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What’s your mile time?
Runners are always looking for new challenges. Some people get bored of 5Ks and start doing obstacle races. Others graduate from improving their half-marathon time to tackling the full 26.2-miler. Here’s a new challenge to consider: See how fast you can run a mile!
There’s something magical about the mile. It is the fundamental unit of long distance in the English measurement system. In the 1950s, the pursuit of the first sub-4 minute mile for men, and sub-5 minute mile for women, captivated the world. Now it’s your turn to pursue your own fastest time. Plus, regardless if you’re a newbie or advanced runner, this is a distance you can master!
Training for the Mile
You might assume that training for the mile is all about speed. It’s true that speed work is important in mile training. But as the legendary running coach Arthur Lydiard pointed out in a famous 1962 article for Sports Illustrated, titled “Marathons for Milers,” there are plenty of people who can run at a world-class mile pace for 400 meters. It’s the ability to sustain that speed that separates the elite milers from the rest. So optimal mile training puts as much emphasis on stamina as speed.
These three plans do just that. Each is eight weeks long and contains a recovery week halfway through the plan. At the end of the recovery week, you will run a 1-mile time trial as practice for your real
1-mile race four weeks later.
Choose the mile training plan that best fits your level of running.
An Easy Run is a steady-pace run at low intensity (LI) or an effort at which you can talk very comfortably.
A Speed Play Run sprinkles short efforts at high intensity (HI) across an otherwise easy run. For example, if a given speed play run calls for eight, 20-second efforts at high intensity in a 30-minute run, space these efforts evenly between a 5-minute warm-up and a 5-minute cool-down. In these runs, high intensity means a pace that’s a little faster than your anticipated mile race pace.
A Tempo Run features a block of moderate-intensity (MI) running sandwiched between a warm-up and a cool-down. Moderate intensity is your 10K race pace or a comfortably hard effort.
An Interval Run is a hard effort at high intensity followed by low-intensity recoveries. Intervals of 300 to 500 meters should be run at your anticipated mile race pace or a hair faster. Intervals of 800 to 1,200 meters should be done at or near your 5K race pace. It’s best to do interval runs on a 400-meter track for exact measurements.
A Fast Finish Run is similar to a tempo run except that the moderate- intensity segment comes at the end instead of the middle.