You have signed up for a one-mile race on the track. Congratulations for laying it on the line!
Maybe you want to beat your high school gym class time. Maybe you are after a PR. Maybe you just want to see what time you can run at the most iconic race distance, in whatever shape you are in at this moment in time.
So what's your race plan? Usually we run best with a plan going into the race. Sometimes it goes out the window because of conditions, whether they be weather, illness, injury, mindset or something that happens in the race. But, still, its best to have a plan. If you need one, here's what I suggest.
WARM UP. Warm up with 15 minutes of easy running, followed by 4 X 100 meter strides to get your legs activated, arriving at the formation of your heat with no more than 5 minutes to go. (I know, the timing is often so unpredictable - and you certainly will want to arrive earlier rather than later. If you wind up standing around for a while, try to do several more strides before the gun goes off.)
OFF THE LINE. Don't kill it! Be sure to start your watch. Use the first lap to find your base pace. For example, if you are shooting for an 8 minute mile, your base pace would be 1 minute at the 200 meter mark and 2 minutes at 400 (1/4 of your target time). Find that pace and stay there. Ignore however fast others are running - run your race! If you see that you went out too slow for the first 200, you can run a little faster to get on track - but only a few seconds faster for the back half of the lap. Don't overrun it!
LAP 2. Don't lose focus. After the first lap, work on maintaining your base pace. If you are shooting for 8 minutes, that would mean 3 minutes at 600 meters and 4 minutes (half of your target race time) at the end of the second lap. If you did not go out too fast, you may actually find it easier to run your base pace and want to pick it up. I suggest it's too early for that. Maintain (or get to base if you went out too slow).
LAP 3. This is where it gets interesting. If your base pace is challenging, this is where you may start to fall off. This means you will have to work harder to maintain base. Do it! But don't put it all out there yet. You have only just crossed the halfway point in the race. If it all goes well at this point, at 1200 meters you should be at 3/4 of your target race time - 6 minutes if your target is 8 minutes.
LAP 4. Start the lap maintaining pace and set up for a great finish. If you are running in a pack, maneuver for position so you are not blocked. (For example, if you are boxed in with a runner right ahead and one on your shoulder, slow slightly so you can get to
the outside and pass.) Coming out of the first curve, it's time to give more if you have it - but don't give it all here. Pick up the pace down the straightway and hold that pace into the final turn. Then coming out of the turn, give it all you have to the line. Finish strong, stop your watch, gasp for breath and smile. You just ran a terrific mile, ideally even faster than your target time!
COOL DOWN? If possible, it's wise to run a little after the race, maybe 10 minutes. But, I know, we get social or have things we need to get to...