The 2nd Mile – The most important mile

You’re a mile into the race.  The excitement of the race start has faded, the spectators have thinned, fatigue is beginning to set in, and there’s still 2 more miles to go!  This is where for many the race is made or lost.  This is where the the contenders separate from the pretenders.

Anyone can run a fast first mile.  Anyone can look good while kicking it into the finish.  But what about the mile in the middle of the race?  If you look at the splits of most runners, their second mile is usually the slowest. Maybe 30-40 seconds slower than the first mile.  This is a lot of time and ground that can be lost or made up in a race, and also why I think the 2nd mile is the most important of the race.  Those who ran a PR or had a great race were likely to have run a strong 2nd mile close to the pace of their 1st mile.

Want to conquer the 2nd mile?  Here are some tips.

Pace the first mile a best as possible. Easier said than done, I know, but this is a key component to running a strong 2nd mile.  There are certainly benefits to running a good first mile, but within reason.  Know your limits and find a pace that feels reasonable to maintain.  You must always remember at there is still plenty of time to make up ground and move up on those who started too fast.  Regardless of pace, one needs to come through the mile feeling pretty good and ready for mile 2.

Along with making a race plan that includes a controlled first mile, you must also make up your mind, before the race begins, that the 2nd mile is going to be pushed.   While the first mile’s effort was minimal, to maintain that pace in mile 2, substantially more effort is required.  It’s no secret that the second mile is harder than the first, so prepare for it mentally.  Plan on making a surge.  Pick a point on the course where you can throw in a little pick me up.  Something to get you out of the rigor mortis shuffle that often sets in during the 2nd mile.

With these ideas in mind, go out in your next race and run a strong 2nd mile on your way to a PR!

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