Roger Bannister exhausted after 4-minute mile ()Roger Bannister exhausted after 4-minute mile () © Copyright

Secret to the four-minute mile

More people have climbed Everest than have managed this iconic feat. RG Active’s Dermott Hayes explains how you can get in the best possible shape to have a crack

GOOD GENES

“Only a small fraction of the population can to run a four-minute mile. If you’re not genetically built with the right slow-twitch muscle fibres and lung capacity for endurance, you won’t get close.”

HIGH V02 MAX

“Four-minute milers have a high V02 max (the maximum volume of oxygen an athlete can pump around their body) with a score around 60 plus, which means they can sustain a really high effort.”

LUNGS LIKE BALLOONS

“The athletes have a high lung capacity and an efficiency at utilising their full capacity. Most of us only tap into 60-80 per cent of our lung capacity. They can get an extra 10-15 per cent.”

HIGH PAIN THRESHOLD

“They have a higher lactate threshold (the point during exercise at which lactic acid in your blood begins to increase, thus limiting your ability to push harder) than us. Their bodies can soak up pain in a way other people’s cannot.”

LOW BODY FAT

“Four-minute milers don’t carry much body fat. They are light and efficient. Even adult runners might weigh only 50-55kg.”

RAW POWER

“They train like bodybuilders, building power through heavy weights in the gym. They need the right muscular structure around the joints to protect them
when running fast.”

SMOOTH BIOMECHANICS

“Elite runners can move their limbs with speed and efficiency. If you can save yourself a few seconds every 400m, that is a huge amount.”

Roger Bannister running ()

 

How to master a faster mile

TIME TRIAL

“Start by performing a mile-long time trial at your maximum pace, then break down how you can improve each component. For example, if you start fast but fade, work on your speed endurance.”

HIGH VOLUME

“It might seem counterintuitive but to run a faster mile, you need to do lots of long, steady runs. This gives you a strong physical foundation, thus you can handle all the speed work.”

SPEED DRILLS

“Improve your mile pace with speed sessions every week, like interval sessions, Fartlek sessions and tempo runs at close to race pace – like a six-mile run at just above your four-mile pace.”

HIT THE GYM

“Don’t forget the weights. When you’re doing squats and Olympic lifts, it’s all about heavy weights to build the functional power that will translate into speed when you run.” 

Latest

  • Toronto City Guide Thinking of travelling to Toronto? Here's what you need to do when you get there
  • Bar-bae-dos Zoe Birdsall finds out that you don’t just go to Barbados for quality rum and beautiful beaches
  • Summer shirt steez Still looking for something to make that Summer ensemble? We love this Parana Shirt from Animal
  • Cruising Alaska is a revelation We send Matt Lizzimore on a Cruise of Alaska to get a taste of dog sledding, helicopters, mountains and some incredible scenery.
  • Don't miss Pennfest 2017 Primal Scream, The Charlatans, The Coral, James, Maximo Park and hot showers. Pennfest 2017 deserves your attention