Tips for Running a Mile

Running a mile is a great first milestone for anyone who wants to get started with a running practice. One mile alone can feel far too long for folks who haven’t put on their jogging shoes lately, so it is worth working towards – and celebrating once you get there! 

For anyone working on running a mile, we asked Team RunRun coaches for their expert answers to some of your most common questions. Here is what our coaches had to say: 

The Coaches

donald castellucci run a mile
Donald Castellucci
lydia gonazalez run a faster mile
Lydia Gonzalez
brian comer coach tips
Brian Comer

What tips do you have for a beginner runner whose goal is to run one mile?


Enjoy the journey! Building up to running a mile can take time and it is important to enjoy the journey while keeping your eyes on your goal. Make some mini milestones along the way to help you measure progress. These mini milestones help us stay grounded in the present and not put too much pressure on ourselves. 

Making a plan that allows you to build your distance gradually will help you stay motivated and ensure you are smart about training. There are great coaches here at TRR who can help build you a smart plan that allows you to reach your goals and give you the encouragement you need along the way.

Celebrate! As runners, it is easy for us to reach a milestone then move on to the next one. Don’t do that immediately! Take some time to celebrate what you just accomplished! Life goes by too quickly to not dance and celebrate our accomplishments! 


I encourage beginning runners to start by walking one mile for a week or two to get them familiar with what a mile feels like. Afterwards, we progress to a walk-run, and within a month, most of my athletes can run a mile straight through. 


Be patient with yourself. Beginners often see the most gains but also starting anything new comes with its challenges. Celebrate every milestone, no matter how big or small.

How long should I be in training before I can run a mile?


For most beginner runners, I’d expect we would do a lot of run/walk training to help get them used to time on feet and build their fitness. We don’t want to shock the body, however, so slowly increasing mileage is usually best. Smart, steady progression keeps runners happy and healthy!


I say a month at least, if not maybe even 6 weeks, depending on the level of fitness.


Depends on athletic background, but 4-6 weeks is reasonable for those coming from a more sedentary background, less for those with prior sports experience.

How can I run a faster mile?

If you are already running a mile and want to get faster, our coaches have a few tips for training:


More strength training and walking more miles depending on what kind of athlete this is that is looking for time.


More seasoned runners need to incorporate regular speedwork and strides. Hill training is a bonus too. Once beginners are running more steadily and taking fewer and shorter walk breaks, they could also benefit from strides and hill sprints too. Hills are good for developing power and are often referred to by Frank Shorter as “speedwork in disguise”. 

Is there an average number of steps per running mile?

Short answer: No, and our coaches don’t measure your success by steps!


I believe it’s like 2,000 maybe? I don’t consider this an important metric for my runners.


Everyone has their own unique stride length and running gait so it is hard to generalize. Taller runners take fewer steps than shorter runners and faster runners take fewer steps than slower runners.

Is there an average number of calories burned per running mile?


100 is the general standard but it also depends on the runner’s size and pace. Faster runners burn more calories than slower runners. Also given two runners are going the same pace, the heavier runner would burn more calories than the lighter runner.

Thank you to  Donald Castellucci, Lydia Gonzalez, and Brian Comer for breaking down everything you need to know about running a mile. Check out their coach profiles to book private coaching with them!

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