Lap by Lap Mile

8 Aug

Actually, it’s all about the 200 m (half lap) splits.  And it’s imperative to be able to float.  Which is a fancy way of saying a stop of acceleration and just maintaining the speed that has already been built up.  I’m still trying to learn to do it–it’s a pretty difficult thing.  Mostly, I accelerate, then just try to relax when I’m attempting to float, but I know I’m slowing when I do–so there’s more work to be done.  Anyway, my time-goals are:

1 mile = sub 6 min

800 m (2 laps) = 2 min

400 m (1 lap) = sub 1 min

200 m 30 sec

The mile advice, per some running site:

  • Pre-race: Warm up. Do a few paced sprints to get your heart rate up. Mentally go through the race in your head. Know what times you want to have at each lap.
  • Lap 1: You’ll want to start out a little faster than what is necessary to get your target time. The fact of the matter is that psychologically, you’re going to slow down as you get further into the mile, so make sure this one is good to compensate. Keep in mind, though, you don’t want to spend it all on this lap. A good example would be, if you want to run a 5:00 mile, each lap would need to be 75 seconds. A good time for your first lap would be 71-73; not too fast, but fast enough to give you some slack.
  • Lap 2: Fall into pace. This is where those 400 meter intervals you worked on will come in handy; know what it feels like to run the pace you need to run. This is the lap which should be right on target. In the 5:00 minute mile we mentioned earlier, THIS is the lap which should be exactly 75 seconds, so your time at the halfway point should be 2:26-2:28. Your adrenaline rush will probably start to wear off midway through this one, and you’ll start feeling it, but focus on your running form and keeping the pace.
  • Lap 3: Mentally and physically, this is the toughest lap for most people. More often than not, this is the one which will determine if you get your target time or not. Chances are, you will slow down from your original pace. In our 5:00 mile example, most people will run from about 77-78 seconds. However, since the first lap was hopefully strong, this puts us almost perfectly at 3:45, which is exactly on target. Nonetheless, it is important to make a conscious effort to keep pace on this lap, or else you will fall behind. Remember, your next lap is the last one!
  • Lap 4: This is it. You’re almost there. That’s what you need to be telling yourself at this point. You probably slowed down on your previous lap, so you need to really strut your stuff on this one and mentally push it to get to that time. Especially important is the last 200 meters- on most tracks, that’s the final curve. This is where you “kick.” All that can be said about this lap is that you need to mentally give it your all, and you’ll make that target time.

And it’s true–I finally figured out how to take my splits.  Here are some of my (older now) numbers:

1st lap = 1:46.5

2nd lap = 2:11.9

3rd lap = 2:15.8

4th lap = 2:08.1

But I haven’t run the whole mile straight through for over a week.  I figure some interval training on the splits will improve my speed.  So one day I did 400 m with 200m of rest in between.  Another day I did 6-8 200 m sprints with 100 m of walking in between.  Today, I did a pyramid workout:  200 m, 200 m, 400 m, 800 m, 400 m, 200 m, 200m with a full lap of rest in between so my times were equal or better.

I always feel disappointed and like I’m not pushing myself hard enough while I’m running.  Then, I’m surprised (on most occasions) when I get home and evaluate the splits.  So I guess the mental strength is still an issue.  How frustrating.  I need to PUSH myself.

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