It’s track time! Are you ready for running 2 miles? In different states, they might run the 3200 meter run, or the 3000 meter run (3k) but they are all very close in distance. For high school track, this is the longest race there is.
Before I get into the tips on how to run a successful 2 mile race, you need to know the most important thing by far. You need to exercise in the off season to run a great 3200. For you high school students, if you are in a winter sport, that is great. If you aren’t in a winter sport, you had better be running.
Now let’s look at some strategy for this test of your stamina and endurance. The way I see it, there are two different options for this race.
1. Go out fast and try to hold on for the rest of the race. 2. Go out under control, but try to run the same pace the entire race.
Here is a video break down of running 2 miles in a track race. The footage is from different High School 3200 meter races in the state of Wisconsin.
Actually, there is a third option, which is don’t go out too hard and then just fade back later in the race even further, but you would never do that! How do I know this? You’re reading an article on how to improve at the two mile, so that shows some tenacity right there.
Now for some details on the different points above.
Strategy One – Go out fast and try to hold on. I would be remiss to say that this strategy doesn’t work ever. It actually can work out for you occasionally. Those instances are far and few between though because it makes you feel terrible to run this way.
When you go out at a very fast pace, you are taking away a lot of the energy from your body before you even get a chance to use it. For one, you put yourself with a group of runners that probably are trying to run at a faster goal time than yours. This means a little later on in the race, the pace you jumped out at will hold, but you won’t be in good enough shape to hang with this group.
Then comes the worst part. The rest of the field slowly passes you one by one. Your confidence will sink, and you will hurt more and more with every step of the race.
Here is an exception that I was talking about. Once in a while, you might actually be able to hang in there for a long enough time before the people that are running with you break away. Then you’ll have to trudge in the remaining part of the race, but you might end up with your fastest time. I did this once, but it hurt so badly. The next race I went out at a more reasonable pace, broke my best time again, and didn’t feel nearly as awful doing it too. This leads me to the next race strategy.
Strategy Two – The 2 Mile, or 3200 Meter Run is 8 laps on a 400 meter track. I like to break down each lap and see what my time should be at in order to run a specific goal time.
To make strategy two work for you, the first step is to set a goal time. Let’s say you want to run the 2 mile in 12 minutes flat or faster. If you break down this time evenly, you have to run each lap at exactly 1:30 per lap.
To run each lap at 1:30 takes a lot of discipline though. It is much easier said than done, but it is not as difficult as sprinting at the start and crawling at the finish like strategy one.
At the start, go out just under 1:30. If you hear 1:25 at the first lap, that is okay too. Just don’t try to go much faster than that. If you are at about 1:33 or slower, you better pick up the pace in lap number two.
When you cross the line after lap two, or a half mile, your time should be at 3:00 or under. Once again, if you are a little over 3 minutes, you better push the pace to get under your goal time pace.
At one mile, you need to be at 6 minutes or faster. Now here comes the hardest part. Laps five, six, and seven are brutal. There is no way around it. After the first mile is over, most runners tend to slow down. Why? By this time, the adrenaline from the start of the race has worn off, and most runners feel pretty tired. It takes incredible mental toughness to not relax.
You have to feel like you are picking up the pace to actually stay on your goal pace. Your legs won’t have as much spring in each step, so it is up to you to challenge yourself and other runners in that second mile.
The most exhilarating thing about this strategy though is you will probably be passing people up in the later stages of the race. Most people run according to strategy number one. If you are disciplined enough to not go out too hard, but still have the will power to push it in the second mile, there is no better feeling that runny by your competitors. The best part is they won’t even react to you passing them.
After 1 ½ miles, comes the racing. Hopefully, you find yourself by another runner in the last 800 meters, and you start to race to beat this person. In the best-case scenario, this person will react and run with you. You can feed off each other’s energy and race to the finish line.
Your time will greatly improve because of this racing, and you might just end up running your best time ever. I certainly hope this strategy works for you.