Skip to Content

How to run an 8 minute mile: 8 ways to run faster

Share

An 8 minute mile is a goal for many runners looking to increase their speed and achieve their next PB.

While it is seen as a challenging goal for many, an 8 minute mile is by no means impossible.

With the right training, motivation and mindset, many runners achieve this milestone.

So how exactly do you run an 8 minute mile, and what’s the best way to train for it?

In this guide we’ll explore:

  • How fast is an 8 minute mile?
  • Is an 8 minute mile good?
  • Are you ready to run an 8 minute mile?
  • How to run an 8 minute mile: 8 ways to run faster
  • 4 speed training workouts to help you run an 8 minute mile

Ready?

Let’s go!

8 minute mile

How fast is an 8 minute mile?

You may be wondering: “How many mph is an 8 minute mile?”

In order to run an 8 minute mile, you need to be running at 7.5 miles per hour. This is equivalent to 12 kilometres per hour.

An 8 minute mile in kilometres is 4 minutes and 58 seconds per kilometre.

Related: Running 2 miles a day: 12 benefits + how to start

Is an 8 minute mile good?

Yes! Running an 8 minute mile is seen as a challenging but achievable goal for many runners. 

On average, it takes a relatively fit, non-competitive runner 9 to 10 minutes to run a mile.

If you’re new to running, it will take you roughly 12 to 15 minutes to run a mile as you will need time to build up your stamina and endurance. 

Elite runners can expect to run a mile in 4 to 5 minutes. 

Related: Running 5 miles a day: Pros and cons + 8 actionable tips

8 minute mile

Are you ready to run an 8 minute mile?

In order to run an 8 minute mile, you need to build up your endurance, stamina and speed.

You will need to include a range of runs and workouts in your training in order to achieve an 8 minute mile. 

To give you an indication of how fast you need to run in order to run an 8 minute mile, here are the equivalent race times for the 5k, 10k, half marathon and marathon distances.

  • Your 5k pace needs to be at or under 8:34 minutes per mile / 5:19 minutes per kilometre.
  • Your 10k pace needs to be at or under 8:56 minutes per mile / 5:33 minutes per kilometre.
  • Your half marathon pace needs to be at or under 9:20 minutes per mile / 5:48 minutes per kilometre.
  • Your marathon pace needs to be at 9:44 minutes per mile / 6:03 minutes per kilometre.

Here is a breakdown of equivalent race paces by distance:

Race distanceRace timePace per milePace per km
1 mile08:0008:004:58
2 miles16:488:245:13
3 miles25:388:335:19
5k (3.1 miles)26:368:345:19
4 miles34:478:425:24
5 miles44:038:495:28
10k (6.2 miles)55:288:565:33
10 miles1:31:519:115:42
Half marathon (13.1 miles)2:02:239:205:48
Marathon pace (26.2 miles)4:15:109:446:03

Here is a breakdown of equivalent training paces by workout type:

Workout typePace per milePace per kilometre
Easy run11:14 – 12:146:59 – 7:36
Long run10:14 – 11:446:22 – 7:18
Speed workout8:34 – 8:565:19 – 5:33
VO2 Max workout8:25 – 8:345:13 – 5:19
Lactate threshold8:56 – 9:185:33 – 5:47
Strides7:30 – 8:004:39 – 4:58

Related: How to use negative splits to race faster (and happier)

How many calories will you burn by running an 8 minute mile?

According to research, you can expect to burn 14 calories per minute by running at a pace of 8 minutes per mile.

Related: Do you burn more calories on your period? Your common questions answered

8 minute mile

How to run an 8 minute mile: 8 ways to run faster

Now you know more about running an 8 minute mile, here are 8 ways to run a faster mile.

#1 Speed train

In order to increase your speed and achieve an 8 minute mile, you need to be doing speed workouts as part of your training routine consistently.

Speed training like interval training, tempo running, Fartlek training, hill sprints and strides will go a long way to help you achieve your goal.

The more you train outside of your comfort zone, the more benefits you will see in your running performance and speed.

More technically speaking, you need to boost your lactate threshold – that is the level at which the intensity of exercise causes lactate to accumulate in the blood at a faster rate than it can be removed. 

Aim to include at least two speed training sessions in your training plan each week. 

At the end of this guide, you will find four speed training workouts to help you run a faster mile. 

#2 Build up your endurance and stamina

You will still need to work on increasing your endurance and stamina as well as your speed when training to run an 8 minute mile.

Don’t forget about the long runs during your training as these will help to improve your overall fitness and aerobic capacity (also known as VO2 Max). 

For runners with the goal of achieving an 8 minute mile, you should be running consistently each week, logging long runs in the range of 3 to 6 miles per week. 

#3 Strength train

Strength training helps you become a healthier and stronger runner in the long term.

It helps you to build stronger muscles, bones and joints, and  helps to ward off common running injuries.

Start with bodyweight exercises like squats and lunges, then progress to weighted exercises. 

If you’ve never done strength training before, then check out my strength training guide for runners.

#4 Stretch 

Stretching and foam rolling should be integral to your injury prevention strategy.

Runners are accustomed to that familiar stiff and sore legs feeling after a run. 

Stretching helps to prevent sore and stiff muscles, which decreases your chances of becoming injured.

Ensure you incorporate a stretching routine in your training plan – done after a run as part of a cool down, and as a daily gentle stretching habit. 

Check out my guide on the best cool down stretches to do after a run for more information and tips. 

#5 Take rest days seriously

Along with stretching, rest days are also another integral part of an injury prevention strategy.

Training for an 8 minute mile can be gruelling, especially if you’re new to running, so take rest days seriously and don’t be tempted to skip them. 

They are crucial to allow your body to rest and repair itself after a run.

A well-rounded training plan will include at least two rest days per week.

#6 Eat the right foods

When training for an 8 minute mile, it’s important you fuel your body with the right foods to give it the energy it needs to keep you going on your runs.

Carbohydrates are your best friend when it comes to training, as well as adequate amounts of protein, healthy fats and vitamins and minerals.

Check out our guide on what to eat before a run for more information and tips. 

#7 Stay hydrated

When you run, your body loses water and salt through sweat so it’s important you replenish those fluids by drinking lots of water. 

If you don’t replace these lost fluids, you risk dehydration which could lead to other ailments such as headaches and muscle cramps. 

#8 Form healthy sleep habits

Sleep is incredibly important to daily life in general, but even more so when you’re taking part in regular, often intense exercise.

According to a 2017 study, improvements in sleep duration and quality improve reaction time, accuracy and endurance performance. 

In addition, poor sleep may increase the risk of injury and illness, reducing training availability and undermining overall health. 

Form healthy sleep habits and aim to get at least 8 hours of sleep each night. 

Related: How to use Jeff Galloway’s magic mile running test

8 minute mile

4 speed training workouts to help you run an 8 minute mile

#1 Interval training workout

Interval training is a training method that combines periods of short, intense bursts of speed with slow recovery periods of mild activity like walking or jogging. 

Aim to run each interval at an intensity between 75% to 80%.

  • Warm up for 5-10 minutes with dynamic exercises and light jogging.
  • Run for 45 seconds at 75% intensity followed by 60 seconds of light jogging or walking.
  • Repeat 3 times.
  • Perform this workout twice a week, adding an extra interval cycle every 3 to 4 weeks.

#2 Fartlek training workout

‘Fartlek’ is a Swedish term for ‘speed play’ and is essentially a blend of distance running and interval training. 

A Fartlek run involves continuous running with periods of faster running mixed with periods of easy running.

These intervals can either be measured by distance or time (e.g. run for 200 metres or 30 seconds).

You can even use landmarks such as street lamps or post boxes as markers for your intervals, which arguably makes a Fartlek run all the more enjoyable.

  1. Use lamp posts as markers for your fast and easy runs. 
  2. Run at a slow to moderate pace to the first lamp post, then pick up the pace in a fast run to the next lamp post.
  3. Repeat 5-6 times. 

#3 Hill sprint workout

Hill sprints are a great way to increase your strength and power as a runner, as well as improve your endurance, stamina and V02 Max.

If you’re a beginner runner and you’ve never attempted hill sprints before, then it’s a good idea to start small and work your way up from there.

  1. Find a 4-8% grade hill (grade is the angle of the hill) and start at the bottom of the hill.
  2. Run up the hill for 60 seconds at your 5k pace.
  3. Jog or walk downhill to recover in between each sprint.
  4. Repeat 10-12 times. 

#4 Strides workout

Strides (or ‘striders’) are short bursts of running at an accelerated speed. 

  1. Start with a jog, build to about 95% of your maximum speed, then gradually slow to a stop. 
  2. One stride should take you about 25-30 seconds depending on your running ability. 
  3. Repeat 5-6 times.
Caroline Geoghegan
Follow
Latest posts by Caroline Geoghegan (see all)

Share