How to Train to Run a Mile in Under 6 Minutes

Achieving a six-minute mile pace requires dedicated training.
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It takes more than training to run a mile in 6 minutes -- age, basic physical condition and genetics all play a part. So does the type of running, whether it's a 1-mile race on a track or trying to maintain a 6-minute pace for a distance run. Regardless of training, some people might never be able to achieve a six-minute mile, but others with a runner's body and a solid background of running might be successful.

    Build a solid base of strong aerobic conditioning with distance runs of 6 miles or more on a regular basis, at least five days a week. Start at a basic distance running pace, which depends on your level of fitness, and work gradually to increase that pace to an average of about seven minutes a mile. Use a runner's stop watch to time yourself and keep a record of your runs and times.

    Increase your stride length by incorporating plyometrics workout, which helps reduce the amount of time your feet are in contact with the ground. To measure your stride rate, count the number of strides you take in 30 seconds and multiply by two. Work to increase your stride rate to about 90 or 95 a minute. Work on your technique to make your stride as efficient as possible.

    Train in intervals, such as sprints of 200 to 400 meters, on a track or measured path. Run sprints in succession as fast as possible, with short rest periods between them. Increase the speed of each sprint, so you try to run the last one in the series fastest, but always do a full warmup and a recovery jog. Do "ladder" sprints as a variation, sprinting 100, 200, then 400 meters and repeating the drill. "Pyramid" by working back down the ladder for the drill. Gradually decrease your rest intervals.

    Run hills, a great way to build leg strength and improve sprinting speed. Find a hill you can sprint up comfortably and do repeats, running up the hill and jogging back down. Incorporate a series of hills into your regular distance run as an alternative.

    Use fartleks, a Swedish term for "speed play," as a form of interval training, Speed up for short bursts during regular distance training, such things as sprinting from one corner to the next or between light posts.

    Time yourself periodically on a 1-mile run. Do a good warmup with stretching and jogging, then run a mile as fast as you can. Try to maintain a steady pace from start to finish. Record your times and try to make each mile test run faster than the last until you reach your six-minute goal.

    Things You'll Need

    • Measured distance running track or path

    • Runner's stop watch


    • If your goal is a six-minute pace in a 5k race or other distance run, you can vary your training to achieve that average without running the same speed the entire distance. This typically requires running the first and last miles faster. Train with a group if possible, to help you work out but also get used to running in a crowd.


    • Stretch at the start and finish of every workout to loosen muscles and increase flexibility. Incorporate rest days into your training schedule. Don't begin any running program until you have a physical examination. Ease off your training if you develop aches or pains.

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