The mile run is considered the hardest distance in track. It requires a perfect balance of speed and strength. Yet the most adored runners in history all ran the mile at least once in their lives.
The hardest part about running the mile may be figuring out how to train for it. Your competition will have a solid training program because they have most likely been doing it for years. It requires running that will build both strength and speed.
I recommend starting with more basic runs, no matter how good you are at running, in order to make sure you are as prepared as you are going to get by race day. It is also recommended that you begin training at least a few months before your race.
First things first, you need to rack up some mileage. Run around 2 to 4 miles for the first two weeks taking three nonconsecutive days off each week, to allow your body to get used to running before you focus on intense and vigorous running.
After those two weeks you can take two routes. The first route is for runners who are a little more experienced in running the mile with at least one running season under their belt. The second route is for the more novice runners who haven’t experimented with running the mile in a race before.
The first program would be to run multiple 800m repeats. At the end of each repeat it would be wise to sprint an extra 100m to prevent the dreaded third lap during a race. As you are able to sprint the 100m and feel like you could maybe go a little more distance, then go for it. You could add 20-40m a week or none if you don’t feel ready.
The second program would be to run 400m repeats followed by a couple 800m repeats. This allows the runner to get used to running distance at a fast speed. You can tell when this workout becomes easier because you will be putting up better times. Once that is the case then you can move on to the more advance program.
A great workout for this would be running a lap forward followed by running a lap backwards. The size of the lap doesn’t matter as long the laps are the same size for each direction. Running some distance during the program is advised. I would also advise not running repeats more than 3 times a week and to stop running repeats if you begin to get shin splints or any other leg pains. Another great hint would be to have a goal mile time in mind when you begin running. Since 800m is half of a mile then you should try to run your 800m repeats at half your goal mile time.
Note that I did not include an exact number of repeats into this article, or even a weekly chart because I do not know how you would be able to fit it into your schedule, if you are running for time or just to run, or if you are experienced enough to run the same program as the runner I might have intended it for. It is also very challenging to jump back into a set program or restart it with enough time before your race if you are out for any sort of reason for at least a week.
For tips on how to strengthen your body for running, check out the “How to Build Leg and Core Strength” article on my profile page. Also, check out my profile for information on mid distance running. Good luck, don’t forget to stretch, and safe running!