Running is an incredibly competitive sport that requires a lot of motivation to progress in. One of the best ways to motivate yourself is to time yourself while running, to monitor your speed and progress as you begin to lower the time it takes you to run a given route or distance.
But simply knowing your own running speed isn’t enough, and putting your time into context is critical to get a sense of how fit you are and how much you can improve.
It’s also important to know how long it takes to run 10K so you can plan your day and your route and make sure that you are able to make your run in good time and allow yourself to plan around your exercise routine.
Whatever your motivation, knowing how long it takes to run a given distance is really useful knowledge to have. In this guide, we’re going to look at how long it takes to run 10K, from average speeds to elite runners, as well as some ways to track your own running speed to help you put yourself into context and motivate yourself to improve your fitness and speed.
Without further introduction, let’s take a look at the times themselves.
Average 10K Running Times
There are many variables that can affect running time, from the type of route being run to the age and fitness level of the participant. Naturally, the time an elite sportsperson can run 10K will often dwarf even the fittest amateur runner, so in this section, we’ve split things up to make things easier to understand and put them into a clear context.
Professional Runners and Elite Sportspeople
Professional athletes and elite runners can typically run a 10K distance in around 30 minutes, with a slight variance of a few minutes on either side of this depending on the terrain, weather, and other variables.
The world record for a 10K run was recorded in 2020 by US Track and Field (USATF) and the time recorded was 26 minutes and 24 seconds, a truly staggering speed achieved by Rhonex Kipruto, a Kenyan long distance runner.
The top female time for a 10K run was set at 29:43 by Joyciline Jepkosgei in 2017.
As you can probably already guess, most of these times are truly superhuman and are faster than some people can run 5K, let alone 10K.
Athletes or sports people who don’t perform at the elite level are often categorized into age groups, as it’s believed that this is the fairest way to determine averages and fitness levels due to a relative similarity in physical ability, barring some outlying variables such as height and weight.
There are some in these categories that may be incredibly fit and well trained, and some who may be less well trained, and as such, this grouping has a much wider range of times.
According to statistics gathered by the running and fitness app Strava, the average running pace for a US male was 9:07 per mile and 10:21 per mile for women, meaning that the average man would be able to finish a 10K run in 55 minutes and 37 seconds, and a woman would take one hour, 3 minutes and 17 seconds.
Some average times and speeds based on ability are listed below, but these are quite general so keep that in mind.
Average 10K Times
- Elite Male Runners – 30 Mins or Less
- Elite Female Runners – 35 Mins or Less
- Average Male Runners – 55 mins 37 seconds
- Average Female Runners – 1 Hour 3 Mins and 17 Secs
- Fast Walking Pace – 1 hour and 30 Mins
How to Manage Your Own 10K Time
Managing your own running speed can be difficult, and just using a watch can be imprecise, and this can be as demotivational as it is unreliable.
There are other options available to you which we will look at in this section.
Pace calculators are one of the best ways to track your running time and they will use your typical running pace to give you a result. Simply input the correct data and a time for you will be provided, but again, this relies on having an array of accurate data that most people may not have readily available, so this isn’t an option for everyone.
A fitness tracker is a different approach that is easy to use, rewarding and convenient. They are available in various formats, from apps on your phone to specially designed smartwatches, and all of them will give you a good reflection of your active running time over a given distance, such as 10K, and prove a host of other useful metrics such as speed, elevation, heart rate, and even route covered.
Evaluating the previous 10K runs you’ve been on can give you a good idea of your average, especially if you’re someone who changes your route a lot.
Using this system isn’t as precise but gives you a good ballpark figure and is a good starting place for most beginner runners.
Pace charts will allow you to estimate how long it will take you to run 10K based on your running pace over a given distance (usually a mile or KM), and knowing your pace per mile or per kilometer can be used to extrapolate your run time using these charts. Many are readily available online for free.
Tips to Improve Your 10K Run Time
- Improving your running speed and overall time is no easy task and requires a lot of consistent effort, however, there are ways to shave time off.
- Make sure that you are well hydrated before you start your run.
- Focus on good technique and posture while you run.
- Maintain a consistent speed, don’t sprint at the start and slow down as the distance grows.
- Vary your workouts and build in speed workouts to increase your recovery period.
- Get plenty of rest between runs.
- Keep running!