Breaking a 7 Minute Mile: Mission Accomplished


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I recently wrote about how I was able to shave down my 1-mile time to 7:16 and wasn’t quite sure if I should push it farther and try to break the 7-minute mile mark. Part of me was saying, ‘yeah, go for it,’ but the other part of me was thinking that it might be incredibly tough. After all, cutting down an additional 16 or 17 seconds is a lot more than people think. The other part of me was saying to just start running some longer distances. I guess I was kind of torn on where to go next. I mean, it was just about a month ago that I was setting a goal to break the 8-minute mark, and now, here I find myself on the cusp of knocking down an additional minute.

Body Says No, Mind Says Go

So, today after a pretty solid workout I approached the treadmill with a bit of trepidation. I stared down the beast and asked myself if I should give it a nice shot and push myself about as hard as I could. I stood there for a moment, contemplating whether or not I’d give it a go, pulled up two songs from a band called Middle Brother, and looked at the two songs on my playlist. The first song is one called Blue Eyes and clocks in at 4:06. The second song called the same as the band name, Middle Brother comes in at 3:13. I figured that if I ramped  up my speed enough to finish before the two songs had ended that I would have a good possibility of finishing under the 7:00-minute mark.

Left. Right. Left. Right. Arms pumping, heart pumping even faster, hair bouncing, face turning a nice rosy red, but there was no turning back now.

Okay, here we go! I hit start on the treadmill and tried to increase the speed as quickly as possible. The time was already ticking, with precious clicks already coming off the clock. Anyway, I finally reached a setting of 9.5, which felt like a pretty solid place to settle in. In the past, I would have been happy to set it at 6.5 or 7.0 to come in around the 8.30-minute mark or so. I hit it hard for a couple of minutes, knowing that I had to make up some time for the slow start of getting the treadmill up to speed. Below me, I felt my legs moving a bit faster than I thought they could keep up, so after a couple of minutes, I dropped the speed down to 9.0. Just a few minutes in, I could already feel myself breathing harder than I had before and there were moments when I was very, very close to tapping the stop button. “This is just too much,” I thought. “Too fast for me, try it another time.” But as I stared ahead, I could hear the voice inside my head telling me to push through it. Let’s see what you’re made of.

Not QUITE as Graceful as These Guys:

Pain is Weakness Leaving Your Body

I’m not sure if there was much pain I was feeling, but my endurance was really starting to get the best of me around the 4:00-minute mark. However, looking down, I could see that I was within reach and forced myself to fight through it. Music beating, feet pounding one in front of the other, breathing in through the nose, out through the mouth. Find a rhythm. Keep going. The music seemed to propel me forward as opposed to the legs that seemed to be weakening below me. Any minute I expected that I could faceplant and be launched five feet backwards into the stationary bikes. I’ve seen these types of accidents on YouTube before, so trust me when I say that this thought definitely went through my mind.

As I looked down at the distance reading .90, I knew that if I could keep it up, I’d make it. Yet still, the thoughts were striking my mind with doubt and even though I was so close to my goal, there were times when I almost reached over to that big red button that says STOP. “Suck it up. It will be worth it.” Left. Right. Left. Right. Arms pumping, heart pumping even faster, hair bouncing, face turning a nice rosy red, but there was no turning back now. The last few tenths of a mile, I watched as it approached the 1-mile mark, and then, there it was…1.00. BAM! Hit that red button! As the treadmill slowed and the 6:45 clock appeared in front of me, I couldn’t believe I had made it. I removed myself, put my arms over my head like they use to tell us to do when I was younger and sucked some wind for a good five minutes or so. Oh boy, I could feel the aching in my hamstrings and thighs, but oh man did this feel good!

No Pain, No Gain

What a cheesy  phrase I always thought this was! But I have to tell you, there’s something to it that makes you feel great when you go through some of that good pain to accomplish a goal that you have set out to achieve. I’m happy that I was able to accomplish this goal, and now that I have done it, it’s time for me to set a new one. I’m not sure what that is yet, except to continue pushing myself, eating healthy, and trying to see what else I can accomplish if I really put effort into it. For now, I look forward to having some good rubbery legs tomorrow as a nice reminder of my accomplished goal.

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