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Tips On Racing The Mile (Read 277 times)


Muddling through

    How to run - and win - a mile, and by implication, how to lose one.

     

    Scenario: HS league championship. Best seed time in the mid-4:30s. My runner, Bob, has beaten everyone in the field over the course of the season but is inexplicably seeded 4th. Track is loose ciinders, not at all a fast track.

     

    The Race: Madcap start and Bob settles into last place while the leader takes the field through in 63.  Bob is last at the quarter in 69. The field slows the second lap and Bob moves up a couple places. the leader comes through around 2:142:15 and Bob is 2:20. In the third lap the field is well stretched out and the leader comes through in 3:31. The leader is Bob and the field stretches out behind him for at least 50 yards. Bob wins by 5 seconds in 4:40. He is later congratulated by one of the top coaches in the state for having run one of the best races he's ever seen a HS boy run.

    2014 Goals: Run first trail ultra, first 100K, and see what I can do in a 24-Hour race

      Not enough of us share stories from our failures. This is a shame because I think we can learn as much or more from them as we do from our successes. So, using Happyfeet (sorry HF) and myself as examples, here are two examples of how not to run the mile.

       

      If you want to know how not to run the mile, here is an example.  Started on pace, but got comfortable in  lap 2 and 3.

       

      It looks like HF lost a little focus. It's a real damn intense race, you know.

       

      Splits for my mile last year looked like this: 1:15 1:22 1:25 1:21

       

      I blew up on the first lap then lost focus trying to just survive. Way too intense!

       

      Kevin from Gville, I wish I could have contrasted these graphs with your 4:52 mile. That was a good mile.

        Kevin from Gville, I wish I could have contrasted these graphs with your 4:52 mile. That was a good mile.

        Thanks X. My "bad" mile: 70, 80, 82, 74. vs. the "good" mile a month later: 71, 75, 76, 70

        Come all you no-hopers, you jokers and rogues
        We're on the road to nowhere, let's find out where it goes

          Thanks X. My "bad" mile: 70, 80, 82, 74. vs. the "good" mile a month later: 71, 75, 76, 70

           

          What were the lessons from the "bad" to "good" for you? Concentration, going out more relaxed, focused workouts geared to the mile in between?

           

          It seems like a fine line but we sure know the difference when we see it.

            I'd like to say concentration - but really it was probably more competition that helped the second one (obviously one helped with the other). That, and just knowing what it felt like, so knowing that I could hang in the third lap and push and my legs weren't going to fall off if I did. That first mile, I was so surprised by the first lap, I kind of freaked out and backed off too much.

            Come all you no-hopers, you jokers and rogues
            We're on the road to nowhere, let's find out where it goes

               

              What were the lessons from the "bad" to "good" for you? Concentration, going out more relaxed, focused workouts geared to the mile in between?

               

              It seems like a fine line but we sure know the difference when we see it.

               

              Looks like the main difference was conditioning/fitness (mental toughness also plays a role), and a very fine improvement at that! Kudos to Gville!

              Adam_McAllen


              Beer-and-waffle Powered

                I failed to mention that this event is a road race, I am just hoping it's not a hairpin turn!  If it is, my thoughts were to approach it wide to lessen the need to slow down.  I know that will add to the distance traveled, but it's either that or break my stride. Does that sound right?

                 

                Be careful on the hairpins. The stress you put on your hips in a turn like that is really large. I messed up my hip doing a workout that involved hairpin terms (worst running group ever) so I ended up doing a lot more than one, at faster-than-mile pace but still... they aren't good for the body.

                 

                Good luck with the mile!

                In the words of my late-coach : Just hang in there, relax... and at the end of a race anyone you see.....just pass them

                  I went back to look at the mile races I've run as an adult with my GPS and they look similar to the graphs posted here.  I have 4  track miles where I actually wore a GPS.  If I set the RA splits to 400m, use lap 1 as baseline and report time deltas (in seconds) off lap 1 here's what I get:

                   

                  Time Lap1 Lap2 Lap3 Lap4
                  5:26 0.0 +0.9 +2.2 -0.9
                  5:25 0.0  +0.8 +1.0 -0.8
                  5;29 0.0 +0.1 +1.3 -1.8
                  5:37 0.0 -2.1 -0.9 -6.4

                   

                  I have a couple slightly faster miles, and slower miles, but I didn't wear a GPS for those so can't show the data, plus I ignore any road miles I did since those can have other factors involved.  All of these have been run from 2009 to 2013.  In 4 years I have about 11 seconds of improvement!  Not very much but then I don't train like a miler, just run them for fun.

                   

                  The 5:37 was one of the very first miles I ever ran and I definitely went out way too slow.   I wasn't used to the intensity you have to endure in a mile race.  As others have stated, clearly Lap3 is the lap where you lose focus, get tired whatever.  Lap 4 seems to take care of itself as all you want to do is get the darned thing over with.

                  I'd guess that on the road, strategy may change depending on the course but for me it still comes down to not relaxing in the 3rd quarter of the race.

                  LRB


                  Dreamer

                     

                    Time Lap1 Lap2 Lap3 Lap4
                    5:26 0.0 +0.9 +2.2 -0.9
                    5:25 0.0  +0.8 +1.0 -0.8
                    5;29 0.0 +0.1 +1.3 -1.8
                    5:37 0.0 -2.1 -0.9 -6.4

                     

                    Your comments about not going out fast enough for your 5:37, corroborates what MJ5 said about not being able to make up for lost time no matter what.

                     

                    Adam, you are speaking to El Busted Up Hippo himself, aye!

                     

                    xris, if you swap your first and last split, it doesn't look as bad.  Too bad you cannot swap how you were feeling that last quarter!   

                     

                    1:15 1:22 1:25 1:21

                    Know thyself

                      My best mile was actually a 1500 back in college. Perfectly even splits: 64-64-64-47. I just "had it" that day. That first 64 felt like I was just walking, second 64 just barely started to feel it. It was a dual meet, and I was leading the race at the 800. Third 64 I was getting excited that I would run a PR, but a couple of better guys went zipping by me. The last 300 I don't really remember. But the good ones never seem to hurt that bad.

                       

                      I probably went out in 64 or 65 for every mile that I ran in high school, but the best I managed was a 4:29. I ran a ton of races that went something like 65 - 70 - 72 - 68.

                       

                      /glory dayz (thanks for indulging)

                        xris, if you swap your first and last split, it doesn't look as bad.  Too bad you cannot swap how you were feeling that last quarter!   

                         

                        1:15 1:22 1:25 1:21

                         

                        Interesting. That might look better on paper.

                         

                        In my mind I think I could have at least run steady at 1:19-20s but that would that have produced what? A 7-8 second improvement? Big whup! I've got unfinished business.

                          My best mile was actually a 1500 back in college. Perfectly even splits: 64-64-64-47. I just "had it" that day. That first 64 felt like I was just walking, second 64 just barely started to feel it. It was a dual meet, and I was leading the race at the 800. Third 64 I was getting excited that I would run a PR, but a couple of better guys went zipping by me. The last 300 I don't really remember. But the good ones never seem to hurt that bad.

                           

                          I probably went out in 64 or 65 for every mile that I ran in high school, but the best I managed was a 4:29. I ran a ton of races that went something like 65 - 70 - 72 - 68.

                           

                          /glory dayz (thanks for indulging)

                           

                          My best 'mile' was also a 1500.  Using the standard conversion factor of 1.08 it calculates to a 5:18.6 but even on a net downhill road mile the best actual mile I've ever run was 5:22.  I'd like to train for the mile one summer but I'd have to give up too many of the road races I love.  Can't do it all unfortunately.

                            We have a neat local one mile race that's broken into age group heats. I enjoy running it,  but also watching and cheering at the other heats.

                            Well at least someone here is making relevance to the subject.


                            HobbyJogger & HobbyRacer

                              Run three laps in 56 each then run the last a second faster with the fastest Kenyan miler on your heels (youtube)

                              It's a 5k. It hurt like hell...then I tried to pick it up. The end.

                              Everydog


                                Nice thread.

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