Whether you’re trying to beat a personal record or want to train yourself for a long marathon, knowing how to run a mile without stopping is vital to your success.
With the exemption of geographical and climate conditions, completing a mile-long run should take approximately 8 to 11 minutes. This might not seem much, but it can be quite taxing for beginners and individuals who aren’t used to physical activities.
Running a mile without stopping might be challenging at first, but it’s easily within your grasp as long as you follow the right steps and techniques.
Here are some tips to keep in mind during your next run.
1. Wear the Right Pair of Shoes
Before you attempt to run a mile without stopping, make sure you’re wearing the right kind of footwear. You’d be surprised how big of a difference they make to your overall success.
Wearing the right kind of shoes not only makes your run a comfortable and pleasant experience, but it’ll also prevent foot and ankle damage. Therefore, you should invest in a pair designed specifically for running activities.
There are multiple styles of athletic shoes available for purchase, from running shoes to cross-training shoes.
Running shoes have ample cushioning to protect your feet against impact, leading to more comfort over long mileage. They’re lightweight, flexible, and have good traction and balance.
Cross-training shoes are much more versatile than running shoes, but they don’t have as much cushioning. They’re also considerably heavier than the latter.
You can still use cross-training shoes for your runs, but only on a limited basis. The added weight and lack of cushioning make them unsuitable for long-distance running.
Here are some tips to follow when choosing a pair of running shoes:
- If possible, purchase the shoes from a specialty store rather than a big-box or department store.
- Wear the same type of socks you’d wear on your runs when trying on the shoes.
- Search for a pair that allows comfortable and natural movement with every stride.
- To accommodate foot spread, leave about a thumb’s width in front of your toe.
2. Wear Running Clothes
Just like wearing the right pair of shoes, wearing comfortable running clothes is essential to a good run. If you’re wearing the wrong clothes, you’re more likely to stop and fix whatever’s causing your discomfort.
Casual clothing simply can’t replace running clothes.
Jeans, for example, don’t give you the right amount of stretch you need for a run. You’ll struggle for movement, making your runs inefficient and unsatisfying.
Running clothes allow you to breathe properly during your runs. They’re also designed to dry quickly and wick away moisture so you don’t have to deal with sweat.
During warm weather, wear something light and breathable.
Look for items that are loose but not too loose. Also, moisture-wicking material is a must!
For extra hot days, consider wearing shorts rather than joggers. You can also wear running sunglasses or running caps.
During winter, bundle yourself up in several layers. Wear thermal running tights (or compression tights with double layers), a weatherproof jacket, and a long-sleeved top.
Wear head and hand protection, too. Just make sure your running clothes aren’t too bulky or too hot.
3. Breathe Properly
Some experts believe that nasal breathing―the act of breathing in through your nose and out your mouth―helps you feel less fatigued during your runs. However, this technique doesn’t work for everyone.
Your muscles need oxygen to keep moving, and you need plenty of it during vigorous aerobic activities such as running.
During fast and hard runs, you shouldn’t limit your oxygen intake by breathing in only through your nose. Instead, breathe through both your nose and mouth.
If you find yourself feeling out of breath or having trouble controlling your breathing, this means you’ve pushed yourself hard too soon. Slow down to a walk until you manage and catch your breath.
To avoid side stitches, breathe from your diaphragm, not your chest. Your stomach should rise and fall with each breath.
4. Slowly Build Up to a Mile
Running a mile without stopping takes a bit of time and effort. Don’t push yourself to your limit without training your body first.
To comfortably run without stopping or getting out of breath, follow a multiple-week training plan. Gradually increase the distance and intensity as the week goes by.
For instance, run 1/16th of a mile and walk 3/16th of a mile in the first week.
In the second week, run 1/8 of a mile and walk 1/8 of a mile.
On your third week, run 3/16th of a mile and walk 1/16th of a mile.
By the time you reach your fourth week, you should be able to run a mile without stopping.
You can also partake in interval training.
In your first week, run for a minute and walk for three minutes. In your second week, run for two minutes and walk for three. In your third, run three minutes and walk for two, and so on.
Now, it’s important to note that not everyone can achieve the above-mentioned routines. For this reason, you should always take the time to create or find the right training plan for you to follow.
Don’t get discouraged if you’re only able to run for a minute or so on your first attempt. It’s okay to start small as long as you put the right amount of effort to accomplish your goal.
5. Don’t Run Too Fast
In other words, pace yourself. If you push yourself too hard in the beginning, you might accidentally injure yourself.
Running at top speed is exhilarating. For the first few minutes, you’ll feel on top of the world.
However, you’re likely to run off steam fast if you blindly rush to the finish line.
Keep your pace under control. Slow down; this isn’t a race. Not yet, at least.
Start your run at a conversational pace. If you feel yourself getting out of breath, adjust your speed.
Everyone’s running speed is different. Some can run an entire mile at full speed without getting out of breath, while others lose fuel not even half a mile in.
As you get used to your pace, gradually increase your speed. Your body will naturally adapt at your speed, allowing you to run longer stretches without exhausting yourself.
6. Consistency Is Key
Consistency is key with long-distance runs.
Progress isn’t immediate; it won’t happen after one run. It might not even happen after 10 runs.
That’s okay. With enough practice, you can train your body to do amazing things; things you never thought you can actually achieve. All it takes is a bit of consistency and training.
Getting up every day or every other day to train is definitely easier said than done. But without consistency, it’s difficult to make progress.
The best way to achieve consistency is to create a psychological pattern for the week.
Become your own personal trainer. You don’t have to go out for runs every day, but you do have to do it at least twice or three times a week.
If possible, schedule your jogs as early as possible. Get it done first thing so you won’t find any excuses to put it off or skip. Plus, running in the morning will leave you feeling energized all day.
7. Avoid Elevated or Inclined Routes (For Now)
Avoid elevated or inclined routes during your runs. Start with a flat route and, once you’re comfortable running a mile, tackle harder routes like hiking trails and hills.
Slow down as you approach an incline so you won’t exhaust yourself before you finish your one-mile run.
Personal trainers often push clients to run up a hill as part of their resistance training, believing that it’ll increase strength and power. While this is true to some extent, experts believe that this isn’t always the case.
According to the Journal of Strength and Conditioning and sports medicine, flat running is better than uphill running.
Since running flat is less intense, it gives the body more chance to train. As a result, individuals who train in flat routes have higher endurance and can therefore run a lot longer.
Therefore, if you’re training to compete, or simply training your body to run longer without stopping, running on flat terrain is better than running uphill.
8. Familiarize Yourself With the Distance
Unless you’re a driver that pays a lot of attention to mileage and distances, you probably don’t know just how far a mile is.
If you’re not familiar with the route you’re taking in your runs, you’re more likely to fall behind the pace you’ve set yourself up with.
Therefore, determine how far a mile is from your house and walk that distance at a comfortable pace. Familiarize yourself with the area.
While you’re walking, measure the distance with a GPS or an app that tracks your speed and distance. You can also use a smartwatch or a fitness tracker.
Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the distance, your runs will feel less daunting and overwhelming because you know just how far you need to run.
9. Use the Right Form
Running with an incorrect form not only increases the risk of injury but also wastes your energy, forcing you to stop to take a breath more frequently.
This isn’t to say that you have to run with a perpetually perfect form. Just because it works with other people doesn’t mean it’ll work for you.
Each of us has a different way of running, even if it’s not quite as “textbook correct” as others perceive it to be. With that said, there are several form mistakes a beginner runner makes that are proven to waste energy while running.
This includes the following:
- Stiff arms – Your arms should naturally swing with your stride. Keep your body and fingertips relaxed.
- Slouching- Keep your body and head upright. Focus on the path before you instead of looking down at your feet.
- Over-striding – Keep your stride as natural as possible. Don’t take overly huge leaps with the thought that it’s more efficient. It’s not; in fact, it increases your chance of injury and sucks up all your energy.
10. Strengthen Your Core and Cardio
If you want to run a mile or more without getting out of breath, you have to strengthen your core and cardio.
Strengthening your core and cardio isn’t only about sit-ups and crutches. It should also include pull-ups, squats, deadlifts, and shoulder presses.
If you train your core and cardio, you’ll be able to run more than one mile without stopping. It’ll also reduce the chance of hip, knee, and ankle pain and injury.
Here are some of the best core and cardio exercises to improve your run time:
- Jump rope
- Squat jumps, lunge jumps, and froggy jumps
- Jogging in place
- Plank jacks
- Plyo lunges
- Side planks
- Supine toe tap
- Heel touches
- Abdominal crunch
- Flutter kicks
11. Find Your Motivation
Ask yourself this: why do you want to run a mile without stopping?
Are you doing this because you want to lose weight and/or live a healthier lifestyle? Are you training for a half marathon? Or do you just want to prove to yourself or a friend that you can actually do it?
Regardless of what your motivation is, make sure to remind yourself of it regularly―especially on days where you feel like you can’t step out of the door to run.
12. Mind Over Matter
Sometimes, long-distance running is simply a matter of willpower.
If you feel like stopping during one of your runs, force yourself to keep going.
Choose a simple but powerful mantra and repeat it over and over when you’re on the verge of giving up. Talking to yourself in a positive manner will help you overcome physical challenges much faster.
With that said, always listen to what your body is telling you. If you absolutely can’t take another step, stop and try again the next day or the day after.
However, if you believe that you can still push yourself a little more without injuring your body, it’s worth the extra effort.
13. Praise Yourself for Each Additional Step
Running is a physical and mental sport. It won’t effectively work without one or the other.
There are times where you’d feel that your running goal is impossible to achieve, but trust us, it’s not. You don’t have to be crazy talented or physically active to succeed; it just takes a bit of convincing that you can do it.
For every small success you achieve during your run, don’t forget to praise yourself. Even if you only made it one step farther or ran 10 seconds more than your last run, it’s still something worth celebrating.
Reward yourself for every major achievement you accomplish.
For instance, buy yourself a new pair of exercise shoes or sports bra. Visit that vegan place you’ve heard so much about. Indulge in delicious (but healthy) snacks. Spend a night out with friends. The list is endless!
Knowing how to run a mile without stopping is one of the first and most important goals of long-distance runs.
Once you overcome that challenge, you’ll be able to train yourself to run much longer and farther at a faster pace. Who knows what you can do next? You might even participate in a half-mile marathon!
Give your body the chance to get used to your running routine. If possible, go out for a run at least three times a week for 30 minutes per session.
With enough time, you’ll eventually look back and realize just how easy running a mile is.