How to improve your mile time - training program included

Running a mile and improving mile time are two of the most common initial goals for new runners. However, many people begin the process with no plan. The logic is usually “I will run a mile multiple times per week and try to run faster every time.” This approach might work for a while, but ultimately is not a plan for long term results.

A structured plan is needed for any goal, even one that may seem simple to most people. While running a mile might seem like a simple goal, running this distance consistently over time, multiple times per week, seeing progress and doing so without injury takes some planning.

There are many plans on the internet, from providers such as Hal Higdon and the RRCA, among others. The plan we provide below is one possible option. Actually, two. Below you will see two plans, both for running the mile. The first option is a bit easier than the second, with the variance between the two meant to account for people of differing abilities or time. That is, the first plan may be better from the newbie who can run a mile, but still has significant room for improvement, while the second might be for someone who already has a decent mile time and want to improve it further. The plans can be run back to back as well.

Option 1

As you work through this program, keep the following notes in mind:

  • During the warm-up, aim for a minimum of one mile distance at easy-moderate effort.

  • For each sprint, go “as fast as possible for the day,” meaning base the speed on how you feel. That said, good form should be maintained, even if this calls for utilizing lower speeds.

  • For interval training and mile runs, pay close attention to the recommend rate of perceived exertion (easy, moderate, hard). Hard will be near max effort. Moderate would allow you to have a light conversation. Easy would allow you to have an ongoing conversation.

  • During interval training, aim for a minimum of one mile distance.

  • During the cool down, aim for a minimum of half-mile distance.

  • At the end of any week, you should have a bare minimum of 10 miles completed

Week 1 – Day 1

Warmup – 20-30 minutes – Mobility and running specific

Easy 1-mile Run

Interval Training Does not apply 10 Walk one minute, jog or run one minute, easy session

Cool Down – 5-15 minutes – Walk or light jog plus stretch

Week 1 – Day 2

Warmup – 20-30 minutes – Mobility and running specific

Run 100 meters, rest as needed

Run 200 meters, rest as needed

Run 400 meters, rest as needed, complete two times

Interval Training – 10 minutes – Walk one minute, jog or run one minute, easy session

Cool Down – 5-15 minutes – Walk or light jog plus stretch

Week 1 – Day 3

Warmup – 20-30 minutes – Mobility and running specific

Easy 1-mile Run

Cool Down – 5-15 minutes – Walk or light jog plus stretch

Week 1 – Day 4

Warmup – 20-30 minutes – Mobility and running specific

Free run – complete run of your choice

Cool Down – 5-15 minutes – Walk or light jog plus stretch

Week 2 – Day 1

Warmup – 20-30 minutes – Mobility and running specific

Moderate 1-mile Run

Interval Training – 10 minutes – Walk one minute, jog or run one minute, easy session

Cool Down – 5-15 minutes – Walk or light jog plus stretch

Week 2 – Day 2

Warmup – 20-30 minutes – Mobility and running specific

Run 100 meters, rest as needed

Run 200 meters, rest as needed

Run 400 meters, rest as needed

Run 800 meters, walk or jog 800 meters

Interval Training – 10 minutes – Walk one minute, jog or run one minute, easy session

Cool Down – 5-15 minutes – Walk or light jog plus stretch

Week 2 – Day 3

Warmup – 20-30 minutes – Mobility and running specific

Moderate 1.5-mile Run

Cool Down – 5-15 minutes – Walk or light jog plus stretch

Week 2 – Day 4

Warmup – 20-30 minutes – Mobility and running specific

Free run – complete run of your choice

Cool Down – 5-15 minutes – Walk or light jog plus stretch

Week 3 – Day 1

Warmup – 20-30 minutes – Mobility and running specific

Max-effort 1-mile Run

Cool Down – 5-15 minutes – Walk or light jog plus stretch

Week 3 – Day 2

Warmup – 20-30 minutes – Mobility and running specific

Run 100 meters, rest as needed

Run 200 meters, rest as needed

Run 400 meters, rest as needed

Run 800 meters, walk or jog 800 meters, complete two times

Interval Training – 10 minutes – Walk one minute, jog or run one minute, easy session

Cool Down – 5-15 minutes – Walk or light jog plus stretch

Week 3 – Day 3

Warmup – 20-30 minutes – Mobility and running specific

Easy 2.0-mile Run

Cool Down – 5-15 minutes – Walk or light jog plus stretch

Week 3 – Day 4

Exercise Distance Time (in minutes) Notes

Free run – complete run of your choice

Cool Down – 5-15 minutes – Walk or light jog plus stretch

Week 4 – Day 1

Warmup – 20-30 minutes – Mobility and running specific

Easy 1-mile Run

Interval Training – 10 minutes – Walk one minute, jog or run one minute, easy session

Cool Down – 5-15 minutes – Walk or light jog plus stretch

Week 4 – Day 2

Warmup – 20-30 minutes – Mobility and running specific

Run 100 meters, rest as needed

Run 200 meters, rest as needed

Run 400 meters, rest as needed, complete two times

Interval Training – 10 minutes – Walk one minute, jog or run one minute, easy session

Cool Down – 5-15 minutes – Walk or light jog plus stretch

Week 4 – Day 3

Warmup – 20-30 minutes – Mobility and running specific

Easy 2.0-mile Run

Cool Down – 5-15 minutes – Walk or light jog plus stretch

Week 4 – Day 4

Warmup – 20-30 minutes – Mobility and running specific

Free run – complete run of your choice

Cool Down – 5-15 minutes – Walk or light jog plus stretch

Week 5 – Day 1

Warmup – 20-30 minutes – Mobility and running specific

Moderate 1-mile Run

Interval Training – 10 minutes – Walk one minute, jog or run one minute, easy session

Cool Down – 5-15 minutes – Walk or light jog plus stretch

Week 5 – Day 2

Warmup – 20-30 minutes – Mobility and running specific

Run 100 meters, rest as needed

Run 200 meters, rest as needed

Run 400 meters, rest as needed, complete two times

Interval Training – 10 minutes – Walk one minute, jog or run one minute, easy session

Cool Down – 5-15 minutes – Walk or light jog plus stretch

Week 5 – Day 3

Warmup – 20-30 minutes – Mobility and running specific

Easy 2.0-mile Run

Cool Down – 5-15 minutes – Walk or light jog plus stretch

Week 5 – Day 4

Warmup – 20-30 minutes – Mobility and running specific

Free run – complete run of your choice

Cool Down – 5-15 minutes – Walk or light jog plus stretch

Week 6 – Day 1

Warmup – 20-30 minutes – Mobility and running specific

Max-effort 1-mile Run

Cool Down – 5-15 minutes – Walk or light jog plus stretch

Week 6 – Day 2

Warmup – 20-30 minutes – Mobility and running specific

Free run – complete run of your choice

Cool Down – 5-15 minutes – Walk or light jog plus stretch

Week 6 – Day 3

Warmup – 20-30 minutes – Mobility and running specific

Free run – complete run of your choice

Cool Down – 5-15 minutes – Walk or light jog plus stretch

Week 6 – Day 4

Warmup – 20-30 minutes – Mobility and running specific

Free run – complete run of your choice

Cool Down – 5-15 minutes – Walk or light jog plus stretch

Option 2

As you work through this program, keep the following notes in mind:

  • During the warm-up, aim for a minimum of one mile distance at easy-moderate effort.

  • For each sprint, go “as fast as possible for the day,” meaning base the speed on how you feel. That said, good form should be maintained, even if this calls for utilizing lower speeds.

  • For interval training and mile runs, pay close attention to the recommend rate of perceived exertion (easy, moderate, hard). Hard will be near max effort. Moderate would allow you to have a light conversation. Easy would allow you to have an ongoing conversation.

  • During interval training, aim for a minimum of one mile distance.

  • During the cool down, aim for a minimum of half-mile distance.

  • At the end of any week, you should have a bare minimum of 10 miles completed

Week 1 – Day 1

Warmup – 20-30 minutes – Mobility and running specific

Easy 1-mile Run

Interval Training – 10 minutes – Walk one minute, jog or run one minute, easy session

Cool Down – 5-15 minutes – Walk or light jog plus stretch

Week 1 – Day 2

Warmup – 20-30 minutes – Mobility and running specific

Run 100 meters, rest as needed

Run 200 meters, rest as needed

Run 400 meters, rest as needed

Run 800 meters, walk or jog 800 meters

Interval Training – 10 minutes – Walk one minute, jog or run one minute, easy session

Cool Down – 5-15 minutes – Walk or light jog plus stretch

Week 1 – Day 3

Warmup – 20-30 minutes – Mobility and running specific

Easy 2-mile Run

Cool Down – 5-15 minutes – Walk or light jog plus stretch

Week 1 – Day 4

Warmup – 20-30 minutes – Mobility and running specific

Free run – complete run of your choice

Week 2 – Day 1

Warmup – 20-30 minutes – Mobility and running specific

Moderate 1-mile Run

Interval Training – 10 minutes – Walk one minute, jog or run one minute, easy session

Cool Down – 5-15 minutes – Walk or light jog plus stretch

Week 2 – Day 2

Warmup – 20-30 minutes – Mobility and running specific

Run 100 meters, rest as needed

Run 200 meters, rest as needed

Run 400 meters, rest as needed

Run 800 meters, rest as needed, complete two times

Interval Training – 10 minutes – Walk one minute, jog or run one minute, easy session

Cool Down – 5-15 minutes – Walk or light jog plus stretch

Week 2 – Day 3

Warmup – 20-30 minutes – Mobility and running specific

Easy 2.5-mile Run

Cool Down – 5-15 minutes – Walk or light jog plus stretch

Week 2 – Day 4

Warmup – 20-30 minutes – Mobility and running specific

Free run – complete run of your choice

Cool Down – 5-15 minutes – Walk or light jog plus stretch

Week 3 – Day 1

Warmup – 20-30 minutes – Mobility and running specific

Max-effort 1-mile Run

Cool Down – 5-15 minutes – Walk or light jog plus stretch

Week 3 – Day 2

Warmup – 20-30 minutes – Mobility and running specific

Run 200 meters, rest as needed, complete two times

Run 400 meters, rest as needed

Run 800 meters, rest as needed, complete three times

Interval Training – 10 minutes – Walk one minute, jog or run one minute, easy session

Cool Down – 5-15 minutes – Walk or light jog plus stretch

Week 3 – Day 3

Warmup – 20-30 minutes – Mobility and running specific

Easy 3.0-mile Run

Cool Down – 5-15 minutes – Walk or light jog plus stretch

Week 3 – Day 4

Warmup – 20-30 minutes – Mobility and running specific

Free run – complete run of your choice

Cool Down – 5-15 minutes – Walk or light jog plus stretch

Week 4 – Day 1

Warmup – 20-30 minutes – Mobility and running specific

Easy 1-mile Run

Interval Training – 10 minutes – Walk one minute, jog or run one minute, easy session

Cool Down – 5-15 minutes – Walk or light jog plus stretch

Week 4 – Day 2

Warmup – 20-30 minutes – Mobility and running specific

Run 200 meters, rest as needed

Run 400 meters, rest as needed, complete two times

Run 800 meters, rest as needed, complete three times

Interval Training – 10 minutes – Walk one minute, jog or run one minute, easy session

Cool Down – 5-15 minutes – Walk or light jog plus stretch

Week 4 – Day 3

Warmup – 20-30 minutes – Mobility and running specific

Easy 2.0-mile

Cool Down – 5-15 minutes – Walk or light jog plus stretch

Week 4 – Day 4

Warmup – 20-30 minutes – Mobility and running specific

Free run – complete run of your choice

Cool Down – 5-15 minutes – Walk or light jog plus stretch

Week 5 – Day 1

Warmup – 20-30 minutes – Mobility and running specific

Moderate 1-mile Run

Interval Training – 10 minutes – Walk one minute, jog or run one minute, easy session

Cool Down – 5-15 minutes – Walk or light jog plus stretch

Week 5 – Day 2

Warmup – 20-30 minutes – Mobility and running specific

Run 100 meters, rest as needed

Run 200 meters, rest as needed

Run 400 meters, rest as needed

Run 800 meters, rest as needed, complete four times

Interval Training – 10 minutes – Walk one minute, jog or run one minute, easy session

Cool Down – 5-15 minutes – Walk or light jog plus stretch

Week 5 – Day 3

Warmup – 20-30 minutes – Mobility and running specific

Easy 2.0-mile Run

Cool Down – 5-15 minutes – Walk or light jog plus stretch

Week 5 – Day 4

Warmup – 20-30 minutes – Mobility and running specific

Free run – complete run of your choice

Cool Down – 5-15 minutes – Walk or light jog plus stretch

Week 6 – Day 1

Warmup – 20-30 minutes – Mobility and running specific

Max-effort 1-mile Run

Cool Down – 5-15 minutes – Walk or light jog plus stretch

Week 6 – Day 2

Warmup – 20-30 minutes – Mobility and running specific

Free run – complete run of your choice

Cool Down – 5-15 minutes – Walk or light jog plus stretch

Week 6 – Day 3

Warmup – 20-30 minutes – Mobility and running specific

Free run – complete run of your choice

Cool Down – 5-15 minutes – Walk or light jog plus stretch

Week 6 – Day 4

Warmup – 20-30 minutes – Mobility and running specific

Free run – complete run of your choice

Cool Down – 5-15 minutes – Walk or light jog plus stretch

 

Nathan DeMetz holds degrees in Exercise Science, Business Administration, and Information Technology as well as certifications in strength and conditioning, sports nutrition, run coaching, and other areas. His credentials come from organizations such as Indiana Wesleyan University, Ivy Tech College, Utah State University, and the ISSA College of Exercise Science. Nathan has 20 years of personal and professional experience in the health and fitness world. He works with people from across the globe, including locations such as Kuwait, Australia, and the USA. #nutrionist #nutrition #food #healthandfitness #GraceDeMetz #NathanDeMetz