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Improve your mile time every month — all the way through to the Christmas GOAL Mile

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Find Your Own Mile Pace In May

I’d like to suggest to runners in this week’s column to make May- The Month Of The Mile, writes Frank Greally

May 6th marks the 70th anniversary of Roger Bannister’s historic first ever sub- four minute mile set at Iffley Road in London.

You don’t have to be elite, ultra competitive or even fast to take on the mile. You may have tried the 5k, 10k and even the marathon, so why not the mile?

The mile is, after all, shorter, quicker, easier to measure and a more immediate challenge. The classic nature of the mile has all the glamour a runner could ask for, so why not make running a faster mile a target for the Month of May and all the way though the rest of the year. If you run a timed mile at your best effort during the month of May- you can then set yourself a target of improving a little on that time each month- all the way through to Christmas.

Even if there is no regular running track close by, it is relatively easy to step out 1,760 yards on a road, in a park or around a playing pitch. Furthermore, unlike a long hard endurance race, you can give the mile a lash quiet regularly and monitor how you improve.

The interesting thing is that when you find your mile time improving you will also find your times improving over much long distances as well.

A faster mile time can well lead to a faster 5k, 10k, half -marathon or marathon. For one thing, it will bring a freshness to your approach, an added variety to your training and an added boost to your running tempo, as well as helping you to find your own pace.

So how do you start this mile challenge? No revolution is called for- just the effort to get yourself a measured mile to run. Measure the distance, get a few training friends to join you and time yourselves for the distance.

You don’t have to change your regular training- just try the journey. Set up a Mile Challenge for yourself  during the month of May. Then try again in the following month and each month after that.

More often than not the first one or two runs over the mile distance  will be approached too fast or too slow, so you need a settling phase to get it about right- ideally even paced- with a final fast 200 meters effort to the finish line.

The exciting thing about the mile is that it can be talked about with the same awe as the the marathon. It offers ample targets and barriers to tackle, whither it’s a 10 minute barrier or a sub 5  minute mile.

The magic of the mile is there to be grasped. Once you decide you want to do it and exert yourself with a bit of fast training the world of the mile is at your feet.Tell us at Irish Runner about YOUR Individual Mile Challenge or about how your training group have set up a Monthly Mile Challenge. Email:

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