>Racing>Mile pacing for a guy who doesn't normally race the mile
On a whim I’m thinking of racing the mile this weekend, so I ran a time trial this morning in 7:22. Maybe an outside chance at breaking 7:00 (yes, I’m old). For pacing strategy, I thought I would try to hold a 7:05 pace until the last 100 meters then push it in with whatever is left. Does that sound right, for anyone here experienced at this distance? On the time trial I had intended to start the final push with 200 meters left, but the way I was feeling I thought I would lock up before finishing. So I held off. Any thoughts on this would be appreciated. Thanks!
I dunno, the few times I've race the mile as a masters runner I feel like you can't think about pacing in the same way you do a longer distance race.
Is it on a 400m track? Will someone be calling splits? Will there be a finish clock?
Generally I have tried to get used to running at the pace I thought I could race the mile by running some 300's or 400's at that pace without looking at a watch--just trying to dial in the effort. One of the keys is to go out hard enough (the mile should feel kind of ridiculously suicidal if you're not used to it) without letting the adrenaline take you out *too* fast.
I tried thinking about the mantra my high school track coach used to repeat 30 years ago: out fast, settle down, finish strong. Settle down doesn't mean slow down, it means maximum speed/minimum effort. The 3rd 400 will be the hardest--you have to really focus to not slow down but also you'll have to focus harder than you already were to not panic.
I think if done right you'll be "all in" well before the last 100. The entire last 400, and certainly the last 200 should be an almost transcendent experience.
Good luck! I can taste copper just thinking about it.
I used to run the mile as an impromptu training with friends a while back. Important to warm up thoroughly, maybe a mile easy, then a half mile worth of strides/pickups.
Also maybe restating what Mike said, panic should set in about 400 m in, that there is no way you can hold the pace for three more laps, but you will. The third quarter is critical, we tend to pull back or hold something in reserve for the final lap. Our coach used to say that his mother (he was in his 60s) can run the final lap hard, it's the one before that, which needs the most concentration and effort.
I was told (loose interpretation of a really good expliantion) to approach it in 1/4s. Pretty much hold off for the first half because LOTS of people will go out WAY too fast for the mile and fade at half way. Half to 3/4 will probably suck and the last quarter is REALLY goin to suck. I approached it (only mile I've ever raced) as 4 gears. Third and fourth gear were pretty important to keep increasing speed and make sure I still had something there. I aimed for a 6:00 pace and SHOCKED myself with a 5:38. I'm not sure I'd have done so well if I hadn't considered the second half and last quarter of the race. My race was an out and back with 1/4 mile markers. If you're doing it on a track you could know the splits for each 400m and hit the first two then start accelerating from 7:05 to start chipping away those 6 seconds if you wanted to go under 7 minutes by taking off 3 seconds per lap. Taking 5 seconds off in the last 100m SOUNDS hard but I'm not experienced in the mile.
1 mile: 5:38 (September 2018)
5K: 20:23 (March 2018)
10K: 42:11 (May 2018)
Half: 1:31:19.5* (2019 Mt Charleston Marathon)
Marathon 3:05:22.9* (2019 Mt Charleston Marathon)
Annual Miles 1,892.7 miles
*downhill course with 5,126 ft net drop and 30F temp change.
2019 Goal: Get into the 4/19/21 marathon
From the occasional mile races (a few years back) I have run, I would say the advice given by the others on warm-up and pacing is right on. Control yourself for the first quarter, maintain for the second, mentally really push to go harder, although maybe not actually faster, for the third quarter and see what you have left for the fourth. It will hurt but it's a unique experience compared to longer races and worth trying every once in a while.
I used to do a fair amount of track work ahead of mile races; mostly 200s, 300s and 400s with short breaks. It takes a few sessions to get used to running faster. Just be careful about straining anything. I still suffer from upper hammy tendonitis that I think developed during my track work. In fact, as I sit here and type, my butt hurts! Or, could just be getting really old...
What they ^ said is right, and I'd like to add my concern about how you're going to know your pace. Your watch is worthless. Just go out at Mikey's "almost-suicidal" pace, and then by 1/2 - 3/4, you may be feeling it was beyond suicidal, and then keep running. Good luck, and give us a report.
Nothing so needs reforming as other people's habits.- Mark Twain
Mother of Cats
Is it a road mile or a track mile? If it's a road mile, the course may affect how you pace it (hills and turns).
Everyone's gotta running blog; I'm the only one with a POOL-RUNNING blog.
And...if you want a running Instagram where all the pictures are of cats, I've got you covered.
I'm out of ideas
Most of my best mile races have been close to even splits, e.g. about a 2 second difference between slowest and fastest quarter. The third quarter is most often the key because it's easy to slow down without realizing it.
9/21/19 - NC24
10/26/19 - Piedmont 8-Hour
11/23/19 - Crooked Road 24
"The shorter the race, the more important the Warmup."
I ran a road race mile last year, plan to again this year.
I was surprised how many seemed to just be jogging it... to each their own, but I was definitely huffing and puffing pushing hard as I could.
Also many don't seem to kick the last 100m 200m etc..
If your time trial was 7:22, I think aiming for 7 flat would be a good idea, a watch or track you should be able to even split...and going into that final 400m you can gauge if you have a kick left or if you'll be dying to finish running...
Good luck! Keep us posted!
300m- 37 sec.
Can you clarify what you're trying to do? 7:05? Sub-7:00? Or just race it and let the chips fall where they may?
There was a point in my life when I ran. Now, I just run.
We are always running for the thrill of it
Always pushing up the hill, searching for the thrill of it
If it's all ages, get in front of the little kids. I did a mile race on a paved path. Nothing like small humans stopping mid trail in the first 1/4 mile.
so true! You just have to be a bit pushy in this type of race...
Tell me about it!
the 1M race I ran, all the kids were in front, and little kids! and you had to run through this narrow chute, they take off....semi fast, zig zag every which way, I kept thinking I was gonna run one of them over and have a fight with a parent about how their kid ran in front of my path.
Honestly I think these 1M all age races need to work on the kid problem...lol,
First time I raced the mile (in my early 20s?) I went out all out. hahaha. What a memory and lesson in pacing that was.
I hit the quarter and the clock read something so LOW I recall thinking I was a shoe in to run within 4-something minutes. I was amazed, and fast. By the half-way point, moments later, I was going to puke. By the third quarter I felt like I was reduced to practically walking. I finished somewhere in the mid 6 min mark and wanted to die. It hurt a lot more than planned. And I was nowhere near the mid 4s I thought I'd hit based on that first quarter.
I told some of the Masters guys on my running team, thinking they'd be impressed. They laughed and said (kindly, in that way a Master runner can) that I was an idiot (which was true).
In subsequent years (decades) I learned to listen to those guys, go out strong but not tooo hard, speed up toward the half and settle in try to survive the 3rd quarter and hammer (if I still can) the last 1/4 and try not to puke at the finish line. Last time I raced the mile was around 5:07. I still go out too fast --it's hard to get that right balance if you don't normally train for that distance (I never train for the mile). I've actually been thinking of racing one again to see if I can finally crack that 5 min mark but really I bet I'll go out too hard and fade! And I'm getting old too!
HTFU? Why not!
Empire Tri Club CoachGatorade Endurance Team
Lots of sage advice given here and you can't go wrong following any of it. I've raced the distance 9 times and on the few occasions that I tried to "pace" it, the result was an abomination. Having said that the mile isn't the fastest you can run so it's not an all out race, at least not from the start. The key is effort, not necessarily pace. Mile effort. Trying to hold that effort (if you even know what it is) for the first three quarters is the task. A task that despite my sincerest efforts, I've often come up short at.
It's hard to say when your kick should begin. Seconds are precious at this distance so should you spot a rabbit as you start the 4th quarter, then go get him, no sense in waiting until 200 meters and lose that time. Similarly, don't slow down during the mile because you're running faster than your pre-set goal. And to that point, I am not sure that having a pre-set goal is wise when you don't have an established mile time because it's possible that you can run faster than a 7:00, so why limit yourself. I personally do not look at my watch while racing this distance, you just have to feel it. But that's hard to explain.
Whatever the case, the mile is a tough distance to get just right, and on your first try even more so. Like Neo jumping from that building in The Matrix, every one falls on their first jump. And with the mile, most of us have fallen on our first try. That doesn't mean you failed, it just means you're human.