Running Mile and 800 metres, Road Races

Results for the sub 4 min
1 Mile Programme 800m Programme

The 800 metre race came about due to the English mile, and it is believed it was born in England during the 14th century.

At the first professional competitions, races were contested over 880 yards, or half a mile. In 1876, Walter Slade improved what can be regarded as the first world record at the distance three times, taking it down to 1:58. The first acknowledged master of the discipline was the American, Melvin Sheppard, a double Olympic champion in 1908 at London over 800 and 1500m.

In 1962, Peter Snell made his mark on the distance when he shattered the world record with 1:44 on grass in Christchurch ! Wottle won the 1972 Olympics with 1:44.3

The sub 4 min Mile

Iffley road running track

Roger Bannister made history here, at Iffley road running track

Time Athlete Date Venue
3:59.4 Roger Bannister (GBR) 06.05.54 Oxford
3:58.0 John Landy (USA) 21.06.54 Turku
3:57.2 Derek Ibbotson (GBR) 19.07.57 London
3:54.5 Herb Elliot (AUS) 06.08.58 Santry, Bublin
3:54.4 Peter Snell (NZL) 27.01.62 Wanganui
3:54.1 Peter Snell (NZL) 17.11.64 Auckland
3:53.6 Michel Jazy (FRA) 09.06.65 Rennes
3:51.3 Jim Ryan (USA) 17.07.66 Berkeley, Cal.
3:51.1 Jim Ryan (USA) 23.06.67 Bakersfield, Cal.
3:51.0 Filbert Bayi (TAN) 17.05.75 Kingston
3:49.4 John Walker (NZL) 12.08.75 Göteborg
3:48.95 Sebastian Coe (GBR) 17.07.79 Oslo
3:48.8 Steve Ovett (GBR) 01.07.80 Oslo
3:48.53 Sebastian Coe (GBR) 19.08.81 Zürich
3:48.40 Steve Ovett (GBR) 26.08.81 Koblenz
3:47.33 Sebastian Coe (GBR) 28.08.81 Bruxelles
3:46.32 Steve Cram (GBR) 27.07.85 Oslo
3:44.39 Noureddine Morceli (ALG) 05.09.93 Rieti
3:43.13 Hicham El Guerrouj (MOR) 07.07.99 Rome
The 800m Sprint

The 800m is now regarded as an endurance sprint and although less intense than the 400m, it is a much more suffering event. To a certain extent, on a single lap of the track, the athlete goes all out without holding anything back. The 800 metre runner has to be able to concentrate his efforts until the right moment. Many 400m runners will disagree with this statement

Road race running
To predict an athlete’s 800m time use this test
The athlete must run two controlled maximal efforts of 60 seconds with a recovery of 3 minutes. The total distance covered by the two runs is recorded.

Time = 217.77778 (constant) – ( Total Distance x 119556)

Tactics are critical in shorter races, such as the 800m
Running racing.
The 800m demands tactics beyond that of the 400m. One must not remain trapped in the pack, making the move at the right time is critical. Too fast on the first lap and after 600m your legs will not wish to go any further.

It is now open to a wide range of athletes, those moving up from the 400m, formidable for their burst of speed towards the end of a tactical race, and those moving down from 5 and 10k distances.

However, the one characteristic a future record holder is that they must have raw speed. An 800m runner must now be capable of running well below 50sec for 400m, as he may well be asked to run through the first lap of the 800m in 50 sec with ease.

How much faster can the 800m be run?
Rank Time Athlete Country Date
01 1.41.11 Wilson Kipketer DEN 24.08.97
02 1.41.73 Sebastian Coe GBR 10.06.81
03 1.41.77 Joaquim Cruz BRA 26.08.84
04 1.42.28 Sam Koskei KEN 26.08.84
05 1.42.34 Wilfrid Bungei KEN 08.09.02
06 1.42.47 Yuriy Borzakovskiy RUS 24.08.01
07 1.42.55 André Bucher SUI 17.08.01
08 1.42.58 Vebjřrn Rodal NOR 31.07.96
09 1.42.60 Johnny Gray USA 28.08.85
10 1.42.62 Patrick Ndururi KEN 13.08.97
11 1.42.69 Hezekiél Sepeng RSA 03.09.99
12 1.42.69 Japheth Kimutai KEN 03.09.99
13 1.42.79 Frederic Onyancha KEN 31.07.96
14 1.42.81 Jean-Patrick Nduwimana BDI 17.08.01
15 1.42.85 Norberto Téllez CUB 31.07.96
16 1.42.88 Steve Cram GBR 21.08.85
17 1.42.89 Mbulaeni Mulaudzi RSA 05.09.03
18 1.42.91 William Yiampoy KEN 08.09.02
19 1.42.97 Peter Elliot GBR 30.05.90
20 1.42.98 Patrick Konchellah KEN 24.08.97

Sebastian Coe
Seb Coe is regarded by many to be the most gifted of middle distance runners the world has ever seen. With eight world records and two Olympic gold medals during his career, Sebastian Newbold Coe is one of the greatest.

Although he was born in Chiswick, London (on September 29 1956), Coe grew up in Sheffield and considers it his home. Coe began his running career at the age of 12 when he joined Sheffield’s Hallamshire Harriers. Between studies at Tapton and Abbeydale Grange Schools, the teenage Coe won county and schools championships at 3000m, 1500m and cross country.

In 1973 his coach Peter predicted that by 1980 his son would slice five seconds off the 1500m world record. In fact Coe sensationally broke three world records, including the 1500m, in 1979 in just 41 days: the 800m and mile in Oslo and the 1500m in Zurich. This meant Coe was the first man in more than 50 years to set world records at both 800m and 1500m. The following July Coe added the 1000m record to his list in Oslo, making him the holder of four world records simultaneously.

In 1981 Coe broke records again at 800m, 1000m and the mile, bringing his total to eight. His 800m world record of 1:41:73, set in Florence on June 10 1981, remained unbroken until 1997. At the 1984 Olympics Coe set an Olympic record at 1500m and took silver in the 800m. And at the European Championships in 1986, Coe won gold in the 800m and silver in the 1500m.

The 1000m record broken by Coe in 1981 is believed by many to be one of the best middle distance runs of all time. Roger Banister held the mile record for just over one month, before John Landy broke it on June 21 1954 and held it for three years, yet everyone remembers Roger Banister and not John Landy!

A simple test to discover whether an 800m runner has a weakness is to compare the flat 400m time to the average lap times in the 800m. If we take Coe’s best 400m time of 47secs and compare it to his average 400m time set in his world record of 1:41.73, we see that he ran two laps just under four seconds a lap slower than his best for 400m. If we do the same with Juantorena, we discover that the differential is just under 7.5secs. If he had possessed Coe’s endurance, the world 800m record would now be 1:36.52! And the same if Coe had possessed Juantorena’s speed.

Although Jim Ryan held the scholastic mile record for 36 years and promised much, he may only be remembered by a few. There is always someone around to break the world record but they can not take away an Olympic medal. Many world record holders do not win gold and are forgotten.

Training programme

The 800m is 60% Aerobic, therefore your training must take this into account.

The winter training should be Aerobic only therefore you can follow the 5km Programme.


Run 18km at half marathon Pace

3 x 3km @ 8km pace, with 90secs rest.

4 x 1miles @ 5km pace

10km @30 secs per km, slower than current mile time.


8 Mile easy

2 x 5 x (1000) @5km pace. 1min rest between, 3min between sets.

There is no training quicker than 5km pace in the winter.

Summer or Start, 10 weeks before race.
Morning Evening
1 Between 6 & 7 miles every morning, easy.
8 miles easy

20 x 200

10 x 400

8 miles easy

7 x 800

4 x 150 + 3 x 300 + 2 x 400

10 x 100 strides

The above may only be done after the base training, ie winter programme. The base training should be a minimum of 5 months, to build endurance. A true programme would work back from race day and show a 10 week programme. The above is an example of what one of those weeks would look like.

Any programme should be written for an individual, taking into account

His/ her current endurance and speed
The specific natural speed of the athlete, as the athlete may be a sprinter (400m) or longer distance runner (3000m).

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