The Time I Thought I Had Run a Six Minute Mile
I had not.
I am not a scientific person. When I run intervals I think, “ok, how fast do i think a mile at 10k pace should be?”, pick a number of minutes and run for that long.
I have no idea how fit or fast I am. Which is not a problem, as I’m going away for a weekend in the middle of the Olympics so someone else can have my place in the team. I am training for a marathon however, so it might make sense to have some kind of idea of how well this is going. I measured out a route containing 4 x 1 mile sections on mapmyrun, with rest sections, before I left the house. As it was a 7 mile run, I had to try to remember where each mile section started and finished.
Wouldn’t it have been easier to just find a mile section and repeat it? Yes. Yes it would have.
The first interval was tough – lots of pedestrian dodging, uneven pavements, hay fever eyes, slight uphill. I finished it in 6 minutes 40. Hey! I thought, that’s not bad. I spent the next 4 minutes of jogging trying to work out what that would make my 10k time (as) if I could maintain that pace for 6.2 miles.
The second interval was kinder – a long empty downhill followed by a brief uphill and a flat bit. I approached the endpoint with my watch still in the 5 minute somethings. Oh my god! I thought, I’m going to run a six minute mile! I am so fit!
I was rapidly reassessing my next 5k time- sub-20 minutes, faster? Maybe I had been too hasty in giving up that Olympic place? Then came the next interval. It was mostly uphill but I still busted a gut. 6:30. Hmm.
The last interval. I’ll just take it easy I thought. I killed myself - 6:30 again.
Doubts were creeping in. Could there be a tiny possibility that I had got the distance wrong on my sub- 6 minute mile?
Back at the flat, I checked the map. Yes, I had missed out a section. Not a big section, but enough. I might have made it in 6 minutes 20. Which, over 10 k, would be a 39 minutes. Of course, I could only run it over 1 mile, maybe two with a fair wind.
The Olympic dream was over.