• Fri27February 2015
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  • The Amba Hotels City of London Mile 2015: it’s free, fast and worth adding to your racing calendar

    You know your 10K time, you can reel off your PBs for half marathon, marathon, 5K and perhaps 10-miler, but do you know how fast you can run a mile? Not two miles but one single mile which is 5,280 feet or 1,760 yards or 1,609.344m in case you were wondering. Well now you have the chance to put yourself to the test at this year’s Amba Hotels City of London Mile 2015 on Sunday 14 June 2015.

    Organised by The Running Works – a recently opened store by the folks behind Run-Fast who manage, train and develop world-class athletes from Kenya and the UK among other things – this event is your opportunity to take control of your speed or just have a laugh running the mile.

    I did it last year straight after the Hackney Half and have to say it was a thoroughly well-organised race. There was plenty of support from local steel bands and we were rallied pretty sharpish to the start line. Even though my legs were tired, I enjoyed imagining I was Roger Bannister on my way to breaking the 4-minute mile barrier 60 years earlier (imagining being the key word here).

    And just like last year it’s free, I repeat FREE to enter thanks to the support of Amba hotels, which are the group of hotels that have done a rather good job of smartening up the hotel at Charing Cross. If you’re ever in the area and want a swish location to impress, check it out.

    With five events on offer: Family Mile, Youth Mile, City of London Mile, International Mile and the new addition of the Women’s Mile, it can be a fun day out for all the family (I’m talking to you Dynamo Mum). What other occasion do you have the chance to run on closed road past some of London’s most iconic sites in the heart of the City? The race starts at St Paul’s, loops past Guildhall and finishes on Cheapside.

    Run the City of London: route of the Amba Hotels City of London Mile 2015

    Run the City of London: route of the Amba Hotels City of London Mile 2015

    Whether you decide to race the mile or simply run it, the mile distance is short, sharp and exhilarating. More experienced runners going for the sub 4-minute mile (we can dream can’t we?) will find that tweaking their training plan for the mile distance may benefit their overall performance.

    Neither for the tortoise nor the hare

    Set off in sprint mode and if you’re lucky you’ll last 800m, ease into it gently and you’ll only just start revving when it’s time to stop – the mile race is a mix of power and endurance and that is why it is such a fun challenge to take on. As both running coach Nick Anderson and Anthony Whiteman, current world record holder for the mile V40, said at the launch event for the Amba Hotels City of London Mile 2015 last week, it can feel like a pretty even playing field. Unlike a marathon, your time will be minutes or even seconds not hours away from the fastest runners on the course, which can make the mile race all the more exciting.

    How do you train for a mile? 

    Warm-up is key as suddenly asking your legs to go from 0mph to 17mph (Google says this is how fast Mo Farah runs 10K who am I to argue?) is like trying to stretch a frozen rubber band. Your legs may not snap completely but they certainly will not thank you for it.  Drills or what Whiteman calls ballistic warm-up can help switch on your muscles – think high knees, leg swings, butt kicks that type of stuff).

    Next Whiteman says try 10 by 400m sprints with 90 seconds rest in-between. Of course, you may baulk at the idea of this sort of training but it will help you find out your pace and also adjust your speed accordingly. Add this anaerobic (targets those fast twitch muscles) challenge into your weekly training plan as the one run where you cannot talk at all alongside one run where you can happily chat and one run where you can just about spit out a sentence, and you may see a difference in your performance.

    Once the long distance of running across the sand in April is finished, I’m thinking of taking on a challenge like this and training for the Amba City of London Mile 2015 looks a pretty good option to me. Ha, hopefully it will take around six minutes to run (or that is my aim.

    So how about you? What time do you think you can do the mile in? Join me at the Amba Hotels City of London Mile 2015 to find out.

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