Why You Should Be Doing Mile Repeats
If you have not heard the magical words “mile repeats”, you have been living under a rock. No matter what distance you are training for, the mile repeat is a thing of absolute beauty. And by absolute beauty I mean it is wonderfully painful.
Repeats of any distance help you to hone in on a particular pace. A break from a tempo run, when you do repeats you are expected to find a pace and hold it there as you work through the workout.
What Are Mile Repeats?
A mile repeat is just what it sounds like. You repeatedly run a mile with rest between each effort. Although it sounds simple, it is more complicated than that. When you run a repeat, you have a particular pace you are trying to dial into and stay at.
The key to a successful mile repeat is finding a consistent pace, one you have determined ahead of time. Sometimes your coach may encourage you to start out at a particular pace and get slightly quicker. What you don’t want to do is go out way too fast on interval one, then fizzle out as you add repeats.
Advantages Of Running Mile Repeats?
Pace Work: Mile repeats help you to work on your pace. When you are working to hone in on a particular pace, enter repeats. Once you become familiar with a pace, it becomes second nature.
Stamina: As you work your way through multiple mile repeats, you are building stamina.
Conditioning: Of course, all of the work you do on the track (or open road, for that matter), is excellent conditioning.
Mental Strength: Since mile repeats are so challenging, doing them helps you to build mental strength. On your first mile repeats, you may find yourself very nervous and afraid. That is normal. As you do more and more of them, you will find them more manageable. This is because you have built some mental strength and fortitude.
Race Day Reward: The hard work you do on repeats will reap you benefits on race day. First, you will have learned to lean into the pain of a tough mile, during repeats. Also, they should result in faster times.
How To Run Mile Repeats
There are a couple of ways to run mile repeats. You can run them at a tempo pace for maintaining fitness. If you are doing them to build speed, you will do them faster than your tempo pace.
To do mile repeats, you either want to be on a track, on a stretch of road where you have measured off a mile, or on a treadmill. If you are on a stretch of road, you may find it helpful to mark off each quarter mile so you know exactly how far you have traveled at any given time.
As with any workout, you should be sure to warm up adequately before starting your repeats. This means an easy jog, your dynamic warm-up, any static stretching you do, and any other things you routinely do prior to speed workouts.
It seems that it gets easy from here, right? You just run your mile repeats. Nope. There is more to learn.
How Many and How Fast?
If you are new to mile repeats, you should start with 2 or 3 and work your way up to 6 or 7. Although you may be tempted to be aggressive on your first outing, that is a mistake.
Your repeats should be roughly 15 seconds faster than your goal pace. So if you are aiming for 8:00 minute miles for your race, your repeats should hover around 7:45.
Recovery Between Intervals?
As you complete each interval, you will find yourself feeling tired. Most coaches give anywhere from 1 – 5 minutes recovery between repeats. If you are just starting out, 4 minutes is a good place to begin.
When runners get further into the training cycle, they will likely be expected to have a shorter rest interval between repeats. This gets the body ready for a race pace the entire distance you will be racing.
During that recovery time, most athletes either walk or jog slowly. Keep your body moving to make the most of recovery time.
How Do You Run 1K Repeats?
Some runners prefer to run kilometer repeats. A kilometer is approximately .62 of a mile. Kilometer repeats are helpful for many reasons. First, you are dividing the race into smaller intervals. If you are trying to negative split a race, you may find drilling the race down to a shorter distance may help you.
When planning these repeats, you can either mark off a stretch of road or jump on the track. One kilometer is about 2 1/2 laps around the track.
A popular workout to build speed endurance is to do 6 x 1 km at 10K pace. Do these with 2-3 minutes of rest between each interval. Again, watching your pace is important. You do not want to start off way too fast and then taper off.
What About Half Mile Repeats?
800-meter repeats are also common intervals to run. Twice around the track, you will push a faster pace for these. If you are looking for a fast 5K, for example, you might take your 5K time, get your goal pace per mile, then subtract a full :30 seconds to find a solid 800 pace.
When doing shorter repeats, such as an 800 or even a 400, you will take less rest time than for the longer intervals. This prepares your body to bounce back and hold a pace.
Keep In Mind This
In case you have not figured it out yet, you can do repeats of any distance effectively. If you are looking to do repeats, just remember these things:
- Pick your distance.
- Decide on a reasonable goal pace per interval. Take your goals into consideration to help you do this.
- Determine how much rest you will take. Rest time varies depending on the purpose of the workout. More rest helps you run faster. Less rest builds stamina.
- How many intervals will you do?
- Will you jog or walk recovery intervals?
- Think about what you will do to warm up and cool down before heading out for the workout. Don’t skimp on either of these!
Repeats are an excellent way to help you grow as a runner. Don’t be afraid to give it a try!