Mile Repeats Covering Those Extra Miles

Have you ever wondered how long distance marathon runners are able to accomplish their feat without giving up midway? Do you want to join the league of long distance marathon runners but dread the fact that you might not be able to run the entire distance? If yes, then, let us share the secret with you. Mile repeats are the secret behind long distance marathon runners being able to run the distance. If you want to be successful in this endeavor then, you too will have to learn about mile repeats, how they can enhance your performance during marathons and the approaches to it. If you want to learn all you need to know about this concept, then, this is the article for you.


Benefits of Mile Repeats

Mile repeats help the person better in two aspects of running which are deemed critical, especially in marathon training. The first one is endurance and the second aspect is speed. While the distance of one mile is can help increase your endurance, it cannot help much when it comes to helping you gain speed.


Training with Mile Repeats

Mile repeats, like the name says, is running one mile many times with breaks taken between each. While the urge to either sit or stand still during these breaks is high, this needs to be avoided. It is recommended that the runner be in constant movement even during these breaks. If you want to be able to run over a long distance, then, there is one strategy that is used by most runners which even you can try out. Run the first mile at a high energy level and then jog for the next half a mile. In addition to keeping your body active and in motion, it also prepares you for the next high energy interval.

Warming up your body and cooling it down are two important parts of mile repeats. As a part of the warm up procedure you can run for a couple of miles at a pace which you are comfortable with. During the warm up process, you can take break after completing the first mile, and perform some stretching exercises which will help relax your muscles. Restrict your cooling down procedure to a two mile limit. Cooling down your body is very important because it releases the tension your muscles experience.  Remember not to perform any high energy exercises during the process of cooling down your body since it negates the entire purpose of cool down.

The next aspect that you will have to consider is how many mile repeats you would like to do. This aspect is dependent on your current running speed. You should opt for the number of mile repeats that will help you build up both your speed and endurance levels. The optimum number, recommended by many experts in the field of running is either four or six. If you opt for mile repeats which are lesser than four, then, it will help increase your speed while running but will have no effect on endurance and opting for more than six mile repeats will help you build your endurance levels but will not help you much in terms of increasing your speed. Hence, when you are still in the practice phase of mile repeats opt for the number within this range.

You can practice mile repeats either on a running track or on roads. It is important to remember that, while practicing on roads, you need to avoid obstacles that can rob your of your speed, example an electric pole and while practicing on race tracks, remember to keep to the inside lane of the track.

The day after you have practiced mile repeats should be dedicated to rest and relaxation. Ensure you don’t engage in any form of strenuous workouts on this day. It is imperative to give your body enough time to relax the muscles which you put to full use on the previous day.


Ask a Coach Before Mile Repeat Training

While mile repeats may sound to be a great option for people who desire to take part in long distance running events, all is not a bed of roses in this path. You will have to be prepared to face the risks that come with the territory. First of all, if you plan to start out the mile repeats work out, then, ensure you have a professional instructor to guide you. Doing it without the right guidance on hand can cause a lot more harm than you can imagine. The instructor will design a mile repeats program for your keeping your health and present abilities in mind.

You will have to ensure that you stick to the guidelines of mile repeats that are given to you by the instructor. These guidelines are given so you can minimize the amount of risk and injury caused to the muscles of your leg. This is especially important when you practicing mile repeats to contest in an upcoming event which is just days away. Getting injured just a few days before the scheduled event can be a very challenging situation for a person who has been taking great pains to get trained for the event.

In order to prevent stomach cramps from occurring when you are practicing mile repeats, ensure you get instructions from your coach on what to eat and what not to eat before your practice sessions. Avoid heavy meals and concentrated health drinks just before your running session. Also remember not to run beyond the speed mentioned to you since excessive strain on the lower abdominal muscles can also give rise to stomach cramps.

Keep yourself sufficiently hydrated during your mile repeat sessions, so you don’t fall prey to nausea and dehydration which can, at times, be life threatening. Ensure you drink sufficient quantities of water not only before your training sessions but also during the session.

Keeping all these simple things in mind will ensure that you are all set to take on long distance running without compromising on your health aspects.

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Comments (5)

Mitch Norgart
Said this on 1-6-2010 At 01:11 pm

Here's the deal with mile repeats for marathon training.

After months of long, slow runs, tempo runs and some speed work-outs, all runners should mark out a 1 mile course and run 5, 1 mile repeats at approx. 20 seconds over 5K race pace. This gets your wheels moving faster than they have been over the last several months and it allows your body to change it's muscle memory to a faster turnover rate.

You need to establish a good base of weekly mileage before you start your speed work and mile repeats however. This workout is designed for later in your training cycle for a marathon. Most experts will agree that you can start mile repeats 8-10 weeks before your taper.

Forget about VO2 max... you can't make it much better. You're born with it. If you're 300 lbs. and you go to 160lbs. then yes, you can improve your VO2 max, somewhat. Go back to the basics of running. Train smart, listen to your body. Rest when you should rest and run when you should run.

Just do it, man!

Joe Garland
Said this on 1-3-2010 At 12:21 pm

Worthwhile goals indeed, and much, of course, depends on the pace. But I would think they are too long to improve VO2max (if at a pace slower than 5:00) and too slow to improve running speed, turnover, and economy. Plus the break is too long to improve one's lactate threshold.

There are distinct workouts for these things, but no single workout that does it all. So you want to use the varying types of workouts that you discuss elsewhere. Or so I'm led to understand from the literature.

Tom Abbott
Said this on 1-6-2010 At 12:20 pm

I'm curious about your comment , "...too long to improve V02max (if at a pace slower than 5:00)..."

I've never read that about V02max. Do you mean that even 200m's have to be under 38 seconds to get any V02 benefit? I run a mile at only 6:35 or so on a good day these days (I'm 66) and it sure feels like I must have generated something along V02 lines when I've finished!  Is or is there not a scale of racing fitness that should be in play here?

Joe Garland
Said this on 1-1-2010 At 07:20 pm

This post doesn't make a lot of sense to me. What is the purpose of "mile repeats," i.e., how are they supposed to improve someone's racing performance?

Matthew McBride
Said this on 1-2-2010 At 09:06 pm

Mile repeats are an effective workout because they improve a runner’s max VO2, running speed, leg turnover rate, and running economy all at the same time. Running repeats also improve endurance by increasing or raising a runner’s lactate threshold.

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