Speed Training for 1500m and Mile

by Jay P
(New Zealand)

speed training for 1500m and mile
Hi there, have a question on how to get the most out of threshold training and what type of workouts would suit. I am a 25yr old male, 185cm tall, and very lean. I have been racing this year in various distances but have decided to race more over the short fast 1500m to mile.

I read a previous post on increasing cadence or speed, and you recommend lost of slow running, my problem is that when race day comes round my body does not feel prepared as I am doing more aerobic workouts than that lactate threshold range. Up to this point in a race it seems that its anaerobic because of its intensity.

Are there any good workouts for speed / cadence and threshold?

These two points make up the ideal race I feel for the distance I am racing......thanks for your help!

Answer by Dominique:

Hi there,
Thanks for your running training question.

Let's cover the following aspects:

1. 1 mile running tips - the difficulty of racing the mile
2. Ideas for speed workouts for the mile

1 Mile Running Tips - The Difficulty of Racing the Mile

speed training for 1500m and mile
Any race up from 800 meters is predominantly aerobic. So, you do need that strong base of aerobic endurance.

The questions I usually get from people wanting to do short distances are to do with police fitness tests or army fitness tests and they are from people who have not built up much stamina yet. When you are newer to running, a lot of benefits can be derived from starting slow and gradually building up the running.

However, it sounds like you are already doing your easy and long runs and can cover the distance easily and now want to truly race it.

The great thing about the 1,500m / mile distance is that it is possibly one of the hardest distances to master. You need that endurance. But the intensity makes you feel like you are sprinting the whole way. It does not take long to feel like you are redlining and can't possibly maintain the speed and intensity. It's tough and requires a lot of practice to master.

speed training for 1500m and mile
And a lot of practice to know how fast you can run it. Go out a bit too fast and you lose time in the final lap. Go out a bit too slow and the race is so short, that you do not have the time to make up for it.

It's a true, true challenge. And that is without considering the elements of a race on the track. Getting boxed in, using your elbows to jostle for position, etc.

To make sure you get the best out of a mile, I'd definitely recommend:
  • Do it often - it takes time to master the distance

  • Do some mile speed training sessions - get very familiar with the speed you can run it at

  • Do other speed workouts as per below

  • Ideas for Speed Workouts for the Mile

    For these short distances you definitely need a healthy dose of intervals and tempo runs.

    Check out those pages for some more explanations about the reasons why and suggested workouts.

    However, there is more needed for a strong, strong mile, particularly:

    speed training for 1500m and mile
  • Goal Pace Running - You want to practice specific workouts at goal pace, e.g. 8 x 200m with 30/60 seconds rest, 4 x 400m etc.

  • Strides - Strides are such an important, and often neglected, part of endurance running. Strides give you leg speed. And they are easy to implement. Simply add them on to a number of your easy runs in the week.

  • Repetitions - Similarly to strides, repetitions are leg speed workouts. You do them by doing short (up to 400m) fast reps with plenty of time in between to recover. This is not supposed to be a massivley hard workout, you will want to focus your repetitions on staying relaxed, and focusing on very fast leg turnover. You could do something like 6 x 200m with 5 minutes easy between repetitions.

    Now, that provides you with some speed workouts that should help get your legs to move faster on race day. A few last comments:

  • Make sure to keep the majority of your running easy

  • Also look into strength training, particularly lifting heavy weights, which is great for resilience and injury prevention, but also for leg speed.

  • I hope this helps.
    Kind regards,

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