per mile.
  • If you’re 200 -pounds, you’ll burn 140 calories per mile.
  • If you’re 240-pound, you’ll burn 165 calories per mile.

Example – 2: Running 5.0 MPH, or 12-minute mile with an average incline of 5 percent for 25-years old male.

  • If you’re 120-pound, you’ll burn calories 72 per mile.
  • If you’re 140-pound, you’ll burn calories 83 per mile.
  • If you’re 160-pound, you’ll burn calories 95 per mile.
  • If you’re 200 -pounds, you’ll burn 119 calories per mile.
  • If you’re 240-pound, you’ll burn 140 calories per mile.

Example – 3:  Running 8MPH, or 8-minute mile, over an 8 percent incline for a 45-year old male runner.

  • If you’re 120-pound, you’ll burn 90 calories per mile.
  • If you’re 140-pound, you’ll burn 100 calories per mile.
  • If you’re 160-pound, you’ll burn 110 calories per mile.
  • If you’re 200-pound, you’ll burn 130 calories per mile.
  • If you’re 240-pound, you’ll burn 150 calories per mile.

Note – Keep in mind that these numbers are just general estimates.

Anything you can do to boost your training effort increases the number of calories you burn.

Calories Burned Running a Mile – Running VS other Cardiovascular Workouts

If you’re looking to burn a lot of calories, you might be asking yourself how running compares to other workout options.

As you may already know, pounding the pavement is one of the most efficient ways to burns calories and lose weight.

Here’s how running compares to other exercises lasting about one hour.

  • Skipping at a mild speed – 1000 calories per hour.
  • Swimming vigorously for an hour – about 1000 calories.
  • Bicycling at a challenging pace – 500 calories.
  • Rowing at a challenging pace – about 800 calories.
  • Walking at a brisk pace – 270 calories
  • Cycling at a moderate pace – 530 calories
  • Swimming at a moderate pace – 560 calories
  • Playing tennis – 530 calories

How to Use Online Calculators To Track Calorie Burn Per Mile

If you use any type of fitness technology, whether it’s a GPS watch or a phone app, it’s more likely is your device is also providing data on estimated calories burned.

These wearables can measure your running distance, speed, and heart rate then come up with a rough estimate of your calorie burn based on your stats.

But, again, keep in mind that these numbers are only rough estimates.

They might not be that accurate.

Additional resource – How to become a morning a runner

How to Get Started

If you’re a beginner runner looking to lose weight, you’ll need to ease your body into it.

Before taking up running, consult your doctor, especially if you have any chronic health conditions and/or have been sedentary for a very long time.

To get you started on the right foot, check the following resources:

Do Simple Math

Want to lose a pound just by running?

Burn 3,500 calories, and you’re there.

So if you weigh 180 pounds and run five miles a day, three times per week, you could nix a pound in just over two weeks—yes, without any dieting!

At a glance, it may seem like a long time—but the losses pile up.

After a year of following the same training strategies, you could end up burning off about 25 pounds.

Running is About More Than Burning Calories

I know that the answer to how many calories do you burn running a mile is important to you – the reason you’re still reading so far.

If your goal is to burn as many calories as possible while running, increase your training intensity, and find a route with lots of hills.

You can also increase the incline on the treadmill.

But calories are not the whole story.

Calorie burn isn’t the be-all and end-all.

It’s key to remember that there are many reasons to run—and exercise—that has nothing to do with losing weight or getting lean.

Research shows that regular running helps improve cardiovascular health, reduces stress, improves sleep, strengthens muscles and joints, and improves your overall health and well-being.

For more on calories and calorie burn during exercise, check the following sources:


That’s all. If you’re looking for answers to how many calories do you burn running a mile, then today’s article has you covered. The rest is just details.

Thank you so much for stopping by.

Keep running strong.

How To Train For A Marathon – The Complete Couch To Marathon Training Plan You Need

Want to learn how to train for a marathon? Then my couch to marathon training plan has you covered

Going from couch to the marathon is an epic undertaking and a completely life-changing experience. As a beginner, expect to spend around six months to go from couch to marathoner.

Taking this long to prepare for the 26.2 miles is nice because it gives you a slow and progressive increase in load to reach your goals.

You’ll be asked to run three to four times a week, and your total weekly load will slowly increase as you get closer to race day (more on this later, of course).

I know this is a lot to digest but bear with me, please.

In today’s article, I’m sharing a comprehensive couch to a marathon training plan that outlines the exact (and proper) process for a successful event.

More specifically, I’ll look at:

  • How far is the marathon?
  • What is the couch to a half marathon training plan?
  • How long does it take to go from couch to marathon?
  • How to train for a marathon
  • how long to train for a marathon
  • What marathon training gear you’ll need
  • When should you start tapering
  • Racing tips
  • And so much more.

So you might want to grab a drink as I’m going to take a long dive into each aspect of beginner marathon training.

Note – Looking for the best Beginner’s Guide To Running?
Then Check my Runners Blueprint System Here.

How Far is the Marathon?

Let’s start at the beginning and explain how long a marathon distance is.

A marathon is 26.2 miles, or 42.5 kilometers (if you’re using the metric system like most people outside of the three last bastions of the imperial system: The U.S., Myanmar, and Liberia).

In other words, covering 26.2 miles is the equivalent of 105.5 times around a standard outdoor 400-meter track. At a 12-minute mile pace, it’ll take roughly 5 hours and 15 minutes to finish a marathon.

Here’s the full guide to how long is a marathon.

How Long to Train for a Marathon

The length of time it takes to complete the couch to marathon plan depends on your current fitness ability, fitness progress, and marathon goals. Therefore, the answer to how long does it take to train for a marathon isn’t that simple.

As a general rule, aim to spend at least six months training for your first marathon—assuming you’re already in shape and not suffering from any injury or chronic condition.

If you already have a good running base—meaning you’ve been running regularly for the past 12 months—then expect to successfully train for a marathon in eight to twelve weeks. That’s why most standard marathon training plans are 16 to 20 weeks long. This will allow plenty of time to build up the needed mileage base without risking injury or burnout. Keep in mind that you might need some form of knee support for running like this one https://threo.co.uk/product/knee-support-for-running-walking-and-cycling/ to make your training more comfortable.

how long does it take to train for a marathon

Here’s the thing, though.

Standard marathon training plans work for people who already have experience with running, as they already have a bunch of 5Ks, 10Ks, and even half marathons under their belts.

The rule of thumb is, the more out of shape you’re, the longer it’s going to take you to be race-ready. The rest is just details, as they say.

Today, my plan spans roughly six months –or more than 25 weeks—of consistent training.

You can go from the sofa to the finish line of a marathon in roughly six months—as long as you’re healthy. You’ll usually run three to four times a week during this time, increasing your weekly volume as you get closer to race day.

How Long does it Take to Train for a Marathon  – The Pre-Requisites 

Before you jump into the couch to a marathon training plan, there are a few conditions you should fulfill first.

For starters, give this couch to marathon plan a go only if you have some existing fitness, either from endurance training, such as cycling or

Sure, you don’t have to be a runner, but having experience logging the miles—even for a short time—can help.

Marathon Training Gear

Whether training for your first marathon or trying to clock a 3-hour race, the right gear can make all the difference.

Marathons can be challenging events—and when you don’t have the right kit for the job, you’ll be making it harder on yourself to run your best race.

Regardless of gear preferences, the golden rule for race day kit is to never wear anything on event day that you haven’t used more than a few times during training.

Sure, you might feel tempted to put on a pair of fancy shorts or new shoes to stand out, but doing so will only do more harm than good.

Even the most expensive shoes on the market don’t mean that they will work for you until you’ve tried them for a while. This is especially the case if you’re a beginner marathon runner.


Your choice will depend on the weather and your personal preferences.

This could be a tank top or long sleeves. But, as a rule, avoid cotton. The stuff soaks up moisture and will only set you up for chafing and pain along the way.

Instead, look for a shirt made with lightweight fabrics, such as Polypropylene. This fabric wicks moisture away from your skin to the outer layer of the gear, where it can evaporate. This not only helps you keep dry but is comfortable as well.

You should also avoid shirts with seams, which could increase your risk of chafing during the race.

Leg Wear

Choose something soft, light, and allows for airflow. This should be enough to help prevent aby rubbing or sore spots.

Running shorts come in different lengths and sizes, and which one you choose depends on your preference. For example, shorter shorts might feel lighter thanks to having fewer fabrics and tend to be more aerodynamic for racing.

As a rule, avoid heavy or baggy legwear that might interfere with your stride or catch the wind—all of which may slow you down—and you don’t want that.

Sports Bra

Female runners should choose a bra that offers plenty of support.

In fact, for some female runners, the sports bra might be the most important piece of equipment they choose for the marathon. It’ll be a long ride, so if you choose an underperforming bra, you’ll be in more trouble as the miles add on.

Go for a high-quality bra. Pay attention to excess seams that might increase your risk of rubbing and chafing during the race.

Have trouble with finding the right size? Choose a bra with adjustable bands and straps.


Your feet will take a quite of beating during the race, and for that reason, a pair of quality socks matters—and matters a lot.

As a rule, choose running-specific socks that are intentionally designed to reduce the risk of blistering. Remember, blisters are the enemy here, so stick with seamless, snug-fitting socks.

Choose socks with plenty of support and padding to help keep your feet comfortable every step of the way. They should fit like a glove.

Prefer shorter socks? Go for a pair that at least covers a portion of your ankle to prevent the back of your shoes from rubbing on your skin.

Running Hat

A proper hat not only helps protect your face and eyes from sunlight but also keeps water and sweat out of your face.

What’s more?

You’ll want to keep an eye for obstacles and potholes during the course—having your vision in check should help. Few things are as worse as twisting your ankle during the race. It’s the recipe for a DNF.

Running Shoes

Of course, you’ll need shoes to run the marathon.

You might be able to get away with other gear, but race day is not the time to take your new running shoes for a ride. This is the case whether it’s a marathon, or a shorter distance such as the 10K.

Instead, run in well-broken running. At a minimum, plan to run about 100 to 120 miles in your shoes before race day to make sure they’re properly broken in.

Furthermore, keep in mind that your feet might swell up to full size after extended time on your feet—which is the norm during marathon running.

The Walk /Run Method

During the first few weeks, you’ll be doing a set of walk/run sessions to get used to running non-stop for a relatively long period.

For example, the first session consists of a one-minute run, a one-minute walk, repeated ten times.

It should take you roughly 30 minutes to finish the whole session—including the warm-up and cool-down.

As the weeks go by, you’ll spend more time running and less and less walking until you can jog straight for 30 to 40 minutes without much trouble.

Progress The Slow Way

Training for a marathon shouldn’t cost you an arm and a leg, especially when you’re just starting.

The key is to start slow and progress gradually.

How? Follow the 10 percent rule.

This is a common rule in the running world—one used by running coaches and experts around the globe. The rule is simple: you should not increase your total weekly mileage by a maximum of 10 percent from one week to the next.

Don’t force yourself even if you feel that you could do more. Abide by the “don’t bite more you can chew.”

Following this slow progression is safe and ensures that you reduce your risk of injury from upping your mileage too fast and/or too soon.

This seems too much to digest? Don’t worry. The couch to marathon plan below explains in detail the exact process to follow to build up mileage safely and pain-free.

Additional resource – Maintaining muscle during marathon training

Easy Training Runs

Easy training runs vary in length from three miles to 6 miles and help you add weekly volume to your running plan.

As for speed, shoot for a sustainable and comfortable pace, especially during your first few runs—when you have just graduated from the walk/run method.

All in all, allow your body to lock in a pace you can keep up for 30 minutes and follow that.

Additional resource – Marathon pace chart

Build Your Marathon Long Runs

Whether you’re looking to finish your first marathon or want to pull off a sub-3:00 event, long runs are key.

Here’s the truth. Long runs are the bread and butter of endurance training—especially marathon training. These sessions consist of long, steady-state runs usually performed on the weekend.

How come?

Long runs help your body adapt to extended periods of running. In addition, they simulate real marathon running conditions, which helps to physically and mentally prepare for tackling the 26.2-mile beast.

Once you’re a few weeks in, start building up your weekly long runs. These should be performed once a week, extending the session by a mile or two.

Your first step?

Start with a distance that you can easily run—say six miles—and then progressively build it up.

On the third or fourth week, scale it back by a few miles to avoid injury or burnout.

For example, you might run six miles on Saturday, seven miles the next, nine miles next, and then seven again before moving to 10 or 11 in the fifth week.

This is the mindset you should adopt when increasing your overall mileage—whether it’s for the long run or your total weekly load.

how to train for a marathon
Young female runner jogging in the city street.

Long Run Pace

As for pace, stick to an easy and conversational pace. You should be able to keep a conversation with a running buddy with no problems.

Said otherwise, if you cannot recite the pledge of allegiance without huffing and puffing, you’re going too fast.


Marathon training isn’t just about the miles—your cross-training workouts also matter.

On the non-running days, perform low-intensity, low-impact training to help improve your conditioning and overall strength without putting extra stress on your legs.

This is what’s known as cross-training.

Cross-training consists of low-impact training that keeps your heart rate at a medium level for a lengthy period.

All in all, I recommend strength training, cycling, swimming, yoga, and Pilates.

All of these help you build endurance and strength without adding extra stress to your running legs.

Additional Resource – Your Guide To Runners Nipples

Fuel your Efforts

Proper marathon training isn’t just about the miles. You also need to get your diet up to speed.

The fact is, your nutrition is as much as important as your training plan.

To fuel your training, bulk up with high-carb, low-fiber foods (pasta, bread, grains, etc.).

Eat plenty of good fats (avocados, oils, nuts, etc.) and lean protein (fish, meat, and chicken). Have more water and electrolytes; and more calories for endurance training.

Additional resource – Keto marathon training

Time Your Nutrition

Don’t ignore your post-run diet. I’d recommend a carb-protein drink, such as a recovery sport shake, within the recovery window.

Other great examples of good pre-run options include a banana, bagel with peanut butter, or an energy bar.

You should also experiment with various types of fuel on your training days to see which ones work the best. Then choose to follow the same fueling strategy during the race itself.

What’s more?

Stay well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day—not just around your runs. Carry your water for long runs to keep you well hydrated.

Sidestep Injury

High mileage exposes you to injury, whether you like it or not. How you handle these aches and pains is critical for your marathon success.

Feel pain? Do something about it. Even a small niggle can turn into a serious injury that might derail your marathon training plan.

Use ice, take anti-inflammatory medication, and, most importantly, take enough rest days to allow the injury to heal. Pushing through pain achieves nothing but making things worse.

In short, there’s no room for It’s Okay. Proceed with caution.

What’s more?

Follow the 10 percent rule at all times, work on developing proper running form, and aim to build a strong to help you dodge injury and stay on track.

Additional resource – When to skip a run

Taper Right For Marathon Training

The few weeks leading to your race day are most vital. That’s why all good marathon-training plans have a “taper” period. During the period, you taper or reduce your training volume.

This latter phase of training helps reduce accumulated fatigue and recharge your body after all the training. This, in turn, ensures that you’re well-rested so you can reach your full potential on race day.

Don’t know how to taper? Don’t worry. This is how:

  • Two weeks out: Resist the urge to run harder or longer, as doing so will only compromise your efforts. Excess energy? Cross-train, but stay low impact.
  • One week before: Cut your mileage to half of your normal training volume and keep your usual pace for the most part. Focus on recovery during the last week.

How To Train For A Marathon – The Couch to Marathon Plan

Now that you know how to train for a marathon the right way, let’s get into the actual couch to the marathon training plan.

If you stay consistent with your training, it might take you no more than six months to be in marathon shape. The early training weeks focus on preparing you to be able to run 5K distance, and then you move up the ladder from there to 10K, then half marathon—and finally transition to marathon-ready shape.

Training properly for a marathon is key since your body needs plenty of time to adjust and adapt to the stresses during both training and the race.

The traits of a proper marathon training program consist of:

  • Running three to four times per week
  • Two to three cross-training days per week
  • One to two rest days per week
  • One long run a week

If you feel that making the jump to the couch to marathon training plan is too much, then feel free to check out my other beginner’s plans:

Note – Click HERE to download the PDF version of my couch to a marathon plan.

The couch to marathon training plan


There you have it. If you’re looking for a simple and easy-to-follow couch-to-marathon plan, today’s article has you covered. Now you know how to  as well as how long it takes to train for a marahton.without fail.

Please feel free to leave your comments and questions in the section below.

In the meantime, thank you for dropping by.

Happy Marathon Training

David D.

Running and Medication – Should Runners Take OTC Painkillers During Training?

peeing when running

Logging serious miles every week hurts.

Even if you’re following a perfect running routine and are taking good care of your body, you’ll still experience muscle aches and pain every now and then.

That’s why after a hard session—that sort that leaves many in pain for days—many runners reach for OTC painkillers to soothe what’s ailing them

In fact, surveys have reported that up to 60 percent of runner pop in non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in the months leading up to a race with roughly half of them taking them right before the big day.

But, like all drugs, these meds have side effects, and some of these can be serious even leads to addiction.

In today’s article, I’ll break down the pros and cons of using OTC painkillers during training, so you can stay in shape and addiction-free.

Let’s get started.

The Impact of Drugs

First things first, all forms of medication have side or adverse effects, even the non-steroid anti-inflammation variety.

So what are NSAIDS?

Anti-inflammatory drugs are a class of pharmaceuticals designed to temporarily relieve pain and inflammation in body tissue.

They consist of 2 big groups, steroid, and nonsteroid.

Research claim that nonsteroidal anti-inflammation causes less side effect and are less addictive.

This is why you can have it without a prescription.

Examples of OTC NSAIDs include ibuprofen (Advil, Mortin), Naproxen (Aleve), and Aspirin.

So how do they soothe the pain?

Simple: by blocking the production of prostaglandins.

More specifically, most painkillers inhibit cyclooxygenase (COX 1 and 2), which is an enzyme used by your body to produce prostaglandins.

Prostaglandins refer to a branch of chemicals produced by the cells of the body and play many key roles.

They encourage inflammation, which is key for healing, shield the lining of the stomach from the damaging impact of acid, aid in the blood clotting function of platelets, among many other vital functions.

But here’s the tricky part.

These chemicals also cause fever and pain by increasing temperature and dilating blood vessels (the actual culprit behind the swelling and redness in the affected place).

By limiting the production of prostaglandins, pain killers can help soothe the discomfort of fever and swelling and lower inflammation and pain.

Additional resource – Common cause of lower leg pain while running

Is There Any good?

OTC pain meds aren’t all bad.

Sore muscles and achy joints after an intense workout are inevitable.

Soothing the pain a little can help you get back there.

What’s more?

NSAIDs are used to manage pain associated with tendonitis, sprains, strains, dental problems, fever, and other aches pains.

The Painful Truth – The Problems With Taking OTC drugs in Runners

Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs affect your entire body, not just the region that hurts.

There’s a long list of adverse side effects related to the use of OTC painkiller meds during exercise, research revealed.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the major downsides.

Limit Inflammation

When you run or perform any sort of exercise, you’re technically damaging your muscles.

That’s a good thing, because your body then adapts and repairs the damage, making it stronger, fitter, and faster.

Here’s the bad news.

Some OTC painkillers may get in the way of this process.

As previously stated, most painkillers work by limiting the production of substances that cause inflammation, according to research published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

This thwarts the healing process, leading to prolonged recovery and more overuse injuries down the road.

Additional Resource – Here’s how to use KT Tape for runners knee.

Limit Pain

Pain serves as an alert system.

It signals when you need to keep going or when it’s time to take a rest day.

Turning to painkillers and hitting the pavement hard with a sore knee or ankle is a good way to make your injury worse.

In other words, devoid of pain, you can actually cause longer-term damage.

The other structure can compromise for a long time before the real damage visible.

Additional Resource – Here’s the full guide lower abdominal pain while running.

Kidney Damage

An experiment of ultramarathoners published in XXX revealed that those who popped 400 milligrams of ibuprofen every four hours during a 50-mile race event were more likely to suffer acute kidney injury than those who took placebos.

The reason?

One of the main functions of prostaglandins is regulating blood flow to the kidneys.

Hard exercise already a cause of a higher level of ureum and creatinine. By blocking prostaglandins, cause serious damage, or in severe cases, failure.

Additional Resource – Running while constipated.

Gastrointestinal Damage

A hard run may compromise the lining of the gastrointestinal tract—even for just a short time.

When exercising, blood is shifted is to your legs muscles and away from other organs, especially your stomach and intestines.

This is actually one reason there’s such a thing as runners’ diarrhea.

Mixing intense running with NSAIDs can make the damage worse since the drugs may, again, limit the production of substances that protect the lining of your intestines.

If you’re regularly struggling with runners trots while running, the medicine you’re taking could be the culprit.

Those who had ulcers or ongoing gastritis take caution!

Additional Resource – A Tibial Posterior Tendonitis Guide in Runners

Musculoskeletal Injuries

Research reported that taking anti-inflammatories before working out may limit the production of collagen, an essential component of muscles, bones, and connective tissues.

This increases your risk of musculoskeletal injuries, such as Achilles tendonitis, hamstring pulls, and calf strains.

Limit Muscle Growth

Research out of the Karolinska Institutet, revealed that the long terms use of NSAIDS might limit muscle growth in young, healthy individuals engaging in strength training.

Study reported by the journal Proceedings of The National Academy of Sciences showed that taking the drugs after exercise may inhibit the muscle growth effect provided by exercise.

Additional Resource – Your guide to runners itch


It’s not recommended not safe to take NSAIDs before running.

All drugs have side-effects, even if they’re sold over-the-counter.

There’s also no evidence showing that NSAIDs improve performance, reduce muscle damage, or help in minimizing post-run soreness, according to research.

So what should you do in case you’re dealing with running pains?

Start by consulting your physician before you start popping pills.

It’s better to take the right prevention than curing problems that not exactly there.

It’s like walking blindly in the dark, either you lost, or you fall.

Furthermore, right after a run is the worst time to take any for pain relief.

During that window, the inflammation is serving its purpose, which is helping your body to patch up the micro-trauma.

You have to let your body do its work naturally before you add up more chemicals that lead to addiction.

Additional Resource – Here’s your guide to calf pain while running

Take A Step Back

If you’re running too hard or often to feel pain during or after training, rethink your exercise schedule.

You can also grab some nice pair of insoles to add more support.

I’d also recommend doing any of these cardio alternatives to running to keep your fitness level in check.

Pay Attention to Soreness

Mild to moderate soreness 24 to 48 hours following a hard run is normal. But serious pain and tenderness experienced during running or right after a run is not the goal.

Eat Well

Pay attention to your diet and hydration to reduced risk for muscle and gut health issues like cramping, nausea, or diarrhea.

Rest It

Don’t forget to schedule a rest day or cross-train—your body deserves it.

Try the ratio of 5:2 or 3:1 between exercise and rest.

Should Runners Take OTC Painkillers During Training – The Conclusion

There you have it.

If you’re in the habit of using OTC pills to soothe your running aches and pains then today’s article should be a clear warning.

It’s not the way to go—and more than likely you’re doing your body more harm than good.

And you don’t want that.

Please feel free to leave your comments and questions below.

In the meantime thank you for dropping by.

Keep training strong and stay safe out there.

David D.