Run Your Best Mile

Easy steps to a faster finish


Posted: 27 August 2010
by Sam Murphy

Get properly warmed up

Warm up thoroughly before your mile time trial and race. Jog for 10 minutes or so and then perform some strides. It's fine to do some mobilisations and dynamic stretches, but don't hold static stretches - research shows that this reduces power output for around an hour. This is not all that relevant for a half-marathon, but critical for a mile.

Make a good start

In a race (or time trial) as short as this, you can't afford to waste precious seconds. Stand with your lead foot up to the start line with your weight over the front foot and a very slight forward lean. "It may sound obvious, but make sure you've got the opposite arm to leg raised - people often put the same arm and leg out in front," says Bandu. Drive off the front foot when the gun goes or the clock starts.

Run an even pace

"Unless you are in a highly tactical scenario, running an even pace is the best policy," says Bandu. "It uses energy in a more efficient way. And it's pretty soul-destroying if it becomes harder and harder, and your pace drops off." Then again, you could always take Seb Coe's lead by starting fast and seeing how long you can hang on for...

Kick for the finish

How far from the finish line you up your pace depends on your natural ability. "It's really important not to break too early," says Bandu. "You will learn your strengths and weaknesses in training - for example, whether you're good at changing pace and how long you can sustain your kick for. Try out different tactics - it's all part of the fun!" While there's no point in kicking over the last 200m if you don't have the natural strength and speed to maintain it, you certainly don't want to finish feeling that you could have gone harder.

Don't forget to cool down

Finish with a cool-down jog for 10 minutes or so after racing over this distance - your      muscles will be pumped full of lactic acid, and gentle movement will help dissipate it.


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The Go-Fast Mile Plan
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