5K is a popular running distance both for beginners and experienced runners. While experienced runners want to run their 5 kilometers as fast as possible, beginners will find it challenging to cover the distance itself.
In this article, you will find out how many steps are in a 5K, how many steps a day you should take, and how long it takes to run the same distance.
On average, it is necessary to take 6,500 steps in 5 kilometers of walking, and 4,800 steps in 5 kilometers of running. The exact number of steps depends on several different factors, such as gender, height, stride length, and pace of walking or running.
The information in this article is based on research published in the ASCM Health and Fitness Journal.
|Light jog |
The table shows an overview of how many steps you will take in 5 kilometers while moving at a certain pace.
What affects the number of steps in 5K?
The main factor affecting the number of steps needed to cover 5 kilometers is the stride length.
The shorter the stride, the more steps you need to take to cover 5 kilometers.
Stride length is the distance from the heel of one foot to the heel of the other foot. It varies from person to person, depending on your height, sex, speed, and running terrain.
The taller you are, the longer your stride is, and the fewer steps you have to take to cover 5 kilometers.
A person who is 5 feet 4 inches tall does not have the same stride length as a person who is 6 feet 0 inches tall, even if they are in the same shape. A shorter person has to take more steps than a taller person to cover the same distance.
The faster you move, the longer your stride becomes, and the fewer steps you have to take to cover 5 kilometers.
According to research, sex is another factor affecting the number of steps you have to take to cover 5 kilometers.
The average stride length for women is 2.2 feet (0.67 meters) and for men, it is 2.5 feet (0.76 meters).
This means that women take more steps than men to cover 5 kilometers.
Stride length depends on whether you are moving on flat ground or uphill.
When running uphill, the step is shorter and you take more steps to cover 5 kilometers.
How to track the number of steps you take in 5K?
The simplest way to track the number of steps is with a pedometer, smart watch, or fitness tracker.
A pedometer is a device that counts your steps, and most smartphones today have this option.
For a pedometer, fitness tracker, or other device to measure the exact number of steps you take, you need to know the average length of your step and your height.
How to measure average stride length?
There are different methods for measuring stride length.
One of them is to walk or run a certain distance and count the steps. Then divide the distance you walked or ran by the steps you took to get your average stride length.
Total distance / number of steps = average stride length
Another way is to take 10 steps and measure the distance between the starting point and the ending point. Then divide the distance traveled by 10 and you will get the average length of your stride.
For example, if you have walked 255 inches in 10 steps, your average stride length is 25.5 inches.
A third way to measure stride length is based on your height. To get the average stride length, multiply your height by 0.413 if you are a woman and 0.415 if you are a man.
Women = height in inches x 0.413 equals average stride length
Men = height in inches x 0.415 equals average stride length
For example, a woman with a height of 65 inches has an average stride length of 26.84 inches.
There is a standard estimate that a person’s stride length is proportional to their height, that is, it is equal to approximately 42% of their height. It is not a precise estimate, but most digital pedometers use it.
How many steps are in a 5K run?
A person with a height of 5 feet 4 inches will take an average of 6072 steps while running 5 kilometers at a pace of 12:00 min/mi, and 3381 steps at a pace of 6:00 min/mi.
This table shows, based on height and running pace, an estimate of the number of steps a person takes running 5 kilometers.
Average number of steps in 5K walk for women
A woman with a height of 5 feet 4 inches will take 7234 steps to walk 5 kilometers at a pace of 20:00 min/mi, and 6044 steps at a pace of 14:00 min/mi.
This table shows, based on height and walking pace, an estimate of the number of steps women take walking 5 kilometers.
|Brisk walk |
Average number of steps in 5K walk for men
A man with a height of 6 feet 0 inches will take 6778 steps to walk 5 kilometers at a pace of 20:00 min/mi, and 5588 steps at a pace of 14:00 min/mi.
This table shows, based on height and walking pace, an estimate of the number of steps men take walking 5 kilometers.
|Fast walk |
How many steps a day should you take?
You probably heard many times the recommendation that it is necessary to take 10,000 steps a day for health benefits.
Where did that figure come from?
The magic figure of 10,000 steps per day actually came from a marketing campaign, not from scientific research.
It is actually the name of a pedometer that was sold in Japan in 1965. The device was called “Manpo-kei“, which literally means “10,000-step counter”. Although the name of the device had a strictly promotional function, it stuck around the world and started indicating the daily goal for the number of steps.
Newer research indicates that even 7000 steps a day bring significant health benefits.
TipThe answer to how many steps you need to take per day requires a more individual approach and should be based on your goals. The best number of steps for you is the one that can fit into your daily schedule and regular habits.
According to research, you can compare your step count with activity level categories:
- Inactive (sedentary lifestyle): less than 5000 steps a day
- Light active lifestyle: 5000 to 7499 steps a day
- Moderately active lifestyle: 7500 to 9999 steps a day
- Active lifestyle: 10000 to 12499 steps a day
- Highly active lifestyle: more than 12500 steps a day
When determining the daily step goal, keep in mind that your number of steps will be lower if you run or walk at a faster pace, and you will get a better workout. So regardless of the lower number of steps achieved, you will get a great workout that will benefit your health.
How long does it take to run 5K?
Beginners need approximately 35 minutes (11:16 min/mi) to run 5 kilometers, while more experienced runners need 21 minutes (6:46 min/mi).
The table shows how long it takes to run 5 kilometers depending on the running pace.
|Minutes per mile||Minutes per kilometer||5 kilometers|
Use my running pace calculator to calculate the time needed to run 5 kilometers at a certain pace. You can also calculate what pace you will run if you run 5 kilometers in a certain time.
Hi, I’m Matea! I’m an Olympic Marathon Runner, founder, and writer behind OLYRUN.com. On this site, I provide help in the form of my knowledge and experience to all who love running and active living. Read more…