How to get better at running a mile

In the military our fitness was tested by running 1.5 miles as fast as we could. I loved it. I love to know my absolute maximum speed to run a mile. The world record is under 4 minutes. My personal best is nowhere near that, but I keep getting a little quicker, and you can too with some simple training methods.

run a mile faster

WHAT’S SO SPECIAL ABOUT THE MILE?

As runners, we generally measure our speed in minutes per mile, and we record how many miles we’ve run. Introduce yourself to running a mile, and the further races will easily follow. Get faster at running a mile, and your other distance time will improve too.

Start running with this mile training plan

WOMEN AND RUNNING THE MILE

Only in 1972 were women allowed to compete in the metric mile (1500m) race (that’s 109m off the whole mile). In 2015 a new record was set by Etheopian Genzebe Dibaba of 3:50:07. But for the whole mile (those last 109m included) Svetlana Masterkova has the women’s record of 4:12.56. So no female is yet to break the four-minute barrier. Maybe it could be you?! Read on to see how you need to be training.

HOW FAST ARE WE TALKING?

For those of you who know your average pacing, you will be astounded to know that in order to run a mile in four minutes you would be running at 15 miles per hour, under 2:30 per km, or just under 15 second per 100m!!!

THE TRAINING PLAN

The best way to train for your mile is on a track. 400m is a good distance to use as it is a quarter of a mile, so doing race pace laps if you were training for a 4-minute mile would be simple; 400m in 1 minute, repeat! A more realistic target of 6 minute miles can be broken down into 10 x 400m in 90 seconds, with 1-minute rest interval between each lap.

Try this workout:

400m laps

  • 10 minutes light jogging warm up
  • 4 x 400m at race pace with two minutes recovery in between each lap
  • 10 minutes light jog cool down

Or this:

800m descending track run

  • 10 minutes light jogging warm up
  • 800m lap (you would aim for 3 minutes if your goal mile was 6 minutes)
  • 600m recovery jog
  • 600m lap at race pace
  • 400m recovery jog
  • 400m race pace
  • 200m recovery jog
  • 200m race pace
  • 100m recovery jog
  • Cool down and stretch

NOW PUT IT IN TO ACTION

There’s plenty of Athletics meets around the place, so book yourself in and race against the clock, and others! Also be sure to monitor how your 5 and 10km race times improve as you work on your mile.

Let me know how you get on, and remember to share your progress on Social Media by using the hashtag #armygirlsrun

 

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