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Mastering the 6-Minute Mile: 6 Mind-Blowing Ways Speed Supercharges Your Body and Mind


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Discover the incredible benefits of running a 6-minute mile and how it can positively impact your physical and mental health. Learn practical strategies and expert tips to achieve this challenging goal while reaping the rewards of improved overall wellbeing.

Running a 6-minute mile is an ambitious personal goal that requires dedication, discipline, and probably a whole lot of support and perseverance as well. But beyond the bragging rights, running a 6-minute mile holds some remarkable benefits for both physical and mental health - so even if you don't crack the goal, it's sure to have a bunch of positive spill-over effects into your every day life.

In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the science-backed advantages of running a 6-minute mile and provide you with practical strategies to reach the milestone. By the end of this article, you'll be equipped with the knowledge and inspiration to (ahem…) hit the ground running. 


  • Running a 6-minute mile offers a bunch of physical and mental health benefits.

  • This ambitious goal requires a structured training plan and commitment.

  • Consistency, proper form, and progressive training are essential for success.

  • Listening to your body, staying motivated, and seeking support are key factors in your journey towards a 6-minute mile.

The Science Behind Running a 6-Minute Mile

The Physical and Mental Benefits Unlocked by a 6-Minute Mile

If you’re into the science side of things, this section is for you. In it, we’ll explore the research that underscores the positive outcomes associated with running a 6-minute mile. If reading scientific papers isn’t really your things, skim through this section and jump ahead. 

Physical Health Benefits

Running at such a high intensity has profound effects on your physical wellbeing. Here are the key benefits:

  1. Improved Cardiovascular Fitness: Running a 6-minute mile challenges your heart and lungs, boosting their efficiency and enhancing overall cardiovascular health. Studies have shown that high-intensity aerobic exercise improves heart function, lowers blood pressure, and reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases. If you want to get into the details, check out this study, this study and this study

  1. Enhanced Endurance and Stamina: Training for a 6-minute mile pushes your body to adapt, increasing your muscular endurance and stamina. This improved fitness level allows you to perform better in other physical activities and sports, sleep better at night, and generally just have more energy to do other things.

  2. Weight Management and Calorie Burn: Running at a fast pace significantly elevates your calorie expenditure, aiding in weight management and fat loss. Regular high-intensity exercise, like running a 6-minute mile, can accelerate your metabolism and contribute to a healthy body composition. While I’m sure this point won’t come as news to you, there are (of course) a lot of studies now back this up, like this one and this one

Mental Health Benefits

Running a 6-minute mile not only strengthens your body but also nurtures your mind. Consider the following mental health advantages:

  1. Stress Reduction and Mood Elevation: Engaging in intense physical activity triggers the release of endorphins, the body's natural mood-boosting hormones. Running at a challenging pace promotes stress reduction, alleviates symptoms of anxiety and depression, and enhances overall emotional well-being. For more on this, check out this study and this study.

  2. Increased Cognitive Function: Research suggests that aerobic exercise, such as running, has positive effects on cognitive abilities, including memory, attention span, and creativity. By working towards running a 6-minute mile you can sharpen your mental acuity, improving your productivity and mental performance.

  3. Boosted Self-Confidence and Resilience: Setting and achieving the goal of running a 6-minute mile can significantly enhance your self-esteem and build resilience. Overcoming challenges and pushing your limits through consistent training can translate into greater self-belief. Turns out that if you feel good about yourself, others pick up on that too. 

Training Strategies for Conquering the 6-Minute Mile

“The 6 minute mile is and has been one of the most recognized goals that many runners aspire to achieve; it is often used as a gauge of skill and becomes competitive between athletes. Not only is this known as a significant accomplishment, but the training itself will provide a multitude of benefits that make it worthwhile starting.” - Deanna Hammond-Blackburn, a certified trainer at Origym Centre for Excellence

“Our culture has become hooked on the quick-fix, the life hack, efficiency. Everyone is on the hunt for that simple action algorithm that nets maximum profit with the least amount of effort. There’s no denying this attitude may get you some of the trappings of success, if you’re lucky, but it will not lead to a calloused mind or self-mastery. If you want to master the mind and remove your governor, you’ll have to become addicted to hard work. Because passion and obsession, even talent, are only useful tools if you have the work ethic to back them up.” ― David Goggins

Steps Towards Success: Training for a 6-Minute Mile

If you read the science stuff, you’ll now have a good understanding of the benefits. But now time to explore the practical steps to help you conquer the 6-minute mile. These strategies will guide you on your journey, ensuring a safe and effective progression towards your goal. 

"With all endurance events, the mile and up, 80 percent of training is all easy running other than the time trial" says Bobby McGee, an endurance coach with over 30 years of experience. 

Starting With The Basics - What is a 6-Minute Mile? 

A six-minute mile is running 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) in six minutes or less. Thanks Captain Obvious. But how fast is a 6-minute mile? 

A 6-minute mile is equivalent to running 9.6 mph (15.5 kph) for an entire mile. Which is pretty quick! With that in mind, it’s probably not something we can just go out and do today. So we need to build up to it.

Establishing a Baseline

  1. Assess your Current Pace: Before you begin your training, it is important to understand your current running pace. To measure this pace, find a track or running route that is one mile long. Time yourself running it and keep track of your splits (the amount of time it takes you to run each lap/mile). 

  2. Assess Your Current Fitness Level: Before embarking on your journey, evaluate your current running abilities to determine a realistic starting point. This will help you set appropriate goals and tailor your training program.

  3. Build a Base: Begin with steady-state runs at a conversational pace to establish a solid aerobic foundation. Aim for regular, consistent training while gradually increasing your mileage to improve endurance and overall fitness.

Incorporating Speed Workouts

Once you have determined your current running pace and level, it’s time to create a training plan. 

REMEMBER: Before beginning any workout, it is important to warm up and stretch your muscles. This will prepare your body for the increased activity and help reduce injuries. Start by doing some light jogging and dynamic stretching such as arm circles, toe touches and jumping jacks. Once your body is warm and loose, you can begin your workout.

In order to build a training plan, start by setting realistic goals that can be achieved in incremental steps. For example, if you are currently running a 10 minute mile, set a goal to run a 9 minute mile first then gradually build up to an 8 minute mile and so on. 

In order to increase your pace, here are two methods to start running faster:

  • Interval Training: Integrate interval workouts into your training plan, alternating between intense bursts of speed and recovery periods. This approach enhances your body's ability to sustain faster paces over time.

  • Tempo Runs: Implement tempo runs, also known as threshold runs, which involve maintaining a comfortably hard pace for a sustained duration. These runs improve lactate threshold, allowing you to maintain a faster speed for longer periods.

Fine-tuning Your Technique

To improve, focus on proper posture and arm movement while running. It has a bigger impact than you might think! 

  • Focus on Proper Form: Pay attention to your running form, as efficient biomechanics can improve speed and reduce the risk of injury. Work on maintaining an upright posture, a relaxed upper body, and a quick turnover of your legs. Try to keep your arms close to your body while swinging them forward and back in sync with your strides. Also, focus on proper foot placement while landing on the midfoot instead of the heel or toes.

  • Strength and Flexibility Training: Supplement your running routine with strength exercises, particularly targeting your core, hips, and legs. Incorporate flexibility exercises and regular stretching to enhance range of motion and reduce muscle tightness.

For a more detailed running plan, including day by day exercises and check-lists, check out these links from Men's Journal, Runners Goal and Coach Jason

REMEMBER: After completing any workout, it is important to cool down and allow your body to recover. Start by doing some light jogging or walking followed by static stretching such as quad stretches, calf stretches and hip rotations. This will help reduce tension in your muscles and improve recovery time. Finally, make sure to get plenty of rest and fuel up with nutritious foods. And no! McDonalds doesn’t count. 

NB from the author: this guy is NOT dressed to run a 6 minute mile.

Staying Motivated and Overcoming Challenges: Keeping the fire alive

Embarking on the quest to achieve a personal goal of running a 6-minute mile can be demanding, but staying motivated and overcoming challenges will propel you towards success. 

As fit and as fast as you are, the most important prerequisite - says Jeff Parke, founder of Top Fitness Magazine - is that “you have a burning desire to run at that pace. What that means is that you have to decide there is no other option for you other than running a 6 minute mile. It’s not easy and if your head isn’t in the right space, your body won’t be either.” 

So let’s explore effective strategies to keep your enthusiasm ignited throughout the training process.

Set Realistic Milestones

  • Break It Down: Divide your overarching goal of running a 6-minute mile into smaller milestones. Aim to improve your mile time gradually, celebrating every milestone achieved, whether it's shaving off seconds or hitting a specific target time.

  • Variety in Training: Inject variety into your training regimen to keep things exciting and avoid monotony. Incorporate different running routes, intervals, and speed workouts to challenge yourself and maintain engagement.

Seek Support and Guidance

  • Join Running Groups or Clubs: Surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals can provide a sense of camaraderie, support, and motivation. Join local running groups or clubs to connect with fellow runners who share your goals and experiences.

  • Consult a Running Coach: Seeking guidance from a professional running coach can provide valuable insights and personalized training plans tailored to your abilities and goals. Their expertise can help you navigate challenges and optimize your performance.


Sharing goals is an important part of achieving your goals. Some people don't need to make a public commitment to achieve their goals, but believe me when I say they're in the minority. For the majority of people, committing to a goal means you're much more likely to achieve it.

So what we recommend doing is creating a new goal in Elephants, and then sharing your goal on your social channels; TikTok, Snapchat and Instagram. Not only will this commit you to achieving your goal, but it might just turn up a person or two who want to achieve it alongside you, which is bound to make you waaaay more accountable and help you have waaaay more fun in the process too! 


Q:  How did the lawyer with a torn ACL still manage to run a 6 minute mile? 

A: Because she had power of a torn knee.


Running a 6-minute mile is a remarkable accomplishment that unlocks a plethora of physical and mental health benefits. As you progress on your journey towards this goal, remember that consistency, patience, and a balanced approach are essential. By following the training strategies outlined in this article, staying motivated, and seeking support with your group on Elephants, you can embrace the transformative power of running a 6-minute mile. 

And remember, the road to a 6-minute mile is not just about speed (although it is about that too); it's a path towards a healthier, more confident, and resilient version of yourself. And who doesn’t want that? 

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