Tips and Advice for Running an 8-Minute Mile

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Running an 8-minute mile is a good goal if you’re trying to run faster. It might sound easy to move from a 9- or 10-minute mile to an 8-minute mile, but in reality, it requires some dedicated training.

However, if you have a good running base and you’re generally quite fit, you should have no problem moving from where you are an 8-minute mile.

Here are our tips and advice for running an 8-minute mile. It will require a bit of training, but it’s worth it when you cross that line in your goal time!

How Fast Is an 8-Minute Mile?

An 8-minute mile is equivalent to a pace of 7.5 miles per hour—12 kilometers per hour. That’s about 1:45 for a lap around the track.

To put it into perspective, the average non-competitive runner runs a mile in 9 to 10 minutes, and a new runner may take between 12 and 15 minutes to finish a mile.

An elite athlete should be able to run a mile in 4 to 5 minutes—and sustain that pace over many miles. So to run an 8-minute mile is the mark of an intermediate runner.

Who Can Run an 8-Minute Mile?

If you can run a mile in 8:30 to 9 minutes, you’re ready to start working towards an 8-minute mile. However, if you’re still far away from a 9-minute mile, it doesn’t mean you won’t ever be able to run an 8-minute mile. You’ll just need a longer training time.

To be able to run an 8-minute mile, you should have a good running foundation. You should already be running two to three times a week, preferably for the last three months or more. You should also be able to commit to training two to three times a week for the next two or three months.

How Long Does It Take to Train for an 8-Min Mile?

How much training you’ll need will depend on a few factors. You can expect it to take between one and three months before you’re ready. But this depends on:

  • Your current fitness level
  • Your current mile pace
  • How much time you have to train
  • How well you recover during training

If you’re already training regularly, pushing yourself to reach new goals, and prioritizing recovery, you can expect to hit this goal in around a month, provided you were already running an 8:30 to 9-minute mile.

But if you need to build up a better running base and improve your overall fitness levels, you can expect three to four months of training before you’re ready.

Tips to Run Faster

Practice An 8-Min Mile Pace

At least once a week, work on hitting your 8-minute mile pace on a track if possible.

You should aim to maintain this pace for 200 to 800 meters at a time and increase the distance every time you try.

Warm Up Before Every Run

Failing to warm up will set you back in your training. Your warm-up will prime your muscles for exercise and speed. It should include an easy run or jog for 5 to 1o minutes, plus some dynamic stretches, running form drills, and a few minutes of running strides.

Pay Attention to Your Form

Running with excellent form reduces your chance of injury and prevents you from wasting energy throughout your run. Adding running drills to your warm-up can help with your form.

Aim to land on your midfoot, with your foot landing underneath your hips rather than in front of your body. You may need to shorten your stride to achieve this.

Increase Slowly

Avoid increasing your mileage or time by more than 10 percent every week. This will gradually build endurance without overtraining.

Don’t Forget Recovery Weeks

Every fourth week, reduce your mileage to about 60 percent for a recovery week. This allows your body time to rest and recover without taking a week off from training.

Run a 5k

Signing up for a 5k will help you stay motivated and give you a chance to focus on speed in a competitive running setting. This is an excellent chance to test out your pace on varied terrain.

Running Workouts

Try to find an empty track or flat area where you can do your running workouts. This will allow you to run fast and focus on your training without being interrupted.

You should select two different fast workouts each week, plus at least one easy run. You can switch between fast run types to stop you from getting bored, but make sure to incorporate every kind of run regularly.

Workout Suggestions

Intervals

Intervals are short bursts of fast-paced running alternating with a recovery walk or jog. Aim for a pace of 7-minutes per mile on these intervals. Try these intervals to begin:

  • 15 x 30-second intervals with 1-minute walk/jog between
  • 8 x 1-minute intervals with 1-minute walk/jog in between

You can lengthen the intervals as you become used to it, but make sure to keep the pace throughout the interval.

400s

Aim to run 10 sets of 400 meters, with 200 meters of recovery walk/jog in between. Your pace should be 7:15 to 7:30 per mile.

You can increase this to 800m or 1,000m intervals as you become used to each distance. Make sure to maintain your pace throughout.

Hill Sprints

Find a light hill that you can run up for at least 100 meters. Alternatively, set your treadmill at a slight incline and keep an eye on the distance measurement.

Aim to run between eight and 15 100-meter sprints up the hill. Then, do a slow recovery jog back down—the same distance if you’re on the treadmill.

Tempo Runs

Focus on running time for these ones. Try to run around 20 minutes in total. So you can choose something like four 3-minute intervals with 2 minutes of walking in between.

Your pace should be a little slower than an 8-minute mile pace. As you improve, you can make your intervals fewer and longer. For example, three 6-minute intervals, two 10-minute intervals, and finally, one 20-minute tempo run.

Easy Runs

Easy runs can be anywhere from 2 to 6 miles at an easy recovery pace. You should do at least one per week. They assist with recovery and improve your endurance.

Fartlek Runs

Aim for shorter runs of between two and four miles. You should vary your intensity throughout the run.

There’s no need for this to be structured—you can simply run how you feel, but make sure you have a mixture of fast and easy throughout. These are best to do on varied terrain.

Strength Workouts

It will improve your performance if you do one or two strength workouts per week. Each workout should be 40 minutes to an hour long, consisting of four to six exercises, with three to five sets of each one.

Each set should contain between 12 and 20 reps of the exercise. Rest for a minute or two between sets, but don’t wait for more than 2 minutes.

Focus on leg-strengthening exercises and core exercises. The goal is to build strength and power that will help you to boost your speed on the road or trail.

You can choose exercises such as:

  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Glute bridge
  • Hip thrusts
  • Box jumps
  • Jumping lunges
  • Squat jumps
  • Calf raises
  • Leg extensions
  • Plank
  • Oblique crunches
  • Russian twists
  • Leg raises

Focus on Recovery

Recovery is an important part of any training plan. To maximize your recovery, pay attention to the following:

Stretching

Focus on dynamic stretching before your workout as part of your warm-up. This gets the blood flowing through the muscles, so they’re primed for activity.

You can do dynamic or static stretching when you’ve finished your run. Stretching as part of your cool-down helps to loosen the muscles and work out lactic acid that could be building up already.

Hydration

Maintaining adequate hydration is key to recovery. You should focus on your water intake throughout the day, not just during your run. We recommend getting into the habit of drinking throughout the day.

Staying adequately hydrated throughout the day will help you avoid cramps during your run and reduce the chances of becoming dehydrated, which can have disastrous effects.

Food

Nutrition is another highly important aspect of performance. A healthy diet should include whole foods and avoid processed sugary foods.

Aim to eat healthy carbs, lean protein, and plenty of fruits and vegetables. You should also limit alcohol and caffeine intake.

Sleep

Aim for 7 to 8 hours of uninterrupted, restful sleep per night. It’s a good idea to make sure that your bedroom is free from distractions, quiet, and at the optimal temperature for you to sleep comfortably.

You should also avoid blue light—the television, your smartphone screen—for at least 30 minutes before going to bed.

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AUTHOR

Ben is an avid road and trail runner, and has completed multiple marathons and ultras. A former running store owner, he now shares his knowledge and experience writing these articles.