Run A Faster Mile For Lifters

Run A Faster Mile For Lifters

This is the exact plan I used to take my One Mile Run time from 7 minutes to 5 minutes 58 seconds in 6 weeks while still prioritizing my strength training.

DISCLAIMER: This is not plan that has been tested on hundreds of athletes. It is just a simple program that I came up with when I was looking for a running plan that works well with lifting. It is based on researching several competitive running plans and cutting out the extra crap that more serious runners do.

I personally like the two days per week (option one) but any of theses plans will work. You don’t have to follow one plan exclusively either; you can mix and match the 3 options as need be to fit your life and lifting schedule. Ideally you wouldn’t run two days in a row or after a lower body day, but don’t be too OCD about it. If you have to squat and then run two days right after it’s not the end of the world.

3 days per week:
-2 of the speed workouts posted below
-Long run (4-10km) at an easy pace

2 days per week (option 1):
-2 of the speed workouts posted below

2 days per week (option 2) – Takes 12 weeks to complete:
-1 of the speed workouts posted below
-Long run (4-10km) at an easy pace

The first step is to complete your One mile 90% test. To do your 90% test, just run one mile at your fastest consistent pace and DON’T sprint the last 100-200m like you would if you were in a race.

The time to complete each of your repeats will be as follow:
1600m @ 90% test pace
800m @ 90% test pace Ă· 2
400m @ 800m pace ÷ 2 – 5 seconds
200m @ 400m pace Ă· 2 -5 seconds
Rest times will be half of whatever you run your interval in.

When running your intervals try to keep a consistent pace throughout and not play catch up or slow down at the end.

Example: The pace for someone who ran a 7-minute mile on their 90% test would have paces that looked like this:
1600m Pace is 7 minutes / Rest 3 minutes 30 seconds
800m Pace is 3 minutes 30 seconds / Rest 1 minute 45 seconds
400m Pace is 1 minute 40 seconds / Rest 50 seconds
200m Pace is 45 seconds / Rest 20-25 seconds

SPEED WORKOUTS (Use the appropriate pace as calculated above)
One Mile: 90% Test
2 x 800m
4 x 400m
8 x 200m
3 x 800m
6 x 400m
12 x 200m
2 x 1600m
4 x 800m
8 x 400m
16 x 200m
One Mile: As fast as possible


Looks fairly decent for low volume.

You could probably get decent results just doing 400m and 800m reps if it’s simpler.

Make sure to warm up a bit before any fast runs. Atleast some dynamic streching.

I have to run a decent amount for my sport, not crazy long distances but a decent amount for team conditioning, a recommendation from a bigger guy, try doing some of your workouts on a soft turf or level grass. It makes my knees and ankles feel so much better


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To add to what bigmanfootball67 said, also remember running is a skill to work on. work on landing softly and smoothly

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That’s some serious progress Assault. solid!!

IMHO, one critical aspect of those intervals: if we’re talking about improving the mile, jogging rest is incredibly important. Walking rest vs jogging rest is absolutely huge from my experience. The jog can literally be at walking pace, but it needs to be a jog (submax form of running).

Also, hitting the mile hard in training is very important - which he has with the 2 x 1600m. The best time to hit it, is if you find yourself becoming “afraid” of it. Whenever you are afraid to run a hard mile, it’s time to run a hard mile. Doesn’t have to be max, but needs to be a hard consistent 1609m. In my experience, that “fear” of running a mile is potentially a sign that one is becoming too adapted to intervals, where the mind/body expects a break and not to continue the hard effort all the way through. I mentioned that in my journal recently, and that training change has been incredibly effective. I got too adapted to intervals and I noticed I was hitting my “watch” (when starting to feel fatigue) at literally 400m in a mile race, at that exact spot, when I started feeling “fatigue”. So even though the intervals are broken up all over the place, if you find yourself looking forward to a break, it just might mean you aren’t reaping the FULL benefit - so you might make progress/improve your time, but maybe not as much as if you make sure to avoid expecting a break (physiologically/mentally). The jogging rest I mentioned earlier helps with this too, keeps you better prepared than walking rest IMHO.

As for how long to rest, 1/2 x interval distance light jogging rest is decent. Ideally, 30-45s for 200m repeats, 60s for 400m repeats, 90-120s for 800m repeats, and full recovery for 1200m+ repeats.

For the intervals themselves, one important thing is to try and not deviate too much from your mile form. ie, don’t become a “sprinter” over 200-400m if you can’t maintain that form for a mile. You want to maintain basically the same form, and just go faster (apply more force, pick up cadence a little). So if you run flat/mid foot & use relaxed arm swing for a mile, sprinting using forefoot strike & enormous arm swing for 200m won’t transfer as much to your mile, as running more naturally will.

Edit: 1-2 slow warmup & cooldown miles on speed days are an easy way to add some extra volume too. Light relaxed work before/after speed seems to have a nice effect - running soft is underrated.

I imagine someone would make some good progress on that, for sure.

As for consistent pacing on intervals etc, I agree unless one’s goal is to race. Then that changes things up incredibly. A race will have tons of pace changes, so playing catchup & such is very beneficial. Also, practicing miles with “variations of effort per quarter” and such becomes important as well. So to improve ones time, sure steady pacing is solid. For racing, you would have to prepare yourself to be sucked into faster/slower paces at any point in the race. I personally love that aspect of it.

Also I think practicing a final kick is important. It’s really hard to turn it on, if you’re not practicing it at the end of a workout. That could just be the last ~150-200m of whatever interval you’re doing, kick hard. To get that speed out when you’re really fatigued, isn’t so easy, helps to practice it. It just becomes natural if you end workouts doing it. It is often the difference between a PR or not… Failing to kick hard at the end can often end up with you smacking yourself.

my 2cents!



Nice plan. One thing I’d throw in there if you have it available is hill work. We had a huge Hill by my school that was part of our XC course and we ran it a lot. We have had a few state champions in both XC and the track distance events. The main hill we trained on was about 400m long. We did both uphill runs AND downhill runs. (Grass hill)

Running fast downhill is overlooked, lean forward and free fall down the hill, your leg speed will become much faster and the mile is almost a sprint these days. Get a feel for it at first but eventually you can actually push yourself extremely fast down the hill instead of the standard slowing your momentum with each footfall.