Is a 6 Minute Mile Good? Simple 8 Week Training Plan

Is a 6 Minute Mile Good

“Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must – Just never give up.” -Dean Karnazes, marathon runner.

Running is undoubtedly difficult and draining. There are many challenges to beat and even more obstacles to overcome. After all, your main enemy is your own exhausted body.

One of these many challenges is running a mile in under 6 minutes. But is a 6-minute mile good enough?

A 6-minute mile isn’t just good; it’s a goal that many runners strive to achieve. It takes a dedicated runner at least six weeks of endurance training to get close to the 6 minute mile time. It’s a true test of will and endurance.

We’ll let you know what to do if you want to achieve this remarkable feat.

is a 6 minute mile good: young woman runner in a green forest.

Is a 6 Minute Mile Good – How Long Is the Training

A relatively in shape runner will have a 9-10 minute mile time. A runner who’s still at the beginning of his training may have his mile time up to 15 mins.

The training period varies depending on your physique, cardio, and average speed. The lower your fitness is, the more time you should expect your endurance to take you to a 6-minute mile.

If you’re a beginner, you could take up to 10 weeks to reach your goal pace. Avid runners can go as low as six weeks of training if they’re dedicated enough.

If you’re a beginner, you should build up your weekly mileage to 20 miles a week. This will give you a huge boost in your upcoming training.

If you’re a seasoned runner, your background record should give you a good idea of how close you are to a 6-minute mile.

For example, if you can run 3 miles in less than 20 minutes, you’re a good candidate for the 6-minute mile workout.

How to Train for a 6 Minute Mile in 8 Weeks

Training for a 6-minute mile isn’t easy, but it’s doable. We’ll give you a weekly plan that’ll get you up to speed. To achieve your goal, you should repeat the weekly plan for eight weeks with varying intensities.

Day 1 (The Easy Run)

The first day of your running week will be the easiest. You don’t want to start too strong and exhaust yourself for the rest of the week.

Your easy run shouldn’t take too much effort from you. Run at an average mile time pace for 35 – 50 mins. You may stretch to 50 or go down to 35, but don’t stray beyond those limits.

After the first two weeks, you’d want to introduce strides into your runs. Strides should be done after easy runs and repeated 4-6 times.

To do a stride, gradually accelerate to 95% of your top speed over 5 seconds, then keep running for 15-20 seconds. The stride length should be around 100 meters.

Your break between each stride should be a fast walk or a slow jog that lasts for 1 minute. Strides are fantastic when it comes to building strength and speed. Don’t skip them.

Day 2 (The Speed Day)

After the first day has warmed up your legs, day two will put them up to speed with its intense cardio workout.

You’ll have four intensity levels that you should gradually increase every two weeks.

woman walking on treadmill

First Two Weeks (Level 1)

Your running will be a mix of mile pace and a rest (or walking) period. The mile pace (goal pace) is when you run the quarter-mile in 1 minute and 29 seconds.

The workout will contain 3-4 sets. The set in this level is a 200 meter run at a mile pace followed by 3 minutes of rest.

We recommend that you rest by walking as putting your body to a complete stop may cause your muscles to relax. You may not be able to regain the adrenaline boost if you stop for a while.

Once the sets are over, finish your run with another 200 meters of jogging.

Second Two Weeks (Level 2)

The running will follow the same concept, but we’ll be increasing the severity. Your running pace will still be your mile pace, but for a longer distance than before; 400 meters instead of 200.

You will also reduce your rest from 3 to 2 minutes. The post-workout jogging session will be 300 meters instead of 200.

The number of sets will also increase to 5-6 sets. The second two weeks are often the most exhausting to the runner, but the next ones will be easier. So, remember not to give up.

Third Two Weeks (Level 3)

In these two weeks, you will run for 3-4 sets of 400 meters. However, the running speed will be at a faster pace than your 6-mile pace.

Your rest will be from 2-3 minutes, and your jogging distance will drop down to 200 meters again.

Last Two Weeks (Level 4)

Day 2 of the last two weeks is going to be intense. You’ll have three different sets:

  • Set 1: run for 800 meters at mile pace
  • Set 2: run for 400 meters faster than your mile pace
  • Set 3: run for 200 meters at your maximum possible pace

The rest between each of these sets should be no more than 90 seconds. If your heart beats return to normal, your body will enter a state of relaxation, and you won’t be able to pick up the speed again.

Day 3 (An Optional Break or an Extra Workout)

You may take day three as an off day. Or, you could spend 30-40 minutes doing an aerobic exercise or strength training exercise. You can have it as a rest day for the first three weeks, then fill it with strength workouts in the following ones.

Day 4 (Tempos and Fartleks)

On day four, you’ll alternate between two different types of running. These types are Fartlek running and Tempo running.

Fartlek running is when you run for a specific distance, say 2 miles, while alternating your speed to recover.

As you run, pick a landmark and run with 90% of your speed to that landmark. Once you reach it, pick another one and run at a jogging pace that helps you recover. Then repeat until your 2 miles are over.

Tempo running is when you run right below your threshold for extended periods. Your threshold is the speed that you can’t sustain for more than 30 mins.

Once you know that speed, go right below it for 60 minutes. That’s the tempo run.

If you do a Fartlek for day 4 of this week, the following week should be a tempo run, and so on.

Day 5 (Another Easy Run)

Day 5 focuses on building both endurance and strength. You’ll need to run for 30-40 minutes at the same pace you used in day 1’s easy run.

Once you’re done, finish your workout by doing 6-8 strides with a 1-minute rest between each stride.

Day 6 (The Long Run)

Day 6 focuses on endurance. You should have a long run at an easy pace for 45-60 minutes.

You may end that run with some jogging to gradually cool down your body. However, don’t follow long runs with strides to avoid muscle fatigue.

Day 7 (The Break)

Don’t do physical exercises on this day. You should allow your body to recover for the following weeks.

Once your eight weeks are over, you may attempt to run the 6-minute mile again. Whether you hit the target or not, you’re guaranteed to have a faster mile than when you first started.

Young woman running outdoors in a city park on a cold fall/winter day (motion blurred image)

Tips & Tricks for Covering a 6-Minute Mile

The following tips are optional. However, they will make your workout a lot easier if you apply them.

Start With an Easier Target

Running is one of the easiest sports to give up on. It requires a strict plan, a high fitness level, and a lot of endurance.

Usain Bolt, the world record holder for the fastest 100-meter run, spent over 20 years practicing and honing his speed.

Don’t compare your beginnings with others’ achievements. If you’re still new to running, a 6-minute mile might be a long shot. You may try to start with an 8-minute mile instead.

Focus on Nutrition

Running burns an average of 13 calories per minute. That’s around 130 calories a mile. Your body will need compensation for all that energy it uses. So, don’t forget to create a balanced diet plan that’ll cover your body’s needs.

Don’t Hurt Your Leg

When you run, make sure that you use the appropriate running shoe to avoid hurting your legs. Your running space should also be dry and away from sharp objects or slippery surfaces.

You don’t want to wear shoes that are too hard or slip and hurt yourself. Choose a pair with a semi-rigid sole and a soft upper.

If You Don’t Meet the Target, You’re Still a Winner

If you fail to run the 6-minute mile after working so hard for eight weeks, don’t lose hope. You won’t have to repeat the whole thing. You just need an extra week or two to get to your target.

Plus, your fitness has improved tenfold since you started!

Get Up and Don’t Ever Give Up

So, is a 6-minute mile good? It’s one of the benchmarks for running. The mental joy and the physical strength you get after hitting that target are unrivaled.

The journey will be hard, and your body will want to give up. But if someone has done it, then you can too.

Remember, don’t stop when you’re tired; stop when you’re done.