Improving Your Mile Time

Improving Your Mile Time

Posted on July 27, 2020 by Carey Nelson

The Forerunners Mile Challenge is well underway. There are a few more days left to run your first mile in the month of July to qualify for the draw prizes. You may be looking to run a faster mile during the second leg of the challenge during the month of August which is the purpose of today’s newsletter.

Running a faster mile is different than running a faster half marathon. With the mile there is much more speed for a short duration of time. As you train for marathons and half marathons you tend to lose your top speed. A few quick workouts and you will be amazed how much faster your mile time will be.

If you are serious about improving your mile time I would suggest missing a few long runs and substitute extra speed sessions. From some points of view the mile is an extended sprint. There has to be a strong emphasis on a faster pace and some of your speed workouts should be faster than your goal mile pace. Here are a few workouts that will help you run a faster mile.

  1. High speed 200s – 10 x 200m with at least 90 seconds recovery. Your speed should be faster than your goal mile time. If your speed is dropping during the workout you need to take a 5 minute break after the first 5 repeats.
  2. Mile pace 300s – 8 x 300m with at least 90 seconds recovery. Your speed should be your goal mile time. If your speed is dropping during the workout you need to take a 5 minute break after the first 4 repeats.
  3. Mile pace 400s – 6 x 400m with 2 minutes recovery. Your speed should be your goal mile time. 

Here are the paces for a 8 minute mile speed workout. 1 mile is 4 laps of the track. An 8 minute mile is 8minutes /4 laps = 2:00 per 400m.

10 x 200m should be run at 1 minute less 5 to 10 seconds; for 8minute mile runner 50 seconds to 55 seconds per 200m

8 x 300m should be run at 1:30 less 5 to 10 seconds; for 8minute mile runner 80 seconds to 85 seconds per 300m

6 x 400m should be run in 2 minutes; for 8minute mile runner 2 minutes per 400m

I am suggesting these 3 short distance workouts sharpen up your speed if you have already been following the marathon or half marathon program.  By following the longer distance program you have a strong aerobic base and you have been running Wednesday evening speedwork at 10km pace. You don’t need more endurance, you need more speed.

If you are a 5km runner or 10km runner and you have not been following a long distance program you could add in longer intervals such as 3 x 800m at 3km pace; or, 10 x 400m at 3km pace; or 3 x 1200m at 5km pace to build your mile endurance. These workouts are in addition to the speed workouts recommended above.

Improving your mile time in the summer will lead to faster marathon and half marathon times in the future. Enjoy the good weather of the summer which is the best time to work on your speed because your muscles are more relaxed in the heat. It’s fun to run faster and adds variety to your running.