I’ve spent a lot of time railing against running on this blog and on my podcast. The reasoning is sound, but I also want to make it clear that I don’t think you should never run.

What I’m mostly against is chronic running—going for distance. This is especially true if your running form is poor (most people don’t know), you wear traditional running shoes, or you don’t cross-train with any other functional fitness activities.

But let’s say you want to incorporate running into your lifestyle—I’ve got a great way you can do it. It also doesn’t take much time (there goes your time excuse!).

It’s a concept I call “mastering the mile.” 

Why a mile? It’s a solid distance that any human being should be able to run. And the better you can run it, the better indication of your general fitness level.

So mastering the mile is simple: since we’re not going for distance, we’re going for time.

  1. Use your car or a GPS app on your phone to map out a 1 mile route.
  2. Run the mile at the fastest pace you can manage without having to stop to walk.
  3. Record your time.

All you’re concerned about is reducing your time on every run.

Because the distance is minimal, you cannot overtrain this activity. It’s also a great change of pace for distance runners…consider it a new challenge.

There’s a lot of benefits to working on mastering the mile:

  • Workouts are less than 15 minutes long—you can always find time.
  • Overtraining is not an issue.
  • It’s a manageable distance regardless of starting fitness level.
  • It’s not monotonous.
  • It greatly enhances cardiovascular capacity.
  • Like sprinting, this is a more functional activity than distance running.
  • It’s more intense than classic running but less-so than sprinting. Almost everyone can do it.

In the beginning, you may feel a bit down on yourself and your abilities. That’s normal. Push through those early days/weeks and you’ll quickly gain confidence and momentum.

If you have the time, you can get extra credit by briskly walking for 20 minutes before and after. Have fun!

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