Tuesday, September 29, 2009

5 minute mile

My good friend and fellow M10'er Criag Thornley laid it out there a few weeks ago and I am taking the bait. On November 12th I am going to try to run 4:59.0 for a mile. Sounds stupid? Indeed.

Until then I'll be significantly decreasing my mileage in an attempt to increase my speed (as if I have any). Any advice, other than the obvious, would be greatly appreciated. And, in case you care, the fastest mile I've ever run was 5:12 when I was 20 years old (I am now a sad and decrepit 42).


PS -- In the "keeping score at home"department, however this whole fiasco turns out I am still leading LB by 4 hours in the 10-year bet. Don't ever forget (even if his wife loves him more than mine does:)


Anonymous said...

I certainly have confidence in you. Just get out and do fast 400s and 800s over and over and over, Zatopek style, then drop down to sea level and run hard in Nov. Easy.

Unknown said...

Don't carry any extra pounds into this venture, if you have any.

Do not worry about the age thing. It's wasted energy. So you're 42. Big deal. You're still in your prime, man! :)

Age is overated for someone who is:

1. A "decent" runner to begin with,

2. Can be disciplined to do whatever training is necessary to achieve a particular goal,

3. And who has the humility to actually put a shout out there like this for other people's suggestions.

The fastest I ever ran a mile in high school was 5:08, at 5'8", 168 lbs, but at 40 I ran a 4:51.23.

It was also not necessary for me to train for this at altitude and then drop down to sea level. I did not have that luxury, but if you do, footfeathers advice can't hurt.

The key for me though, was dropping to 147 lbs (at 5'8" that is a more appropriate weight anyway for ANY distance-I think I cheated myself in high school big time by giving myself a major weight handicap to start with).

When I did this 4 years ago, a friend and I noticed that we both gained 2 second per mile for every pound of fat we lost. And we were OVERWEIGHT when we started our attempt 3 months before the big day.

A recent blurb in one of the running magazines gave me confidence that this was no arbitrary result when it stated that "studies have shown that 2.5 seconds are gained per mile with each pound lost." Sorry, I don't remember which magazine, but it is in the most recent issue.

Also key was participating in a local track club's weekly interval workout on Tuesday nights (which I think I read you already do weekly intervals on the track).

Scaling back on the weekly miles is also a wise thing to do to focus on regaining the speed.

Good luck AJW. You will do it! Ditch any negative thoughts. Go for it!

BTW, congratulations on your incredible summer of 100s.

Excellent job, and I am glad for you, because you worked hard for it.

Unknown said...

A few more things:

1. Some 6 mile workouts each week on a quality treadmill that can reach level 12 (5 minutes per mile) helped immensely with teaching my body the necessary turnover rate. I didn't run the whole 6 miles at that level, but I did as much as I could.

2. Some interval sessions each week in the form of hill repeats, and I mean a shorter hill around a quarter mile, where you are spinting up, then jogging lightly back down, then repeating this several times. Definitely built up my leg strength.

3. A pair of Nike Zoom milers on race day. Very light.

Train in heavier shoes.

I discovered that for every oz. less the shoe I wore was, I gained 1 second in the mile. 2 seconds gained per mile since we are talking about 2 oz. reduced weight for a PAIR of shoes.

Good luck to you. It'll happen.

Craig Thornley said...

1. Only carry one water bottle and put it in the right hand.

2. Since it is November, you'll probably only need 1 S-cap every other lap.

3. There is a bank (and a Santa Claus). Go out in 65-66 so your 80s on the third and fourth laps won't take you out of the game.

4. Fat doesn't matter. Did you see how tight Tbag's shirt was?

OK, I'll give you two serious ones:

5. Take "1/4" splits at the finish line. So, your first split will be 409 meters, then the remaining three will be 400 meters. You're gonna be fast on the first one anyway...

6. Get somebody to video it so we can all see it.

Scott Dunlap said...

Descending 800's with 30 sec rest. Go until the last 400 of the last 800 is nothing but burning hell. 1-2x week, and you should be ready to go.


Anonymous said...

You HAVE to drop to sea level just to make it fair with Craig. You'll be so doped up on oxygen you won't even know how badly you're really hurting.

AJW said...

Thanks for all the advice and ideas. Even from Craig:)

It will be too much of a pain for me get all the way to sea level for the run but I will go down to 3000 ft which should feel much better than the 6000 ft where I live.

Matt said...

Call it "07:42:20 pace".

Hank Dart said...

So, we have to travel to Twin or Boise to film this thing? Then let's at least do it at the blue field of BSU.

Anonymous said...

agree with footfeathers, lots of 400s and 800s. squeeze 400s inbetween the 800's to really get the anerobic going.

you're a tough SOB, you'll get sub 5 for sure.

Anonymous said...

Todd Braje's 5:30:50 at Jed Smith aint to shabby.

Information said...

As an ex-track speedy speedster the thought of running a speedy mile gives me phantom spasms in my back....and my hamstrings....and my achilles....

Leslie said...

Oops. Information = ME.

Craig Thornley said...

You gonna share with your readers how your first mile workout treated you?

All joking aside, I think you can do it, but you're going to have to work hard and be prepared to hurt. Sub-5 is not very high on either the Purdy or the McMillan charts.

Unknown said...

Skip rope, fast...for a minimum of 45 minutes, preferably for an hour.

Core strength
Foot speed

Matt said...

I mean 8:18:20 pace. Doh!

saschasdad said...

For a fast mile, you need to do repeats of no longer than 400; I think 800 is way too long. Heck, do some workouts of only 200s & 300s, and maybe even a few 100s here and there. Like LB said, it will hurt. But man, it's fun! And the faster you run, the sooner the hurt will end.

Gretchen said...

I agree with Sean - 400's and 300's.

Hope the training is going well. I was thinking, if you're looking for a little inspiration, you should check out Donald's blog at runningandrambling.com. He ventured on the same quest for the 5-minute mile a few years back and wrote an entire series of posts about it. If you go to his blog, they're on his sidebar posted under "Chasing Roger Bannister." He's really quite an excellent writer. You should check it out!

Craig Thornley said...

How are the mile workouts going? Haven't been getting the phone calls telling me how hard running 75 seconds is. Hope you haven't DNFed already. What would Immanuel Kant have to say? If you wait until Thanksgiving I could arrange to have a pacer, a cheering squad, and a videographer at Hayward Field.

Unknown said...

You have the speed. Remain positive.

Total belief in your ability to do this.

If you have ANY extra fat on the body, which I am not sure if you do, drop it.

Each pound of extra weight, if you have any, slows you down 2 - 2.5 seconds per mile.

Not an endorsement to go anorexic, just making the weight loss point in case it is at all relevant even to the point of having just a pound or two more you could drop in this last week and still remain healthy.

You have great speed. Just don't go balls out in the first half. Pacing.

Total belief in your ability to do this.

Carpe Diem!