A pattern to build a faster mile

Last year during my run/walk speed experiments I was astonished to discover I could clock a faster mile by walking every fifth minute than by flat-out running.

Yesterday my sister and I made a similar discovery during our 30-20-10 speed workout. Though we weren’t necessarily paying attention to our mile times, we happened to notice at one point that we’d registered a 9-minute mile – which is pretty fast for us — despite the fact that we’d walked for two minutes straight in the middle of the darn thing.

During a 30-20-10, you jog for 30 seconds, switch into higher gear for 20 seconds and then sprint for 10 seconds. You do that four times, followed by a 2-minute recovery of walking or jogging, then start another set.

Colleen didn't write a post this week because she's been at her grandparents' house while her cousin is visiting from Indy.

Colleen didn’t write a post this week because she’s been at her grandparents’ house while her cousin is visiting from Indy. Earlier this week Traci and I went on a run with Riley, and he really pushed our limits. So now when we do our 30-20-10 workouts we talk about shifting into “Riley pace” for the 20-second segment.

We did five sets during a four-mile workout that included a warmup and cooldown, and we walked our 2-minute recovery periods.  We happened to notice our mile time on the third mile because we started one set at the 2-mile mark and finished the third segment of a second set at the 3-mile mark. One 4-minute set plus 2-minute recovery plus 3 minutes of another set = 9 minutes.

The cool thing about this realization is that it gives us something else to shoot for besides just getting through these workouts. Traci loves speed workouts, but I just kind of endure them, especially because now I’m always afraid my perpetually sore hamstring is gonna explode on me.

If you told us to go out and run a 9-minute mile, we wouldn’t necessarily know how to pace ourselves to do that. So it’s cool to realize that this pattern produces a 9-minute mile —  and to think about using that as a potential building block toward putting together an unusual race strategy sometime.

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2 Responses to A pattern to build a faster mile

  1. bgddyjim says:

    I would never tell you to go out at a nine minute pace… I’d tell you to go for a seven… After the hammy heals of course. 😀

  2. tischcaylor says:

    That’s next year’s goal. 🙂

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