Quick reality check: You’re not going to drop minutes off your mile over the course of a week—or two... or three—and you may not even be physically capable of hitting the impressive 6-minute mile running benchmark at all.
"Not everyone can run a 6-minute mile," says Bobby McGee, a 30-year endurance coach (who’s coached a number of sub 4-min milers) with expertise in middle distance, cross country, road, marathon, and triathlon coaching. "An athlete can have the engine but not the form, or may not have the range of motion and get hurt maintaining that speed for that long." He adds, "The greatest challenge to an athlete is not the aerobic requirement, but managing quality without breaking down... speed kills in this department."
But we can guarantee you this: you will get faster following this 6-week training schedule. What's more: You'll bulletproof your body, strengthen your cardiovascular capacity, and challenge your calves, quads, glutes, and core.
Each week of the plan, you'll be running 2+ times per week and have room for other workouts, too. Some of these training weeks may seem a little light, but McGee says: "With all endurance events, the mile and up, 80 percent of training is all easy running other than the time trial."
Before you dive in, here are a few tips from McGee:
*This program is based on a runner who is already reasonably aerobically fit. So if you're not used to this type of running in general, tack a couple extra weeks of easy running and striding on to the front-end of this plan to boost your cardiovascular system and endurance.
*Perform all your quality speed workouts on "flat, fast surfaces" like indoor and outdoor tracks.
*Feel free to take your recovery and endurance maintenance workouts off-road to trails and beaches, if they are flat and firm.
Warmup for every quality workout:
- Complete an easy 15-minute warmup jog. Or, walk, then skip lightly or run for five to 20 minutes.
- Perform a few dynamic mobility drills: Heel walks, knee hugs, quad tugs, lunges, butt kicks, hamstring kick-outs etc.
- Run a few stride outs with maximum recovery between each
- Walk for a few minutes, then run easily for 5 to 10 minutes. Some light, active stretches will help speed up recovery and restore muscle function.