What is the Magic Mile?
The Magic Mile is a running test developed by Olympian Jeff Galloway that involves running one mile at a high intensity. This test is not an “all-out” effort, but a very hard effort. It measures your current fitness level, predicts race times, and provides your specific long-run, training, and racing paces. It’s the foundation of our training program.
Taking this test will allow you to:
- determine your race pace goal realistically;
- easily track your progress; and
- recover quickly compared to extended time trials that can cause fatigue and require additional recovery days.
At What Effort Level Should I Run The Magic Mile?
In general, running tests are difficult to gauge, especially for beginners. As you take more and more time trials, you will become better at dominating your paces and knowing just how hard to push.
When running your very first magic mile test, run only a little faster than your average running pace. Your breathing should be labored, but it’s a sustainable effort that you should hold for about another 200 meters after completing the mile.
Tips When Running The Magic Mile
- Be sure to set a maintainable pace where you will not burn out during the first laps. It’s always best to run the first lap the slowest and gradually speed up as you advance.
- Walk breaks are optional. If you can take the test without a walk break, by all means do so!
Magic Mile Test Progressions
At first, taking this test will be challenging to gauge. It’s common to either burn out on the first try for going out too strong or, even more commonly, finish and feel like you could have given more.
As you take the magic mile test periodically, you will become better and better at pacing yourself and understanding just how much you can push during that mile. You want to get as close as possible to feel you finished with just enough energy to run about 200 meters more.
Factors That Will Affect The Magic Mile
There are several factors that can affect the outcome of the Magic Mile.
- Weather: If the temperature is hot and/or humid, this can slow down your pace.
- Fatigue: Be sure and plan this test after 2 days of easier workouts to not run tired.
- Burnout: Start out at a pace you can hold; don’t sprint!
- Traffic: Choose a route or track where you will enjoy an uninterrupted run.
Why Do a Magic Mile?
The results will point you in the right direction for your goal setting, training, and racing. Choosing unrealistic goals based on what you “want” to achieve or think you can achieve can become highly frustrating.
When you cannot hit your paces in training or racing, demotivation happens. In addition, trying to push paces that are not your own can increase your risk of injury.
Set realistic goals and train hard for them. You will improve much more efficiently training at your own, attainable paces than pushing something you’re not ready for. And you will be so thrilled when you cross that finish line, having achieved your goal!