How Do I Know My Running Pace?

City Fit Girls Run Club, Philadelphia

City Fit Girls Run Club, Philadelphia

By Takia McClendon

Have you ever heard someone refer to their running pace but had no clue what they were talking about? We all have that one friend who wants to break a "10-minute mile" but what does that really mean? 

If you're new to running, it's important to learn about maintaining a "good" pace (or speed). Running increases demand on our bodies and we want to make sure we're not overdoing it by running so fast that it's hard for us to breathe. By controlling your pace, you may help prevent common issues like shortness of breath and in return, running will be more enjoyable.

Below, you'll find a few tips for new runners + 3 apps that help you keep track of your pace. 

What's a good pace for new runners?

The truth is, it's different for everyone. According to Running USA's 2016 State of the Sport, the average woman completed a 5K (3.1 miles) in 36:15 (36 minutes and 15 seconds). That's an average pace of 11:40 for each mile. Some runners average a 8-minute per mile pace while others fall closer to the 13-minute per mile range. There is no right or wrong pace. 

The best way to find your average mile pace is by tracking it with a GPS watch or cell phone app. 

How fast should you run?

For new runners, it's best to start at an easy pace. This should be a jogging pace that allows you to hold a conversation with your running partner without feeling out of breath. Once you get an idea of how that feels, track your run with one of the apps below to find your average running pace.

Embrace your pace

Don't worry about how fast others are running. I wrote a blog piece explaining why it's important to be proud of your pace and to stop beating yourself up if you're feeling "too slow".

3 running apps that track pace (for free!)

Photo via Nike

Photo via Nike

Nike+ Running Club: The Nike+ Run Club app allows you to track your runs using your GPS watch, your Apple watch, or your cell phone. You can track your progress, get personalized coaching, compete with friends and listen to Spotify playlists. Learn more here



Photo via Strava

Photo via Strava

Strava: Strava allows you to record your athletic activity using your GPS watch or cell phone. Known as the social network for athletes, it also allows you to connect with other runners and groups in your area. Learn more here

You may also like: Why you should join City fit Girls on Strava

Photo via Map My Run

Photo via Map My Run

Map My Run: MapMyRun is a fitness tracking application that enables you to use the built-in GPS of your mobile device to track all of your fitness activities. Record your workout details, including duration, distance, pace, speed, elevation, calories burned, and route traveled on an interactive map. Learn more here .


What should you do after you download an app?

If you're going to track your pace using your phone, you will have to hold your cell phone in your hand or secure it in a pocket, arm band or running built in order for you to accurately track your pace. Be sure to make sure your cell phone has sufficient battery life to last throughout your run. 

You may also like: These apps will help you stay in shape

Try going out for a 1 or 2 mile run, a 20 minute run, and/or maybe even a 30 minute run. Once you track a few runs that cover various distances, the app will have a better idea of your average pace.

When someone asks what pace you plan to run your first 5K, you'll actually know what they're talking about.

Takia McClendon is the co-founder of City Fit Girls. She's a shoe expert and manager at a running store in Philadelphia and a Certified Level 1 USATF Coach. Follow her online at @takiamcclendon. 

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