For the month of June, online retailer Wiggle.com has partnered with Strava, the social network for athletes to launch the #MyMile challenge.
Upload a run to Strava with the hashtag #MyMile and if you run a PB, then you will be automatically entered into a competition to win one of over 100 pairs of shoes up to the value of £100.
To help you on your way, Wiggle.com has recruited the help of running legend, and current European One Mile Record holder, Steve Cram to provide his top tips that will help you smash that PB.
What are the key things that you would say that runners can do to improve their mile time?
The first thing is not to be frightened of being ambitious about that. Most people take it easy and say, ‘okay, I’m an 8 minute miler for 10k and so I’m happy if I run a 7 and a half minute miler, that’s quite fast for me.’
In reality, I think that you should be able to run 15-20% quicker for one mile than you run for 6 miles (10km). If you run 8 minute miles for a 10k, you should be able to be doing a 6-minute mile as your best effort. But to do that, the first thing is be ambitious and plan it.
Pick your target
Get a target that’s going to stretch you based on what your normal running pace is, but be ambitious with that target.
Vary your training
You need to vary your training. It’s not simply a case of running a mile every night as hard as you can and you’ll get better. It doesn’t work like that. Break it down into its components:
- Speed endurance
- Speed – it’s the speed that most people don’t have.
Speed is just purely running fast. Practice it – most people don’t know how to do it.
Usain Bolt spends years just doing starts and drills and 20 yards / 30 yards and people are like that’s not really training is it? It is. He learnt to run fast because running fast is different. When you run six-minute mile pace, it’s different to doing 8 minute a mile – it’s a different action.
You need to introduce that into interval training where you’re doing repetition and recovery so you’re doing 10x a minute, 10x 30 seconds, 10 x 45 secs that sort of thing. You should be doing it at your race pace – at your projected pace. So if you want to do a 6-minute mile its 90 seconds a lap. So you should be trying to do 1 min reps at that pace. 200 m reps where you’re running 45 seconds. Your training needs to reflect that.
Stretch and strengthen
I think the third thing is to be conscious that if you’re going to change some of your running action / speed works / bigger endurance think about stretching and strengthening, so non-running activities as well. It’s not just about saying you have to go to the gym, but start doing plyometrics and stretching. You’re going to start using your quads and your hamstrings and being on your toes much more than you would do in your normal running. You need to train your body for this – you don’t want to get injured.
Race Day – Be Brave and break it down
You need to be bold and really treat it like a race. Race a mile. You’ve done the training, now break it down. You’ve got 4 laps.
Plan get to halfway so that you’re kind of reasonably relaxed. The focus then has to come on the third lap – don’t wait until the last lap. What most people do is they lose it on the third lap, holding back for lap four. They start getting a bit tired at that point so they slow down and get out of the rhythm because they still think ‘I’ve got quite a long way to go still’.
It’s the third lap when you win or lose it, so focus. That’s a psychological thing. Focus on the third lap, not the last lap, the third lap, because on that last lap you’ll always find something a bit extra.