What Is a Good Time for Running a Mile?

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“I just ran a mile fitness test. What is considered a good mile time?”

It’s tough to answer that question because it’s extremely subjective. Depending on the runner’s age and gender, a “fast” time for a mile can vary greatly.  Some speedy runners consider running a sub-6:00 mile as a big achievement, while some novice runners might be ecstatic to run a mile under 10:00.

If you’re high school age or younger, you may have recently done a mile test as part of the Physical Fitness Test of The President’s Challenge.

 Even if you’ve been out of school for a while, you may remember running the mile and trying to reach certain benchmarks for time, depending on your age and gender. On these charts, you can see the qualifying standards for the Presidential Physical Fitness Award (85th percentile) and the National Physical Fitness Award (50th percentile). So, for example, a 17-year-old girl would have to run a mile in 8:15 to achieve the Presidential Award and 10:22 for the National Physical Fitness Award level.  A boy of the same age would have to run a 6:06 mile to reach the Presidential level and a 7:04 mile to achieve the National level.

Like the benchmarks for the President’s Challenge fitness test, age-graded results allow you to compare your race times to the standard for your age and gender. You can use this age-grading calculator to figure out your age-graded race time to get a comparison of how your finishing time compares with others.

A great thing about racing a specific distance is that you can compete against yourself, rather than others. You can test yourself by running a mile and then repeat the test after several weeks to see if you've improved. If you want to get a true picture of your progress, try to test yourself on the same course, since you’ll run a faster mile on a flat course, compared to a hilly course.

  So you can compete against yourself and measure your own progress rather than worry about other people's mile times.

How to Get Faster
If you're hoping to improve your mile time, there are plenty of ways to get faster. Check out these articles for tips:

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