I Tried To Run My Fastest Mile Ever – And Failed Miserably – For One Major Reason

mile running fail


Last year, I ran over 1,000 miles and set a goal to hit 1,200 this year.

Unless I start running right now, and don’t stop on December 31, I won’t hit the goal.

Hell, there’s a good chance I won’t even break a thousand miles this year.

I’m hovering around the 750-mile mark, the days are disappearing off the calendar, and the weather in the northeast for the next two months isn’t in my favor.

Instead of hitting the goal, I turned my attention to a smaller accomplishment – I want to run my fastest mile ever.


A few reasons. First, I’m constantly reading about a different mile record being broken while doing ridiculous things like dribbling a basketball, running blindfolded, running backward, being 9-months pregnant, and all of those mile times are better than mine while I’m doing nothing but run.

Second, my recent long runs have been the drizzling shits. I’m not sure if it’s burnout, a lack of time, being bored with the same routes, or because I’ve nothing to train for or just don’t give a damn anymore.

In a recent interview with Spencer Brown on “We Run This,” I asked the Brooks Beast member for tips on getting better in my longer runs.

His answer was pretty simple – more speed work.

He went into a little more detail than that, so you’re going to have to listen to the interview to hear all his advice.

The rest of my training advice came from this YouTube video from Ryan Trahan. Ryan breaks down 7 training tips to help a person run faster. He goes into greater detail, but the basics of his advice involve:

1. Running more
2. Increasing your run tempo to a faster-paced workout. “Comfortable hard” is what he called it.
3. Work on your strides
4. Work on your long runs
5. Make sure your easy days easy are actually easy
6. Stay flexible with warm-ups, cooldowns, and drinking enough water
7. Have fun

That last point isn’t exactly a tip, more advice, but I’m not having any fun running, so I feel like number 7 should be at the top of the list for me.

My fastest mile time was 6 minutes on the dot back in 2017. I remember the run was on an outdoor track.

The weather lately has been incredibly uncooperative, so I opted for the indoor track at my gym. This plan felt doomed to fail when I walked into the gym and remembered I’d have to keep a mask on the entire time.

I’m also having second thoughts because if I vomit, I’m in a gym and not in a random field where I can run away and not clean it up.

This run wasn’t an attempt to break my 6-minute record but more gauge how far away I am from the time.

Mask or no mask, I’m incredibly far away. In the middle of the run, doing what felt like an excellent pace, I realized I was having trouble breathing and pulled my mask down a little.

The next lap around, a gym manager was standing near the track and motioning to put my mask back on.

Sweaty, tired, unable to catch my breath, I finished the final turn and sprinted with everything I had left for the final hundred yards.


The mask might have affected my running but not a “2 minutes slower” type slowdown.

The excuses came faster than the air to breathe.

“Well, you’re older now. You’re over 40. You’re slightly heavier. You really didn’t train. You had a leg day this week, and you’re still a little sore. You didn’t eat anything yet today. These sneakers are old. Mercury is in retrograde. The Giants are terrible this year….”

Every excuse in the book rattled around in my head except the one real reason I didn’t get close to hitting the 6-minute mile.

I’ve forgotten how to let myself get uncomfortable.

As soon as breathing got difficult or my sides pinched a little or a leg cramped up, I’d slow down slightly. Not much, but add up enough slowdowns in a timed activity, and those seconds make a huge difference.

Besides the physical training of running more, upping my tempo, and doing more speed work, I’m going to work on the mental game.

Ignoring the aches and pains, breathing issues, and the mask police at the gym.

Avoiding the uncomfortable doesn’t just happen when my running shoes are on. If the weights get too heavy, I drop down a few pounds. If things get awkward in a relationship, I back off. If something happens at work, I back down.

People say a person gets “older and wiser,” but it feels like I’m getting older and just average.

I’m going to take the advice of Spencer and Ryan for running but also work on my mental toughness and try again in a few weeks.

Hopefully outside and maskless with plenty of room to vomit.


Love running and fitness? Check out our podcast “We Run This” where we talk about running and the running lifestyle. It’s the running podcast made for athletes of all shapes and sizes.


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