A 1600 metre race is equivalent to the traditional one mile event, which is still regarded as the classic middle distance track race. Completing a 1600 metre race requires a balance of speed and endurance. You must have the endurance to complete the distance, but you also need to be comfortable running at a pace that is faster than you would reach in a road race of 5 kilometres or more.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
Build basic endurance. If you have no running background, start by walking and jogging for 10 or 15 minutes. Gradually reduce the time you spend walking, until you can run continuously for the full 10 or 15 minutes. Repeat the endurance session twice a week, increasing the time by 5 minutes every two weeks. If you are an experienced runner aiming to improve your best time, complete two endurance runs of 30 to 45 minutes per week.
Calculate your potential finishing time. Use an online race time predictor if you have raced over other distances (see Resources). Enter your best time for a distance and the calculator will display your likely finishing time for 1600 metres or 1 mile. A runner who has completed 5K in 23 minutes will run 1600 metres in approximately 6 minutes 50 seconds. If you have finished a 10 mile race in 85 minutes, your predicted 1600 metre time will be 7 minutes 5 seconds.
Practice running at your target pace. Go to a running track, warm up by running gently and stretching, then run 1 lap of 400 metres at your goal pace. If you aim to finish the race in six minutes, complete the lap in 1 minute 30 seconds. If you do not have access to a track, measure the distance on a quiet traffic-free road using a bicycle milometer or a watch with GPS capability. By practicing pace judgement, you will not run the early stages of the race too quickly or too slowly.
Improve your speed endurance by completing interval training sessions. Speed endurance is the ability to maintain speed over a certain distance. To complete a 1600 metre race you must be able to continue at your target pace for the whole distance, despite fatigue. Interval training is a method of training that consists of running a set distance at a set pace and repeating the run a number of times with a rest between each fast interval. A typical session for the 1600 metre race would be 4 x 400 metres or 8 x 200 metres at predicted race pace, with a walk or jog of half the distance between each interval.
Train progressively with the aim of gradually running faster. Improve your endurance sessions, by increasing the distance in small increments or by running the same distance faster. Improve your interval training sessions by running each interval faster, adding more intervals or reducing the recovery time between each interval.
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