Tips On Racing The Mile (Read 280 times)





    My plan this year is to spend the first part of the season racing 5k's, and the 1 mile distance when I can find it.  There is one coming up that is actually not a fun run for kids, so I am chomping at the bit to get after it.


    I have been running for three years, but have never raced the mile.  Would anyone care to offer any training advice or racing insight into this mysterious yet tantalizing distance?


    My fastest mile in competition (6:40) came during the first mile of a 5k a couple years ago, but I really do not know where to place my expectations.


    My pie in the sky goal is a sub-6:00, but realistically, my guess would be 6:15 ish, and that might hurt.



      and that  might  will hurt.



      I'll throw in my amateur advice....I ran a couple of miles last year, and plan to do the same this summer. Can't really give any training advice specifically, but some thoughts...


      Getting the mile right on your first try will be tough. Like any distance. Getting your first 5k right, f'rinstance - almost no one does. So, practice. Lots of practice at mile pace. Ideally you'd be able to do more than one race, as you will learn volumes about all the mistakes you make in your first. Like how you went out too fast. Or too slow. Or how you didn't kick soon enough. Or kicked too soon. Or how you lost concentration in third quarter.


      For me, one thing that helped in my second mile (besides applying all the lessons from the first), was having a "strategy" for each quarter. So, it was first quarter - get out fast, second quarter - cover ground (fast, relaxed, smooth), third quarter - pay attention (stay focused - this is probably the hardest part of the race), last quarter - release the hounds. What that amounts too...as even pacing as possible, because releasing the hounds at the end will take all the effort you've got left, and doing that will probably get you a similar lap time.


      Get the right group of people around you and the mile can be the most exhilarating race you run. Lots o' hurt, but it's over before you know it.


      Not sure any of that helped. Good luck and have fun.


      Also, more here: http://www.runningahead.com/forums/topic/70045ab70bbe4bf6a08703831a3eef60/0

      Come all you no-hopers, you jokers and rogues
      We're on the road to nowhere, let's find out where it goes
        Haven't raced a mile, but do mile time trials every now and then and the second and third quarters are tough if paced right and need the most attention so the pace does not slip. Run that third quarter harder than you think you can hold. The final quarter takes care of itself. I can run the mile about 45 seconds faster than my 5k race pace, so 6:00-6:10 sounds reasonable for you

          Do it. The mile is a blast.


          Get the right group of people around you and the mile can be the most exhilarating race you run. Lots o' hurt, but it's over before you know it.


          +1 to this. I think it would be really, really tough to time trial a mile in anywhere close to what you could do if you are racing people from wire to wire, unless you were really experienced at racing the mile. The intensity is just not something that most adults who run road races are used to.


          In December I raced my first mile in over 25 years--since high school track. I blogged about it here. My own "pie in the sky" goal had been sub-5. I really did not think I had much of a chance at it on the first try, but I figured I would probably be able to get under 5:10. When I entered the meet I put down a seed time of 5:05 which wound up being perfect because it put me a heat with a range from 5:55 to 5:05 (I was seeded 12th out of 13 people in our heat) so I had people to race with for the entire race. If you can't find a meet or a race where you think there will be a bunch of people around the same speed as you, maybe see if you can get some friends who are faster than you to run your target pace, just to have people to work off of.


          It was one of the craziest and best experiences I've had in running. The adrenaline rush is like nothing else I've done. It was also terrifying and painful in a totally different way than any other race. I highly, highly recommend everyone race the mile. To me there is something almost mythical about that distance.


          As for training advice--I didn't do anything specific and unless you plan on turning into a miler full time I would say you don't need to either. I just ran it off of the winter base building that I was doing. The only thing I did specifically was one workout a few days before the race where I went to the track and did 4 x 300m at what I figured was mile pace. That was just to give myself a taste of how fast it was going to be and probably served no real training purpose. I wanted to try and make the pace feel less shockingly fast--I'm not sure it really did.

          Runners run.


            Here's an article with a video that I made about it.


            Basically, here's the deal. Don't go out too hard, but be smooth and fast in the first lap. Don't settle in the second lap. Keep the pace crisp and move up if you can. Third lap is where you make or break your race. Push the pace. Fourth lap is toughest on the back stretch. Keep pushing hard, but hold onto your form. Once you hit the back curve, ramp it up. It's never too early to kick.

            Good Grief!

              You should already have the aerobic base you need, so mile specific training is what you need. RT has some training programs for various levels for the mile including Mastering the Mile. If you just want to wing it, the key component in many programs is working your way up to 10-12 x 400m at mile race pace with a full 400m recovery.


              Like other distance races, even though it is classed as middle distance, even pacing is desired with a slight spurt at the start to position yourself where you want to be and a kick at the end. Where most runners stumble in the mile is the 3rd lap when they are tired and relax too much or don't start to increase their effort to maintain the pace and coast.

              2018 Goals: taking suggestions
              2018 Races: D3 50K, Nun Run 5K, Rundle's Revenge 25K, NC 24


              Chief Unicorn Officer

                I agree that it's hard to get it right on the first try.  I PR'ed last year in my fourth mile of four in a row I ran in the month of August (although one was uphill so I don't really count that as a "try").  It was in a series.  I'd done the same series last year with no real expectations or strategies, but it gave me a baseline to work form.


                I split my mile races into quarters.


                Last year in one of the non-PR miles I ran, I took home the lesson of "if you run too conservative in the beginning you will run out of time to make that up."  I had run my first lap in, I think, 1:36.  WAY too slow for my goal of sub-6:00.  The rest of my quarters were faster, but there's just not enough time to fix a big mistake early on.


                In my PR miles I had a plan to run each quarter evenly at a pace that would put me under 6, which I did.  I was actually under my planned splits, so I just went with it.  For what it's worth, it's easier not to panic.  As long as I was was not STUPID under the split, I told myself, okay, less than a mile to go.  Half a mile to go.  Ya know.  I personally think the best plan is to have your quarter mile splits planned out and know what you have to hit, and execute.

                Mile 5:49 - 5K 19:58 - 10K 43:06 - HM 1:36:54

                  One thing I would recommend:  Warm up well first!    Some jogging, and maybe a few quick-paced sprints about 10 minutes before you start the race will help alot.  Gets the blood flowing and your body ready for what you are about to do.


                  Last year in my only mile attempt, I started out cold, and it felt like my body said "WTF!" in the first lap, and didn't get to a faster and normalized pace until lap 2.    So warming up + getting the body ready helps!  (Maybe a little bit of  coffee/caffeine pre race too)

                  The Plan '15 →   ///    "Run Hard, Live Easy."   ∞

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                      Hey LRB, I was in the same boat/nearly same pace as you last year and wanted to race the mile.

                      I found a race on a local track , and trained for it using this plan - http://www.runnersworld.co.uk/racing/the-solid-mile/64.html.  My first race I ran a 6:08.  That was so darn close to breaking my 6 minute dream that I tried a more aggressive plan. (http://www.runnersworld.co.uk/racing/the-murderous-mile/63.html).  I actually ran 5:55 on the new plan!  It was well worth it, and my 5K time also improved as a result of the mile training.

                      Strategy wise, on the track it's pretty easy to know how you're doing in the race.  I tried to run 90's, went out a little faster and tried to hang on.  For me the third lap was the toughest.  Adrenalin got me through the last lap.

                      Good luck.  It will hurt but it will be worth it!



                        Wow, this is some really good stuff thanks peeps!


                        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?


                        There is a 1 mile event on a track in June that coincides with the end of the Daniels 5k training plan that I am following, so perhaps Kevin that will be my best effort.


                        I am one of those racers who does not get nervous before an event, so I share the excitement and enthusiasm that you all have shown, and look forward to the pain!


                        Sounds like the consensus is to break this bad boy up into quarters.  I can do that.


                        Kris, my warmup will be similar to what I do for a 5k; about 2 miles easy running, a half mile at marathon/tempo pace then about 4-8 strides at 5k pace.  I am uncertain if I should run them at 1 mile goal race pace?


                        wc2, I have actually done 9 x 400's and 12 x 400's recently, and those things kicked my butt!  The overall pace there was 6:30 to 6:24 ish, but I felt great about my effort both times though.  12 X 400's at "R" pace is an extremely tough workout, but oh so gratifying when it's over!


                        I am in Michigan, and despite the explosion in running popularity here, the 1 mile event is very rare...well, there is one at every 5k, for kids!


                          Taking notes. Smile


                          I have my first miler in August (probably the same one Kris ran last year, our club puts it on), definitely looking forward to it.


                          My running blog

                          Goals | sub-18 5k | sub-3 marathon 2:56:46!!



                            Here's an article with a video that I made about it.


                            It's a small world.  I actually have that video and a couple others bookmarked from previous research!


                            wc2, this line lets you know this cat is old school:


                            "For the mile, repetitive speedwork is a must," he says. "Running intervals with 220, 330, or 440 yard repeats is necessary if you really want to be competitive."


                            Yards?  I love it!


                            Edwards, for where I am in terms of running fitness, I would probably jump right into the Murderous Mile training plan if it fit into my schedule.  What can I say, I'm a glutton for punishment!

                              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.



                                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.




                                I bet there are more ways to NOT run a good mile than to run a good one.


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


                                No doubt it was my worst executed race. My undoing happened in the first 250 meters and it was downhill from there.