Today’s the anniversary of the female Mile WR (4:12:56 set by Svetlana Masterkova on August 14th 1996). Many of us know how long it would take us to run 10K but far fewer know how long it would take to run a Mile. Those who listen to “Marathon Talk” which know that it’s the last question they always ask their interviewees. Few give a precise answer!
Whether you are a new to running or a seasoned old timer, running a competitive mile occasionally is something we’d highly recommend. So how should one train for the mile, what are the benefits and what opportunities are there for mile running? Here are our top 5 training tips.
1) Intervals are key to your mile training. Try 400s or 800s with a recovery walk shorter than the interval time.
2) Work some plyometrics (jumping / bounding exercises) into your training routine to build leg power
3) Work on core strength so you can maintain form when tiring. You can’t go far wrong with the trusty old plank.
4) Analyse and improve your form. Running on a treadmill in font of a mirror is great for this – drive arms in line with your body, keep a good upright stance and keep your cadence high.
5) Reinforce all of the above with periodic hill work.
There are so many benefits to mile running. 1) The mile enhances both aerobic fitness and anaerobic fitness / lactic acid tolerance. 2) It really forces you to focus on form, both when training (above) and in competition 3) It really improves pace judgement. There is no time to keep checking your gadgets and you quickly learn how to listen to your body 4) You will develop a killer finishing kick whatever other distance you race over 5) Mile racing is hugely time efficient, with no need for long tapers and recovery periods.
Opportunities to run a mile are on the increase. 1) As well as mass participation events such as the Westminster Mile (which takes place in May), a host of smaller events are springing up. For example the organisers of the Ealing Half Marathon now offer monthly lunchtime runs in Ealing and Boston Manor. 2) Many established events now also offer a mile as an alternative to the main race – just take a look at the online or magazine race listings. 3) Or if you feel lure of the track check out AAT events “4 Minute Mile” event at Guilford this September.
So what better way to celebrate today's anniversary by taking up the mile challenge?