How fast can the average human run? This is a question you will often hear among sports enthusiasts especially in the track and field sector.
Running is a fundamental activity humans engage in for various reasons, including fitness, recreation, and competition.
The human body is capable of impressive feats of speed and endurance, but how fast can the average human run?
In this article, we will explore the science of human running, including the factors that affect running speed, training methods to improve running performance, and the fastest humans on record. Let us get to the details of this topic and find out everything we can;
How Fast Can The Average Human Run?
The average human running speed is 6 miles per hour, but this can vary depending on several factors, including age, gender, fitness level, and training.
Humans can run for long distances, and with proper training, they can achieve impressively high speeds for those distances.
The fastest human on record, Usain Bolt made an impressive 100m sprint in just 9.58 seconds because of his physique, training, and genetics.
Factors Affecting Running Speed
You might have seen the average running speed and realized you are not close to it. This is because many factors affect how fast a person can run. Let us look at each one of them and see why your running speed is where it is;
1. Age. A person’s age significantly impacts how fast they run since it directly determines their physical capabilities. Generally, younger people have a higher potential for speed than older individuals.
Muscle mass, bone density, and cardiovascular health are at their best when people are in their prime, mainly between 18 and 27. They also have more testosterone which enhances their speed and physical capabilities.
Table 1: Average Time to Complete a Mile Race by Age Group
|Age Group||Average Time to Complete a Mile Race|
As shown in Table 1, the average time to complete a mile race varies by age group, with younger individuals having faster average times than older individuals.
However, it is essential to note that these are only averages and that individual variation is considerable. Some individuals in their 60s or 70s can run faster than others in their 20s or 30s.
2. Gender. Men also tend to have greater speed potential than women due to differences in muscle mass and hormone levels. Men have higher muscle mass and bone density, which means they have more powerful legs.
As such, they can propel themselves ahead with a greater force which translates to faster acceleration and higher top speeds. However, these differences are not absolute; many women can outrun men.
3. Fitness level. Fitness level is another critical factor affecting running speed. Fit people have better cardiovascular health, which means they have a higher oxygen depth.
This allows them to run faster on a limited oxygen supply before their muscles give out. Additionally, they have stringer muscles with less fat; thus, they can generate more power.
With fitness comes improved running form that makes them more efficient. This allows them to run faster and longer than those who are not fit.
4. Training. Training helps tune your muscles for speed and agility, which can dramatically increase the top speed of a runner. As you train, you will get better form and improve your fitness and cardiovascular health, adding to your speed.
5. Running economy. RE is crucial for running speed, especially for endurance athletes like long-distance runners. RE is the amount of oxygen a runner consumes at a given speed.
RE is determined by body weight, running form, and muscle fiber type. People with lower body weight tend to have higher REs; thus, they can run faster for longer distances.
Training Methods to Improve Running Performance
Training is essential to improve running performance, regardless of the individual’s fitness level or age. The type of training that an individual engages in depends on their goals, fitness level, and available resources.
For example, beginner runners may start with a walk/run program that will increase their RE and help with fitness.
An experienced runner may engage in high-intensity interval training (HIIT) or long-distance running to help him boost his performance further.
One of the most effective training methods for improving running performance is interval training.
Interval training involves alternating periods of high-intensity exercise with lower-intensity exercise or rest.
This training improves cardiovascular health, increases muscle strength, and enhances running economy.
HIIT is a form of interval training that involves short, intense bursts of exercise with periods of rest or lower-intensity exercise.
HIIT has been shown to improve running performance, effectively burn calories, and lose weight.
Another essential aspect of training is proper nutrition. A balanced diet that includes carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats can give the body the energy and nutrients needed for running performance.
Completing warm-ups and cool-downs and eating well can help improve running speed.
The Fastest Humans on Record
The fastest human on record is Usain Bolt, a Jamaican sprinter who holds the world record for the 100-meter sprint at 9.58 seconds.
Bolt is known for his impressive speed and running form, which allows him to cover ground quickly and efficiently.
However, it is essential to note that Bolt is an outlier and that most individuals cannot run anywhere near as fast as he can. He took decades of training and hard work to achieve such speeds.
Table 2: Fastest Humans on Record
|1||Usain Bolt||Jamaica||9.58 seconds|
|2||Tyson Gay||USA||9.69 seconds|
|3||Yohan Blake||Jamaica||9.69 seconds|
|4||Asafa Powell||Jamaica||9.72 seconds|
|5||Justin Gatlin||USA||9.74 seconds|
|6||Nesta Carter||Jamaica||9.78 seconds|
|7||Maurice Greene||USA||9.79 seconds|
|8||Richard Thompson||Trinidad||9.82 seconds|
|9||Donovan Bailey||Canada||9.84 seconds|
|10||Leroy Burrell||USA||9.85 seconds|
The top 10 fastest humans on record are all male sprinters, with Jamaican sprinters dominating the list. These individuals are exceptional athletes who have trained for years to achieve their impressive speed and running form.
This suggests a combination of genetics, tradition, and long-term training as the key to Jamaica’s sports dominance.
Tips To Help Increase Your Running Speed
You might have noticed that your speed is not where you want it to be, and you want a way to go faster. Improving your running speed requires proper form, training methods, and overall fitness.
Here are some tips that can help you increase your running speed:
1. Focus on proper running form. Good running form can help you conserve energy and run faster. The proper form allows you to correctly target your energy for the best acceleration.
Ensure your shoulders are relaxed, your arms are bent at 90 degrees, your feet land directly beneath your body, and your posture is tall.
2. Increase your stride rate. Increasing your stride rate (the number of steps you take per minute) can help you run faster and more efficiently. Smaller and faster strides offer more acceleration and speed than wide strides, which burn much energy.
Try to take shorter, quicker steps and aim for a stride rate of around 180 steps per minute.
3. Incorporate speed work. Incorporating speed work into your training routine can help you improve your running speed. This can include interval training, tempo runs, hill repeats, and sprint workouts.
4. Build leg strength. Strong legs are essential for running fast since they are the source of all the power you use to accelerate. Incorporate strength training exercises such as squats, lunges, and calf raises into your routine to build leg strength.
5. Improve your cardiovascular fitness. Good cardiovascular fitness is essential for running fast. Incorporate aerobic exercise such as running, cycling, or swimming to improve your endurance.
This training will also help build endurance which will be crucial for training and maintaining high running speeds for long distances. Avoid drugs and alcohol since they compromise your performance.
6. Maintain a healthy diet. A healthy diet is essential for optimal performance. Ensure you eat a balanced diet with plenty of protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats.
7. Get enough rest. Rest and recovery are essential for allowing your body to recover and adapt to the stress of training. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep and taking rest days as needed.
Remember that increasing your running speed takes time and consistency. Start slowly and gradually increase the intensity and volume of your training over time. Be patient and hardworking, and you will get to your dream speed quickly.
Running is a crucial physical activity that can help improve many elements of your life. The average human runs at about 6 miles per hour, but you can go much higher than that with proper training and the right tips to guide you.
Proper training methods and nutrition are the keys to improving your speed and maximizing your running potential. A good example is Usain Bolt, who set the world record for the fastest man by completing a 100m race in 9.58 seconds.