How Do I Run A Mile On A Treadmill? (Explained)

Treadmill Running


By Simon Gould

Running a mile on a treadmill is perfect because it displays the time and distance you've run. So you can easily see when you've made it and how long it took you. Running a mile has been the ultimate distance for a long time. It took many years for people to run the mile quicker than 4 minutes. No one thought it could be done but it finally was in 1954.

When you start running you'll be going much slower than a 4 minute mile but the dream of running the distance is still there. Once you can run 1 mile you can keep going and run 2. Once you've run one mile your health and fitness levels improve. You will also burn calories and help lose weight. It's a great starting distance.

How long will it take me?

Your first mile might take a while when you begin. You probably won't be running all of it straight away. There will be an element of walking and we'll go though that when it comes to training for the mile. Some treadmills measure in miles per hour and some in kilometers per hour so here are the minutes per mile depending how fast you're going:

Miles per hour (mph)Minutes per mile
Kilometers per hour (km/h)Minutes per mile

This table gives a wide range of minutes per mile from walking to running. 3 mph is brisk walking and that's 20 minutes per mile. At first you may be doing a lot of walking but you'll be running the whole mile before too long. The thing is not to worry too much about the time you do it, just that you're doing your best and you're progressing to running the full mile.

Jogging is 4 to 6 mph which is a speed most of us can do after some practice. Beginners often go too fast, take it easy and try to complete the mile without stopping. Look ahead and don't hold onto the handrails. You'll have burned around 150 calories when you've completed your run. Make sure your treadmill is in miles and not kilometers, because kilometers are shorter than miles.

Divide the mile into chunks

If you're a beginner to treadmill running you probably won't be able to run the mile straight off. For this reason we need to divide it into walkable and running bits. Instead of using distance which can be tricky when we're dealing with small numbers we'll train with time spent running. This way before you realize it you will have run a mile.

Try brisk walking the for 2 minutes then running for 1 minute, repeat that until you've covered the mile. That will take around 15 minutes. The next week run for 2 minutes and walk for 2 minutes. The following week run for 3 minutes and walk 2. Then run 4 minutes. Building up this way keep an eye on the distance and within a few weeks you will be running for a mile.

Now that you've run for a mile

Now that you're running for a mile perhaps you want to do it quicker. Well the treadmill is the perfect machine to help you do that as well. You can learn to run faster by using the incline feature. Instead of walking for 1 minute set the incline to 2% and run. Then bring the incline back to 0%. You alternate between running at an incline and running flat.

Doing this is harder on the body so when you go to run a mile again on 0% incline or a flat treadmill you will be able to do it quicker. Once you're run one mile you're a proper runner so perhaps you can take your new found hobby to the next level. Perhaps you can learn to run further. It's all about taking it slowly and running a further distance each week. Your body will slowly adapt itself by losing weight and becoming fitter.

Soon you may be running 3.1 miles. This is exactly 5k, 5k is the distance that a lot of races in the country run for. We have our own 5k training plan and its perfect to take on after running a mile. When you've come to this point it's important to get some running shoes even though you're running on a treadmill, as they are designed for running and are kinder to your joints.


There are many benefits to running as mile for your health and you'll burn a lot of calories. Some people aim to run a mile everyday, but I wouldn't recommended it. You need to take a day or two of rest each week. This enables your body to recover from the exercise. As I mentioned, once you've run a mile, try running for 30 minutes and see how far you go.

The reason I suggest 30 minutes is the World Health Organization recommend 30 minutes of exercise, 5 days per week. If you run at 6 mph, you'll cover 1 mile in 10 minutes and 3 miles in 30. To achieve a mile on a treadmill, take it slowly and walk part of the way if you need to. Just don't see running for a mile as your final aim, see it as an introduction to running longer distances on your treadmill.

Thinking of buying a treadmill? Here's my favorite, I always recommend it when asked*

Meet The Author

Simon Gould

I'm Simon Gould. I've been around treadmills my whole life. From running on them at an early age to working in treadmill dept's of national stores. I've run outside and I've run on treadmills and I prefer running on treadmills. I still run on one nearly every day and love it.

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