What Is the Average Running Speed of a Human?


I consider myself to be an average runner, not slow, but certainly not up there with the faster runners in a race. One of the key statistics I do measure my progress on in the average pace during any particular run. Hopefully this improves as I get fitter, but how does that compare to the average overall?

According to research, the average male can run at 8 mph, and the average female can run at 6.5 mph. These numbers have been compiled through years of statistics taken by professionals trying to find a definitive answer to average running speed of a human.

For the record, in my last 10k race (finishing time of 51:22) I averaged 7.26mph. I had just finished a pretty good run of regular training so was happy with that result. I guess that makes me almost average (woo-hoo!)

You can see some variations in the answer, depending upon the sex of the runner and the circumstances. Keep in mind that these are averages that have been compiled over the years, and put together to give some definitive speeds for human beings. If you are curious about the details of these statements, continue reading to find out more.

What Is the Average Running Speed of a Man?

A man’s average running speed is 8 mph, but that is not the only speed you need to know about. To understand the actual average speed of a human, you need to cover various circumstances because life can throw some curve balls at you, especially when it comes to comparing humans. Each person is slightly different from the person standing next to them.

Male RunnersAverage speed
Average Speed of a Man8mph
Long-Distance Male Runner5.9mph
Male Sprinter10mph
Male Athlete14-17mph
Average male being chased by a bear12mph

(I love this last one, nothing like motivation, right?!)

Depending upon the circumstances, level of fitness, and whether your life depends upon it, the average man can run speeds as low as 5.9 mph and as high as 17mph. It may seem like a substantial difference in times, but when you take the average male and let him run, he will average a steady pace at 8 mph.

What Is the Average Running Speed of a Woman?

The average running times of women running under the same circumstances are slightly slower than their male counterparts. This is not a rule written in stone but rather an average number that the specialists came up with.

Female RunnersSpeed
Average Speed of a Woman 6.5mph
Long Distance Female Runner 5mph
Female Sprinter10mph
Female Athletes14-17mph
Average female being chased by a bear14mph

As women become healthier and athletic, they can easily match the pace of males of the same fitness levels. This is proof that all people are created equally, and with a bit of work, it can be shown to be a truth.

How Can Either Sex Run Faster?

If you are at the bottom end of these averages or near the top, there are some ways that humans can run even faster than what the basic averages are. Remember, the numbers above are average times that can be achieved and beaten if you have the drive to do so. Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to increase your speed.

  • Steady Pace Running – You will want to take a 15 to 60-minute run at a steady pace. This teaches your body how to maintain a constant speed. No matter how tired or sore you get, keep the same pace throughout the run.
  • Weight Training – It is common knowledge that weight training increases your strength, which will help you improve your speed. If you add some exercise to maintain stamina, you will get the best of both worlds from inside one room.
  • Interval Training – This is one of the best ways to increase your running speed. This is running slowly for the first few minutes, then speed up a little and a little more until you are at full speed. You then reverse the process and then repeat it.
  • Speed Plays – This exercise regime is close to the one above, except that you do not have a mild transition from slow to fast. You start sprinting, then slow down to a light jog, and then back up to sprint. Go back and forth for about 20 minutes.
  • Hills or Stairs – If you have ever done this, you know how hard it can be. This is an exercise you need to be careful doing because if you fall, it could hurt a lot. This exercise will strengthen your legs and calves and improve your endurance levels.

These exercises can be done by anyone, no matter what level of fitness you are at. You can start walking through these steps until you can pick up the pace. Before you know it, you will be at the average speed of humans of the same sex as you are. Soon after that, you will be looking back at laughing at the top rates of the average person.

Final Thoughts

The average running speed of a human may seem slow when you consider how fast a motorized vehicle can go. Take a small moped or motorized bike, they can move down the road at 35 mph or more. It makes you think about how thankful you should all be that walking and running to travel is a thing of the past.

The flip side to that, though, is that if you take the time to run, you will be healthier and happier and possibly live longer. When you concentrate on your physical fitness, you will not have the time to become sedentary, a common problem around the world with the people of the human race.

Sources Used




Mark Norman

I've been running for over 6 years and now try to balance it with life as a dad to two young kids. I'm not super quick, I just try to run consistently, not always easy! I'm lucky enough to have run the London Marathon twice along with countless other half marathons and 10ks. I'm also one of the Run Directors at my local parkrun.

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