OK fancy running a mile? Yep that’s 1609 meters or four laps of the track with 9 meters added on to make it the classic running distance known the world over.
Former world class miler and SOS aficionado Matt Yates gives you his lowdown of how to piece together the jigsaw that is a mile.
WHAT IS THE MILE?
Here we go, and first things first, the mile is a historic distance loved all over the world and the magical barrier of Sub 4 minutes is still revered on the planet. So don’t take it lightly, you are doing a distance that is as recognized as the marathon as feat of human endurance and speed.
So I am not going into the history but it was ???? who ran the first sub 4 mile. Right that’s your first task go Google that and then you will get a feel for the historic importance of the distance and the mile’s place in our hearts. And why we love the distance in the UK and the USA, not to mention everywhere else on the planet. While you are at it have read of the Wiki on the famous distance and its variations – HERE
History lesson over, so let’s get back to the game plan for the SOAR Mile and you to PB at Battersea Park on Wednesday 20th July.
TIMING AND PACING:
“STOP” before you take your first stride on the quest to a PB.
Ask your self what time do you want to run for the classic distance of a mile? Be real and think about it and what you can achieve.
When you know the TARGET time write it down on a bit of paper and stick it on the wall, so you are reminded of that ambition and goal on a daily basis.
Next, what pace do you need to run at to achieve your best time or target performance?
I always use this site HERE to calculate all times for sessions for the athletes I coach. For all the sessions below you will need to work out the split times that you need to run to achieve success. So you need to do a bit of pre-session admin and planning. When you have the times write them on your hand at the start of the session and go out and do them.
So, the distance you enter on the form is 1609 meters (yep that’s a mile) and then you fill out the time you want and then you add the rep distance (lap split) to get the time you will need to perform in each rep in training. For example want to run a 5 min mile and the session is 15 x 200 its 37.3 per 200 meters rep. OK the office work admin is done.
Right, I am stickler for doing it right or don’t bother to do it and that means warming up correctly. What really gets to me? Athletes that turn up in the wrong kit, it pisses me off. (note from the editor: you definitely don’t want Matt Yates pissed off with you before the session has even started) Yes that’s right if you want to warm up for a session you need to get a bit hot and sweaty.
So a decent session warm up:
12/14 minute jog at just faster than walking pace to start with picking up slightly at the end.
Then stretch for 15+ minutes. Check out this for exercises – HERE
Get your race flats on and its time 4 x 80 meter strides at 70% 80% 90% 95% effort and walk slowly back as the recovery. Nice article on racing flats – HERE
10 KEY WORKOUTS:
I am listing 10 key sessions here to get that Mile personal best. What you do between the sessions is simple, its easy running of 25 mins to 45 mins max at your comfort recovery pace and not blitzing it like a Kenyan running the London marathon. Its up to you how many runs you do between the sessions and that’s your call. But remember its about getting the sessions done at decent quality level and using the easy runs to refill the body tank.
1 – Monday 27th June
Find a decent park or sports fields for this session.
Warm up as above and then 8 x 70 secs with 60 secs recovery between reps.
You wont know how far you are running but just run free, fast and in control and concentrate as those reps will get hard about number 5 if you are doing it right.
Warm down jog for 10 mins
2 – Thursday 30th June
Track time (if your in London see what tracks are about near you and check opening times – HERE. This is one of my favorite sessions for the miler.
15 x 200m off the rep time before as recovery, so if you run 37.3 secs you get that as the recovery time and you go again. If you think running slow means more recovery that means you cheat yourself out of the target time.
Remember use the site to the working out what times you need to set out to run on the reps (not reminding you again).
3 – Saturday 2nd July
Track work – yes you guessed it WARM UP correctly.
Then its Bends & Straights.
That’s 100m fast 100m jog for 12 laps.
How fast should you run? Well I say as fast as you can cope with but not like your Usain Bolt. More like that 80% stride you in the warm up. Don’t time it, just run it free and enjoy it the sensation of speed.
Your call if you run the bends fast or maybe you want to run the straights fast?
4 – Tuesday 5th July
Track work – nice session this, and time to feel like a real miler.
Session at target mile pace for the 600m & 400m and then getting faster as reps decrease in distance like you are trying to outkick Seb Coe in a “Phoenix from the flames” moment.
A. 600m (2 mins rest), 400m (2 mins rest), 200m (60 secs rest), 100m
Take 5 mins rest/walk/jog and have an SOS then back at it and see if you can beat the first sets times as target.
B. 600m (2 mins rest), 400m (2 mins rest), 200m (60 secs rest), 100m
5 – Thursday 7th July
Park time session same place as you done the session on the 27th June.
Warm up – then its 12 x 50 secs off 70 secs rest – keep those recovery times spot on and keep on the workload output in the reps. Its going to be tough but your know your going places by the end of the workout.
6 – Saturday 9th July
Reps at race pace (yep do some admin on that site)
A. 4 x 400m off 90 secs recovery
10 mins rec between sets
B. 4 x 400m off 90 secs recovery
7 – Tuesday 12th July
Warm up and get in the competitive zone “FOCUS on the task in hand”.
Time trial day – yep your going on the track and you will do 3 laps at race target pace. That’s 1200m on the track and see if you can get someone to time you and shout your times every 200m to keep you target.
Take a rest for 15 minutes jog/walk hydrate.
Then do 5 x 150 at stride pace you do in the warm up and take a 250 walk between the reps.
8 – Thursday 14th July
Track Workout – nice quality feel fast session at slightly faster than race pace. Maybe drop your target time down on the sheet by 15% for the target rep times but that’s your call (see disclaimer at end of article). This session will be over before you know it so give it some.
1. 300m (90 sec recovery), 150m, (60 secs recovery), 100m
5 mins recovery walk/jog
2. 300m (90 sec recovery), 150m, (60 secs recovery), 100m
5 mins recovery walk/jog
3. 300m (90 sec recovery), 150m, (60 secs recovery), 100m
Saturday 16th July
Track workout – “The need for speed”, Run these free and as fast as you want and try make each one faster than the last but work into it and enjoy running fast like it’s the last 200 of the race.
5 x 200m with your target time as the recovery period. So if you aim to run 5 mins for the mile you get 5 mins recovery time between reps but stay warm and stretched.
9 – Monday 18th July
Almost at race day now – so nothing hard, its chill time and get into the SOS partner music listings Evermix
And its easy 4 x 120m stride outs with walk back recovery at a comfortable fast pace.
10 – Wednesday 20th July
if in UK enter the SOAR MILE & run new personal best for the MILE. If not then get your friends to cheer you on to a PB at your local track. Even get a few of them to pace you.
These are hard sessions, so make sure you are fit enough to take them on, and stop straight away if anything stars to hurt.
Matt Yates ran his first sub 4 mile at 20 years old and has a mile PB of 3.52. Matt was the winner of the New York, Madrid, Sydney, Edingburgh and a whole host of mile races round the world and was one of the worlds top 1500m athletes in the 1990s.
He recently started coaching at the age of 46 and in no time has built up a group of highly succesful young British middle distance athletes. Read more about his training group here in Left Spike magazine – HERE