My Fast One Mile Challenge

My Fast One Mile Challenge

01/01/2018 Project Twenty 18
1 Mile Fast - 2017

The mile, as a race, is an intriguing distance. It is the fundamental unit of measure that all road races are built upon, and yet is often forgotten as a test of overall fitness and assessment of progress towards other goals.

I first considered running a fast mile away from the track in early 2016 when, for the first time, I changed the settings on my Garmin sports watch to record mile splits.

I clocked 5:48.39. In subsequent months I lowered my best time to 5:38.41, 5:36.97 then 5:30.68, until in August 2016 I recorded four sub 5:30 miles, establishing my personal best as 5:08.41 (on the 22nd of that month).

Although I have since run numerous sub 6:00 miles, including in races such as the Witham May Day 5 Miler and Hardwick 10km, I have not managed to come any closer to the 5:00 mark. This is due in part to my reluctance to train specifically for the distance, instead preferring to use the distance (and shorter intervals such as quarter-mile, half-mile and three-quarter-mile) as repetitions during my speed workouts, for improving my performances at longer races.

In November 2017, after realising I had accumulated over 110 sub 6:00 miles in less than two years, I set myself an ambitious goal. For the first time in my running career I intend to focus solely on improving my one-mile personal record. I first took four weeks rest after my fourth Chelmsford Marathon in October 2017, then spent six weeks base training in preparation for my challenge.

My intention is to now train for 12 weeks, culminating in a time trial in the last week of March 2018 to compare my progress. I will use a local park as my ‘track’ and remind myself of why I am pursuing this life-time goal.

I ran 5:26.93 (my eighth current best time) on 30th December 2017 as a starting point for my challenge.


18 Responses

  1. Can’t wait to see how well you do!

  2. […] feel it is time in my running career to embrace distances up to the mile, after many years of focusing on improving my half marathon and marathon performances. I expect […]

  3. […] at my family’s house in the Derbyshire Dales I felt ready to tackle my mile challenge on the first day of 2018. I used a nearby hill to work on my speed and running form. I did not […]

  4. […] effort for each lap and how I dealt with the sunny and windy conditions. In less than a month I had reduced my mile time by over 6 seconds, another measure of successful […]

  5. Hutch says:

    Setting and achieving goals is one of the awesome benefits of this incredible hobby of running, not to mention competing with yourself! Here’s to your upcoming success!

    • Thanks for the support, Hutch. I agree entirely. I have also come to realise that even just setting and pursuing goals can be transformational and life-affirming. The journey tends to reveal what you’re really made of. Success, after all, is a very personal feeling and measurement.

  6. Mikey Mo says:

    Wonderful goal! The mile. What a classic distance for proving speed. Now following! Keep it up!

    • Thanks Mikey. I agree. It’s a distance I have long forgotten since my high school track days but I believe it can provide a great foundation for longer races. The training is tough but rewarding.

  7. […] Although the increased ‘recovery’ miles did fatigue me I was pleased to return to training with renewed vigour this week. I now know I need to practice and improve my speed endurance for the remaining weeks of my challenge. […]

  8. […] As with all goals it is important to break them into manageable chunks, and thus my current training will focus on milestones necessary to run a mile in less than 5 minutes. […]

  9. […] I believe I am now mentally prepared for my final few weeks of quality training before my attempt to break the five-minute mile. […]

  10. […] I also registered for the Roger One Mile Time-Trial, a local event to commemorate the legendary miler Roger Bannister, which will be held next Saturday. It will be my first opportunity to achieve a lifetime aspiration. […]

  11. […] example, for my One Mile Challenge, I always intended to attempt my goal at least three times, with adequate rest in between attempts. […]

  12. […] due to a random influx of snow over the weekend the event was cancelled and so my first attempt at breaking the five-minute mile was […]

  13. […] Although my back and left quadricep still ache I feel ready to attempt time-trials for my One Mile Challenge in the coming […]

  14. […] returning from holiday and resting, I still did not feel physically prepared to tackle my mile challenge at the start of the week as I had planned. The weather was also far from optimal, with rain close […]

  15. […] One Mile Challenge taught me that although grass is a kinder surface than road for bones and ligaments, a runner has […]

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