Where will you #RunYourMile?

It’s  a little over a week since the launch of #RunYourMile 2016 and the mile attempts have started to be logged.  There are still a lot of runners yet to log their first mile so to help, I’ve put together some ideas of where you could #RunYourMile.

The easiest option is fairly obvious: head out the front door and let an app or GPS watch tell you when you’ve run for a mile.  Job done.

It might be the easiest way to record a mile but it might not be the best route for blasting a single mile as fast as you can.

Ideally you want to find a route that has no road crossings and is relatively quiet so you don’t trample on any children, dogs or pedestrians or cause cyclists to dodge.  A route that isn’t too twisty will help you keep your momentum up.  An arrow-straight mile may not be ideal either if you don;t want to see the finish line from the start!

You should also consider the surface you choose to run on.  Somewhere that has a consistent, firm surface would be best.  Even, tarmac paths are fine, just watch out for potholes, curb drops and slippy manhole covers.  Grass is softer but can be slippy and uneven.

Don’t forget to take hills into consideration – you don’t want to pick your perfect mile only to find it contains an Everest-like climb in the middle of it!

We don’t mind whether you #RunYourMile uphill, downhill or on the flat – the key behind #RunYourMile is that you decide how to challenging yourself and the aim is you look to improve over the 3 months of the challenge.

You can log as many miles as you want so why not mix it up and try a few routes?

Other than streaming down a hill as fast as your legs can carry you, the terrain almost guaranteed to give you your best mile time is an athletics track.  The smooth, pancake flat surface provides you the opportunity to believe you’re Roger Bannister too!

There are many athletics tracks across the country that are accessible to the public for a small charge, some are even free!

Running a mile on a track is easy – it’s just over 4 laps and the start will be marked on the track.  If you’re not sure, then take a look near the finish line for a curved line across the track:

The start of a track mile
The start of a track mile

I don’t have a background of track and field but I love running the mile on a track – each of the four laps have their own personality.  As well as heading to a track to run on your own, there are also opportunities to run track races, even if you’re not speedy.  Look out for “open graded” track meets that enable runners of all standards to race on the track.

The Iffley Road track, where Bannister recorded the first ever mile in under four minutes is local to me and holds an annual “Festival of Miles” open graded meeting.  The open meet is then followed by a BMC event where top national athletes race over a variety of distances.

The un-assuming Iffley Road track
The un-assuming Iffley Road track

In 2016, the Iffley Festival of Miles is on 23rd July and I heartily recommend it.  It was the venue for my first ever track race and in 2015 I secured a mile PB of 5:56.64.  I’m slightly gutted as this year I’ll be at the Olympic Stadium in Stratford watching the Anniversary Games.

If you’re intimidated by the thought of a track mile but still like to get involved with an organised mile-long event then fear not, there are an increasing number of timed mile road races.

A personal favourite of mine is the the City of London Mile; a series of waves for all ages and abilities, running on the closed roads in the shadow of St Paul’s Cathedral.  The event is well organised, chip timed, you get a medal and what’s more: IT’S FREE!

The proud PB-er
The proud PB-er

As I write this, entries for the 2016 event on 19th June are still open and you find out more at http://www.cityoflondonmile.co.uk/.  I’m looking to running it for the 3rd time and hunting for a time beginning with a 5, after a 6:04 in the 2014 City of London Mile and last year’s effort of 6:00 exactly!  My wife is coming along again too, after the 2015 event was her first ever chip-timed race.  She’s aiming to improve on her time of 9:42.

For a regular test there are also series of runs popping up that include the mile distance.  One I’m yet to attend but hear great things about is “The Mile Series”, organised by the people behind the Ealing Half Marathon.

These timed, measured miles are held at lunchtime on the first Thursday and Friday of every month in Boston Manor and Ealing, respectively.  The organisers welcome runners of all abilities and like #RunYourMile, encourage people taking on a personal challenge.

If these events tickle your fancy but are too far from you then head to Find A Race or RunBritain to search for similar events closer to home.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter where you #RunYourMile – just #RunYourMile with a smile!

Find out more about how to get involved with #RunYourMile for free, here.  Come and join in the fun and challenge yourself to #RunYourMile this summer!


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