Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Magic Mile


Have you ever ran a magic mile?  (Unfortunately I’m not talking about joining a particular club where the entrance fee is fornication while on a plane. . . . But I guess if you want to share those stories, I’m all ears!!)  A magic mile is essentially running a mile FLAT OUT.  A little warm up, some light stretching, and then 5,280ft (1609M) of balls out/boobs out running after which you cannot go ANY further.  Sounds fun, right?  Fun in a soul searching, masochistic, find out what you’re made of kind of a way.

I thought of the magic mile today as I was cranking away at the fiber of my being some mile repeats.  They went WAY better than I ever expected that they would. 5:53, 5:49, 5:34 – that last one I pulled out all the stops and gave it nearly all I had at the time (having 5 miles and 2 repeats under my belt).  The last repeat is within 12 seconds of my current mile PR.  Or, “close ‘nuff for ‘govmnt work”.  I haven’t done them in far too long and I was rather surprised at how well they went.  In fact, that last one was so close to my stand alone mile PR time that I’m thinking another Magic Mile is in short order.


If you’re interested, here is a YouTube of my last attempt (with my 3 week old son in tow) and the “race report” during which I appear naked.


The Magic Mile is one of the easiest ways to judge your overall fitness.  The conditions are fairly easy to control if you run on a track, the recovery time is really quick (vs running a full marathon), and training paces can pretty easily be extrapolated with all sorts of online running calculators, including the McMillian Calculator.  Plug in your fastest mile and  they’ll forecast out all the way to a marathon.  The accuracy isn’t horribly good the greater the distance, but it still gives you a general idea.


I know people who do them every month, but that seems a bit overkill - so I’ll crank them out every 6 months or so.  Doing them too often is sort of like weighing yourself before pooping, after pooping, and then after you take a shower.  Sure, they’re going to be different, but what is the “real” weight? (hint: after pooping)

So, if you’ve made a new year’s resolution to get faster – why not use your mile time as a gauge for your TRUE speed?  If nothing else, it'll show you how fast you can go before you puke!





16 comments:

Jamoosh said...

Would people in Europe do the Magic K?

Andrea Hill said...

I've done a few mile races and after the third one, started not hating them. It's just wrong that in #2, I had to stop to walk (which I don't do in marathons!) Now that I have my pacing down a bit better, I like the challenge.

C2Iowa said...

never done a magic mile on the track. dang you are wicked fast.

i remember your video post from before. still like your comments about it.

Dr. TriRunner said...

I *remember* how fast my magic mile was... don't want to even think about how long it's been since I attempted one though!

TriMOEngr said...

Relatively recently finished the book "The Perfect Mile" about the first breaking of the 4 min mile and the chasing by the three men most likely to do it first. This post made me think of that. Can't even fathom miles as fast as that (or you), but I do believe you can only improve what you measure so I like this advice. Will wait to measure my mile when I can run the whole thing. Period.

Colin Hayes said...

I ran an 'almost' magic mile in high school (5:01 in 1985...still bitter). Lately, I've run many tragic miles. Can't think of anything else that rhymes with magic, so I'm done.

Mike said...

Dude, you are crazy fast! With a taper and the right conditions, I bet you can break 5 minutes.

Brian said...

I've never done mile repeats in my training or did speedwork with the goal of really kicking ass in a short race.

But the last two years I've run in the Harrisburg Mile and I just go and run as fast as I can. It's definitely fun because it's so different from all the other running I do all year. I hit 6:21 on the last one and one of my goals this year is to actually train for the shorter distance and try to get under six minutes.

Karen said...

Interesting... I actually used a training plan for a marathon earlier this year that called for going magic miles once a month or so. I never knew what they were so I didn't do them. ha ha. Now I know!

Nicole@TheKidlessKronicles said...

If you can't get in to St George, check out the Tuscon race. I think it has a similar elevation profile and was just written up in RW.

The Kidless Kronicles

Kathy said...

@Jamoosh: it isn't just Europe, it is pretty much THE REST OF THE ENTIRE WORLD who are not stuck in LudditeHell. Look north and south, east and west of you. We're all metric. I refuse to teach my kids what inches, feet, etc. are. Course, they are also mystified by pennies, dimes, nickles and quarters and keep askign me why their math book has the date backwards (MM/DD/YY). :)

Katie said...

you know....you know...i'm not sure i've EVER raced a mile. mile repeats, sure, 1600s as part of an interval workout...but never one all alone. HMMM.

Laura said...

I've kind of wanted to run an all-out mile ever since your last attempt, but I think I'd suck at it. I don't know how to push myself so there's nothing left. I could ALWAYS do more - that's how I ended up running a marathon in the first place (by trying to find my breaking point). Is something wrong with me? I think I am not built for speed.

mikemilzz said...

After pooping & running 20 miles that way the pipes are cleared and you're dehydrated...that's good for a couple more lbs.

Running Moose said...

I've really been wanting to do this, but my current injury will leave me not doing it for quite a while, even after recovery (partially torn abductor that popped again today while walking down the hall.)

Bill Dowis said...

I just wrote about the Magic Mile too. I use it during marathon training to gauge my fitness and improvement. You are right, it is the best way to measure.