Mile training

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This topic contains 10 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  KD 11 years, 3 months ago.

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  • #7396

    After reading the responses to the post about going under the 5 minute mile I am thinking to myself how lost I really am for training for the mile.  I mean sure I know to build a base but the question is is there anything I need to do differently in base building phase as apposed to someone base building for 10K and longer? (very important)

    My goal is to run in the 4:20's (High, medium, or low 4:20's, any range would be very accomplishing for me).  I have a PR of 4:40 which I ran 3 years ago mid-early season (ran it on low mileage about 35-40 mpw).  After that I was injured for more than 2 years and couldn't get in consistent training. It killed me because things were going so well before I got injured. It was the summer before my senior year in high school.  I was in great aerobic shape my 12 mile long run pace was sub 7:00  and I would always threshold the last mile of all my runs under 6:00 (ok maybe I wasn't in THAT great aerobic shape back then.  But looking back 2-3 years ago it was good to me.).  I was approaching 70 mpw that summer.  I was excited because I knew that my times would drop dramatically from my Jr. year season.  But I made a dumb desperate move and tried to build up to 100 mpw.  Heck, 70 was way too much too soon.  But back then I was so focused on wanting to be able to run with the best and I thought that building really high mileage was the only way to do it. The problem was I was building waaaay too fast.  I possibly could have done 70 mpw if I built slowly throughout that summer.  Today I still burn with desire to be  competitive.  But now I am more careful with building and I don't hesitate to nurse any oncoming potential injuries (if they do come).  I have now been trying to rebuild hoping I will be fit enough to finally race again this summer. 

    I remember I had a coach tell me in high school that I didn't need to run that far for mile race base  training since its just the mile and in a way that makes sense but in another way I was kind of puzzled. Isn't a bigger base better?  Or does that mostly apply to longer distances??

    What is sufficient base mileage for a miler/1500/middle distance runner?  30mpw? 50? 70?

    This is why I was worried about getting too slow twitched as mentioned in my previous topic.  Because when you hit the track for the first time to do speed for mile race training your legs feel so rubbery and slow.  I was wondering what would be a good way to ease the transition when I start doing that kind of speed work???  When you first do a speed workout on the track its a struggle to do 71-75 second 400 meter reps but once you get those fast twitches going (after a week or two of speed sessions) its not too bad to run 61-65 400 meter reps (with full recovery of course). 

    I am currently running 30 mpw off of 6 days a week.  The 7th day I just do weight training mainly for leg and tendon strength (injury prevention). I am following a lydiard type style (or at least I think I am)  currently my medium long runs are 40 minutes and my short days are 20 minutes and I have an occasional 1 hour longer long run once a week. 

    Also,  I am so lost when it comes to speed.  I read that you should start with long intervals first 800, 1000 meter repeats.  If thats true then what effort should they be done at?  2 mile effort?? (i would write another story here reflecting a positive experience while doing 1200 meter repeats at an easy hard effort in high school once but I really shouldn't.)

    As always

    Thanks for the advice. 

  • #25065

    I was wondering what would be a good way to ease the transition when I start doing that kind of speed work??? 

    Expect your legs to feel a little slow after base building, its kind of natural.  But maybe try a few weeks of Lydiard style hill training between you're aerobic and anaerobic phases.  There are plenty of resources on this site about how and why hills can help you.

  • #25066


    Run already offered a good response to one of your questions. Hills are a great way to transition from base to speed. Also, the transition can be the speed workouts themselves. So you feel a little slow at the start. That's part of the process. As I'm sure you know, your legs come back after a few workouts.

    I noticed another question:

    What is sufficient base mileage for a miler/1500/middle distance runner?  30mpw? 50? 70?

    This could be a loaded question. What is sufficient for one runner is too much for another and not enough for a third. It's possible to run a mile off quite low mileage. However, high volume during base training can definitely help you get more out of your later stages of training. As a former coach of mine said, the bigger the base, the higher the peak. I'm going to avoid giving a specific number because I have no way of knowing what the right number for you is but, if your legs are responding well to one level, don't be afraid to move it up a notch. Also, don't be afraid to back off the pace a bit as you move up. The pace will come back once you adapt to the higher level of volume.

  • #25067

    Two very simple things that I've been reminding myself lately.  #1. To run faster, I have to train faster.  #2.  I need to do my fast stuff faster, and my slow stuff slower.

    I tend to fall into a trap of running all of my miles just a little slower than tempo pace.  I feel comfortable running them, but I know I'm not getting the most out of my training by not doing more specific workouts.  If I did a better job of doing some true tempo stuff, some true VO2 stuff, etc I would probably benefit.

    One calculator that I've been using lately is based on Daniels stuff and might give you some numbers to start with on training paces.  Plug in different goal times and see what kind of paces you should be shooting for:

  • #25068

    ….or you could just use the training pace calculator that Ryan has provided for us right on the site… whoops.

  • #25069


    Rob, no harm, no foul. It's amazing how many people don't even know everything that is available here. I must not do a good enough job advertising all parts of the site.

    For the record, the calculator Rob was referring to can be found right here (or go to the menu on the left, hold your mouse over “Calculators” and click on “Training Paces”).

  • #25070

    In my experience you can run very very well in the mile off 35 mpw.  Of course 70 mpw would be better, but I feel gains deminish very quickly after even 50 mpw for the mile.  Obviously the pro's run the higher mileage as they need every iota. 

    If you can run even 35 mpw, get some nice tempo runs, some interval training, and LOTS of repetion training you can run very near your best in the mile.  I belive repetion stuff alone can give real good results. 

    I like 8 x 400 at race pace (full recovery between)
    3 x 800 cutdowns(very full recovery) (first slightly above race pace, second at, and third below or all out)
    I like 150 meter accels also.  Starting at mile race pace building to all out sprint (maintain form)

    Obsiously once again with higher mileage workouts can become more advanced, but even what's listed above can net you really super fitness and results. 

  • #25071

    Obviously once again with higher mileage workouts can become more advanced, but even what's listed above can net you really super fitness and results. 

    What do you mean by more advanced? Can you give examples of more advanced workouts?

    Thank you

  • #25072

    A lot of Good stuff.  Thank you everyone for all of your input. 

    I am also curious about recovery for intervals.  Is it really necessary to include short rest interval workouts or can you do nothing but full recovery ones and that will work just as well?  To me grueling short rest workouts seem to just drain the life out of you.  While full recovery ones still train that specific system, get speed in your legs, and get you used to a certain pace without killing you to where your races suffer. 

    I guess I never really understood when and why you do a specific speed workout.  I guess its short recovery long stuff first then shorter fast stuff with longer recovery later??  But then you can do longer stuff with full recovery as well? Its all seems so confusing.  If someone were to ask me why I am doing 400 meter reps at full recovery on race pace I would not be able to answer the question.  I mean I would say for mile speed training/ race prep but I would not be able to say what this workout would be accomplishing specifically. 

    I don't worry about doing something different I just worry about doing something wrong.  With “wrong” meaning doing something that would break you down to injury, peak you too soon, or just break you down to where your legs are just out of it during races.  I worry about doing “obviously wrong” speed training.  Maybe its not as complicated as I think it is.  Just pick a full recovery speed workout do that 2-3 times a week during competition phase and thats it??


  • #25073

    I don't think interval training is essential for the mile.  Pure repetition training (race pace or even faster with full recov) is all that I feel is needed to get close to your potential.  However, if you are really wanting to pop a 110% effort you probably need to do interval and lactate threshold work.  I never did anything but repetition or even faster stuff in high school and feel I was fairly close to as good as I could have been based on the mileage I ran.  In college I did R, I, and T and was definitely stronger.  After college I did everything and ramped the mileage up and did a MAJOR DIET OVERHAUL and for me that was the key to taking the next big step.  It's all what you want to put into it. 

  • #25074

    Great stuff guys…I am trying to beef up the miles for my first marathon….a lot of great suggestions…Yes, its what we want or are willing op into it!


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