5 minute mile

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This topic contains 25 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  robrunrob 11 years, 3 months ago.

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  • #7190

    I have been a long time lurker on this site and have grown to respect the thoughts of many regular visitors.  I'm looking for some advice.  After a long, long layoff (5 years and 30 lbs) I got off my ass and started running 10 months ago.  Was able to get into pretty decent shape rather quickly (and injury free) so I set a goal of running the Knoxville Marathon on 3/30 under 3 hours.  I've run 4 before, all under 3 with a 2:46PR in 2000.  Anyway, I was able to accomplish my goal (going out way too fast even though I knew better, and surviving 23 and on to finish in 2:57.)  I ran 45-50 miles a week, did a very small amount of tempo work, really just focused on getting the long runs in.  I'm the kind of guy who needs a goal to keep my running focused so my new goal is breaking 5 minutes in the mile at the end of summer.  In 2000 I PR'd a 16:40 5K (faster than I ever ran in high school) and a 27:20 5M.  I feel like I've gotten a decent base in now to work from.  My plan is to key on 3 workouts a week.  A track workout, a hill workout, and a long run.  Fill in the rest of the week with easy miles.  Why am I posting all this?  I want to become more active in this online community, and I really am looking for input and thoughts.  Plus I want to share my goal and give updates so I'm accountable to other people who understand what I'm trying to accomplish.

  • #24844


    Rob, welcome out of lurking. That is quite the accomplishment to break 3 hours on less than a year of running after an extended break. I don't think many people could pull that off. It's good to see that you're already setting new goals. Do you have a race in mind where the sub-5 attempt will come? I'm just asking because 3 workouts a week is a pretty aggressive training schedule to maintain for more than about 2-3 months.

  • #24845

    I've been looking for races, but I'm guessing this attempt is going to come down to a solo time trial.  I live in Knoxville TN, and the Knoxville Track Club is pretty big, but I don't know if they have any actual track meets or events with open divisions.  I'm hoping to get more active in the club as I know they have alot of talented guys who are fairly active, and they have track workouts once a week down at UT.  I can do long runs and hills by myself no problem, but getting to the track and forcing myself to gut out 800's or 1200's or whatever it may be is a little tougher.  All I really want to accomplish with April is to stay healthy and injury free, and just do some more base miles.  Then in May, June and July really start focusing on the speed and strength stuff.

  • #24846

    Pretty good come-back going there.  According to the KTC website, there is a mile race in Lenoir City in about a month and some mile races in Chattanooga soon after — perhaps too soon yet perhaps worth a shot.  How long have you been back training consistently?  FYI, it is not necessary to go to the track for speedwork:

  • #24847

    I've been training consistently since July '07.  The first two months were really just about trying to gain back some level of fitness and lose some weight.  I may look into those races as ways to gauge where I am at, but I don't have any notion that I'll be able to wake my long dormant fast twitch muscles that soon.  Well, the one or two fast twitch muscles I may still have anyway.  I know I need to take it easy this next month and let my body recover from the marathon.  Thanks for the link on the speedwork without the track.

  • #24848

    I'm just curious, how old are you, and what kind of running history do you have? Your comeback is inspiring!

  • #24849

    Thanks! 34 yrs old.  Ran track and cross in high school.  Swam in high school and college (D3.)  Graduated high school in '92, college in '96.  '96-2000 trained for marathons and did some triathlons in the summer.  2000-2002 stayed fit but no real serious racing.  2002-summer of 2007 got fat and lazy working as a restaurant manager.  July 4th 2007 decided to get back in shape.  Most of my PR's were set in spring and summer of 2000 after a year of 55-65mpw consistently, peaking at 80.

  • #24850

    I'm sure people will have lots of different suggestions. Personally, for such a short distance I am not sure how necessary a “long run” would be in your training regiment. I tend to mix my speed up, occassionally doing treadmill intervals and tempos. I would personnally focus on up tempo mid distance fartleks and progressions and shorter high tempo intervals with ample recovery time between workouts. also – in my experience, fast work is easier with peers – so if you can find a local group or even just another friend, it usually makes gutting out agressive workouts easier for me. I agree also – that it is not necessary to hit a track for your speed.

  • #24851

    Well, I'm accomplishing goal number one of getting through April fresh and injury free. 

    I've run one 4.5 mile trail race and am going to do a 5k on Saturday to try and get an idea of where I'm at.  Low expectations at both races, just want to get out and try to push the pace a little.  I have to say if I don't go 18:30 on Sat I probably will be bummed.

    Today I went to the track and did 4-1200's (100 walk/ 200 jog/ 100 walk recovery.)  I was hoping to run them right at 4:30 which would be just over 18:30 pace.  I cruised through the first one at 4:14, did the second and third at 4:05, and decided to try and see what I could go on the last one.  I was pushing it, but ran controlled for a 3:54.  I was pretty happy.  Not really sure what I accomplished, but it felt good, with 20 min warm up and 20 warm down.

    The last 1200 gave me confidence that I'll get under 5 for a mile, after a summer of training with a purpose.  If my math is right the 3:54 is somewhere around 5:12 for 1600, add a couple more seconds to make the mile, and right now with zero speed or strength work I'm 15 seconds off.  I feel like I could have sustained the pace for another lap without too much trouble.  And I realize that the faster I go, the harder those seconds will be to drop.

    I'm looking forward to the 5K on Sat.  I know for some people, a 5K is a long way and that's cool, but I have a feeling for me I'm going to cruise through 2 miles and realize, heck, only a mile to go, lets get rolling!

    Thanks for reading my update, I'll get a race report on here after Sat.

  • #24852

    I'll offer some input as I see one possible snag coming here.  Raw speed is required in the mile.  Not so much so you can sprint, but so you can run a fast pace yet still be comfortable.  If you are a naturally very fast sprinter this may come natural.   

    An example would be trying to run a mile off pure marathon training (or any time if your name is Ryan:)) which I have done.  It was extremly difficult for me to run a fast pace only because my legs were not used to going that fast.  I felt great after the race and ran a somewhat respectable time, but just felt like I was burning rubber all the way around the track.  I couldn't get in a grove. 

    With mile specific training (faster than race pace work bouts) you will become very comfortable running a 5 minute pace.  There is a balance between speed and endurance and you have to find it. 

  • #24853

    There should be nothing comfortable about racing the mile – if raced properly.

  • #24854


    I don't think Chris is suggesting that you should be comfortable racing a mile. Knowing him, he thinks – as I would agree – that a race of any distance should be anything but comfortable. That said, I think his point is that you need to work on your speed well enough that you could go out and run 75 second 400 meter repeats or 37 second 200 meter repeats comfortably. If you can't do workouts like these comfortably, it's going to be tough to go quite a bit longer, relatively speaking, at the same or a slightly faster pace.

    While my legs are so anti-speed that, no matter what I did, I'd never be saying 75 second 400s are comfortable, I agree with the idea. As with any race distance, if you can't make race pace feel good in workouts, it's going to be a tall order to get through the full distance at race pace.

  • #24855

    I realize that he didn't intend that….just came to mind in general

  • #24856

    I know if and when I can click off 8-10 70-75 second 400 repeats I'll be ready. 

    I know I can't do that now. 

    It just felt good on the last 1200 the other day to go through 800 at 2:35 and feel completely in control.  2:35 for an 800 is not 5:00 for a mile, but after doing zero speedwork, my endurance training has me at a certain point.  A point I feel good about, and feel strongly that I can build from, sharpen my speed, and get under 5.

  • #24857


    It just felt good on the last 1200 the other day to go through 800 at 2:35 and feel completely in control.

    That does seem very positive for the early training stages when you have a 5:00 (or 4:59) goal. You are definitely on your way.

  • #24858

    I ran the Dogwood 5K in Knoxville today.  Finished in 17:35.  I'm happy with the effort.  Went out in something around 5:25, 11:13.  I was definitely feeling it the last mile but was able to pass and stay ahead of two guys around the two mile mark.  Saw another guy 15-20 yards ahead of me at that point but couldn't do anything about going and getting him.  I may have finished top 20 overall, I think 4 or 5 guys broke 15- not too shabby for a local Saturday morning 5K! 

    Plugged my current time into a Daniels calculator to give me a good idea of paces for various levels of intervals.  Hopefully I'll be able to meet up with the local track club on Tues evenings to get in one good speed session a week over the next month.

    What goals for the summer to any of you other “hillrunner's” have?  I'd love to hear about them.  Hearing others set and accomplish goals motivates me to do the same!

  • #24859


    Good job on the 5K. Again, it seems like you're well on your way to a sub-5 mile. As for goals, I don't have anything set in stone yet. With so many changes in my life, I'm not sure what life is going to bring me or how my training will be affected so I don't want to commit to a goal I may not be capable of accomplishing yet. I have some ideas of what I want to do, beginning with getting in some good consistent training, but I don't have any goal races or times yet.

  • #24860

    For the record, I did warm up for 20…. 20 minutes that is, not 20 dang miles!  Not as crazy as some in these parts 😉

  • #24861


    Well, even without the thorough warmup, I still think you're on track for that sub-5 goal. 😉

  • #24862

    Goals?  I'm in the same boat as Rob.  I'm 8 weeks into a comeback after years off following marriage and a move from 1 state to another.  I can only dream of those sub-16 5k's anymore but I know there's still some 17's stuck in my legs somewhere.  This summer's goals include staying healthy for my Oct marathon, which my friends said they “should” be able to run in 3:30.  I'm hoping to be their pace-setter in my debut at that distance.  Other than that, I've scheduled 1 race a month, mostly 5-10Ks, mostly to keep myself motivated.  I already pumped out the 1st 5K on 4-19-08, a dismal 21:28 on a wickedly hilly course (The course is so bad, that with that time, I finished 9th overall out of 300+ and won the 30-35 age group.)  And lastly, I'm trying to get my wife up & at it again following the birth of our lil girl 2 month ago.  She (& me too) wants badly to lose the baby weight and get her fit again.  She's doing well already after just a week or so, putting in a few slow miles about everyday.  She says seeing my back at it helps get her going, so i guessI hafta keep it up too.  ;D

  • #24863

    Wow, IMO a 17:30 5K is good for a sub 5 mile.  Nice effort.

    In reply to above regarding comfort, I've run lots of miles.  In my opinion if you aren't VERY comfortable after 400 something's wrong.  If you are properly speed trained you should just be stating to feel it after 800.  I always went from feeling pretty sweet at 700-800 to drop dead tired after 1000.  Seriously if you feel like you can finish after 1200 you aren't pushing hard enough.  The 3rd lap is make or break.  I remember several times at 1300 meters feeling pretty tied up and doing everything I could just to keep running.  The guys that were at my level however lost enough ground on the 3rd lap that they would have trouble kicking me down.  The 3rd lap is the key.  DON'T slow down the 3rd lap. 

  • #24864


    The 3rd lap is the key.  DON'T slow down the 3rd lap.

    That was always my strategy in the 1600 and 3200 (5th and 6th laps) in high school and it worked as well as it could for somebody with no speed. If I could bury somebody in the third lap, I'd prevent the possibility that they could come back on me in the kick. It was both extending a lead and breaking their spirit. As for going for a sub-5, it's tough to make up enough time in the other 3 laps if you only go 78 in the third lap. The thing to remember is it won't feel like you're easing up. You need to really focus and pound out a killer effort in that third lap to avoid slowing down. If you feel like you're running an even effort, you will almost surely slow down.

  • #24865

    Yup, you'll have to use twice the effort the third lap to maintain the same pace as the second lap. 

  • #24866

    if you ran a 17:35 5K, you should be able to get yourself down into the 16's with a little speed work. I would expect that if you focus on the short distances and quality speed work you could potential pull a sub 5 min mile during a 5k even. Last low 16 5k I ran, the first mile was 4:44 – though it was a bit ambitious for the day and the next two stayed in the mid 5's. However, the point is that if you ran a mid 17 5k with minimal speed work this early in the season, you could potentially reach your goal outside of racing just the 1600.

  • #24867

    Rob, your situation is not unlike where I was about 10 years ago at age 40–although I didn't have as many years off. I've been able to break 5 most years before and since then, and you're right on track to break 5 with a little specific training, which will also help you bring your 5k time down considerably.

    Now would be a good time to do a weekly set of hill reps (1 to 2.5 min reps, 8 to 12 min worth, with a jog recovery back down  your hill). You don't have to blaze these workouts so that you're gasping, but you want something between mile and 5k effort. Focus on knee lift and good form. I'd do at least three of these sessions.

    During this time alternate between a good v02 max workout (3k to 5k) or a tempo run. Long runs, maybe 10 to 12 is plenty each week. Also incorporate a set of 8 to 10 striders or pickups of 80 to m.

    After that phase, shift your hill reps to workouts on the grass or track. Start out at about 1.5 to 2k worth of reps (e.g., 5X 300, 4 or 5 X 400, or some combination of reps ranging from about 200 to 600) for about 2 or 3 consecutive weeks. These should be at about 5:00 pace. At any time in this phase jump into low key mile or 800 race as a test effort.

    Now you're really ready – on consecutive weeks do a mini time trial at pace:
    1st week, 800 – 2:30, followed by some 200s or 300s at pace
    the next week, 1000 at 3:07 followed by 2 or 3 400s at pace
    following week, 1200 at 3:45, followed by a 600 at pace

    If you can build to that level, you're more than ready for a sub 5 and your 5k will drop by another 30 to 60 sec if not more.

    [btw, I'm 50 hoping for low 17s and sub 5 this year]


  • #24868

    Well, I've been getting together with a local running club on Tues afternoons for speedwork, been getting a tempo run in every week, and definitely feeling some more pop in my legs.  I reall want to get out and do some hill work, but I haven't made it happen.  I'm going to do a fun 5-6 mile trail race for my tempo run next week, and a 10K race the following week for some tempo work that week. 

    I was really happy with today's workout.  I warmed up and down 20 and hit the track for 12 400's.  Ran them all around 73 (a couple of 72's and a couple of 74's) with a 200 walk/ jog for recovery.  I took a 400 walk/ jog after the 4th and 8th ones.  No doubt I was giving close to maximum effort, but I was under control and I was able to pop a 70 on the last one.  I may have looked like a drunk windmill coming down the last 100, but overall I was really stoked.

    Thanks for all the replies and the continued support.

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