Mile News

Practice Makes Perfect, Even for Elites

December 15, 2015

In a grueling Mile workout, the author works on preparing her body and mind for race day.

By Liz Costello, Running Times

The obvious purpose of practice is to work on pacing, strength building, and speed development, but it is also the time to work on visualization, positioning, and parts of your warmup routine, including your food and fluid intake. Practice is when we prepare for race day, and that time can be used to focus on more than hitting your splits.

On Harvard University’s outdoor track earlier this week, my teammate Abbey D’Agostino and I completed five times a Mile with three minutes jogging rest. The workout itself was intended to build aerobic strength and we were thankful to have each other’s company for the long workout. We ran 5:12 to 5:13 for the first four reps and then dropped to 5:04 for the final Mile.

During our warmup, we decided that we would alternate leading by exchanging positions halfway through each rep. A benefit of alternating leading is that one of us was able to draft and one of us was able to practice pacing. But there was more to be gained. Taking the lead is an opportunity to build confidence—you want to hit your splits for yourself and also for your teammate. By successfully shouldering the responsibility of helping your teammate execute her workout, you gain confidence in your abilities and the satisfaction of contributing to the progress of your teammate.

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