Conquering the 5 minute mile!

Hi All,

Hopefully someone can help. I've been trying to crack a 5 min mile for a while now and Im stuck on around 5.18 on the track (1609m) and 5.07 according to a Google maps mile which doesnt seem precise. I've been shaving good chunks of time off but now hit a wall where I cant seem to beat these times. I've tried running 3 miles at good pace, attempting the mile itself twicwe a week but want any assistance that can get the 18 secs off this now.

Any breathing exercises I can do outside of running? Anything I should be eating more of/less of besides obvious? Any shorter, faster runs like sprinting 400m? Anything I can help to warm up, eat a few hours before or not eat 2 hours before? Every little helps here. Any training ideas to finish this as quick as possible will be helpful, Im running 3 times a week at the moment.


  • Anybody? image


  • I'm happy with 9 - 10 minutes per mile but I am training for a marathon. When I did my first 5K I was happy with 27 minutes. Sorry I can't be of more help. You sound like you're running at elite pace. Maybe if you run 4 times and do short sprintss it may help. You're not that far off your goal though are you craigno_1?

  • What's your current week's training looking like in terms of miles / pace?

  • the forums are quiet at the moment craigno...........some sporting event on.image

    my suggestion would be to run more than 3 times a week.....and stop trying to get a fast mile twice a week.......i would only go a a pb attempt every few weeks.........

    but i am a slow runner so not the best to advise......

  • Perhaps you will find this useful.

    Tom is currently trying to achieve exactly the same thing and is being advised along the way by a sub 4 minute miler, so you can be reasonably sure that the approach will be along the right lines.

  • Thanks. I'm doing 2 or 3 runs per week, 1x 3miles (17min 14s) and 2x 1 mile and hit a wall on the mile. I've been doing a lot of reading and it seems i need to be doing some 4 x 400m sprints or 8 x 400m sprints separately etc. To increase anaerobic ability which sounds like an idea.

    I've only got back into running 4 months ago when i done a marathon after 8 years of chilling out. But this is on my bucket list and I'm 30 soon so need to sort it asap. I'm after any 'eating on the day' or 'eating just before' tips or tips to maybe warmup tips before it as i only stretch before at the moment.

  • if you are just racing mile runs without warm ups or cool downs then i think you are lucky not to be injured


  • You need to warm up properly before you attempt to do any kind of race or speed work. Try run a mile around the track at a very slow pace, then some dynamic stretches then strides.

    As for eating - so long as you have fully digested anything you have eaten then you should be ok. No special food to get you to your target pace or we'd all be eating it non stop. Try caffeine, it helps you cope with the pain.

    Why not post on the training forum. There are more people there better able to help you. Often people don't read the threads in general. It gets a bit repetitive.

    You certainly need to be doing more running. If you can build up to about 25 miles a week with at least two decent track or interval sessions. The young athletes at my ex club ran 3 speed sessions a week but these are kids.

    A normal track session I would hope to cover approx 4-6k effort plus warm up cool down and recovery.

    Yesterday I ran 2 miles warm up; 10x100m; 6x1,000m with 120secs recovery (should have been 90 secs) 10x100m; 2 miles cool down.

    Your k reps should be about 3:25

    You can do any reps you like: eg:
    2 x800 3 x 6003x 4003 x 200

    As I say, your best bet is over on the training forum.

  • good link you posted you agree craigno

  • It is interesting how Tom is progressing.

    With plenty fitness background he ran a 6:09 at last summer's Hyde Park Mile in Leeds.

    Then his next mile, after getting some specific training under his belt, was 5:32 on the same course. As I finished 1 second behind him that day I couldnt help noticing how fast his finishing speed was, presumably as a result of the shorter interval work.

    I have done the odd interval session with him in between, but when we ran 3,000 a couple of weeks ago the effect of the specific training became very clear. We planned to try an 81 secs/lap effort or 5:24/mile for almost 2 miles. That pace wasnt quite held to the end but 10:20 for 3,000 represented a big step forward.

    And so now it will be interesting to see what happens when we have a go at 1500 next week when something close to 4:45 is the target.......

    The main target date for the sub 5 minute mile is 8th Sept so a bit more training before that attempt.

  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭
    craigno_1 wrote (see)

    Thanks. I'm doing 2 or 3 runs per week, 1x 3miles (17min 14s) and 2x 1 mile and hit a wall on the mile. I've been doing a lot of reading and it seems i need to be doing some 4 x 400m sprints or 8 x 400m sprints separately etc. To increase anaerobic ability which sounds like an idea.


    Hang on, so you're running FIVE miles per week?!

    The mile is a highly aerobic event.  You haven't got enough of a base.  Run more easy miles, a lot more.

  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭

    ...not sure if you've started reading the link that parkrunfan provided above, but as a very quick indication, here's a quick cut and paste:

    "TRAINING DIARY – WEEK 2 OF 19 (May 7th - May 13th)

    Monday – Easy 10k (8:03 per mile)
    Tuesday – 8 x 300m with 30 seconds between reps
    Wednesday – Steady 10 miles (7:00 per mile)
    Thursday – 4 x 600 with three minutes between reps
    Friday – Rest
    Saturday – Max effort mile (5:32)
    Sunday – Easy 5 miles"

    So assuming some sort of adequate warm-up/cool-down for the "sessions", he's doing about 40 mpw.  OK, he's coming off marathon training and it's not the sort of mileage you can jump straight into, but it's pretty obvious you need to be building/maintaining a very good aerobic base whilst tackling your faster running training.

  • Thanks guys yes the link was very useful. I tried another one today and done the Google maps mile in 5.01.80 and that was with a car crossing my path delaying me so hopefully will box that one off shortly though it's probably not an accurate distance. The main help was the warmup, I used to think any sort of sprint before a mile run would take away from performance and lastability but it did help i think.

    Will start running more sprinted short distances now. I've completed a marathon in Apr so not without distance training. But closer to the 5 min mile now anyway thats why i asked for any small tips to shave seconds off rather than complete 19 week overhauls. Anybody know if its easy enough to do on a treadmill if im say 15 secs short on grouind?

  • Should be easier if the treadmill is calibrated wrongly. 

  • try running at the same pace but with weights attached to you, you get more power and most explosive bursts you could also try hill sprints with your running. good luck

  • craigno_1,

    Did you ever run a sub 5 minute mile on the track? I am training to to run a low 4 minute mile and was wondering what you did to break sub 5? I am currently at a 6:07 on a track.

  • Probably got injures as predicted earlier.

    You're after a 50% increase in speed ? What is your training like ?
  • I ran a 4:47 in high school. My best 5k time is 18:14. I am sure I can get back down to those times but i want to run a low 4 minute mile. 

    For training right now I am currently running an hour a day. I end up doing about 6-7 miles for the daily hour run and I am going to start track work outs. I tried to do mile repeats but ended up only doing 2 miles. I ran a 6:07 and a 6:51. If your interested I have a personal blog that will have all my work outs.

    It is

    If you have any advice let me know.

  • Mile reps isn't going to get your speed right up for a fast mile. Have a look through this training thread on someone aiming for a sub 5min mile. All the training is documented 


  • Yeah I know I have to do 400m and 800m repeats and get some sprint workouts in but right now I am just trying to get back into running. Once I get down to a 5:10 minute mile I will really start working on speed work. Until then though I am working on getting my foundation back.



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