How To Increase Mile TimeHow To Increase Mile Time
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This article will focus on how to improve running speed. Many people often ask me how they can increase their mile time, so I figured that this would be a good topic for an article.

Distance runners are often defined by the mile times they achieve in competition. The four-minute mile is one of the most iconic marks in all of the sport not only because it was considered impossible for many years, but also because it represents what top-notch athletes are capable of both physically and mentally.

How To Increase Mile Time

Since the early days of track and field, fans, coaches, and athletes all over the world have come together every year around middle-distance events (800 meters through 1500 meters) in order to witness athletes push themselves to their absolute limits.

A mile is an event that has been contested for over a hundred years and its place as the measuring stick of middle-distance running shows no signs of faltering.

Modern-day high school and college athletes will often dedicate their lives to breaking this hallowed barrier by lowering the mark into the 4:01-4:10 range just to earn a scholarship.

As you can see, being a fast miler requires a combination of physical ability, mental drive, and strategy in order to be successful at your chosen level. In this article, I am going to focus on some things that you can do as a competitive distance runner in order to help yourself to know How To Increase Mile Time. But first…

Why does it matter?

In a general sense, a faster mile time is going to be of more value to you in the competitive world if you are a short-distance runner. If you can run a 4:30 mile then that will get you places more quickly than a 5:20 mile unless you plan on running 800m or longer. In this respect I think it’s safe to say that most runners would benefit from being able to run under 5 minutes for the mile regardless of their chosen distance because there aren’t many top athletes who have the privilege of specializing in shorter distances – almost everyone runs both on their way to achieving bigger goals.

That said, if you’re only interested in breaking five minutes for the sake of breaking five minutes, read no further – just realize that if you’re not a miler, half-miler, or 1500m runner there are probably better ways for you to spend your time.

Now that we’ve established why it matters, let’s talk about how to run a faster mile.

Speed workouts vs mileage:

There is a big difference between running miles and running fast. Running fast requires a different type of training stimulus than just going out and putting in the volume. This is because, at slower paces, lactate clears from the bloodstream much more quickly allowing muscles to generate speed over and over again without being limited by oxygen debt/fatigue from lactic acid build-up. When training for speed, this allows you to have several explosive efforts within an hour’s training time. But when trying to run a fast mile, you only get one chance…

What it takes?

To run a blistering 4 minutes/mile pace for just one lap of the track requires impressive physical and mental abilities above and beyond what’s needed to handle an easy 8-10 mile long run at a conversational pace. The ability to recover quickly from exertion is important because you’re going to need all your energy for that final kick.

A highly developed aerobic system

A highly developed aerobic system helps supply oxygen while also clearing lactic acid so that you can maintain effort over the distance of the race. Mental endurance is key as well since it often takes 4:35 or a faster pace per lap in order to break through four minutes which means running with high levels of fatigue.

Mental drive:

Even though I am a huge proponent of mental skill development for runners, some people seem to want to dismiss it by saying that the best athletes are “born not made” or they have a “head start on everyone else”. I’m not sure where this comes from but it usually falls into two categories – being born with more fast-twitch muscle fibers than everybody else OR having less slow-twitch muscle fibers which would explain why they don’t run as far/long or as fast when tired.

The truth is that while some people are naturally better at certain aspects of running (i.e. being more muscular) if you dedicate yourself to developing your mental skills then there’s no reason why you can’t catch up to the naturally gifted athletes.

Motivational level

The challenge is being able to find the motivation to keep pushing yourself when you have nothing left in your tank and everything in your body is screaming at you that it’s time to stop – this is where mental endurance comes into play. It’s easier said than done, but knowing that you’re only a few seconds away from achieving something big can help motivate you over the short term.

The cool thing about mental endurance is that it’s much more permanent than some of those other physical traits like fast-twitch muscle fibers – as long as you stay dedicated then there’s no reason why everyone can’t run just as fast as some of the top athletes out there today (maybe not on your first attempt, but over time with practice).

5 areas of mental endurance you need to develop:

1) Being able to handle discomfort

2) Being able to ignore negative thoughts

3) Being able to focus in all conditions

4) Being able to maintain a consistent pace despite adverse conditions

5) Being able to set and accomplish goals

The detail of these five areas are as under:

1) Being able to handle discomfort

The more you run fatigued, the easier it becomes to run fatigued. The best way I’ve found to handle this is running a few miles every day tired (don’t overdo it though!!!) which will allow your body/mind to adapt to being tired so that when the time comes for your race, those 4 minutes won’t seem so bad. This is different from having a lot left in the tank at the end of a race since everyone has something left in them but if you can learn how to push yourself just enough then that last little bit means everything.

2) Being able to ignore negative thoughts

I’ve seen a lot of people lose mental battles after listening to their doubts. It’s no different when trying to run a fast mile. Having the discipline to keep going when your legs are tired from running too far/too fast and you’re feeling like giving up is key because more often than not, you can’t actually give up.

You have to learn how to push forward anyway so might as well try and figure out how to do it! This is why practicing while fatigued is important because you’ll be forced into situations where all those negative thoughts start rushing in on you such as “I don’t think I can do this” or “This pace feels too hard”.

3) Being able to focus in all conditions

it’s one thing dealing with discomfort or fatigue for a short period of time, but trying to run at your best when you’re feeling crappy is much different. Being able to stay focused despite how you feel will allow you to perform at your highest level. When it matters the most, which means that you won’t be as dependent on how your competitors are performing.

4) Being able to maintain a consistent pace despite adverse conditions

No one ever said that running a fast mile is easy and there are often more things working against you than just fatigue such as wind, rain, humidity, or even the altitude of where you’re racing at. This is why it’s important to have a strong mental game because you’ll need to be able to maintain a consistent pace despite what’s going on around you so that you don’t lose control of your race.

5) Being able to set and accomplish goals

Having something that you’re working towards can help motivate yourself over the short term. But it’s also important to set your goals such that they’re reasonable and achievable. Finding the right balance of challenging yourself but still being able to succeed is what you want. If you do fail then you’ll be able to learn from it and implement those lessons on your next attempt.


Practice makes perfect – the more you practice, the easier it becomes to run your best during a race. You might not know exactly what pace you’ll need to hold in order to achieve your goal. If you put in enough work then it becomes much easier because you’ve already experienced what it feels like to run at your best. Through this blog, you can get the answer to How To Increase Mile Time.

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