T Nation

Going to start running the 1 mile

Alright gang, after two years of trying to increase my speed to walk on the football team at Auburn, I’m going use all of that energy to focus on running the fastest mile I can run. Thats where my genetics are. Yesterday I ran a 5:27 mile and until then hadn’t run any distance over 200m in years. On the other hand all of that speed training has caused no improvement for me. So as much as I hate it, I’m a runner, not a sprinter, and I could have been a damn good cross country runner. But, I’m still a weightlifter first, and I don’t want to be one of those twigs you see running on the sidewalks at 5 in the morning. I’d love to be able to run under 4 minutes in the mile at a bodyweight of 200. So I’m asking is this feasible? What I’m going to do is time myself in the mile 3 times per week, and run shorter or longer distances in between days. I’m going to carb up big time after each workout, if my time improves I will eat ice cream, if not I will drink gatorade. I want to improve my stamina but not keep as much size and strength as possible. Will I be able to improve from a 5:27 to 4 minute without losing size and strength?

no it is not possible to do that

I have debated over how to respond to your question but attaining a 4 minute mile is a serious quest and you might be taking it a little light. You have done great with a 5:27 but theres a world of difference of to go. I think if you really want to establish it as your goal you need to consider the proper training program of a miler. Have you considered working with the Auburn track program? If I can be of help please do not hesitate to ask. In faith, Coach Davies

no two legged 200lb mammal has ever run a 4 minute mile. good luck.

good luck, but I’ve never known of any sub 4 minute milers weighing as much as 180, let alone 200 lbs. The more you train for the mile, the harder it’ll be to keep your weight up. Also, any leg lifts like squat poundages will not improve due to the aerobic work required in training for a mile…

I don’t want to discourage you, but I don’t think it can be done…a four minute mile in the first place is pretty damn near impossible for 99.9% of the world’s population, but to do it at 200 pounds, well… There’s a reason that all of the serious milers are lean and stringy - higher efficiency. Trying to move 200 pounds around a track 4 times fast is a lot harder than moving 150. I think that you’ll find you begin to lose weight steadily if you follow that running program you outlined, no matter what your diet is like. Good luck, but I think you may need to readjust your goals a bit.

Alright, thanks guys. I’m hardheaded, so you saying it can’t be done only makes me want it even more. I’ll shoot for it, and if I fall short then regardless I’ll be in the best shape of my life and better fit than any 200 pounder I have ever known or seen. Truth be known, I’m actually 20 yrs old and weigh 183 right now, and want my normal bodyweight to be about 200 in a few years. So I’m actually going to try to gain weight and work on my mile time. Either I’m a pioneer or a fool, we’ll see.

Is it possible? I doubt it. A four minute mile is tough enough, but then again you never know. Take a look at modern track athletes even the longer distance runners (800M) are getting bulkier. Why? These races are becoming more sprints that endurance events. Can a 200lb man run a sub-4 mile? Not today but who knows what the future holds.

I don’t know what the decathlete’s times are now, but you can check their 1500m times and extrapolate to the mile. These are the bulkiest of the track athletes that run. Might give you an idea of what’s possible for the more muscular runner. I think timing a mile 3x per week is a bit extreme. Maybe you should drop that to 1x per week or less. Make sure you’re doing pace intervals on your harder days. Here’s an example that’s from a different distance, but the idea is still sound. Tarzan Brown was a marathon runner in the early part of the 1900s (1930’s I think). His coach’s idea was that if you could run a mile in 4:30, then a 5:00 mile pace would be sustainable for much longer. Using that concept, he was able to extend the distance that he could hold the higher pace, and set the world record several times. To bring that to your quest, you should go for 440yd times at 55 seconds, doing 6-8 repeats per workout (but only do this at most twice per week), then go to 880yd repeats at 1:55. Shoot for negative splits (second half faster than first half). From that, your pace should hit right at 4:00 for the mile. Another favorite was the 30/40 drill used by the Oregon track team (under Bill Dillinger, coach of Steve Prefontaine)-- do 220yds at 30 seconds, followed by 220yds at 40 seconds (this is done as a continuous run). Go for as many laps as you can before the pace falls off. Prefontaine held the record for this drill at 9 laps. Keep an eye on your overtraining symptoms, as these are VERY demanding workouts.

anything is possible. that being said, you need to work on running sub-5 before you set such an extraordinary goal.(i’m taking it that 5:27 is your mile record).

unfortunatly for you, you have to do long runs.
period. looks like speed training has gotten you pretty far, but top milers do runs of at least 10 miles off-season to build aerobic fitness. 4 training runs of 4-8 miles per week, plus 1 or 2 speed work sessions adds up to a lot of cardio. because of this i don’t see you bulking up that much.

Not to continue the discouragement, but as you get down in times every extra second is a lot tougher. My best friend used to run a 4:12 and he never dreamed of pulling a 4min mile.
At that pace you are essentially sprinting the entire way.
I cant imagine you’d do it with 200 lbs of muscle mass.