It’s no secret that running is one of the most complete forms of exercise out there. While running, we work a huge range of muscle groups, which helps us build muscles, burn fats, and stay in shape. Not only that, but our bodies are also specifically designed for long distance runners, especially when compared to other animals. In fact, running for long distances has been one of the most successful methods of hunting and survival through the ages!
Knowing this, a lot of people might wonder how far the average person can run (those that don’t have exceptional genetics). Whether they’ve been exercising all their life or never trained before, the distance and time that any person can run will vary depending on various aspects, such as their genetics, athleticism, and more. How far you should run also depends on your goals.
Although there isn’t a solid answer to this question, we can still provide an answer to this question based on the distances that most runners of different levels of fitness can run, and in today’s guide, we’ll walk you through those numbers, so you can have a realistic expectation of how far you will be able to run!
How Far Can an Average Person Run Without Stopping?
Ideally, an average person with little to no exercise should be able to run anywhere between 10 to 15 minutes without stopping. In terms of distance, 10 to 15 minutes of running should be a distance of about 1.5 to 2 miles (2.4 to 3.2 km). New runners should be able to run this distance at a relatively lower speed.
On the other hand, the average runner can run anywhere between 20 to 40 minutes without stopping, which is about 2 to 4 miles (3.2 to 6.4 km) at, most likely, a higher speed.
One of the most common questions that new runners ask is “how long should I be able to run without stopping?”, and while it is always a good thing to know about your abilities and your maximum mileage per day, you should know that consistency is equally important while running, so you don’t really have to worry about the answer.
As a new runner, your body will have enough glycogen reserves to allow you to run for about 10 minutes and up to 15 minutes in optimum conditions (good running shoes, running gear, hydration with electrolytes, carb loading, etc).
An average, moderately active individual will be able to run an average of about 30 minutes at a consistent conversational pace, which is around 6.5 to 8 miles an hour, so you’re looking at an average distance of about 3.25 to 4 miles on average.
Highly experienced runners are capable of running up to several hours before stopping. One runner even made it for a few days!
How Far Should a Healthy Person Be Able to Run?
The answer to this question mainly depends on the runner’s physical fitness and preparedness, which have a huge impact on the running endurance. If you’re a healthy person with decent experience in running, you should expect to run for up to 30 to 45 minutes and 3.5 to 6 miles at a pace of 6-7 mph.
The distance that a runner is capable of covering is mostly based on their endurance and physical fitness. A healthy runner who is consistent in training for a few months is expected to run as far as 30 minutes, but can also run up to 45 or even an hour in optimal conditions.
In addition to consistency in training, a healthy runner will watch his or her diet and fluid intake to make sure that they’re getting the most out of their exercise. The same goes for recovery and getting rest days.
Some runners might wonder why they suddenly struggle to run after covering long distances. This usually happens due to the depletion of their glycogen reserves, which is the stored form of carbs. Once that happens, the body starts anaerobic cellular respiration. This process results in the production of lactic acid, which causes muscle cramps, preventing you from running further. This is an example of anaerobic activity vs an aerobic activity like long distance running.
It’s also a signal that your body sends to let you know that you’ve reached your max and going any further may result in an injury.
Can an Average Person Run a Mile? What About a 5K?
An average person with a healthy build, proper level of activity, and balanced diet are expected to run their first mile (1.6 km) in around 10 to 12 minutes at an average pace. Yet, if an average person is aiming to just finish a 5K, it should be achieved within 30 to 40 minutes or a little more if you slow down in the middle. 30 minutes is a fairly solid time in a 5k for the average person. Many people who run 5k’s come in much higher than 30 minutes.
Average runners are capable of running at a speed of around 5.5 to 7.5 miles per hour. At such a pace, running one mile should be achievable around the first 10 minutes of running. However, running a 5K is a completely different story because it’s a competitive race that is considered long distance running. So, Is long distance running aerobic or anaerobic?
5K originally stands for “5,000 meters”, which is equivalent to about 3.1 miles. To cover that distance without fatigue or slowing down, you need to have enough stamina to keep your exercise aerobic all the way. You can achieve that by following the 10% rule. In which you increase your running distance by 10% every 1 or 2 weeks until you reach your target mileage.
A good goal for a serious runner is to complete a 5k in under 20 minutes. Not many people accomplish this, but it’s a worthwhile endeavor. If you try it on a treadmill, it may be slightly easier.
So, how far can the average person run without training? Well, you now have a brief guide that walks you through all the distances and average times that most people can keep on running for, whether they’re beginners or advanced runners who have a decent knowledge of running economy. One thing you need to know here is that nobody is born a champion, and even the best runners in the world had to start somewhere.