How Many Steps Are In A 5K? Count Your Steps Easily In 2024

When it comes to staying in good shape, walking and running are great exercise options. Both offer several mental and physical benefits.[1] They can be done individually or as a group using a wide range of distances. 

Whether you’re a novice or an experienced athlete, five kilometers is a popular exercise distance. Taking a structured approach to your 5K walk or run isn’t a bad idea. 

How many steps are in a 5K? What factors influence this? Luckily for you, you don’t need to count out every step. 

In the article below, we’ve discussed the average amount of steps in a 5K race. We’ve discussed the contributing factors and how to track your steps effectively. 

Whether you want to run on the treadmill or walk in the park, follow the guide below. You’ll be able to efficiently track your steps and closely monitor your performance.

How Many Steps Are In A 5K?

  • On average, a 5K at a walking pace requires 7038 steps. When running, this decreases to 3,375 steps. 
  • Several factors need to be considered when calculating how many steps are in a 5k. Physical characteristics include height, age, gender, and speed. Other factors include the terrain, your fitness level, and your gait.
  • Monitoring your steps can be done using a fitness tracker, pedometer, or smartphone. Use the tables below as reference guides to calculate your steps and 5k pace.

How Many Steps Are In A 5K?

As people become more interested in health and fitness, the popularity of fitness trackers increases. Whilst these offer convenient options, other methods can be used. 

Whether you’re looking to build up your butt or lose weight, knowing your steps is a good start. 

Use the table below[2] as a guide when looking to hit your daily steps. 

Average WalkSlow RunRunFast Run
Men6800510942503325
Women7219534145913791
Average7038522543753375

The table above shows the expected steps at different 5K paces. The steps have been divided according to gender to give you a better idea of the differences.

The four paces have been chosen to represent the main speeds used by both beginners and elite-level runners. 

As you can see, the step differences between genders are quite large. Males tend to take fewer steps than females throughout. 

In terms of the steps required at different paces, the differences are large. Performing a 5K at an average walking pace takes approximately 7038 steps. At a running pace, this number more than halves to 3375. 

What Impacts The Number Of Steps In A 5K?

The main factor determining the number of steps in a 5K is your stride length. Stride length varies between individuals and can be influenced by the following factors. 

Height

The taller you are, the longer your stride length tends to be. With a longer stride length, you’ll take fewer steps. 

If you’re a taller athlete, you’ll tend to outrun a shorter athlete at the same pace. Shorter athletes can outrun taller ones, but this isn’t usually the case.

Speed

The average pace is going to drastically change how many steps it takes for you to cover 5K. 

If you walk or run at a faster speed, your stride length[3] is going to increase. When you run you’ll cover more ground compared to when you use a walking speed. This is because your feet don’t tend to touch the ground as closely compared to walking. 

It’s important to note that drastic speed changes may lead to inefficient form. This can also further reduce the amount of steps taken.

Gender

While the difference is small, gender can affect stride length.[4] On average, men tend to have longer legs than women. This leads to them having a longer stride length than women. 

This means that over a 5K distance, males take fewer steps than females. This leads to a quicker 5K pace for men on average.

Terrain

When it comes to pacing and monitoring performance, terrain is often overlooked. Whilst many people wonder if running is bad for your knees, less attention is given to the impact on pace. 

Different terrains such as flat ground and steep hills can change your stride length significantly and impact performance.[5] When running uphill, your step length is shorter. This means it will take more steps to complete a 5K compared to exercising on flat ground. 

Age

How much energy you have and your lower body mobility both determine your stride. 

Generally speaking, older people tend to take longer to complete the same distance compared to younger people. This is due to a smaller stride length caused by reduced mobility and energy levels.[6] 

Fitness Level 

If you have a higher fitness level, you are more likely to cover a set distance at a faster pace. This means that you will take fewer steps to complete a 5K compared to someone with a lower fitness level.

Your fitness level may influence factors such as your form, strength, and stability when exercising. These can then influence your stride length.

Gait

Gait refers to the way you move when walking or running. This is unique to an individual and encompasses your pace, form, and foot landing zone. 

The better your form, the fewer steps you’ll need to cover the same distance. Gait has a big impact on walking and running performance.[7] 

The Average Number Of Steps In A 5K Walk For Men

Knowing how many steps are in a 5K can help you monitor your daily step count. With numerous factors affecting the average, providing an accurate estimation can be hard. 

The tables below can be used as a reference guide. We’ve organized the different averages according to height, gender, and pace. 

HeightAverage Walk
[12:26 minutes per kilometer]
Moderate Walk
[11:12 minutes per kilometer]
Brisk Walk
[9.57 minutes per kilometer]
Fast Walk  
[8.43 minutes per kilometer]
5’ 0″7260686564706075
5’ 2″7170677563855985
5’ 4″7085669062955900
5’ 6″6995660562105815
5’ 8″6910651561255730
5’ 10″6820642560355640
6’ 0″6735634059455550
6’ 2″6650625558605465
6’ 4″6560616557705375

The table above shows how many steps are in 5 kms for men according to their height. Two main patterns can be seen:

  • As the walking pace increases, the number of steps taken decreases.
  • As the height increases, the number of steps taken decreases. This is the same for all walking paces.
  • A 5’ 0″ male requires 700 more steps to complete a 5K walk compared to a 6’ 4″ male for each of the walking paces.

With this, we can conclude that taller males have a longer stride length. This leads to a lower amount of steps taken for a 5K and improves performance. 

The Average Number Of Steps In A 5K Walk For Women

As women generally have a smaller stride length, we’ve divided the tables according to gender. So, how many steps are in a 5K walk for women? 

Whilst there will be some outliers, the values represent the averages for most of the population.

HeightAverage Walk
[12:26 minutes per kilometer]
Moderate Walk
[11:12 minutes per kilometer]
Brisk Walk
[9.57 minutes per kilometer]
Fast Walk
 [8.43 minutes per kilometer]
5’ 0″7360697065756180
5’ 2″7275688064856090
5’ 4″7190679564006005
5’ 6″7100670563105920
5’ 8″7010661562255830
5’ 10″6925653061355745
6’ 0″6835644560505655
6’ 2″6755635559605565
6’ 4″6670627058755480

Compared to the males, women have a shorter stride length and take more steps to complete a 5K at all walking paces.

Like the males, the same two patterns can be seen:

  • The number of steps decreases as the pace increases.
  • The number of steps decreases as the height increases.

The Average Number Of Steps In A 5K Run For Men And Women

The table below shows the average steps taken at different running paces for both genders. The values have been organized according to height.

HeightNormal Run
[7:28 minutes per kilometer]
Moderate Run
[6:13 minutes per kilometer]
Fast Run   
[4.58 minutes per kilometer]
Faster Run  
[3.43 minutes per kilometer]
5’ 0″6200531044203525
5’ 2″6115522543353445
5’ 4″6035514042503360
5’ 6″5950506041653275
5’ 8″5865497540853190
5’ 10″5780489040003110
6’ 0″5700480539153025
6’ 2″5615472538302940
6’ 4″5530464037502855

When comparing the average steps across the different running paces, two main patterns can be seen:

  • As the running pace gets quicker, the number of steps decreases.
  • As the height goes up, the number of steps slowly decreases. This is a slightly smaller difference than the one seen for the walking paces.

How To Measure Your Average Stride Length?

how many steps are in a 5k
Your average stride length depends on several factors. Photo: Freepik/Freepik

Step length and stride length are often used interchangeably. However, they are two different measurements that need to be understood to ensure accurate measurement.

Step length is the distance you cover when taking one step. Your stride length[8] is the distance you cover when taking one step with each foot. 

Lift one foot and stride forward. Once both feet are on the ground, stride forward with the other foot. The distance traveled in this motion is your stride length.

Your average stride length depends on several factors. As mentioned above, these include your physical characteristics and exercise terrain. 

To accurately calculate your average stride length, follow the steps below:

  1. Using a tape measure and a piece of chalk, measure and mark off a specific distance. In this example, we’ll use 20 feet.
  2. Start your normal walk approximately 10 feet away from the first mark. This is to ensure you get up to your natural walking pace.
  3. Start counting your strides when you hit the first mark. Stop counting when you hit the second one. 
  4. Divide the number of feet measured by your amount of strides to get your stride length. 

The equation is as follows:

Distance in feet divided by number of strides = stride length 

If your measured distance is 20 feet and you took 10 strides, your stride length would be two feet. 

If you want to ensure a more accurate measurement, use a longer distance. You can also do the same test multiple times and take the average value.

How To Track The Number Of Steps You Take In A 5K?

When performing a 5K, how many steps do you take? Tracking the number of steps in a 5k can be done automatically in three main ways.

Fitness Tracker

Fitness trackers use an accelerometer to detect movement. This information is used to calculate the number of steps you take. 

Some fitness trackers also have built-in heart rate monitoring and GPS tracking. Some give you the ability to sync with your computer or smartphone to monitor your progress on multiple platforms. 

Pedometer

A pedometer is a small, wearable device that measures the movement of your hips. This information is then used to calculate your steps. 

While they tend to not be as accurate as fitness trackers, they are generally less expensive. Despite this, they still offer fairly accurate step estimations. 

Smartphone

Most people carry a phone when performing their morning workout. What some don’t know is that most smartphones have a built-in accelerometer. This is used to detect movement and monitor the amount of steps taken.

The tracking options above provide easy ways to calculate how many steps are in a 5k walk or run.

How Many Steps A Day Should You Take?

how many steps are in a 5k
The magic number of daily steps depends on your lifestyle and goals. Photo: jcomp/Freepik

In general, it has been proposed that the average person walk 10,000 steps per day as the standard amount. Unfortunately, this number came from a marketing campaign done in Japan rather than scientific research.

A meta-analysis done by Sheng et al, 2021 identified significant associations between step count and mortality risk.[9] Researchers concluded that for every 1000 steps, the risk of all-cause mortality decreased by 23%.

Following up on this, a meta-analysis compared eight studies looking at the relationship between step count and risk of mortality.[10] They found that taking 6000 to 9000 daily steps was associated with a 40% to 50% lower disease risk. From this, they concluded that reductions in mortality risk occur at fewer than 10,000 steps.

The results of both studies suggest that taking just 6000 steps per day has health benefits and can drastically reduce the risk of all-cause mortality.

The magic number of daily steps depends on your lifestyle and goals. The number proposed in the research studies above can be used as guidance. Fit the steps into your daily lifestyle whilst aiming to hit the minimum amount of 6000 steps proposed.

How Long Does It Take To Do A 5K?

Completing a 5K is an achievable distance that’s appropriate for beginners and elite-level athletes. 

Whether you’re looking to increase your stamina or performance, an awareness of your pacing helps you to monitor your progress.

Generally speaking, beginners take approximately 35 minutes (seven minutes per kilometer) to run five kilometers. Experienced athletes take approximately 21 minutes (4:20 minutes per kilometer) to run five kilometers. 

Within this, there will be outliers such as those with a much longer stride length or natural ability.  

The conversion table below was sourced from here.[11] 

Minutes Per KilometerExpected 5-Kilometer Time
3:0015:00
4:0020:00
5:0025:00
6:0030:00
7:0035:00
8:0040:00
9:0045:00
10:0050:00

The table above can be used to estimate your average 5k time according to your minutes per kilometer.

The pace differences between walking vs running and running vs biking are large. This means the above table should only be used to calculate the time to run a 5K. 

The top of the table shows the expected 5K time when running at a three-minute kilometer pace. This would be classed as an advanced to elite time for most age groups.

At the bottom of the table, the 10-minute kilometer pace would be classed as a beginner time. 

If you want to use the chart to calculate your 5K time, start by timing how long it takes to complete a kilometer. Once you have this, use the chart as a reference guide. Read across the appropriate column. 

Calculating your steps per minute is an easy process. Count the number of steps you take to cover a mile and divide by the time taken. This gives you your average steps per minute. 

Once you have this value, this can be used with the table above to calculate your estimated 5K steps.

Conclusion

The number of steps needed to complete a 5K varies according to several factors. These include your gender, age, height, and pace. Other things to keep in mind include the terrain, your experience level, and your gait when exercising. 

The tables above can be used when wondering how many steps are in your 5k next time you exercise. To easily work out your steps, calculate your steps per minute and multiply by your 5K time.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many steps in a 5k run?

The number of steps required to complete a 5K run can vary considerably. Contributing factors include pace, stride length, physical activity level, and terrain. 
A good estimate for the number of steps required when running would be around 4375.

How many miles is 5K?

To convert kilometers to miles, consider the following – 1 Kilometer = 0.62 miles. 
With this, 5 kilometers is equal to 3.1 miles. 

How many steps are in a 30-minute walk?

A 30-minute walk requires approximately 3000 to 5000 steps. This will depend on similar factors such as your pace, physical characteristics, and terrain.

Can you lose weight by walking 10,000 steps every day?

To lose weight, a sustained calorie deficit is required. Walking 10,000 steps daily can help contribute to this. There isn’t a specified number of miles a day to lose weight.

Resources

  1. Lee, D., Pate, R.R., Lavie, C.J., Sui, X., Church, T.S. and Blair, S.N. (2014). Leisure-Time Running Reduces All-Cause and Cardiovascular Mortality Risk. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, [online] 64(5), pp.472–481. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2014.04.058.
  2. Werner W.K. Hoeger, Bond, L., Ransdell, L., Shimon, J.M. and Sunitha Merugu (2008). ONE-MILE STEP COUNT AT WALKING AND RUNNING SPEEDS. Acsm’s Health & Fitness Journal, [online] 12(1), pp.14–19. doi:https://doi.org/10.1249/01.fit.0000298459.30006.8d.
  3. Ardestani, M.M., Ferrigno, C., Mehran Moazen and Wimmer, M.A. (2016). From normal to fast walking: Impact of cadence and stride length on lower extremity joint moments. Gait & Posture, [online] 46, pp.118–125. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gaitpost.2016.02.005.
  4. Abdulhadi Al-Makhalas, Turki Abualait, Ahsan, M., Abdulaziz, S. and Wafa Al Muslem (2023). A gender based comparison and correlation of spatiotemporal gait parameters and postural stability. PubMed, [online] 94(2), pp.e2023057–e2023057. doi:https://doi.org/10.23750/abm.v94i2.13602.
  5. Scott Nolan Drum, Ludwig Rappelt, Held, S. and Donath, L. (2023). Effects of Trail Running versus Road Running—Effects on Neuromuscular and Endurance Performance—A Two Arm Randomized Controlled Study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, [online] 20(5), pp.4501–4501. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20054501.
  6. Giezenaar, C., Chapman, I., Luscombe-Marsh, N., Feinle-Bisset, C., Horowitz, M. and Soenen, S. (2016). Ageing Is Associated with Decreases in Appetite and Energy Intake—A Meta-Analysis in Healthy Adults. Nutrients, [online] 8(1), pp.28–28. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/nu8010028.
  7. Gamwell, H.E., Wait, S.O., Royster, J.T., Ritch, B.L., Powell, S.C. and Skinner, J.W. (2022). Aging and Gait Function: Examination of Multiple Factors that Influence Gait Variability. Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine, [online] 8, p.233372142210803-233372142210803. doi:https://doi.org/10.1177/23337214221080304.
  8. Santos-Concejero, J., Tam, N., Granados, C., Irazusta, J., Iraia Bidaurrazaga-Letona, Zabala-Lili, J. and Gil, S.M. (2014). Stride Angle as a Novel Indicator of Running Economy in Well-Trained Runners. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, [online] 28(7), pp.1889–1895. doi:https://doi.org/10.1519/jsc.0000000000000325.
  9. Sheng, M., Yang, J., Bao, M., Chen, T., Cai, R., Zhang, N., Chen, H., Liu, M., Wu, X., Zhang, B., Liu, Y. and Chao, J. (2021). The relationships between step count and all-cause mortality and cardiovascular events: A dose–response meta-analysis. Journal of Sport and Health Science, [online] 10(6), pp.620–628. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jshs.2021.09.004.
  10. Paluch, A.E., Bajpai, S., Ballin, M., Bassett, D.R., Buford, T.W., Carnethon, M.R., Chernofsky, A., Dooley, E.E., Ekelund, U., Evenson, K.R., Galuska, D.A., Jefferis, B.J., Kong, L., Kraus, W.E., Larson, M.G., Lee, I-Min., Matthews, C.E., Newton, R.L., Nordström, A. and Nordström, P. (2023). Prospective Association of Daily Steps With Cardiovascular Disease: A Harmonized Meta-Analysis. Circulation, [online] 147(2), pp.122–131. doi:https://doi.org/10.1161/circulationaha.122.061288.
  11. Strava. (2023). Running Pace Calculator. [online] Available at: https://www.strava.com/running-pace-calculator.