How to Calculate Your Running Pace | STACK Fitness

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

How to Calculate and Use Your Running Pace

May 18, 2013 | Kelly Tweeddale

Must See Running Videos

Running pace is as essential to a runner's performance as fuel, hydration and running mechanics. If you're transitioning from recreational to performance runner, pace is the first element you should address in your training regimen.

Think of pace not only as a strategy for setting a benchmark, but as an essential part of your training program for reaching your personal best. You have to know where you are before you can map where you're going. (Discover the four elements of a 5K training plan)

What Is Running Pace?

Pace is nothing more than a measurement of how long it takes you to cover a defined distance. Think of it as the inverse of the speedometer in your car. Instead of measuring how many miles per hour you're moving, pace is expressed in minutes per mile.

There are countless gadgets and watches on the market that measure pace through GPS tracking and shoe sensor technology. But there are times when devices fail, GPS signals are interrupted, or you simply forget your timing gear at home.

Fear not, because calculating pace is something runners have been doing for many years, way before the era of technology.

Calculate Running Pace

To calculate pace, all you need are basic math skills and two key pieces of information:

  • How long it took you (timed in minutes)
  • How far you ran (measured in miles)

Once you have those two data points, the formula is simple.

Total Running Minutes / Total Miles Run = Pace

An example: Training for your first 5K, you run 3.1 miles in 28 minutes and 32 seconds. First, convert 32 seconds into a fraction of a mile (32 divided by 60 = .53 minutes). Added to 28 minutes = 28.53 minutes.

28.53 minutes / 3.1 miles = 9.20 minutes per mile

Most training regimens convert the decimal equivalent for pace back into seconds (because every second counts when striving for a personal best). To do that, simply multiply .20 minutes per mile X 60 (.20 x 60 = 12 seconds).

Pace = 9:12 per mile or, using the standard abbreviation, you ran at an average pace of 9'12."

Now that you can calculate your pace, start keeping a log of your training runs and races. Keep track of what shoes you wore, whether the terrain was hilly or flat, and whether you were running a training route or a race. Before you know it, you will begin to see a pattern emerge, making it easier to set reachable personal goals and effectively track your progress.

Must See
Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift
Views: 1,544,841
Jadeveon Clowney on Making Big Hits
Views: 3,140,254
Brandon Jennings: "Always Improve"
Views: 2,086,641

Featured Videos

Quest for the Ring: University of Wisconsin Views: 224,260
Path to the Pros 2015: Training Days Views: 117,335
Quest for the Ring: University of Kentucky Views: 388,894
Load More


STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers


Latest issues of STACK Magazine


Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice


Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes


Find the latest news relevant to athletes

More Cool Stuff You'll Like

8 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Ran My First Marathon

The Exercise Every Runner Must Do

An Introduction to Strength Training for Runners

The Most Effective Form of Endurance Training

Training for Mud Runs, Part 4: Long Trail Runs

Guide to Common Running Terminology

How to Design a Running Schedule That Fits Your Life

5 Keys and A Workout Plan for An Awesome 5K

7-Year Old Triathlete Sets 5K Record

You're Doing It Wrong: Running

Learn the Secrets of Tapering

How to Control Your Breathing During an Obstacle Race

The Only 2 Running Diet Rules You Need to Know

4 Biggest 5K Training Mistakes

Pick The Right Running Partner (The First Time)

Off-Season Triathlon Training Tips and Workout Program

4 Running Form Fixes for Beginners

6 5K Tips for a Great Running Experience

Weight Training for Runners: 3 Full-Body Moves

How to Prepare for the Spartan Race and Other Mud Runs

Are You Ready for the Arctic Enema?

3 Things You Must Do Before Trying Minimalist Running Shoes

Are You Ready for a Tough Mudder?

Don't Choke on Race Day: Tips to Run a Better Race

Be Ready to Run a 5K in 6-8 Weeks

7 Tips to Help First-Time Marathoners Avoid Common Mistakes

Hunter McIntyre Rises Above the Competition

STACK Challenge: Army Two-Mile Run

The Obstacle Course Racer's Guide to Fixing Muscle Cramps

7 Endurance Tips From Ultramarathon Runner Ian Sharman

8-Week Spartan Beast Training Program

Why Jogging Is Counterproductive

Maximize Your Trail Running

Get Geared Up for the Wall Jump Obstacle

Tired of Tiring During Runs? Try These Jogging Pace Drills

Running Tips for True Beginners

Ultramarathon Runner Stephanie Howe's 7 Training Secrets

How to Start Your Barefoot Leg Workout

Foolproof 20-Week Marathon Training Schedule

Running Away From GI Distress: Symptoms, Causes And Tips

The Nature and Nurture of Running for Fitness

Runners: Don't Overlook These 2 Types of Training