It’s been 60 years since medical student Sir Roger Gilbert Bannister broke through the four-minute mile wall with an unthinkable race time of 3 minutes 59.4 seconds. And even if you never come close to Bannister’s achievement, you can work toward setting your own personal record.
“Chipping away even a few seconds in a race for a new personal best is generally recognized as a substantial feat,” says Jason Chuhay, a running expert and One to One Fitness Gym running club director in Cleveland, OH. Incorporate some of these strategies into your running plan, and your miles will soon fly by faster.
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“Running consistently on its own makes you faster,” says Tom Holland, a marathoner, triathlete, and author of numerous books including 12-Week Triathlete. He suggests running on a track and alternating hard and easy laps, following this plan.
1. Warm up with 5 to 10 minutes of easy running.
2. Run eight laps
3. Sprint one lap
4. Jog or walk one lap
Repeat steps 3 and 4 four more times, then cool down with 5 to 10 minutes of easy running.
Note the time it takes you to sprint the one lap and try to beat your time each sprint. As you repeat the sprint, each lap should be the same or slightly faster than the previous one, Holland says. “You should see a difference in about a month, depending on your fitness level—if you’re already fast, it will be harder to see a difference.”