How to train to run a mile involves a lot of anaerobic workouts. The mile is unlike the marathon in that you cannot make as many mistakes.
It is over within a matter of minutes, not hours. This event involves speed and stamina and it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to be successful at the distance.
I will admit that I have not run the mile in years.
My best mile as a senior in high school was 4.25.51 and the fastest time I have ever run for the mile is 4:22.10.
That being said, I have enough experience with the event that I can still help athletes who are seeking to run a better mile.
I found my strength was running longer distances and ultimately found my best event was the marathon.
The mile takes a mixture of long, slow long runs to build endurance, short sprints and longer track intervals to master.
How Fast Can You Run A Mile?
The world record for the mile for men is 3:43:11 set by Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco and 4:12:56 for women set by Svetlana Masterkova of Russia.
These are the upper limits of the human capability. In addition to that, the world record for the marathon is 2:01:39 or 4:38 per mile.
These athletes have run these types of times obviously on account of incredible genetic talent. In addition to that, extremely hard work and dedication.
Below is the progression of my mile times as well as explanation of how I did it and what types of workouts I used.
High School Mile Progression
Freshman year – 5:09
Sophomore year – 4:38
Junior year – 4:32
Senior year – 4:25.5
Freshman year – college – 4:22.1
Obviously, we all have different physiological capabilities. How to train to run a mile involves stressing the anaerobic system adequately.
In addition to that, proper focus on recovery is essential as well. The benefits come within the rest, not the workout itself.
Furthermore, the types of workouts you need to utilize to improve your mile speed are:
Essential Mile Workouts
Short tempo runs at a heart rate of 168-73 beats per minute. These runs can vary in distance from 3 to 6 miles in length.
Tempo runs help the body to tolerate ever-increasing levels of lactic acid build up. Remember, the best milers in the world make it look easy for a reason.
They can sustain a very fast pace over or under 4 minutes by way of taxing their bodies in the proper way.
Track intervals ranging in distance from 200 meters to 1000 meters. These short, track workouts are going to vary in paces depending on the capability of the athlete.
For example, I would do workouts such as 16x200m in 28-34 seconds with a 100 meter float recovery in high school.
The key for me, at that time, was to train at or near sub-4 minute mile pace as that was my goal.
This helped me drop my mile time from 5:30 to 4:25 in a matter of 4 years as a high school athlete. It didn’t happen overnight but persistent hard work helped make it reality.
Furthermore, I would do repeat 300’s,400’s, 600’s, 1000’s to work on my leg speed.
So, the key is to really focus on leg turnover and proper running form
Recruit More Fast Twitch Muscle Fibers
The key to running very fast in the mile distance is to get the body to run as economically as you can.
This simply means getting the body to perform optimally at its highest attainable capability.
Fast twitch muscle fiber recruitment occurs when you run at very high heart rates. These muscle fibers produce more muscular force and are more fatigue resistant as compared to slow twitch muscle fibers.
Additionally, they also contract at faster speeds as compared to slow twitch muscle fibers. So, if you were born with more slow twitch muscle fibers it is key to focus on recruiting more fast twitch fibers.
That being said, you can still use the workouts mentioned in this post to get the most return on your investment in the mile event.
Hill repetitions. I would focus on finding a hill that is anywhere from 200m to 600m in length and sprint up it.
You can walk or jog down the hill as your recovery. The goal early on in your training phase should be on lower reps with more rest.
That being said, the fitter you get the focus should move toward more reps and less rest. The idea is to teach the body to clear lactic acid faster than it is building up in the bloodstream.
This is why anyone who can run a fast mile makes it look so easy. They do still run long, slow miles but a higher percentage of their weekly mileage is spent at very high intensities.
Aerobic Capacity Focused Workouts
Wikipedia obviously pinpoints the importance of training at your aerobic capacity the best. The mile is a highly anaerobic (absence of oxygen) event.
Obviously, the shorter the distance the more oxygen that is required to maintain pace. This is why you really have to focus on working at very high heart rates for this event.
Long, slow running will not make for a great mile time. Yes, you will build endurance but when it comes to the mile, speed kills.
How to train to run a mile means learning to train at very high heart rates for several minutes. No one can run very long at their aerobic capacity.
This is the point at which your body cannot clear lactic acid faster than it is building in the blood steam. The hydrogen ion within lactic acid is the real culprit as to why we slow down in training and racing.
The Importance of Glutathione
Glutathione is the body’s master antioxidant. I have come across very few athletes who know anything about it.
Every cell of the body produces it yet we become fatigued when we run low on it. The reason why I recommend Cellgevity is because it helps keep cells functioning properly.
Glutathione helps to rid the body of toxins. As we age our bodies create less and less glutathione. Cellgevity contains glutathione precursors that help slow the aging process and ensure the body’s oxidative system is supported.
I have been using Cellgevity since 2013 and all max international products are certified drug-free by the Banned Substances Control Group.
Remember, it is not specifically just the workouts that you are doing that leads to great mile results.
It is nutrition, sleep, hydration practices, proper rehab routines such as getting massages as well as taking epsom salt and ice baths.
How to train to run a mile means you have to implement very fast, short intervals into your training regiment.
Lastly, you need to continue to focus extending your long out and running for longer periods of time at your anaerobic threshold.
This occurs by running between 168 to 173 beats per minute if wearing a heart rate monitor. Your anaerobic threshold is the point at which your body begins to accumulate lactic acid.
Remember, the mile is a short, very fast and anaerobic event. I can promise you if you implement the strategies within this post you will see a return on your investment.