How to Calculate a Mile

To calculate a mile, you will need to gather the information necessary for making an accurate measurement of distance. It's possible to calculate a mile using your stride and steps accumulated from a day of walking.

    First, you need to calculate your stride. Lay a piece of measuring tape on the ground. Make sure the ground is a flat surface and that the tape is in a straight line. You will start at the beginning of the measuring tape, with the toe of one foot at the zero mark.

    Walk ten steps. You should walk at a regular pace, neither faster nor slower than normal. If it feels awkward at first, you can walk back and forth a few times to get your pacing right. Ensure that for your final run, your toe is starting at the beginning of the measuring tape.

    At your tenth step, stop. Note where your forward foot is located. On the measuring tape, mark the spot reached by the toe of your forward foot.

    You now have the distance from the first toe of your first step to the first toe of your tenth step. Divide this distance by 10. This number is your average stride length.

    If you did not record the distance in feet, convert this number to feet now. For example: If your average length was recorded in centimeters, multiply by 0.0328 to convert to feet. Otherwise, if your average stride length is for instance 24 inches, your average stride length in feet is two (because there are 24 inches in 2 feet).

    Now that you know the stride of your step in feet, you can calculate a mile. There are 5,280 feet in one mile. Simply divide 5,280 feet by your average stride length to learn how many steps it will take to walk a mile. If your average stride length is 2 feet, for example, it will take 2,640 steps to walk a mile. To avoid counting to thousands in your head, bring along a pedometer to measure the steps taken.

    If you want to calculate how many miles you've walked over a day's time, check your pedometer at the end of the day. Write down the number of steps your pedometer reports. Multiply the number of steps with your stride length, and then divide by 5,280 feet.

    It's also possible to calculate the length of a running stride, and calculate a mile ran instead of walked. However, be sure to take extra care when calculating your stride. The pace at which you run or jog will need to be consistent throughout your run. Not all pedometers count steps from running because it's a different motion than walking, so be sure to double check your pedometer's ability before completing a run.

    Tips

    • If you are unsure of a conversion factor, or can't remember whether to multiply or divide a certain number, find a conversion factor in an encyclopedia or online research tool. Multiply or divide in order to cancel units. Another option is using a conversion calculator easily found with an online search.

      If you already know a speed and the time taken to move a certain distance, you also can calculate distance in miles. Simply multiply the speed by the time. If a car drives two hours at 64 miles per hour, it traveled 130 miles.

References

About the Author

Marynia Kolak is an interdisciplinary writer with a science background. Her articles have appeared in the Buzz, the examiner.com, and Environmental Resources. She has picked microfossils and constructed maps in state and federal geological surveys. Kolak received her Bachelor of Science in geology, and is a candidate in an Master of Fine Arts creating writing program. She lives in Chicago.

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