How fast can LeBron James run a mile? Faster than you think

By Ryan Sterner

August 22, 2017

If you’ve been keeping up with LeBron James on Instagram this summer, you’ll know that the King spent his offseason telling weird stories in Mexico, going bald (finally), and posting some seemingly intense workout videos–as is a right of passage for all NBA players since the dawn of social media.

Today, though, LeBron posted a workout video that lead some folks at Citius Mag to ask the question every runner has asked about other professional athletes since the beginning of time: how fast could LeBron run a mile?

Here is the video in question (h/t to Liam Boylan-Pett for bringing it to our attention):

Here is my answer: LeBron James could run at least a 4:40 mile.

The Citius Headquarters guffawed. But what about his big weird feet? His training isn’t running specific! He weighs 250 pounds!

All of that is hogwash, and I’ll tell you why.

I could do some rough math and figure out how fast he’s running in the video, but I won’t because that’s dumb. We don’t know where in his daily workout this particular conditioning drill lies. Nor are we sure that he’s actually going the prescribed “all out” pace his trainers are asking. There are too many variables to speculate.

Instead, I will use tried and true anecdotal evidence.

I played basketball all throughout high school. As was tradition, on the first day of practice our coach had us line up and run a mile. If you ran faster than six minutes, you never had to run the mile time trial again. If you failed to run faster than six minutes, Coach Skinner had you lineup everyday before practice started and run the mile until you did.

Most of the guys were able to complete the task by the end of the first week of practice. For the guys that didn’t, the beginning of practice became a bit of a spectacle. We would line the gym and scream ourselves hoarse, trying to rally our fallen soldiers to a sub-6 mile.

But maybe some people just aren’t capable of moving their bodies that fast? How long would Coach Skinner (a brief aside: our coach was in his 30th year of coaching by the time I entered high school. Were his methods unorthodox? Of course they were, they were from a TOUGHER era of basketball. The pictures of his winning teams from the 1970s littered the halls of our school. His men back then had moustaches. I imagine they drank Budweiser on the bench, and they absolutely all smoked cigarettes in class. We, by comparison, were small, undernourished, acne-riddled.) let this death march go on?

“AS LONG AS IT TAKES,” he shouted.

Eventually, at least from what I remember, everyone did it. We had a guy on our team who easily weighed 300 pounds–we’ll call it an athletic 300 pounds, as he eventually went on to play Division I football. He ran 5:55.

So here it is: if my friend, a 300 pound buffoon who never played outside of garbage time could go out and run 5:55, then LeBron James could absolutely run 4:40. Because LeBron James is AT LEAST a minute and twenty seconds better than my friend at running the mile. Whoops, he’s been upgraded to 4:35.

Also, let’s think about how much more work LeBron does every single day than your typical high school runner. Who do you know ran 4:40 in high school? Oh, literally everyone? Even the kid who was so small and sad looking that his mom had to use a clothespin to keep his jersey from falling off? Excuse me, I’ve just upgraded LeBron James to a 4:20 mile.

LeBron James, 4:20 miler.

Ryan Sterner

Hobby jogger and soup enthusiast whose work has appeared in a number of highly esteemed publications such as Flotrack, The Howard Lake Herald Journal and Ebaum's World. Currently a resident of Los Angeles, where he spends most of his time indoors.