Keys to Running a Mile

Keys to Running a Mile

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Keeping it fun and interesting is one of the keys to a successful running routine.

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While a mile-long run might be scoffed at by seasoned marathon runners, it can seem like a daunting obstacle to beginners -- one that is often tainted by memories of high school gym class. Instead of gunning for success on your first try, develop a healthy and safe routine that will allow you to progress until you reach your goal.


Resist the temptation to run out the door at full speed, and instead give yourself some time to warm up. Even walking for just one or two blocks will help to loosen up your muscles and joints. "Runner's World" notes that warming up is especially important if you are stiff from just waking up or cold weather. Start your mile by running with an easy and slow pace, then gradually increase your speed. If you're running at a gym, spend 10 minutes on a low- or no-impact cardio machine.

Start Slowly

Forget about speed. As a beginner, your focus should be on distance, not how fast you can reach it. Lance and Kimberly Ferrari of Total Workout Routines recommend finding a nearby 1/4-mile track -- available at most high schools -- and starting by running a quarter of the track and then walking for the rest of the lap. Do four laps in this fashion to run/walk 1 mile. Rest the next day, then repeat the run the following day. Do this for your first week, alternating days of rest with days of work. Eventually you will start running more of the track until you stop walking entirely.

Prevent Injuries

Take basic precautions to prevent injuries such as shin splints, as there's no surer way to halt your blossoming running routine. states that shin splints can occur from running in worn-out footwear or running with too much intensity or speed for too long. Buy a pair of high quality, shock-absorbent running shoes, and help avoid muscle overuse injuries by doing other activities such as swimming or hiking that will support your running by improving your stamina and endurance.

Keep it Fun

Engage in fartleks, an interval training technique that means "speed play" in Swedish. They are done by setting speed goals during a run, such as running at a mellow pace and then trying to run as fast as possible to a set goal in the distance, such as a tree or lamppost. This can help motivate you to push yourself out of your comfort zone in a way that feels like a game. Many runners listen to music to keep themselves motivated and engaged.