How to calculate my running pace? Frequently Asked Questions

Running is a popular activity, but anyone who starts running seriously will want to know what their running pace is. And it’s not hard to work out either.

The equipment

You will need certain items of equipment if you are going to accurately measure your running pace. The following items are inexpensive to purchase, and are really all you need to get started:

  • A measuring device: Obviously, we’re not suggesting you buy a yardstick and spend hours measuring out your route. Go online and look at some of the online mapping services to get a feel for how far you will be running. Don't forget to count both ‘there and back’ to ensure you get the full measure of your pace.
  • A watch or stopwatch: This is what you will need to bring in the time data for your pace measurement. You can buy a cheap stopwatch from any sports store. Alternatively, if you’re not able to do this, take your watch with you. If you like, you can leave your stopwatch at the start point (presuming you’re going to come back and finish in the same place of course).
  • A calculator: You may have an odd distance as an outcome, and using a calculator will help you to make the difficult calculations that you need to manage in this situation. A simple calculator that has basic functioning will do.

The steps

Measure your route first of all. You’re going to work out your running pace, so your measurement needs to be accurate.

Use an online mapping tool, or drive the distance in your car and have it to the nearest mile. Remember that once you have your distance, you have one of the key factors in your pace measurement.

Go for the run, and time it from start to finish. Remember to time the return to your starting point if you are making a round trip run.

The final part is the measurement itself to work out the pace. Take the distance measurement you made earlier and divide the time you took by the distance.

For example, if you ran 10 miles in 40 minutes, divide 40 by 10 and you have a pace of 4 minutes per mile.

Other considerations

Remember that most smartphones have apps that allow you to get a reading of your pace on your runs. Pair these up with a smartwatch and you’ll have a complete system whereby you can work out your pace without having to think about it on a manual level.

One other consideration comes with speed. If you run uphill for any length of time on the run, your manual pace calculation will not tell you how fast you ran or how it affected the overall time. Similarly, if you run on the flat for a stretch of time, you won’t be able to tell how it affected the final pace figure if much of the run was up and down hills.

Finally, be aware that music can boost your performance by 15%, it's only a matter of choosing the right playlist for your run.

Calculating pace manually is actually quite simple. Just make sure you keep it as accurate as possible.