The Mile: it’s captured the hearts of track fans for generations. And it requires the speed of a sprinter with the endurance of a distance specialist.
The mile is the only imperial distance that survived the metric transition and is still recognized by the IAAF with a world record.
In May, 1954 Englishman Sir Roger Bannister became the first person in history to run a sub-4:00 minute mile (watch it here).
If you haven’t yet, I highly recommend his book The Four Minute Mile for a behind-the-scenes look at how Bannister became the world’s first 3:59 miler and how he trained to accomplish such a feat. Seeing as he just passed away this past weekend, it’s a good time to reacquaint yourself with this historic runner and milestone.
At the time, it was believed to be a physical impossibility to run less than four minutes for a single mile.
But runners have never respected “limits” much… and now the men’s world record stands at an eye-popping 3:43.13 by Morocco’s Hicham El Guerrouj:
In high school, the mile was my favorite event. At 1,609.344 meters, it’s slightly more than four laps around an outdoor track and will test your ability to suffer.
Alas, I was never great at racing a fast mile (going to school with 4:10 – 4:15 milers is humbling…).
But I do know someone who’s far more accomplished: Henry Wynne.
Meet Henry: NCAA’s Fastest Miler
Henry has an unusual origin story: he’s a former lacrosse player who had no interest in running but his parents encouraged him to stick with the sport in high school.
Fast forward about 10 years later and today, he’s an elite middle-distance athlete sponsored by Brooks. A former runner for the University of Virginia, he’s had several notable accomplishments over the years:
- 2016 Indoor NCAA Mile – Champion
- 2016 Outdoor NCAA Mile – 3rd
- 4 x All-American
- School Record Holder, 1500m
His personal best in the mile is 3:55 (from less than two weeks ago!) – and he’s going to let you in on how he prepares to race.
Show Links & Resources:
Resources helpful for milers and other middle-distance runners:
- Increase muscle tension to race faster
- How to lift for explosivity
- Train your top end running speed
- How to run hill sprints
- Lift for speed and power
Events typically become more complex as they get shorter. There’s less margin for error and small decisions have outsize consequences.
What questions about racing the mile (or 1,500m) might you have? I’ll answer every one!