Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Now on my Bucket List: Run a 4-minute mile.

First off, yes, I have seen the movie. It was great. As I watched the ball drop ushering in 2012, I thought to myself that I should resolve to do something completely badass. For a long time, I had thought about the sheer amount of training, strength, and endurance (and maybe a little bit of insanity) it must take to run a mile in just four minutes. (Random side note: The Four Minute Mile is an awesome movie.)

Roger Bannister: 1954 Four-minute mile runner.

You may have already guessed this, but I ran Track and Cross Country in High School. I also regularly run random 5k and 5 mile races, and things like Warrior Dash. I added Parkour to the list when I realized certain objects and buildings on my alma mater's campus could be tricked on and/or scaled at 4am.

So obviously, I have at least some physical ability. But will that be enough? I decided to do a little more research using my good friend Google, and found someone just as nerdy as me who had apparently spent his time finding an answer to the same question. You can read the original article on his blog Gravity and Levity, here.

Basically, his post confirmed my suspicion that as I get closer and closer to my goal of a four-minute mile pace, it will be more and more difficult to get my times down. The basic concept is called the Law of Diminishing Returns. I experienced it first-hand back in Track. Getting my quarter-mile time down ten seconds (and keeping it down) took about three weeks of hard training. But then it took another three weeks to get it down another five seconds. Right now my quarter mile pace is 75 seconds. Assuming I can get my endurance up to run the whole mile at that pace, that would make my mile time 5:00. That's pretty darn close. But of course, I need to shave off another 15 seconds from each quater-mile time. That won't be easy.

Who will win, me or the Law of Diminishing Returns? We shall see.

Source: Gravity and Levity blog post "The fastest possible mile", retrieved Jan 3, 2012; URL = http://gravityandlevity.wordpress.com/2009/04/22/the-fastest-possible-mile/.
Picture from: http://www.worldinsport.com/2010/11/100-greatest-sports-stars-number-91-sir.html.


  1. I run about 4-5 miles a night (unless I hate my life then its like 7-9). Feels awesome.

  2. I hope you try. I will keep reading!

  3. That's cool Kelly, I didn't know you were a runner too :) Whenever I'm feeling down reading "Dear Abby" picks me up. (It makes me feel normal in comparison.)

    Thanks Dr. Posner! How goes the research? I'll be adding another post soon, I miss blogging. I can't wait to read the newest wave of blogs from Senior Seminar!