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Run A Mile Faster by Running BACKWARDS

Updated on February 25, 2014

<< Mile Run - Mod. 2 <<

I wanted to leave you with one more workout for this series of articles.

This slight modification, like the other two, will help you improve your mile run time and keep things from getting boring.

The other two were pretty simple modifcations and this one's not that much more complicated. Let's get right into the modification.

You're going to be running intervals, but for two of those intervals you're going to run backwards!

Why run backwards?

There's one obvious benefit to running backwards: variety!

Bringing variety to your workouts will keep you from getting bored and will also help you make more progress. Variety isn't the only benefit though, here are some other reasons to run backwards:

  • It will work your muscles in a way they're not use to and you'll work your quads even more. Believe me, you'll feel it in your quads.
  • It actually works your body harder when you run backwards. That means more calories burnt and a higher heart rate.
  • It can improve your posture. You'll be running more erect when you run backward; not as much forward lean.

So you can see that there's a handful of benefits to running backwards, besides the fact that it'll be fun to see the faces of people when you pass them.

Why run intervals?

Once again, intervals add variety to your workouts but they will also work you harder than if you ran at a steady pace the whole time. Some other benefits are:

  • You'll lose more body fat doing intervals than you would with steady state running.
  • You'll continue to burn calories even after you're done working out.
  • Your workouts can be shorter since your intensity fluctuates and is higher.

I bet that you're glad I've included both running backwards and intervals in this workout aren't you?

Let's get into the workout.

Care to compete?

Let's have a friendly competition. Once you've tried this, post your results in a comment below. Don't be shy; I'm sure some of you are a lot faster than me! I'm not much of a distance runner. Here's what you need to post:

  • The DATE you did ran it
  • Your AGE and GENDER
  • Your HEIGHT and WEIGHT
  • Total time for the whole mile
  • Did you like the workout?
  • Will you do it again?

Here are my results:

July 23, 2007

  • I was 25 and a 6'3" man (at the time, haha kidding) and I weighed around 230lbs. 
  • It took me 9 minutes and 35 seconds to run the complete mile with the direction changes.  I think it's a fun workout, which I've done many times.

August 22, 2007

  • Same age, height and gender but I weighed around 225lbs.
  • This time it only took me 9 minutes and 16 seconds!


The Workout

You can choose to modify this in any way you'd like; like changing the distance of the intervals.

But what you're going to do is run a 1/4 mile backwards and then run a 1/4 forward and then backwards for a 1/4 mile again and then finish your last 1/4 mile running forward.

So to start your back is going to be facing the line where you're starting your run.

Just be sure to glance over your shoulder and watch where you're going as you're running backwards.

Once you cross the 1/4 mile mark, you can just switch gears and start running forward. 

Your legs may be a bit rubbery from using your quads in a different way but try to stay in control as you change directions.  Yeah, you're probably going to get some weird looks.

It's the worst when you pass someone while you're running backwards, because you're looking right at them the whole time. And it's a little harder to run backward fast, so you really have to try hard to pull away from them.

But hey, it's fun and a really good workout!

So go grab your stop watch and water bottle, get warmed up and try this modification out!

I hope you see some progress in your mile run time!

Did This Modification Help YOU Run A Mile Faster?

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    • Bendo13 profile image

      Ben Guinter 8 years ago from Colorado Springs, Colorado

      Haha yeah it is hard to get the hang of at first, but you'll get it! You can thank me when your quads start burning.

    • David R Bradley profile image

      David R Bradley 8 years ago from The Active Side of Infinity

      This actually looks like a lot of fun! When I try this I'll look for a grass track or strap a pillow around my backside so when Mr Coordinated here goes down I'll have a cushion!