Jeff Galloway recently came into the Maine Running Company for the evening to share some of his experience. This is a continuation of my write-up based on the notes that I took during the event. All of the articles will be linked to down at the end of the article as they appear on the website.

The Magic Mile

“You’ve gotta remember, I’ve only been running for 50 years.”

The Magic Mile is Jeff’s way of getting a handle over what is a realistic goal and to know what your current potential is for any given race distance. He has now collected over 15,000 Magic Mile times and the resulting marathon times that were run afterwards, giving him a very good idea of what the different times can mean. It also allowed him to sort his training groups based on their latest mile time so that people would always be training with others that are in approximately the same shape.

The Magic Mile should be run at least 3 times during a season, preferably 4 or 5 times. It should be run 3 weeks in a row, with the first mile time trial being just a little bit faster than your current training pace, the second mile time trial a week later should be at a good effort, and the third mile time trial a week after that should be all out. The entire workout only consists of a good warm up, the mile time trial, and a cool down.

Once you have your fast mile time, you can determine what your race paces are likely to be at different distances and at what pace you should be running on your long runs. Bear in mind that the number that you get assumes proper training and ideal conditions, so you will need to make adjustments related to weather or crowds.

For a 5k, add 33 seconds to your Magic Mile time for your per mile pace. For a marathon race pace, add 30%. For your long run training pace, add 30% to your Magic Mile time and then add 2 minutes plus 30 seconds for every 5°F over 60°.

So as an example, if your Magic Mile time was 10:00 minutes, you could expect to finish a 5k in 32:47 (~10:33/mile). For a marathon, you can expect to run in 5:40 (~13:00/mile). For your long runs during training, you would want to be running at 15:00 minute pace, or even slower if it is hot out.

If you don’t want to do the math yourself, Jeff has a Magic Mile pace calculator that you can use right on his website.

You should use your calculated marathon pace to determine your long run pace for all of your long runs, even if you are training for a half marathon or shorter distance.

There are a few reasons that you don’t want to run too fast.

  1. Increased risk of injury
  2. Increased fatigue and an inability to recover properly
  3. Burn-Out

Jeff has been running the Magic Mile to figure out his training pace for a long time and has had no overuse injuries in the last 30 years, despite averaging a run 6.5 days per week over that entire span.

(Magic Mile Pace CalculatorEvent Photos)