/ Workouts for getting better at the mile

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alicia - on 10 May 2013
Last night I ran a one-mile race for the first time since school. It didn't go well. What are your best getting-faster-at-short-distances workouts?
IainRUK - on 10 May 2013
In reply to alicia: A mile is still aerobic.. maybe work on shorter speed work outs, 10 x 400's.. 20 x 200's.. but general running training should speed it up.



alicia - on 10 May 2013
In reply to IainRUK:

I was 18 seconds slower than what the McMillan pace chart thinks I should be running now though...
IainRUK - on 10 May 2013
In reply to alicia: How did you feel at the end though?

TBH I'd have no idea how to pace it... I almost did similar this week and was asked to attend a 1k track race.. I should be very close to 3 mins for that but tbh I'd struggle to pace it right.. either going off to hard and slowing or finishing with something left..

Were your splits even?
alicia - on 10 May 2013
In reply to IainRUK:

At the end I felt like I should be going out and doing it again!! For pretty much the whole race I felt like I should be going faster but that I just couldn't quite convince my legs to get into a faster gear.

Yeah the pacing was impossible, especially since the first 400 was a little bit uphill and the second 400 was a little bit downhill. It ended up with my first 400 and last 400 being the same. The middle two 400s were both plus 3 seconds.
IainRUK - on 10 May 2013
In reply to alicia: I wonder how much of that is just muscle memory or even your body just not allowing it. As distance runners we never let ourselves go anaerobic... at the end of a race I can put a burst in, but apart from that I just can't. My paces for 200m to 1 k reps don't vary that much, its like I just can't go that extra.

Stu Mills was talking about not being able to react to an increase of pace early on in the fling, and (IIRC) showed graphs from a recent marathon showing he could have; but he just couldn't.. he blamed it on his mental prep, but I just wonder if we somehow set our body to maintain a pace, subconciously.. and we've almost never gone much below that pace or that much short term pain.

So for long distance runners to suddenly run a sub 5 min mile we have a huge psychological issue to get over.. and maybe physical as I bodies just aren't used to that.
alicia - on 10 May 2013
In reply to IainRUK:

That's really interesting, that definitely sounds possible. What do you think the solution is--50m sprints and drills maybe?

Apart from being disappointed with not running very fast, I was kind of disappointed not to get to experience the extreme suffering I had been expecting!
IainRUK - on 10 May 2013
In reply to alicia: Thats why maybe 200-400's.. I think 50 would be too short as its basically just working on acceleration.

I'm similar though, its like I'm rev limited. I did an 800m effort as part of a sports science experiment and I expected to get close to 2 mins.. think I was 2:25 or so. I just couldn't seem to find an extra gear.
alicia - on 10 May 2013
In reply to IainRUK:

Oh good point about the acceleration. 200s to 400s it is then--and 20x 200 is good to know because I probably would have stopped after 6 to 8 of them.

A friend who also raced last night is annoyed with her time too so we're going to have a rematch on the track as soon as we feel like we're getting somewhere...
wbo - on 10 May 2013
In reply to alicia: You need to do a few things to get ready for the issues Ian alludes to.
Classic sessions - 8 *200, 100m jog. Jog should be pretty slow, never walking. You need to get used to opening up and trying to feel relaxed and fast at the same time, and not feel like you're sprinting,
Also, and after the above a few times, 3 sets 4*400, 100m recovery between 400's, 1 lap after each set.

The above are classic sessions, and although there are countless variations, will serve you well. A long time ago I was coached by a renowned miling coach, and it was never tricky or complex.
alicia - on 10 May 2013
In reply to wbo:

Thanks. I do always feel like I'm sprinting for anything under about half marathon pace, so that is definitely an issue.

How fast would you do the 400s in that workout, compared to mile pace?
IainRUK - on 10 May 2013
In reply to alicia: My half pace is 5:45 min miles.. my 400's closer to 71-73 seconds which is about 4:45.. so 1 min/mile under..

My 200's are 33-35..
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alicia - on 10 May 2013
In reply to IainRUK:
> (In reply to alicia) My half pace is 5:45 min miles.. my 400's closer to 71-73 seconds which is about 4:45.. so 1 min/mile under..
>
> My 200's are 33-35..

Okay that's easy enough to remember, thanks.

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