If you are ready to make the mile a regular part of your routine, follow these guidelines:
- (Pre-) Test Yourself: First, get an official mile time under your belt so you can know what number you need to improve on. You can run on either a track (four laps), a treadmill or a one-mile street route using a GPS-enabled app or website such as mapmyrun.com. Write down your time. If it is slow, don’t worry: it is only a starting point.
- Train For It: One approach to improving your mile time is to simply run the distance multiple times per week, aiming to run it faster each time. This is acceptable, but for less-conditioned individuals, many prefer shorter intervals and building up gradually to running the full mile. Try running three to four intervals per running session in this fashion:
- Week 1, run a quarter of the track 9100 meters) relatively hard, then walk the rest (300 meters) for each interval; from there increase the running portion of the intervals by 100 meters (while decreasing the walking portion) each week until you are running four consecutive laps in the fourth week.
With this walk-run approach, you build up endurance through the intervals just like you would add extra weight on a lifting exercise. Try doing this running workout two to three times per week with at least one day between each session to ensure optimal recovery. Proceed with your regularly scheduled lifting workouts, but try to avoid heavy, intense leg training the same day as a running workout (or even the day before).
- Test Again: After four weeks, rest a couple of days and then take the one-mile run test under the exact same conditions as the pre-test. If you were not a regular runner before, knocking one to two minutes (or more) off your mile time in this period is realistic.