Many of us enjoy the benefits of cardiovascular exercise and training programs. After all, they are one of the simplest and most basic forms of physical activity. There’s hardly anything that you need in terms of expensive equipment, specialized gear, or anything else other than your own physical body half the time.
And of course the quintessential cardio workout would simply be going on a run.
There can be nothing more basic and elementary in its execution yet so eloquently and tough its demands on both your body and your mental strength.
However, oftentimes many people (both runners and non-runners alike…even very experienced ones) may have trouble doing something as straightforward and as ‘easy’ (note the emphasis on sarcasm here for that word) as dropping time in your 1-mile run.
If there can be anything that would be described as the most ‘classic’ of all running-dom then surely it would be the 1-miler. The 1-mile run is not only the very first point/distance where you can consider yourself to be not sedentary anymore (note that I did not say the words “in shape” I merely said “not sedentary”…there is a huge difference here)…that is if you actually completed it in one single movement and did not stop to rest, walk, or slow down to the point of what’s arguably a walk or a speed walk, but it is also the ‘Gold Standard’ for all longer distance runs and a critical component of how a runner should be measuring himself.
So obviously the logical conclusion would be to lower one’s 1-mile run time in order to at least begin the long and arduous process of increasing the speed of your longer distance runs…and therefore get in ‘better shape’ overall.
But the next question (and one that’s usually a ‘stump’ to many people) is just how exactly you are supposed to do that?
- Do you just mindlessly run a 1-mile run over and over again?
- Do you simply run longer so that you may ‘build up more endurance’?
- Do you engage in HIIT sprints at your will?
Well, the answer is probably something along the lines of “possibly”, “maybe”, and/or “unknown” for any of those questions.
However, there is fortunately an answer for you right here in the form of a simple and beginner-friendly yet challenging and, most importantly, an effective training regime for you to get to lose not only 1:00 minute off of your 1-mile time but actually 2:00 minutes!
And it doesn’t even require that you go outside and brave the elements…you can do it in the comfort of your own home (or gym) with the use of a simple treadmill.
Treadmill workout weekly plan for an absolute beginners
So what is this program you ask? Well here it is:
1 miles @ goal pace. Stop, rest, and walk when you are unable to maintain your goal pace and then restart after 1:00 – 2:00 minutes. Wash, rinse, and repeat until a total of 2 miles is reached.
Continuous intervals of 0.125, 0.25, 0.5 miles @ goal pace until you reach a total of 2 miles.
Refrain from running and take to swimming and/or biking instead. Swim and/or bike for a total amount of active exercise time equal to your goal pace for 2 miles. Example, if your goal pace is 8:00 minutes per mile then swim and/or bike for 16:00 minutes in total. If your goal pace is 6:00 minutes per mile then swim and/or bike for 12:00 in total. Time is measured by the actual amount of time one spends actively swimming or biking. Rest time, down time, and other forms of ‘time’ do not count. Do not perform your total exercise time for both exercises. Pick one or the other or a combination of both. For example, if you are shooting for an 8:00 minutes per mile goal pace and you are to perform for 16:00 minutes of exercise time in total. Do not do both 16:00 minutes of swimming and 16:00 minutes of biking. Pick one or the other or combine both until you reach a total time of 16:00 minutes period!
Continuous 2 mile run. Do not stop under any circumstances. Shoot for goal pace, but do not stop, rest, walk, jog, speed walk, etc. if you are unable to maintain it. Simply continue running from start to stop with nothing in between.
A variation of Monday but with 2 miles instead of 1. Run at your goal pace until you are unable to maintain it. Stop, rest, walk, speed walk, jog, etc. for 1:00 – 2:00 minutes. Resume running at goal pace until you are again unable to maintain it. Wash, rinse, and repeat this formula until 2 miles is complete.
Long but smooth and sustainable pace for 3 – 6 miles. Distance should be carefully planned out based on your personal intuition. No need to maintain any sort of pace, however, do not stop, rest, walk, speed walk, jog, etc. during this run from beginning to end. This run is also meant to be performed in one continuous act.
Rest…this is your day off. Congratulations!
And that’s the just of it in a nutshell.
Foundational knowledge about treadmills workout
Now there are some terminology and foundational knowledge I’d like to impart to you before you formally begin.
- The term “goal pace” means that this is the amount of time you intend to complete a 1-mile run at. The examples I used above of 8:00 minutes per mile and/or 6:00 per mile are not uncommon goals for many runners. So when you see the program instruct you to run at your “goal pace” that means that you will have to perform some very basic math. But it’s quite simple. A 0.5 mile means divide your goal pace by a factor of 2. An 8:00 minute goal translates into a 4:00 minute pace for a 0.5. A 0.25 means divide your goal pace by a factor of 4. So now that same 8:00 minute goal equals to a time of 2:00 minutes for a distance of 0.25 miles. Do the same ‘type’ of math for your goal pace. If you are unsure of how to do so you may consult a ‘running calculator’ located here!
- The idea behind all daily workouts is that you will ‘progressively overload’ your cardiovascular system and your body to the point that you can maintain your goal pace, perfectly, everyday. Once you are able to do that you have, essentially, completed the program. After all, you actually did achieve your goal, congrats!
- However, with the above being said I must also point out the fact that this program may not be enough for you to reach your goals. Certain targets like a 6:00 minutes per mile pace is rather difficult for many, and this simple program just may not be enough. Sometimes and for some people you will not be able to achieve your goals no matter how many weeks you run this program. Should that be the case there is actually more to extend to the more difficult goals for the more difficult to ‘gain’ runners, but that will have to come at a later time. For now, let’s keep things simple.
There you have it!
A simple 1-week running program that can be repeated ad infinitum (but not for all cases) until you reach your goal pace, and one that’s (usually) guaranteed to help you drop 2:00 minutes off your 1-mile time.
Now before I head off here, I want to mention that this workout was largely based off of a military running program developed by a former Navy SEAL and certified strength and conditioning expert, and it was meant to help current military personnel achieve their running goals for their respective PFTs and/or PRTs.
There is additional information that is written by the original author, and here is a source that extends this program out further.
You will notice that you can certainly escalate the challenge, distance, intensity, and overall difficulty of this program to far greater limits.
But, in our opinion, repeating the first week until it can no longer take you any further is oftentimes sufficient for many runners’ targets.
Now then, good luck runners!
And have fun!