Smoky Mountain Coach Roy Benson’s Training Tips for Milers
Picking the right workouts for the mile can be tricky. Here are some suggestions that can be applied no matter what your Spring goal time might be this track season. Three key interval workout paces are:
1) Right on goal pace;
2) About 4 seconds per 400 meters over current race pace;
3) 2-3 seconds per 200 meters under current race pace.
Notice carefully the above use of the words "goal pace" and "current race pace." They are the key to applying these suggestions successfully.
1) Start a series of 400 meter progressions, on a pace to meet your season's goal time with an interval of just 100 meters in a slow 60 second jog. In this workout you have 3 givens: the distance to be run (400m), the pace (goal pace for the season) and the interval (100m in 60 second). The variable will be how many 400m repeats you will be allowed to run thanks to your current fitness. This will probably be not too many at the start of the season. However, each time you do this workout, as the season progresses, you should be able to do more 400's at goal pace. This "experiment" should prove that you are getting closer to being able to meet your goal while it teaches your legs, your heart and lungs and your mind what race pace feels like. It's called specificity of training.
2) Start with a 12 x 400 workout at 4 second OVER current RACE pace with real slow 200 jog interval. With each component of the workout a given, your improvement over time will be the variable. As your race times improve during the season, so also will your pace per 400.
3) To sharpen your leg speed so that race pace feels really comfortable, run a small batch of 200's at 2-3 sec per UNDER your current race pace. Try 8 x 200 with a full recovery of 400 to 800m jog interval. The interval is the variable so as you get more tired during the workout, take more time to insure full recovery. This workout is more about speed than lactic acid tolerance so taking more and more rest is ok if it helps to avoid an injury.