How Do You Train for a 1500-Meter Run?

It's Closer to a Mile Than You Might Realize

Runner on track
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If you're running a 1500-meter race, you'll run just under one mile (.93 of a mile, to be precise). That measures to 1.5 kilometers. The 1500-meter run is a popular middle distance track event in track and field competitions, from youth track and field all the way up to the Olympic level.

So how many laps of the track does it take to complete 1500 meters?  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 actually feature the mile race (4 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 games' inception 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, here are some 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.

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 to 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 of a mile.

Start each run with a 5-10 minute warm-up walk, and finish with a 5-10 minute cool-down walk.

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. 

Tips for Running a 1500 Meter Race

  • Running a mile without stopping: If you're trying to run a mile without taking a walk break or feeling like you need to stop completely, here are some tips to help you reach your goal.
  • Run a faster mile:  Whether you're a high school track athlete, beginner runner, or a masters runner, you can make some small changes to improve your pace.