How fast should you run or walk?

I am often asked how fast should one run in a race or even walk during training or in a race.  Unless there is a cut off time, then I would always say to run at your own pace.  But finally, here is an answer with scientific basis.  Walk or run at a speed of at least 3 miles per hour or 4.83 kph.  That is a pace of  12 minutes per kilometer or 20 minutes per mile.

The study was conducted for senior citizens.  The team of researchers, based at Concord Hospital in Sydney, followed more than 1,700 older men for five years, studying the walking speeds of those who died and those who didn’t.  During the five years that the men were followed, 266 died. Overall, their pace was slower than that of those who survived.

“As none of the men in the study with walking speeds of [3 miles per hour] or greater had contact with Death, this would seem to be the Grim Reaper’s most likely maximum speed; for those wishing to avoid their allotted fate this would be the advised walking speed,” the authors wrote.

While this study was geared for older men and women, the researchers did mention that slow walking is probably a marker for poor health.  If you want to live longer, move faster.

Run faster

So here are the minimum finish time you need to accomplish to run faster than Death.

3K – 00:37:16.94
5K – 01:02:08.23
10K – 02:04:16.45
16K – 03:18:50.33
Half marathon – 04:22:11.25
Marathon – 08:44:22.5

Keep on running. 😀

Read more about the study here.

Training for a race? Check out our list of training plans below.

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Filed Under: Feature, Health and Nutrition, Running and Training, Training


  1. apollag says

    running faster does not necessarily means living longer. but if you could run until your 100th birthday, surely you’ve lived quite long already. 😉

  2. Butch E. Kick says

    Wow thanks for pointing me to the right direction! Just gave me a new set of targets for 10k onwards. Looks workable to me.

  3. budong says

    read the article first guys. the research is done with senior citizens, so don’t rejoice that you are just barely up with them, haha.

  4. Noel Salazar says

    I’m a bit confused about the title together with the firs paragraph of this article, and the way it wrap-ups the article referring finish times required for races in varying distances.

    The “walking” referred to in the original article, I don’t surmise to mean the “walking” that one does to recover a bit while running a race, yet the first paragraph alludes to such type of “walking” as well as the closing statement about the numbers on distances and finish times.

    I was expecting that the article would be about “how fast or how long should you walk” while running specific races– 10K, 21K etc. So, as a casual runner joining races and an audience of, I’m a bit confused as to the relationship being established between the study and the original article and the beginning statement of “I am often asked how fast should one run in a race or even walk during training or in a race”?

    Can you clarify please. Thanks. :)

  5. ALVIN says

    Based on the figures I gathered from well attended runs in the last 2-3 years, my rough estimate for the median finish times (i.e. 50% of runners finish at or below the time range) for the different race distances are as follows:

    10K 1:15:00 – 1:20:00 (required pace 7:30 – 8:00 per km)
    21.1K 2:35:00 – 2:45:00 (required pace 7:21 – 7:49 per km)
    42.2K 5:10:00 – 5:25:00 (required pace 7:21 – 7:42 per km)

    Notice that the pace for both 21K and 42K is faster than that for 10K. This is because 21K/42K runners are generally faster and stronger than runners of shorter distances.

    A good target to aim for when joining races is to finish ahead of half of the runners. My personal goal is to finish in the top 30% in races that I join and so far I’ve been on target. Running with a more competitive goal (other than just finishing or PRs) makes running more exciting and fulfilling.

  6. Jonzurc says

    Buti naman pasok pa ako sa mga time na naka post. For me kasi running is is a time to let lose all the stress and worries in your life. Madaling sabihin ang bagal naman nang pace na yan. Pero for me mapa ano ang pace mo ang importante you enjoyed your activity.

    I’m 35 years old and weignt 300lbs. My 21k time was 3:34, ang target ko diyan is 3:30. Kahit hindi ko nakuha target time ko I’m still happy to finish the run and hindi ako yung last. Looking forward sa 2nd Half Mary ko this July 14.

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