What Is Your 4 Minute Mile? Can You Achieve Your Impossible?

Sir Roger Bannister

On the 6th May 1954 Sir Roger Bannister became the first human to run a mile in less than 4 minutes (3:59:04 seconds). Up until the 6th May 1954 it was deemed impossible physiologically to run a mile in less than 4 minutes. Doctors and scientists said that ‘breaking the four-minute mile was impossible, that one would die in the attempt.’ 

Roger believed running a mile in less than 4 minutes was possible. Roger was studying medicine at Oxford University and while studying came up with his own training method (shorter, more intense sessions with more rest days) and used this to train towards his attempt at a sub 4 minute mile. Roger had two friends Chris Chataway and Chris Brasher who trained with him and helped pace the attempt on the 6th May 1954 (Brasher first two laps, Chataway thrid lap and start of the fourth lap).

On the 6th May 1954, Sir Roger Bannister did the impossible (Iffley Road Sports Centre, Oxford).

Roger had shattered a mental barrier, the belief that a mile couldn’t be run in under 4 minutes. The month after Roger proved it was possible an Australian runner (John Landy) beat it with a time of 3:57:09. To this day hundreds of people have run a sub 4 minute mile.

It is the brain, not the heart or lungs, that is the critical organ.

Sir Roger Bannister

Take Aways

1) If you believe you can achieve something, you are more likely to achieve it.

2) Watching or knowing someone else achieve what you would like to achieve can be motivating.

3) Goal setting, planning, preparing, training and working hard can help you get to where you want to be faster. 

4) Understanding what your strengths are and building on them further can help you achieve great things.

5) Surround yourself with a team of people that will cheer you on. Achieving great things requires you to have great people around you.

Whether you think you can or think you can't you are right.

Henry Ford

What Is Your 4 Minute Mile?

What do you want to achieve?

What do you feel is impossible?

Could you make your impossible a reality?

How could you challenge yourself & hold yourself accountable to achieve something? Hire a coach? Set yourself some goals?

How hard are you really working? Could you do more? Do you need to change things up? Is your current method the smartest, most efficient?

Is what you want to achieve really impossible? Do you need to change your mindset or the goal? Have you seen someone else achieve what you want to achieve?

When you believe something is possible, you will be more motivated to take action and, therefore, more likely to achieve your impossible. 


1) Guinness World Records (2016) Roger Bannister: First Sub Four Minute Mile. Available: HERE. Accessed: 26th December 2023.

2) Mens Running (2018) Remembering a Great: Sir Roger Bannister. Available: HERE. Accessed: 26th December 2023.

I hope this post was of value to you. I’d love to hear your thoughts, please do send me a message on Instagram (simonjamescoaching). 

Thank you for reading.

Simon James

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