Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Training for a one mile, plus a race recap

It seems like there are countless 5k, 10k, 1/2 marathon, & marathon training programs out there, but my extensive Google search did not  yield many results for1 mile race training. This is not surprising as there aren't nearly as many 1 mile races. But! The 1 mile is a really fun race and if you haven't done one, you should!

Now I am not a coach, physician, exercise physiologist, or any sort of professional related to running/fitness. But, I have run a mile (and 1500) many times and have a pretty solid idea of what training should look like. So, here are my favorite workouts for preparing for a 1 mile!
  •  Hills. There is a very famous quote from Frank Shorter (I think) :"Hills are speedwork in disguise". Hills are great for any type of race but really get you ready to run the shorter, faster workouts needed to train for a mile.
  • Fartleks- like, 2 min on 1 min off or 1 on 1 off. The "on" portion should be a pretty solid effort, and the "off" portion should be more of a relaxed jog.
  •  Intervals. I love these. I looked back through my college logs to see what I did back then- it was a combination of repeats ranging from 200-1000 m, run between 4:55 and 5:30 pace (I was in shape to run a 5:15 mile). So adjust accordingly. These should be hard workouts! But also they have great payoff by getting used to running a fast effort.
  • Run consistently. Just because you are "only" training for a mile doesn't mean two miles every other day is going to cut it. I mean, yeah, you'll still probably finish if you only run two miles every other day...but running consistently is key for any race.
So onto my Meet of the Miles race recap! This is a very, very low key race held at the U of M fieldhouse and run by the Minnesota Distance Running Association. You show up, pay $5, and sign up according to your goal pace. Some people signed up for a couple of heats to get a workout in. No thanks! Meg & I signed up for the 5:30-5:45 pace group. Here we are before the race, all happy and bright:

Our friend Larissa was with us too but signed up for the 5:15-5:30 heat and was running while we were posing for photos. Before our race we went out for a 3.25 mile warm up jog around campus and over the stone arch bridge. It was a very scenic run! 

We got back to the field house just in time to see Mr. B finish his race. He was in the first heat, and had the lead up to the last 50 meters or so until being caught by a high school kid who ran 4:17 last spring. He finished second in 4:24! Not bad :)

I did a few short strides and these weird knee/hip loosening exercises and then it was time to go! The race was a true mile (1609 meters) and there were a lot of people in our heat! There was a little bit of crowding right away and I found myself running just on the inside of lane 2 for the first 400 meters or so. During this time my legs felt like lead. I was seriously worried that I was going to run 6:00 or something. I just could not get the turnover going! I finally loosened up at about 500 meters in and started to feel strong. 

It's blurry, but there we are.
 As I mentioned our heat was pretty crowded so I started to work my way around a couple people. I still felt pretty good and don't remember a lot from 500 m-1400 m. The laps are 200 m each and they just went by so quickly. I definitely was feeling tired with one to go, but at that point you just have to remind yourself its only 200 meters and just go for it. I finished in 5:38.4 and Meg was right behind me at 5:39.6. Not terrible, especially for an indoor race. Larissa ran really well in her heat and ran 5:18. 

So fast.
Overall I'm happy with how the race went. I'm not used to running that fast a pace so it was definitely a system shock.Also, running on an indoor track (especially in an old facility like the U of M) causes some major coughing and dryness in the chest. I was coughing so hard after the race I felt like I might throw up. Not cool. However, the race was really fun and I will definitely do it again next year!


  1. WOW -- nice work! That always sounds like a fun one. Maybe I'll have to sign up next year :)

  2. Thanks Hyedi! It is fun and totally worth $5!

  3. we're gearing up for track season, baby so LOVE that you raced that mile! honing that speed will pay off with pr's in all the longer races too. great job!! :)