Question for serious runners and crazy body nazis

After getting the news two days ago that my heart checked out superb after having a massive MI a couple of months earlier, that indeed there appeared to be no damage (Although that has yet to be confirmed with further testing) I guess I got pumped up. I managed, on a treadmill, to beat my old record on a mile of 5:27 by a few seconds. I’m still overweight for a serious runner, jogging/running this hard is very new to me (The upside? I have no impact issues). I weigh just over 160 and that’s at only 5’8″, but I think there’s potential. I have a big set of lungs and the doc says as hearts go, mine is large — not enlarged, just big for someone my size. Plus I’m certain I can lose another 20 – 25 lbs by early to midsummer.

Assuming everything tests out OK in my next follow up in 60 days … my question for the runners among you: how realistic would it be to train to break 5 minutes and if that’s even in the realm of possibility, what would be the safest or smartest way to go about doing that? Right now my heart rate is great even at the end of that kind of run, it barely goes above 160 (I have to do a hands and feet elliptical at high levels for about 5 mins to exceed 180 bpm). To put this in context, a five minute mile means running 12 miles an hour on average. I can barely hit and sustain 12 MPH in an all out sprint for 30 seconds.

What’s giving out are my legs, quads mostly, and a little bit in my calves. And I do mean giving out, at the end of that last best mile my quads were beyond burning and had reached a state of almost complete numbness, barely able to respond, I was on the verge of staggering off the treadmill because the muscles were so toasted.


  1. says

    I’d say 5 minutes is an ambitious goal unless you are under 35 (though the world record for a 65 year old is under 5 minutes). A 5:27 is already an impressive time for a casual runner. Here is what I would recommend to work on your mile time:

    1) Do lots of intervals such as 400 meters at your desired pace. Also do sprints up hills or stadiums.
    2) Hit the weight room with a focus on the lower body (squats, lunges, calf raises), but do some upper body work as well. Mix in some strength training that also challenges you aerobically like cross-fit or plyometrics. Be sure to ramp up slowly in the weight room.

    I have to say that I’m biased against the treadmill while trying for performance records. It just seems dangerous to me.

    Best of luck to you.

  2. says

    Yeah, the treadmill is dangerous at that speed. There’s only a couple around town I’ve found that will even go that high. Twelve MPH may not sound fast, it wouldn’t have sounded fast to me before I started running a year ago, but it is; they whine like a jet turbine at that speed and if you were to fall you’d be shot off it like a human bowling ball. Sooner or later I’m going to have to start running on a track. I’m just curious is 5 mins is realistic, because ~5:27 took every single thing I had plus pushing it even more, to the point of collapse for the last minute or so when I saw I might make it under 5.5. I’m not even sure if it’s healthy to try and do better.

  3. rmolnar says

    This is a workout I got from a friend that ran track in college. It is very useful for building speed. It helps to increase turnover and endurance.
    The workout it done twice a week, with a different set of sprints each day. You should have a 2-3 day break inbetween work outs. I usually did it Tuesday and Friday. On Sunday I would do a distance run 4-6 miles. You should do the workout on a track, and you will need a stop watch. This is a sprint work out where you will be running a set distance and trying to get under a specific time for each set. Once you reach your target, lower the time.

    day 1: start out by doing a warmup of at least 800 meters.
    after the warmup do 800 meters. walk 200 meters (time mght be 3:00)
    run 600 walk 200 (time 2:00) figure out what works for you
    run 600 walk 200
    run 400 walk 200 (time 1:30)
    run 400 walk 200
    run 400 walk 200
    run 400 walk 200

    day 2
    run 200 JOG 200,(you never stop on these, keep a slow jog and as soon as you come back to the start line take off) time for this is around 40 seconds
    repeat 5 more times for a total of 6 (remember do not stop, even if your jog is a shuffle don’t walk)
    4 100 meter sprints – these should be all out 100% effort. Run the sprint walk back to the start. Pause a second or two and go.

    This will increase your endurance and really help you keep up a nice pace during your 1 mile effort.

Leave a Reply