Running on the road, on a treadmill, and on a track can all be very different experiences.
If you’re a distance runner who usually runs on the road or a treadmill and you want to translate your running to the track, you may need to know how many laps a certain amount of miles is.
Knowing how far you’re running can help you keep your time consistent, whether you’re on the track or on the road. It can also help you push your stamina.
But because tracks are generally measured in meters, figuring out the exact number of laps can sometimes be a bit tricky.
How many laps equal 5 miles on an outdoor track?
How many laps are equal to 5 miles on a track depends on the track and which lane you’re running in.
In general, all outdoor tracks are 400 meters around, and this distance is measured from the innermost lane.
If you measure from any other lane, you’ll get a slightly longer distance.
If we know that a lap on almost any outdoor track is 400 meters, we can use that number to figure out how many laps you will need to run or walk to complete 5 miles.
One mile is equal to about 1610 meters, so four laps are just a tiny bit under 1 mile.
This means that you would need to run 20 laps to achieve right around 5 miles.
The number won’t be exact, as each lap is slightly under a mile, so you might want to run a little bit extra to make up the difference.
The difference, however, is very small. You could also run in the lane that’s second or third from the inside to gain a bit of extra distance.
How many laps equal 5 miles on an indoor track?
Indoor tracks are, by necessity, somewhat smaller than outdoor tracks.
Most indoor tracks are half the size of outdoor tracks, with each lap measuring 200 meters.
This means that you’ll need to run double the distance. On an indoor track, 5 miles is equal to about 40 laps.
Preparing for a 5 Mile Run
For some people, a 5-mile run might not seem like a long-distance, but it can be a big accomplishment to other people who are just starting or getting back into running.
Because it’s a long-distance, it’s important to train and prepare properly before heading out on a run of that length.
As you’re training, start gradually. Don’t try for 5 miles right away, but instead start with shorter lengths.
Try running a quarter or half of a mile, or one to two laps around the track.
Gradually increase your stamina by adding laps over time, until you’ve built up to either 20 or 40 laps, depending on where you’re running.
When you’re training for a longer run, it’s a good idea to include plenty of rest and cross-training days in between your running days.
Rest days allow your body to recover, and this can aid in muscle growth and stamina.
Cross-training days are days when you engage in a different exercise.
These days are intended to increase strength and stamina in ways that running doesn’t.
It’s a great idea to get involved in exercises, such as weight-lifting, strength training, or biking, that utilize different muscles and require different strengths than running.
On the days you run, start each run with a walk or jog in order to warm up.
It’s also a good idea to stretch before running so as to warm up your muscles and decrease the risk of a sprain or pulled muscle.
After your run, use the same walking or jogging and light stretching routine to cool down and let your body recover.
Add distance to your runs gradually. Don’t try to add more distance each time, but increase the distance by about 1/2 mile each week.
Setting a Running Pace
If you’re looking to push your running speed or stamina, or if you want to compete in a race, you’ll need to find a running pace that works well for you.
When you’re training, your running pace should start at a speed where you could still comfortably carry on a conversation, and this speed will increase over time without leaving you out of breath.
As you push your time, you can use tempo and interval running to increase your pace.
Tempo runs are designed to help you find a pace that works for you.
Start a tempo run at a comfortable, easy pace before pushing into just below a pace that’s more challenging but still comfortable.
Some runners refer to this as a ‘comfortable hard’ pace. Interval runs include relatively short intervals of easy running interspersed with intervals of harder running, where you push yourself for more speed, of the same length.
You can also use uphill areas to increase your stamina and utilize different muscles.