Training for a 1500-Meter Run

Build your speed for this distance that is just short of a mile

Runner on track
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If you're running a 1500-meter race, you'll run just under one mile (0.93 miles, to be precise). It is also equal to 1.5 kilometers. The 1500-meter run is a popular middle distance track event in track and field competitions, from youth participation all the way up to the Olympic level. A lap of most running tracks is equal to 400 meters, so it would take 3.75 laps to equal 1,500 meters.

Many American high schools feature the mile race (four laps of the track) in their track and field competitions, rather than the 1500-meter race.

History of the 1500 Meter in the Olympics

The 1500-meter race has been run at the Summer Olympics since the inception of the Games in 1896. It was only available as part of the men's medal sports until 1972, when the women's 1500 was introduced. It has three qualifying rounds to narrow the field of competitors to 12 athletes.

Training for a 1500-Meter Race

If you'd like to improve your time in the 1500-meter event or you're hoping to build up to running 1500 meters without stopping, you can use training programs and advice. Although these schedules and tips are for the mile distance, the distances are so close that the approach is the same.

Improving Your Mile Time

To run a faster mile you will work on several different things. Start with improving your running form to ensure you are using the right posture, arm motion, and footwork.

 Work on your stride turnover with drills for a faster step cadence. Interval training in which you include faster and slower intervals will help build speed, while hill repeats will build running efficiency and strength. You also must run farther than a mile in order to improve your endurance over the mile.

Four-Week Beginner Program to Run a Mile

This four-week training program is designed for total beginner run/walkers who want to build up to running a mile. This program is a run/walk to a continuous running program. Each week, you'll make a slight increase in your running distance and a decrease in your walking distance. By the end of four weeks, you'll be able to run one mile without stopping.

For measuring purposes, it's best to do the workout on a track, which is usually 400 meters, or about 1/4 mile. Start each run with a five- to 10-minute warmup walk, and finish with a five- to 10-minute cool-down walk.

To be able to run a mile without stopping or taking a walking break, you can work on a few things. First, make sure you are breathing properly and taking deep belly breaths rather than shallow upper chest breaths. You need the oxygen so you won't be out of breath quickly and need to slow to a walk. Keep your posture straight and not hunched over. Keep your pace at a level where you can still talk in full sentences.

When you're first starting out, it's best not to run two days in a row. Take a rest day or do another activity like walking, biking or swimming. If the pace is too challenging, repeat a week before moving on to the next week.

Make the program work for you.