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Can an average man run a 6-minute mile

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  • #16
    Re: Can an average man run a 6-minute mile

    Yeah, but Denty, you were 18 and had some genetics and a family culture of running going. Frankly, that was an extraordinary effort. And Billvol, you are a runner with interest and experience. I would bet that people who frequent this web site have a sort of skewed vision of the "average" man.

    I could be wrong but I don't see the possibility of more than half of the average adult American population (truly average guys) breaking the 6 minute barrier. I coached high school x-country for a long time and nearly all the kids who stuck with the program for a couple of seasons could run at the 18 minute range for 5k, but they were people with motivation and at least some degree of talent... I used to recruit them out of PE classes based on the results of mile and a half runs and the typical times for the rest of those kids was really pathetic, few could break 10 minutes for a mile. Maybe there is someone out there who deals with groups of adults in fitness programs. What percentage of 30 year olds would you estimate could do this?

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    • #17
      Re: Can an average man run a 6-minute mile

      >would bet that people who frequent
      >this web site have a sort of skewed vision of the
      >"average" man.

      True that. The minute your doctor says you have an average or normal reading for this or that, time to reevaluate a lot of stuff. When Elena Meyer recently broke her sternum in a car accident, according to David Monti, the doc near Boston that treated her was astounded at her low HR of 48. He had never seen anything that low before! And you figure it would have had to have been slightly elevated given the stress she had just been under.

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      • #18
        Re: Can an average man run a 6-minute mile

        People are interested in this topic because it is possible that most on this forum could easily run such a time. Most of us cannot relate to running the mile in the 3:50 to 4:00 range. You have a better chance of winning the lottery than you do running a 4 minute mile. However, the 5-minute mile is the most coveted time for the amateur athlete. Once you run that time you can use it as a base for a sub 3-hour marathon or a solid 36 10K. I think it would be very hard to run a 3-hour marathon with 6-minute mile speed.

        With proper training I would say 20% of the population in 20-40 year age group could manage a 6 minute mile.

        I think every medium to large High School in America has at least a few sub 5 minute milers.

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        • #19
          Re: Can an average man run a 6-minute mile

          With
          >proper training I would say 20% of the population
          >in 20-40 year age group could manage a 6 minute
          >mile.

          Do 20% of the 20 - 40 year age group break 3 hours in a typical North American marathon? Of course, this depends on ones definition of "proper training".

          I think every medium to large High
          >School in America has at least a few sub 5 minute
          >milers.

          Which has little relevance to the fitness level of the "average" individual. There are many sub 4 minute milers in the US, but already this thread has gone from "could 50% break 6 minutes?" to "could 20% break 6 minutes?". Doesn't say much for the condition of the bulk of the population.

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          • #20
            Re: Can an average man run a 6-minute mile

            >There are many sub 4 minute milers in the US,
            >but already this thread has gone from "could
            >50% break 6 minutes?" to "could 20% break 6
            >minutes?". Doesn't say much for the condition
            >of the bulk of the population.>>

            Like those of my age, I share the disgust at the bloating-up of the younger generation (well me too, but at least I started lean!). But based on my rather athletic high school of 40-odd years ago, when everbody walked a few miles to school, and PE was mandatory, I'd still be surprised if 50% could break 6:00, even with a few months training. Most of the people on this board are far from ordinary, and I think you'd be surprised at what a physical feat it is to do something as mundane as break 6:00.

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            • #21
              Re: Can an average man run a 6-minute mile

              I went to alibris.com (an online used bookstore)
              and typed in ---six minute mile--- and the results yielded a copy, which I purchased for $5.45. Also try searching used books in Google, as there are many such online stores. The six minute mile is a great topic. Maybe 6:35 or 6:40 for women.

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              • #22
                Re: Can an average man run a 6-minute mile

                "When Elena Meyer recently broke her sternum in a car accident, according to David Monti, the doc near Boston that treated her was astounded at her low HR of 48.."

                Did this doctor use the cliff notes or something in med school? Get me a different doctor please.

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                • #23
                  Re: Can an average man run a 6-minute mile

                  >"When Elena Meyer recently broke her sternum in
                  >a car accident, according to David Monti, the doc
                  >near Boston that treated her was astounded at her
                  >low HR of 48.."

                  >Did this doctor use the cliff
                  >notes or something in med school? Get me a
                  >different doctor please.

                  No kidding. I had some kind of viral infection thing going on in the day that the doc at first thought might be my appendix so he booked me into the hospital. Took my hr and I asked him what it was and he said about normal-72. Except that it was almost double the normal reading. That got his attention.

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                  • #24
                    Re: Can an average man run a 6-minute mile

                    on my xc team, we had a JV kid who trained year round all through high school, showed up every day in the summer to put in the background mileage, did what he could in all the interval workouts, etc., and I don't think he ever broke 6:00.

                    We assumed he just couldn't handle the pain of pushing himself. Maybe there was some other explanation. He looked fit. Maybe with a training program really tailored to him he would have done better, but coaches don't devote a lot of time to 6:00 milers.

                    A long way of saying that example tells me the average American man could not run 6:00.

                    In a related debate, I had a college teammate who was convinced ANYBODY could run 8 miles--a denial of reality reflecting his own disdain for anyone who could not.

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                    • #25
                      Re: Can an average man run a 6-minute mile

                      That is another interesting topic... turn the 6 minute mile around to ask what IS a reasonable mile expectation for a normal person. Discounting the really obese and people who have disabling health problems, COULD average adults run an 8 minute mile with proper prep? I'm not sure, but I would think 9 minutes would be within reach for virtually everyone, male or female. Conversely I think 6 minutes is out of reach for the majority of adults (my bias is that they would have had a better chance to crack 6 minutes as kids). In my experience, both as runner and coach, there is a quantum leap of difference between a 6 minute mile and a 9 minute mile.

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                      • #26
                        Re: Can an average man run a 6-minute mile

                        When I coached HS XC, I had a girl that looked normally thin for an athlete, but only could run around 30 minutes for 5k. I was astounded when I checked her % body fat- she measured 33%! She was fat, had no muscles, so looked thin.

                        I do think most "normal" adult males under 40 could run 6:00, or 8 miles. But it would take alot of work for alot of them- maybe a year or more for some.

                        Hey, whocares- if you ran 4:49 in HS, you need to train more now! I ran 4:53 in HS, but 5:08 at 50. Aging well helps- keeping active, and not getting fat. I am looking at a %body fat chart I got at our employee fitness check yesterday. It recommends for 19-24 yr. old men 10.8- 14.9%.
                        Then it recommends for 50+ 20.2-23.2%. I wondered if this was a "normal" fattening up, or just a cultural bias. I do not assume I will balloon up to 23%.

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                        • #27
                          Re: Can an average man run a 6-minute mile

                          >When I coached HS XC, I had a girl that looked
                          >d normally thin for an athlete, but only could
                          >run around 30 minutes for 5k. I was astounded
                          >when I checked her % body fat- she measured 33%!
                          >She was fat, had no muscles, so looked thin.


                          There are a lot of skinny people out there like that.

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                          • #28
                            Re: Can an average man run a 6-minute mile

                            >I am looking at a
                            >%body fat chart I got at our employee fitness
                            >check yesterday. It recommends for 19-24 yr. old
                            >men 10.8- 14.9%.
                            Then it recommends for 50+
                            >20.2-23.2%. I wondered if this was a "normal"
                            >fattening up, or just a cultural bias. I do not
                            >assume I will balloon up to 23%.

                            See my post above about Meyer. "Normal" is not something anyone should aspire to...in most things I suppose.

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                            • #29
                              Re: Can an average man run a 6-minute mile

                              In may experience of coaching and personal training over more than two decades I would have to agree. No. The AVERAGE 25-35 year old man could not break 6.

                              Even the average "fit" man (doing his 20-30 minutes on the Lifecycle and dabbling with weights) would have plenty of difficulty.

                              The eight-minute mile is a much realistically attainable goal for the average Joe, though that is not even as easy as you would expect.

                              Unfortunately the average is very low.

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                              • #30
                                Re: Can an average man run a 6-minute mile

                                Hi Sobel, that's an interesting observation about the skinny girl that was actually fat. In the opposite way I know a girl who actually looks quite big but she runs very fast, keeping up with the lean machines and beating them on occasions especially on the hills. The cross country ski coaches were all trying to tell her nicely to shed some pounds. Eventually they discovered her body fat was only about 11%, she had big muscles and a cycling background. It was strange.

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