Just a few short weeks ago, I broke 5 minutes in the mile in 20 different years.
Over the years, it’s obvious to me that it gets harder and harder to dip under that barrier. Father Time wins each and every year, I just try and slow him down a bit. This year, my time was 4:57 and while I’m very proud of that time, I’m more proud of the training that I did to achieve this goal.
And I want to help you achieve your short-distance (or mid-distance) times.
How Fast is a 5-Minute Mile?
A 5-minute mile is a very good barrier for most distance runners to try and achieve.
To run a sub-5 minute mile (9 meters more than 1600), runners need to average 75 seconds or faster for 4 laps. These days, most high school freshman boys break 5 and the really good high school girls break the 5-minute barrier.
For context, there are 18 high school boys who have broken 4 minutes in the mile.
My History with the 5-Minute Mile
I first broke 5 minutes in the mile as a freshman in high school with a time of 4:47.
In the next 12 or so years, breaking 5 minutes wasn’t something I ever had to worry about. In some cases, I was running sub-5 minute miles during 5k races. Because I had a mile PR of 4:08 – 3:47 for 1500 – I didn’t have to worry about just getting by.
But as I reached my 30s and had children, training wasn’t a priority and I let a few years go by without focused training around a sub-5 minute mile.
Mile-Specific Workouts I Ran
Below are the workouts I did, but keep in mind, I was running 30 miles per week, with a long run between 8-10 miles on the weekend. These workouts had a 2+ mile warmup and a 1.5+ mile cool down. The paces of these workouts matched the fitness level I was in: I ran a 10k @ 6-minute pace and a time trial mile at 5:06 during the 2 months below.
October 6: 10 min tempo, 4 x 400 at 5k pace, 2 x 200
October 10: 10 x 125m quick w/ 1 min jog
October 18: 12 x 400 at threshold
October 27: short threshold reps + hill sprints
November 3: 1 x 1k at threshold, 3 x 500 at threshold, 5 x 200 w/200 jog
November 17: 3×3 minutes at threshold, 6 x 400 5k pace, 5 x 150 FAST
November 23: 1 x 800 at threshold, 9 x 300 at 5k pace
5 Minute Mile Workouts
I created these running workouts to help you improve your speed and strength to break 5 minutes in the mile. All these workouts are done on a track, which is a great way to train for races. They are intense and consistent but only take about 35-50 minutes. You can use them as training for short-distance or middle distances races, such as the 800m, 1500m, and mile event.
In the workouts below, you will find five-minute mile workouts and times not only for track workouts but also for road running. Start your speed training today and get closer to being a 5-minute miler.
Even if you aren’t a 5-minute miler (faster or slower), you can benefit from doing mile-paced workouts within every micro-cycle as it’s very important to always stay close to speed work.
The other thing to pay close attention to, is even if you aren’t actively trying to run a fast mile, you’ll want to do workouts that are geared toward your specific (and current fitness level). To make sure your workouts are tailored to you and where you are now, use a training pace calculator to help dictate your current workout paces.
The runners I coach have access to their own pace calculator, but you can also use TinMan’s, Jack Daniel’s, or Coach McMillan’s. Just make sure you are accurately predicting your current fitness as the calculators you use will give you paces based on your current fitness.
Workout Examples For Milers:
- 10-12 x 400 @ interval pace
- 2 x 1k @ T, 3 x 300 @ I, 4 x 150 @ R
- 1 x 800, then 3 sets of 3 x 300 @ current mile pace
- 3 x 800, 6 x 400 @ I, 5 x 150 @ R (downhill)
- 6 x 500 @ 3k race pace
- 10 x 300 @ 800-mile race pace
These workouts for running a 5-minute mile are perfect for both beginner and advanced runners. The warm-up and cool-down sections will help you prepare your body to run fast while the training intervals will boost your speed so that you can achieve your goal!
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