With just a week until the City of London Mile I wanted to test my speed over shorter distances with a short session I rarely do but should probably do more frequently as I really enjoyed it.
Last month I mustered more than 60 people around the UK and the globe to run a mile, wherever they were, in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the fantastic feat of Bannister running the first four minute mile. As a result, I have new found fondness (and respect) of the mile,
So with my unofficial mile personal best standing at 6:13, set in the Mallorcan May morning heat, I would like to get as close to 6 minutes as possible in London, if not squeeze a sub-six from my legs.
Despite Witney being a growing town and the main town of the Prime Minister David Cameron’s constituency, we unfortunately do not have an athletics track at our disposal so I opted to use the main park that is home to my Tuesday night beginner sessions.
I know that the path round the Leys is around 600 metres long but has a few sharp corners which wouldn’t be conducive to running flat out. I had intended to run a more ovular route using the grass instead however as I warmed up I had a lightbulb moment: I would use the white boundary line of the cricket pitch which sits within the confines of the 600m loop of tarmac.
With my SmartRun watch set to measure 400 metre intervals I found, by the end of my warm up, that by drifting inside the line at the corners of the pitch I was close to the 400m lap I was after.
The session would be simple – run 400m fast, followed by 400m as easy as it needs to be, repeated 4 times. A total of 2 miles with 4 quick quarter-mile segments to test my pace. As I reset my watch, another thought crossed my mind: I wonder how fast I can cover 400m?
It was hot, humid and hard but such a satisfying session!
Given than my target pace for the London City Mile is 90s 400’s I was pleasantly surprised to see my splits after the session:
69, 92, 90, 88
Firstly, I had to double check the GPS for the first lap. I couldn’t believe I was only 9 seconds off the pace that Bannister set over the mile six decades ago! Turns out everything checks out – I think it’s the quickest I’ve ever run.
Secondly, I know that this doesn’t guarantee me my target time. I am well aware of the rejuvenation effect of those slow laps in between the efforts!
If (and it’s a sizeable if) I can string together those splits in a week’s time I would have hit a 5:39 mile, significantly inside my target. Equally significant is the fact that I won’t have a 400m rest in between each quarter mile! Let’s just hope I can keep the pace up for the full mile.
After my laps of the Leys I headed home and added day 15 of the Kinetic Revolution running technique challenge to my Juneathon efforts. Maybe it was the high of my running but at my third attempt of the intermediate mobility workout I managed to finally get through all the sets and reps!