No matter where you are in your running journey, the prospect of running faster is always appealing.
If you’re a beginner runner, you might focus on shorter distances as you build up your endurance, such as 1.5-mile runs.
Additionally, a 1.5-mile run is part of certain military fitness tests, such as the IST for the Marines and the Navy SEALs Physical Fitness Test. As such, many people seek advice on how to improve 1.5 mile run times.
The good news is that with training, it’s possible to improve your 1.5 mile run time.
In this article, we will share training tips and strategies for how to improve 1.5 mile run time in a month or more.
However, even if your 1.5 mile timed run or race is rapidly approaching and you don’t have much time left to train, we will also provide strategies for how to improve 1.5 mile run time in 2 weeks or less.
We will cover:
- How Far Is 1.5 Miles?
- What Is a Good 1.5 Mile Time?
- How to Improve Your 1.5 Mile Run Time If You Have a Month Or More
- How to Improve Your 1.5 Mile Run Time If You Have 2 Weeks Or Less
Let’s dive in!
How Far Is 1.5 Miles?
For those more accustomed to kilometers, a 1.5-mile run is nearly 2.5 kilometers, or precisely 2.414 kilometers.
If you’re running on a standard 400-meter running track, 1.5 miles is just over 6 full laps.
Alternatively, if you’re running along city blocks, 1.5 miles is approximately 30 blocks, although the exact length of a city block can vary depending on the city and specific block.
What Is a Good 1.5 Mile Time?
So, how long does it take to run 1.5 miles, and what’s a good 1.5 mile run time?
These are tricky questions to answer because quite a few factors can affect your running speed, and what qualifies as a good 1.5-mile run time can vary depending on your age, sex, and experience level.
Running Level, which calculates running times based on age and ability, reports that a good mile time for men is 6:37, and a good mile time for women is 7:44.
Using these times, we can extrapolate that a good 1.5 mile run time would be 9:48 for men and 11:37 for women.
For the armed services fitness tests, a 1.5-mile run time of 10:30 is the minimum requirement for Navy SEALs, but a competitive score is 9:30 or faster. For the Initial Strength Test for the Marines, men must do the timed 1.5-mile run in 13:30 or faster, and women must complete the distance in 15:00 or less.
How to Improve Your 1.5 Mile Run Time If You Have a Month Or More
With dedicated and consistent training, you should be able to improve 1.5 mile run time in a month or more, even if you’re already in decent physical shape.
Here are some things you can do to run 1.5 miles faster.
#1: Build Your Endurance
Although 1.5 miles isn’t a particularly long distance, the better your stamina, the easier it will be to cover the distance, freeing up more energy to devote to running faster.
Adding a long run to your training is the best way to increase your endurance.
For example, if you run 1-2 miles a day every day, gradually increase the length of one run during the week so that it becomes longer.
If you’re only up to running a couple of miles at the present time, add five minutes or a half mile per week to the long run until it’s 4-5 miles (longer is also fine).
This long run will help increase your cardiovascular, muscular, and mental endurance to run longer without fatigue.
As your endurance improves, running 1.5 miles will feel physically easier and mentally less daunting, enabling you to focus on running faster rather than just trying to complete the distance without stopping.
#2: Increase Your Mileage
Increasing your training volume, or the number of miles you run per week is a great way to build your running stamina, strength, and speed.
If you’re only running 1-2 miles a day a couple of days per week, gradually add additional runs per week until you’re running 5 days per week.
With that said, there is a limit to how many days you should run. Make sure you have at least one rest day per week to allow your bones, joints, muscles, and connective tissues time to rest and recover fully.
You can perform some form of low-impact cross-training exercise once or twice a week instead of running to reduce your risk of injuries while still improving your fitness.
#3: Incorporate Speed Workouts
Speed workouts, such as running intervals on the track or adding bursts of fast running during your distance runs outside or on the treadmill (called fartlek workouts), are one of the most effective ways to run faster.
Intervals or speed workouts improve your leg speed and condition your heart, lungs, and muscles to handle faster paces without feeling so exhausted.
Running at different paces also helps target different metabolic systems, which helps your muscles become more efficient at generating energy during exercise.
#4: Run Hill Sprints
Even if you’re going to be running 1.5 miles on a running track or flat course, incorporating hill sprints into your training program will help improve your running form, turnover, and leg strength and speed. This can translate to improved running performance and faster 1.5 mile run times.
Choose a hill that takes 30-60 seconds to sprint up, and focus on driving forward and upward with your arms and legs, maximizing your turnover by staying light and fast on your feet.
#5: Work On Your Running Form
Many beginning runners have at least one or two elements of their running form that could use some work.
Using proper running form can improve your running economy, enabling you to run with less effort so that you can run faster without fatiguing.
Consider getting your running form analyzed at your local running store or asking a friend to take a video of your gait.
You can then use that feedback to guide necessary improvements to your running form.
You should run with an engaged core, an upright posture with a tall spine, a neutral head position with your eyes gazing forward, and your shoulders back and down away from your ears.
Your arms should swing front and back along the sides of your body without your hands crossing the midline of your body. Your elbows should be bent to approximately 90°, and your hands should be in light and loose fists, without holding any tension.
Try to land on your midfoot rather than your heel, and keep your stride even and balanced between the right and left legs.
#6: Increase Your Cadence
Your running speed is determined by the number of steps you take per minute (your running cadence or turnover) multiplied by your stride length.
To run faster, you can increase your running cadence or stride length.
However, studies show that increasing your cadence is a safer way to run faster because increasing your cadence reduces the risk of injuries, whereas increasing your stride length can increase the risk of injuries.
By running with a faster cadence, you keep your center of mass located more directly over your feet rather than well behind your outstretched foot, as is the case with overstriding.
This reduces the torque on your joints and the peak impact forces and helps conserve your forward momentum without applying a braking force during every step.
In addition to reducing the risk of injuries, the higher your cadence, the more steps you will take per minute and the faster you can run.
#7: Start Strength Training
Strength training strengthens your muscles and connective tissues, helping reduce the relative workload on your legs when you run and enabling you to have a more powerful stride.
Aim to do 2-3 total-body strength training workouts per week, focusing on compound exercises like squats, lunges, step-ups, deadlifts, push-ups, pull-ups, rows, and core exercises.
How to Improve Your 1.5 Mile Run Time If You Have 2 Weeks Or Less
If you’re looking to improve 1.5 mile run time in 2 weeks or less, your focus should be less on training and more on your strategy.
One way to run faster is to improve your pacing. Try to run at a steady pace throughout the entire 1.5 miles, rather than starting out fast and petering out.
With consistent training, a varied workout routine, and a few tweaks to your running technique, you should be able to run faster and further, improving your 1.5-mile run time.
Looking for some speed work ideas? Check out our interval training for runners to spice up your workouts.