Progressing Past The 10 Minute Mile Average Pace As A Beginner Runner.
I thought I’d write today about my own journey of being a 10 minute mile runner and trying to progress past that level.
For the past year or two I’ve found some level of comfort with being a 10 minute mile guy.
Sure I’d hit the occasional 9:55 minute mile, but it always felt wrong.
It was like I was going too fast. Like I was gonna ruin the rest of the run by virtue of heading out too quickly.
When you’re out running you become comfortable with your own familiar speed.
But you don’t have to be confined by your own pace. You can improve and it doesn’t have to hurt.
Trying to make the transition from 10 minute miles to 9 minute miles!
In the past 2 months I’ve made an attempt to try to become a 9 minute mile runner.
I was tired of running at my normal pace as the blog was getting predictable and I was terrified of it turning into Ben Does Life where I’d try to inspire others into running whilst doing nothing for myself.
It’s been a slow journey.
Throughout January I made some steady progress towards my goal. If you look at the stats below you can see I was getting a little faster.
There was no major progress throughout January. I spent the month trying to get comfortable with covering longer distances first and foremost. When you’re training for a marathon and you’re inexperienced the biggest mistake you can make is to worry about pace over distance.
Working on speed
I’ve finally got to the point where I’m happy with the distance, so I can now work on increasing my pace.
The first step was to set myself the goal of finishing 1 second below a 10 minute mile/average in each run.
At the start it seemed daunting as I assumed I’d have to run consistently at 9:59, but it wasn’t the case.
Let’s say that you’re a confident 10 minute mile runner and you wanna become a 9 minute mile runner but you have no confidence in getting there.
The best way I’ve found is to start slowly at a speed that you’re confident running at and then to gradually increase your pace as the run ‘comes to you’.
As an example here’s a run where I was trying to progress past the 10 min/mile mark.
The run started off easily with a 10:22 mile but I gradually increased it and over the next few miles as I got more confident.
A few of my miles were over the 10 minute mile mark, but most were under it.
The key part of moving towards being a 9 minute mile runner is to start running 9 minute miles. You won’t magically get faster if you keep to the same pace all the time.
Sometimes you have to force your pace even a little bit.
Employing Fartlek speed bursts can really help you here.
A great way to do this is to employ sprints between street light posts. You don’t have to do a set amount or at a set speed, what I did when I was starting out with speedwork was to count how many sprints I’d managed each run and attempt to improve upon that.
So starting off I was maybe running faster only twice during a run for distances of 100m. The next run would maybe involve three speed bursts. The next run after that might have included none as it was a rest day.
The important thing is to start small and grow from there and to keep going with it.
To keep going with it you have to keep it fun and to not get disheartened if you don’t see progress immediately.
That’s why I’m so keen on running a few sub-9 miles each time.
I don’t want to slide back into the 10 minute mile. And I won’t if I keep trying!