Regular runners have likely run a 5k, 10k, half marathon, or even marathon, but not everyone has had the pleasure of racing the mile. You are probably thinking of running the mile during PE in school and the usual butterflies that accompanied the event (at least I am writing this!).
Growing up here in Falmouth, I ran the Main Street Mile (run by my track club) a few times and I did again last year with my seven year-old. This year I’m running it without my son, and I am (gasp) going to try to actually race it. I’m not really sure what to expect, since I’m not in the shape I was a few years ago, but we’ll see!
In anticipation of this year’s Main Street Mile, I am boning up on some one mile race tips that I thought I would share with you guys! These tips can apply to a track mile too, but some are applicable to just the road mile, which I will be doing.
Warm Up (for a long time)
The rule of thumb is the shorter the race, the LONGER the warm-up. When running a one mile race, do a warm-up of around 20-30 minutes (the exception would be hot weather, when you would want to decrease the length/time). I plan on doing 2.5 -3 miles before my one mile race in a few weeks. You need a longer warm-up to get your body ready for the vigorous effort of a mile-long race.
Unlike, longer distances, you don’t have a few miles to warm up and negative split the rest of the race. It’s one mile and you’re done! Make sure your muscles are warm, your blood is pumping, and you’re ready to rock by doing that longer warm-up!
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Research the Course
Since you won’t have any mile markers to show you your splits, and you’re not on the track, it’s helpful to take a look at the mile-long course and make visual markers for your quarter-mile splits. Since racing the mile can take you to a special place of mental intensity, it’s good to know when you’re a half way there, almost done, etc. Trust me– it will keep you going! 🙂
Even though it’s just a mile, I always feel better when I drive/run/walk a race route. I don’t want any surprises on race day, and it makes me feel much more at ease when I know what to expect.
Prepare to Feel Like Your Legs Are on Fire (or you are going to barf, or both!)
Although a mile will go by really fast, it can seem like an eternity when you are racing it! There’s no time to make up for poor performance, so you really have to hit your stride and go full speed ahead from the get-go. The first quarter mile you charge out of the start, the second quarter you’re still holding on, and then comes the third quarter when sh%t gets real.
I think the third quarter is the toughest because you need to push harder to maintain your race pace. By the time you get to the last quarter mile, you can turn on the after burners and power through to the finish.
Have you raced the mile before? Any good words of advice?