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How to Calculate Minutes Per Mile Paces

Calculating your minutes-per-mile pace helps you set and reach goals for both running and walking. If you set a goal of running a marathon in less than two hours and 30 minutes, you need to accurately determine the pace at which you should run per mile during the race to reach that goal. Use the calculations suggested by expert track coach Jake Kuritz to calculate your pace.

  1. Identify the distance you’ll travel in miles. For example, if you’re running a marathon, the distance would be 26.2 miles.

  2. Use the formula to calculate how fast you need to run that distance, converting your pace time to seconds.

    (Hours x 60 x 60) + (minutes x 60) + seconds = time in seconds.

    For example, if you’d like to complete a marathon in two hours, 30 minutes and 45 seconds, the equation is:

    (2 x 60 x 60) + (30 x 60) + 45 = 9,045 seconds

  3. Divide the total number of seconds by the total number of miles to determine the seconds per mile. For example: 9,045 ÷ 26.2 = 345.23 seconds

  4. Convert the seconds into minutes by dividing by 60: 345.23 ÷ 60 = 5.75

    The whole number, 5 in this example, represents the minutes.

  5. Multiply the number after the decimal by 60 to get the seconds: .75 x 60 = 45

    Based on these calculations, to run a marathon in 2 hours, 30 minutes and 45 seconds, you need to run each mile at a 5-minute, 45-second pace.

    Tip

    Many road races, such as 10Ks and half-marathons, provide pace wristbands so that you can maintain the proper pace to reach your goal finishing time. The wristbands indicate what your time should be at each mile.

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About the Author

Since 2000, Beth Dreher has covered health, fitness, sports, nutrition, gear, business and relationships for national publications such as "Men's Health," "Runner's World," "Spry" and "Health." She has a master's degree in English from the University of Alabama in Birmingham.

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