How Many People Can Run a Mile (Non-Stop)?

If you’ve never tried running a mile, then you’d be surprised just how hard this is to do…especially without any training to improve your cardio, strengthen your muscles and joints, and develop the mental fortitude to keep going when everything inside you is telling you to stop.

No, running a mile isn’t easy for people who have never trained to run.

According to a survey we conducted exploring people’s exercise habits and overall levels of fitness, we found that 28% of respondents said that they could NOT run a full mile, non-stop. On the other hand, seventy-two (72%) percent said they could run a full mile, non-stop.

But details my friend…details.

You see, self-reporting studies have to contend with the fact that perceptions can vary across the sample – what you and I might consider running (or jogging) may in fact be more like walking – in a strictly scientific sense.

Back to our survey – of those who said that they could run a full mile, non-stop, 17% said that they could do this running at a rate of less than 4mph.

Is that really running (or jogging) though? Again, it depends – for some people, it is…but generally speaking, that is considered a fast or brisk walk.

So in fact, the number of people who can run a full mile, non-stop at a rate of 4mph or more drops to 60%.

Among this group (the 60% who report running a full mile, non-stop at a rate of 4mph or more), the average running speed for their mile run amounts to 4.85 miles per hour.

That speed is consistent for casual joggers, people with substantially less than a year training occasionally for running or cardio endurance, and probably the average gym goer who doesn’t focus too much on cardio training.

As the table below shows, as running speed increases, the proportion of those who say they can run a mile decreases – which is what we’d expect. Increasing running speeds (sustained for a full mile) indicate higher levels of cardio training and fitness, with higher levels being further and further away from the mean.

So how many people can run a mile? Well the actual answer depends upon how we define running – at what speed is someone said to be running (or jogging for that matter)?

If we cut it off at 5mph, then less than 45% of the population (self-report) that they can run a full mile, non-stop.

While we have not given a definitive answer you can take to the bank, we do hope we’ve shed some light on this fitness-related interesting topic.

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