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A Pro's Guide to Running a Faster Mile

Are you looking to shave time off your mile? You are not alone. For both amateurs and professionals alike, running a faster mile can prove to be a fickle beast.

The trick is to train smarter, not harder. If you divide your sessions between strength training, track intervals, and long runs, you’ll be running a faster mile in no time!

Invest in a Pair of Lightweight Running Shoes

While this may seem like a given for any athlete, you'd be surprised how many runners are running in the wrong shoes. Many runners are heel strikers with short, strides. To run a faster mile, we need to get off our heels and onto our toes.

Lighter-weight shoes create better running form and eventually help you to develop a powerful push-off as you run. Additionally, the right running shoes will keep your feet in the right position for your run, which will help to prevent potential injury.

Build Leg Strength

No amount of running can produce the leg power you need to run a faster mile. Without leg power, you’ll find that you don't have the strength to pick up your legs during the last quarter of your race. To run a faster mile, you need to be able to improve the muscles that run from your toe to your hip.

Running hills presents one of the best ways to trick yourself into using a better running form. Additionally, running hills helps to strengthen your glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves. According to a recent New York Magazine interview with Olympic Medalist, Nick Willis, "running uphill forces you to lift your knees high, create a powerful stride, and stay on your toes for a good foot plant." Additionally, hills provide resistance training without the impact on your joints that can result from running on the road. If you don't have a hill, you can build explosive leg power using any of the following exercise drills:

  • Paused Squat Jump (V8 EX) - Stand on your platform, loaded at the waist. Assume a parallel squat position. Place your hands on the back of your head, and your elbows out. With one sudden exertion, jump up. Upon landing, try to pause and remain still for one second. Repeat the jump again for 10 -12 reps.
  • VertiMax Box Jump (V8): Great for your quads, glutes, and hamstring muscles, start by stepping into a VertiMax with a medium to heavy resistance (depending on your ability). Keeping your knees over your toes, jump as high and as fast as you can and land safely. Repeat for 10 - 20 seconds.
  • Lunge Backside Frontside (Raptor): Anchor your VertiMax Raptor (i.e. on a fence) and set the resistance at your waist. Step about 10 meters in front of the Raptor. Proceed into a lunge, knee lift, step back down, and then back to reset. Be sure to keep your foot low while you pull through. This is an ideal drill to strengthen your core and leg muscles - both of which are vital to enhancing your running speeds.

Develop a Stable Core

The shorter the race, the more essential your core strength. You need a solid foundation from ankle to head from the moment your foot pushes off the ground with explosive power. Often, when a runner’s core is weak, they will get tired in the second half of a mile race, losing steam and momentum. A strong base allows a runner to use their legs to prevent their body from twisting around.

  • High Knee Run Out (Raptor) - Attach one end of a resistance band to a solid anchor (such as a fence at the track) and the other end around your waist. Start in a standing position, about 10 meters in front of the VertiMax Raptor. Begin high knees, alternating between legs, for 25 seconds. Rest and repeat. High-knee exercises target and tone your core, quads, glutes and calves. Because of the one-legged stance during the movement, this exercise also serves to help improve your balance.
  • Lunge to Knee Drive - Standing in front of the VertiMax platform, with resistance loaded at your thighs, begin a knee drive, landing in the rear lunge position for 6-15 reps, then alternate legs. Not only will this drill help to strengthen your core and improve your balance, it’s also designed to teach athletes to achieve proper hip level knee height necessary for sprint mechanics.

Train to Push Through the Pain of a Faster Mile

Running a difficult mile can become very painful in a short amount of time. Runners who are accustomed to running long-distance races rarely learn the particular kind of discomfort associated with a mile. Track intervals with short recoveries will prepare you to push through the pain. With speed interval training, you never fully recover before you start the next interval, and you’re never really comfortable. To run a faster mile, you have to push through the normal pain associated with running a hard mile. However, when you beat your personal time - it's worth the pain!

If you are looking to build explosive power to enhance running speeds, VertiMax Speed Training is the drill for you! With resistance bands loaded at the waist, and each quad, start in a standing position, about 10 meters in front of the platform. Then, explode forward and hit top speed within about 15 meters before decelerating gradually to a stop. Simple, and very effective, VertiMax Speed Training will help you train to push through the pain to run a faster mile.

Train Smarter – Not Harder with VertiMax

VertiMax’s ability to dynamically and simultaneously load multiple points on your body delivers superior strength and conditioning benefits for athletics, everyday life activities, and rehabilitation purposes. By comparison, traditional exercise machines restrict movements to a single plane of motion, which is an unnatural form of movement for the body and may potentially lead to faulty movement patterns or injury.

With VertiMax, you can train smarter to strengthen the muscles needed for explosive power to run a faster mile. Contact a member of our team to learn more about how the VertiMax method can improve your strength and performance.


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