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How to Increase Your Running Speed?


So, you are planning to run a race, but find that you aren’t as fast as the other competitors and are looking for a method to help yourself increase your speed. The average speed of an individual depends on several factors that include genes, fitness level, age, and gender. A study conducted in Strava in 2015 shows that the average running speed for men in the US is around 10 km per hour, and that of women is around 9 km per hour. As of now, the best time for running 1 mile is 3 minutes and 43 seconds by Hicham El Guerrouj in 1999. In case you are planning to run long distances, then here is the average time for popular races for both men and women.

  • For a 5-km run, an average male takes around 31 minutes, whereas an average woman takes around 38 minutes.
  • In the case of a 10-km race, an average male takes nearly 54 minutes, and an average woman takes around 63 minutes.
  • An average man takes around 124 minutes to run half a marathon, whereas a woman takes 144 minutes to run the same distance.
  • A full marathon, 26.2 miles, can be run by an average man in 249 minutes, whereas an average woman takes about 275 minutes for the same distance.

How to Improve Running Pace?

The main purpose of this article is to help you in improving your running speed. The techniques mentioned here would help you improve your pace irrespective of your gender and current speed. So, here is a list of exercises that would help you increase your endurance and thereby reduce the time required to run a race.

Interval Training

The first step to increase your pace is to perform interval training. The aim of interval training is to ready yourself to run a race. So, start with a light warm-up and jog for ten to fifteen minutes. This is followed by running at the highest speed that you can achieve for a couple of minutes. After finishing the running exercise, repeat the jogging exercise for five minutes to help yourself in recovering. Repeat the process three to four times at least a couple of times every week. You need to keep practicing this exercise until you manage to reach your maximum speed without any problem.

Tempo Training

The aim of a tempo training is to learn to run at your tempo pace, or in simple words at a speed which isn’t high, but not too hard to maintain. Usually, you should aim to achieve a little more than the speed that you are targeting. Ideally, you should run at this speed for a few minutes and then jog for the same amount of time to relax. If you are planning to run a 5km race, then you should try to keep your tempo pace for around 10 minutes, and a time of 15 minutes would be excellent. However, if you are planning to run a 10km race or longer, then you should try to keep your tempo pace for around 20 minutes with an ability to maintain it for around 30 minutes being considered excellent.

Hill Training

In some places, the track will not necessarily be flat, especially for a long-distance race. So, hill training would help you run comfortably on sloping terrain. It is very important if you are planning to race in a hilly region. To prepare for a hill training exercise, find a spot that is quite like the track you are going to run, and it would be extra beneficial if you choose the same racetrack. In case you don’t manage to find a hilly region, then you can go to a gym and use one of those treadmills that come with a slope feature. Here, you run at the tempo pace while going up the hill, and while coming down, you should be jogging. Do this exercise a couple of times for three to four days a week to reach the necessary level of endurance.

Other Things to Consider

The training steps mentioned above are the bare minimum that you need to do if you are looking to increase your pace. However, if you want better results a lot quicker, then the following tips would come in handy.

Increase Your Pace

The first thing that you need to do is try to increase the distance you run every week. Ideally, you should practice regularly on weekdays, but on the weekend, try to run as much as you can until you are able to run the desired distance, i.e., the length of the actual race. A lot of training plans are available online. You could try to follow the one that suits your style the most. Matt Lee, a certified exercise physiologist and a professor of kinesiology at San Francisco State University, states that a person who wants to see his or her progress needs to subject their body to a stimulus that they are unfamiliar with. In this scenario, it is running at a higher speed for a longer distance. By doing so, you overload your body and force it to adapt to the circumstances. Once you get comfortable, you repeat the process until you reach your goal. By doing this, you would be able to get ready for a 5km or 10km race or even a marathon in no time at all.

Don’t Overdo It

You need to listen to your body. A lot of people exert a lot of pressure on their bodies and end up injuring themselves. So, a common question that arises is, “At what rate should I increase my speed or distance?” Many experts suggest that you should increase your targets by 10 percent every week. However, a study conducted by the American Journal of Sports Medicine says that doing so doesn’t change much as people who were overexerting themselves and those who followed the 10 percent had nearly the same injury stats. So, the best way is to use common sense while increasing your pace and stop when you feel like you have reached your limits.

Try Speed Workouts

As you do your regular training, you could also try a separate speed workout where you run as fast as you can for around a kilometer and then jog back to the starting point. Do this training about two to three times about three times a week. You should always try to beat your record from the previous week if you want to improve your results.

Safety Tips

During this exercise, your primary goal is to increase your pace, but it shouldn’t come at the cost of your safety. So, to ensure that you run safely, please try to follow the tips given below.

  • First, get yourself a nice pair of running shoes. These are important as they are designed with an extra layer of padding for your ankles and come with a strong arch to reduce the overall stress sustained by your feet. An ideal running shoe should be one size bigger than your normal shoe so that it can account for the swelling caused in feet due to exercise. A typical running shoe needs to be changed every 600 km or so.
  • While practicing, ensure that you are running in a safe area that is well lit. Ideally, you should visit a popular trek, a park, or a local track for the best results. In case you don’t have these facilities, use a treadmill at your home or local gym.
  • This is a continuation of the above advice. You should avoid places where there are rocks, potholes, tree branches, or any uneven surface, in general. These places are not safe, and you could get injured if you are not extra careful.
  • If you are not accustomed to running, then start accordingly. You cannot learn to run a marathon within a week. Understand your limits and exercise accordingly. It might take some time, but a popular saying goes, “Slow and steady wins the race.”
  • Drink lots of water. While running, you sweat a lot, especially through your feet. So, always run in regions where you could get fresh water and try to carry a water bottle with you. As mentioned, feet sweat a lot. So, change your socks and keep your shoes out in the sun regularly to get rid of the odor.
  • Always keep a snack or a health bar handy. You should eat something every hour if you want to keep yourself running.


As mentioned earlier, your running speed is determined by a lot of factors such as your genes, your fitness level, and even gender. There is no magical way to run fast or increase endurance. If you are planning to run a long-distance race, then practice and perseverance is the only key to your success. Additionally, please consult a health expert before trying out any training plans to increase your speed. They might help you with it and tell you which plans are not suitable for you.

Increase Running Speed FAQs

What Is the Average Running Speed for A Human Being?

An average man can run at nearly 11 km per hour, whereas an average woman runs at nearly 10 km per hour.

What Is the Fastest Speed Achieved by A Human Being?

The fastest speed achieved by a human being is 44 km per hour. This feat was achieved by Usain Bolt in a 100m sprint.

By How Much Should I Increase My Target on A Weekly Basis?

Popular advice says that you should increase your target by 10% each week. However, the best option is to increase it by as much as you think is possible without injuring yourself.

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