How the “Magic Mile” can test your potential

  • Jeff Galloway is an American coach who developed the “Magic Mile” method of predicting race times based on one mile of running and customized formulas.
  • The Magic Mile trial requires running on a track, performing warm-up sprints and then completing one mile at a brisk pace.
  • Magic Mile results can be interpreted to estimate times over different running distances, such as the 5K, 10K, half marathon and marathon.


Jeff Galloway is an American coach. He prepares athletes, studies training programs for them and with them to achieve results through constant improvement determined by the application of customized charts and schemes.

He has adopted several methods throughout his career but, he says, the one that has provided him with the most accurate predictions is-as he has dubbed it-the “Magic Mile” test.

The name, not hard to figure out, comes from the fact that it is a test that is based on running a mile (on the road but better on an athletic track) and interpolating the results with formulas that he has studied. The ability to accurately predict actual race results-regardless of the type of runner and his or her training-is impressive in accuracy, according to Galloway.

How to do the Magic Mile test Here it is explained (but there is also an online calculator).


To perform the Magic Mile test correctly, you must.

  • Run on a track (possibly): this is better because the distances are precise and you don’t have to rely only on GPS, which is known to be accurate within certain limits.
  • Prepare to run it only every 2 to 3 weeks and run it only once
  • Warm up first and perform 3/4 sprints of 100 meters or so to get ready. Sprints should be done at the speed you will maintain in the Magic Mile and only for about ten steps
  • Run the first MM by maintaining a sustained but not extreme pace for the first 3 laps and then accelerating only in the last one. Record the times of each lap. Remember that a mile is 4 laps (400 meters each) plus 9 meters and more (9.344 m, to be exact)
  • Don’t run on threadmill because it may not be accurate in either the calculated distance or the time it gives you
  • When you start the MM, don’t sprint but try to go right away at the speed you “feel” and maintain it
  • Eventually relax by walking.

Is that all? Indeed! Sort of. Now we need to “read” the results.


Do you have your numbers at hand? Here’s how you can convert them into your estimated race times.

  • Add 33 seconds to your time on the MM and you get your pace on the 5k
  • Multiply your time on the MM by 1.15 and you get yours. 10k pace
  • Multiply your time on the MM by 1.2 and you get your pace on the half-marathon
  • Multiply your time on the MM by 1.3 and you get your pace on the marathon.

If you don’t feel like doing a lot of calculations there is an online tool on Galloway’s site that does them for you.

The results are accurate only as long as these conditions are met: you must not be injured, the race temperature must be below 15°C, and the course must not involve frequent elevation changes (no hills, no elevations).

So, do you want to try? All it takes is an athletic track, a stopwatch and some multiplication or addition. And you will know your pace.

(Via Podium Runner)


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