Some Thoughts on Achieving a Fast Mile


I had the honor and privilege to consult with Patrick McHugh, ( Track & Field Coach and Athletic Director at North Shore Country Day School in Winnetka, Illinois to help him prepare his athlete Peter Callahan to run a fast mile his senior year. He did run fast- 4:05 off of an average of off 25 miles a week. By the way the school has no track! He was double Illinois Sate Champion in the 800 and 1600 in his senior year. This past indoor season as a junior at Princeton he ran under four minutes twice and was an All American at indoor nationals. The point of all of this is that he trained like an athlete. There is plenty of time to increase the volume gradually over time as he matures. Up until his senior year in high school he played soccer in the fall and basketball in the winter. His senior year he only played soccer and ran a limited indoor track schedule. Plenty of time to specialize!

These are my thoughts to Patrick as Peter started his training for his senior year:

Some Thoughts on Achieving a Fast Mile

Train Athletically

More is not better- Find his stimulus threshold

Always Quality

  • Quality Foot Strikes
  • Quality Reps

Speed First & Always

  • Running fast is FUNdamental and Rewarding

Take Care of Basics

See attached Hip Drops and Hip Series

Put a hill phase in late February and March- that is when the GH work should be done.

Be careful with him running indoors with that foot- in fact if you can avoided it would be better

Do heavy lactate production and lactate tolerance work on the bike! Save his legs from pounding. This can be cycled in once every 14 days

Pool work after leg and total body strength training days. Also schedule a pool session as needed for a workout.

Set you training up in six-week blocks- 2 x 21 day cycles.

First 21 days preparation

Second 21 days adaptation

During Competition in spring go to three 14 day cycles, this is pure Bowerman.

Vern Gambetta

Vern Gambetta

Director at Gambetta Sports Training Systems
Vern is the Director of Gambetta Sports Training Systems. He has been the a conditioning coach for several MLS teams as well as the conditioning consultant to the US Men's World Cup Soccer team. Vern is the former Director of Conditioning for the Chicago White Sox and New York Mets. He has lectured and conducted clinics in Canada, Japan, Australia and Europe and has authored six books and over one hundred articles related to coaching and sport performance in a variety of sports. He has a BA in teaching with a coaching minor and an MA in Education with an emphasis in physical education from Stanford University.
Vern Gambetta


Athletic Development Coach & Consultant. Founder of GAIN Network. Proud dad. Love to read everything.
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Vern Gambetta

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