Determining a good time for jogging a mile depends on several factors, including your age and physical condition. If you're young and in top shape, a good time would be faster than if you're older and just trying to get in shape. Men, typically, jog faster than women. In short, a good time for one person might be a poor time for another. If you're just starting to run, get a complete physical and a doctor's clearance. Then, rather than focus on attaining your goal right away, work toward achieving better times gradually to avoid injury.
Speed vs. Heart Disease Risk
Achieving a good jogging time can help save your life. Studies at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School and the Cooper Institute in Dallas, which involved more than 66,000 people, found a correlation between speed and cardiovascular problems. “In both of these studies, how fast you can run in midlife is very strongly associated with heart disease risk when you’re old. The exercise you do in your 40s is highly relevant to your heart disease risk in your 80s,” Dr. Jarrett D. Berry, a co-author of the two studies, told "The New York Times." Berry is an assistant professor of internal medicine and cardiology at Southwestern Medical School.
Determining the Right Speed
Berry said the studies could not determine specifically the best speed to reduce cardiovascular risk the most. But he did assign a high level of fitness to men in their 50s who can run or jog a mile in eight minutes or less and women in their 50s who do it in nine minutes or less He assigned a moderate level of fitness to men who can run or jog a mile in nine minutes or less and women who can do it in 10 1/2 minutes or less. Men who can't beat 10 minutes and women who can't beat 12 minutes fell into his "low-fitness" classification. People in the high-fitness group had a 10 percent lifetime risk of cardiovascular disease, while those in the low-fitness group had a 30 percent lifetime risk.
The military has various requirements for jogging or running a mile. Army recruits, for example, undergo a physical fitness assessment and then are put in a program to become stronger and more physically fit. Men who complete a mile in more than 8 1/2 minutes and women who complete a mile in more than 10 1/2 minutes are considered to be in the lowest level of fitness. Men who complete a mile in less than seven minutes and women who complete a mile in less than 8 minutes, 31 seconds, are considered the most fit. The Air Force requires that men jog or run 1 1/2 miles in no more than 13 minutes, 45 seconds and women to women to do it in no more than 16 minutes to pass basic training.
Although the average time to jog a mile is eight to 11 minutes, your pace can be affected by terrain and temperature. A paved track is simple to navigate because you don't have sharp turns, bumps or uphill or downhill slopes. A park might have all of these that will slow you down. Comparing one jog with another is most accurate if the terrain on each is the same or similar. Temperature also plays a role. You might have slower times in very cold or very hot weather.
- Circulation: Cardiorespiratory Fitness and Classification of Risk of Cardiovascular Disease Mortality; Dr. Sachin Gupta, et al.
- Journal of the American College of Cardiology; Lifetime Risks for Cardiovascular Disease Mortality by Cardiorespiratory Fitness Levels Measured at Ages 45, 55, and 65 Years in Men; Dr. Jarett D. Berry, et al.
- Auckland Joggers Club: Guidelines for Sensible Jogging
- 737th Training Group: Are You Ready for Basic Training?
- U.S. Army: Army Physical Training Guide
- The New York Times: On Your Marks, Get Set, Measure Heart Health
Glenn Singer is a longtime professional journalist in South Florida who has specialized in medical, business, aviation and consumer reporting. He has worked extensively as a supervisory editor and copy editor and he also teaches journalism at the university level.