How to Run the Jeff Galloway Magic Mile


If you are a new runner or thinking about getting into running, you have heard that the best way is the run/walk method. This is when you walk for a set amount of time – say 30 seconds – then run for a set amount of time, such as 60 seconds. Keep repeating this for your entire workout.

Jeff Galloway popularized this training method and has helped thousands of runners start running. But he also created something called the Magic Mile. It’s a handy test that anyone can do to gauge their fitness levels and set realistic goals.

In this article, we’ll discuss how to run the Jeff Galloway Magic Mile and how you can use your results to set better goals and improve your running.

Who Is Jeff Galloway?

Jeff Galloway is a former US Olympian runner turned coach. He was part of the 1972 US 10,000-meter Olympic Team, held a US 1-mile record, and still runs today, in his 70s!

Apart from a successful athletic career, Galloway founded a specialty running store in the 70s, created and popularized a new training method, and has written multiple books about running. He also contributes to Runner’s World magazine.

Galloway created the run/walk training method, a lower-intensity training method ideal for those who struggle to run for any length without stopping to catch their breath or give their muscles a break.

He also created the Magic Mile test, which we’ll discuss further down the page!

What Is The Jeff Galloway Method?

Jeff Galloway is the man behind run-walking. Although the concept has been around for longer than he has, Galloway is the one who truly made it popular and got the running community to understand that combining running and walking can be beneficial.

He believes switching between walking and running can help speed up recovery as not as much damage is done to the muscles during the exercise.

The idea of the method is to alternate between running and walking throughout your distance. But there’s a trick: instead of walking when you get fatigued, you switch to the walk before you get tired.

This helps to prevent fatigue from setting in, and the walk break allows you to recover your strength again before beginning to run.

What Is The Magic Mile?

While Galloway’s Run/Walk method isn’t for everyone, every runner can make use of his Magic Mile test. This is a single-mile, run at an almost all-out effort.

This running test measures your fitness level, help you figure out appropriate goals for your ability, nail down your pace, and predict your race times. Galloway developed this test based on data from hundreds of different runners.

Finding your Magic Mile results can help you establish an effective training program and improve your results during races.

How to Run a Magic Mile

Every runner, no matter their fitness level, can benefit from doing the Magic mile test. Here’s the right way to do it. Ensure that you do it properly because slight miscalculations can cause you to get inaccurate results.

Choose Your Surface

While you can do the Magic Mile on any surface, doing it on a track would be the ideal scenario. This is because you can accurately measure your distance and won’t be caught unawares with any unpredictable terrain.

If you have access to a track, you should run on the inner lane of the track for the most accurate distance. But if you don’t have a track, try to find a flat one-mile loop to measure out on which you can do this test. If you do it this way, you’ll need to mark every 400-meters for measurement purposes.

We do NOT recommend doing this test on a treadmill as the accuracy of the data is often suspect. You may not get accurate results, which can lead to you setting goals that are either too easy or out of your reach.

Warm Up

Even though you’re only running for a mile, it’s best to ensure that you’re properly warmed up. This will help you to perform at your best.

Walk at a brisk pace for a few minutes and jog for one minute at an easy pace. Jeff Galloway also advises doing “acceleration gliders,” which he explains in this article.

Run Your Mile

Once you’re warmed up, it’s time to run your mile. You must do this at the fastest pace you can maintain for the full mile. It may take some time to figure this out, so don’t feel disappointed if you have a hard time the first few times.

Your effort level should be about 8/10, and you should be breathing hard, but you should still be able to maintain your pace for another 200 or so meters after the finish.

Take note of your final time as you cross the finish line.

Cool Down

Even though you’ve only run a single mile, you should still cool down. A light jog or a 20-minute walk should be more than enough.

Repeat Every 2 Weeks

You can do this Magic Mile every two weeks. Doing it this often will allow you to see your progress and adjust to your new fitness level as you improve.

Pay Attention to Conditions

The conditions on the day of your Magic Mile can affect your performance. The heat, the terrain, and how you feel on the day can all make a difference.

Jeff Galloway recommends doing your Magic Mile at a temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit if possible. However, he suggests adding 30 seconds to your time for every 5 degrees over that.

Once you’re doing the Magic Mile regularly, you can intentionally do it on varying terrain or in hotter weather.

This will help you to account for unpredictable conditions that may arise in races and to get a better idea of how you may perform in those conditions so you can keep your goals realistic.

How to Use Your Magic Mile Results

Running the Magic Mile is only half of the equation. Calculating your results is the next part; this is where you can begin setting realistic goals.

You can use Jeff Galloway’s online calculator, which you can find here. It will indicate your pace and finish times for a 5k, 10k, 10-mile race, half-marathon, and marathon.

If you don’t have access to the calculator while you’re out and about, here’s how to manually calculate each race paces.

  • 5K pace: Add 33 seconds to your final Magic Mile time
  • 10K pace: Multiply your MM time by 1.15
  • 10-mile pace: Multiply your MM time by 1.175
  • Half-marathon pace: Multiply your MM time by 1.2
  • Marathon pace: Multiply your MM time by 1.3

Once you’ve calculated these race paces, you can also calculate your predicted finish time and set realistic goals for your upcoming races.

Remember that you’ll need to recalculate these paces every time you do a Magic Mile, as your fitness levels and pace will increase over time.

Let’s look at an example of a runner who runs a Magic Mile at a 7:30 pace.

  • 5K: 8:03 per mile pace, 25:01 finish time
  • 10K: 8:38 per mile pace, 53:36 finish time
  • 10-mile: 8:49 per mile, 1:28:08 finish time
  • Half-marathon: 9:00 per mile, 1:57:59 finish time
  • Marathon: 9:45 per mile, 4:15:38 finish time

As you can see, this allows you to find a goal pace for your next race and to get an idea of the time you’re aiming for.

Can You Use the Magic Mile If You Don’t Run/Walk?

Yes! You don’t have to follow Jeff Galloway’s running method to use the Magic Mile test. No matter what kind of running you do, you can use the Magic Mile test to gauge your fitness level and find out what goals are appropriate for you.

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Ben is an avid road and trail runner, and has completed multiple marathons and ultras. A former running store owner, he now shares his knowledge and experience writing these articles.