No running distance has the history, the enduring appeal, the “magic” of the Mile. Like the 100 meters and the marathon, the mile is a running event that most Americans know something about. The mile race is also one of those distances you either love or hate. If you race at full effort, you are pretty well wiped out at the end. Since you are in the anaerobic zone for the majority of the race, your body is really working at a near all-out effort for a full mile.

With the Loudoun Street Mile in Winchester coming up, this workout will be a nice way to practice managing your paces for race day.
The easiest way to do this workout is on a track. I suggest doing a mile or two of warmup running with some strides (hard effort for 10-15 seconds) mixed in. When warmed up and ready to go, jump on the track and do this series of repeats.

The Workout

  • 100 meters hard. At this distance, you can really let it all hang out and sprint. On a standard track, 100 meters is the length of the straights. There should be markings, but if not you can check your GPS watch to see if you traveled .06 miles.
  • 1:00 rest & recovery. Feel free to come to full stop, walk or jog; whatever you are comfortable with.
  • 200 meters hard. You can still push hard at this distance, but you will notice you will need to back off just a little. On the track, go to the very center of the curve and run to the canter of the curve on the other side. This is .125 miles.
  • 1:30 rest & recovery. If you feel your heart rate and breathing has not returned to a comfortable state, add a little more recovery time. Heat can be a factor as well and you may need to add a little more time.
  • 400 meters hard. You should be getting a feel for what type of speed you feel you can maintain for one revolution around the track.. This full loop is .25 miles.
  • 2:00 rest & recovery.
  • 800 meters hard. Continuing to build on the feedback your body is giving you. If you are totally spent only halfway through the race distance, the mile will really hurt.
  • 3:00 rest & recovery.
  • 1600 meters hard. Here it is, the full mile. See what you can do. You will be faster on race day due to adrenaline and race day hype. But this will give you a feel for what a somewhat comfortable pace should be with the option to really kick it in those last meters of the race to pass the competition.
  • Finish with a mile or two easy running and static stretching to cool down. If you are really ambitious or want to add another speed session before the race, do this series forward, then backward: 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 800, 200, 100. That is 3 miles of hard running. So only do that if you are crazy! Just kidding. Pace yourself and you will get a great anaerobic workout to get you ready for the mile.

Race Day Tips

  • Stay cool. If your body temp stays lower, you can expend more energy and perform better.
  • Don’t go out too fast; especially at the Loudoun Street Mile. The first half goes up a gentle incline, which you will feel. As you gently descend during the second half into the heart of Winchester, you have a chance to turn on the jets. Trust me, you will pass a lot of people who are gassed at the halfway mark. I speak from personal experience.
  • Don’t puke. Not that there is anything wrong with tossing your cookies all over the place after a race in celebration of giving all you’ve got and more. It’s just gross. I have been close to that point every time I do this race, but kept my breakfast down thus far (knocking on wood as I type this).
  • Have fun!

Look at Coach Becky below!