I decided to head to the American Tobacco Trail this morning for a change of pace and do a timed mile, known in Galloway lingo as the Magic Mile.It's a predictor of finishing times for various racing distances, as well as a way to figure out what pace someone should be training at for different race distances. Anyway, I'd put off doing this Magic Mile test on last week's training schedule because of the pulled muscle in my lower back. My back's much better after buying a heating pad Friday after work, but it's still not 100%, and I felt it this morning during that Magic Mile! (Boo hiss!)
I did warm up for a half mile, first with walking, and then with run/walk intervals of 30 seconds each. That felt pretty decent. On the timed mile, I ran as much as I could, and walked a little bit. I did have to cross over a couple of streets along the trail, but I lucked out with little-to-no car traffic. I ended up with a 17:30 minute mile, 8 seconds slower than my Magic Mile time last month. A bit disappointing, but I'm sure it would've been faster if my lower back hadn't been a little sore.
When I worked with a running coach, she used to have me do an exercise called "alternate superman" as part of my core strengthening routine, but I've gotten away from doing it! I need to start back and stick with that part of my training, because a sore back stinks (and probably could've been avoided)!
Here's an example of the alternate superman exercise I'll start doing again soon:
Back to the Magic Mile, the Jeff Galloway website suggests doing 4 Magic Miles over several weeks, then dropping the slowest and averaging the fastest three times for a more accurate snapshot of current ability. I did that and came up with a 17:32 average. According to the Magic Mile calculator on the Galloway site, I should be training at a 23:48 min/mile pace for a half marathon, which makes my 21:05 min/mile average pace this past Saturday look pretty good. It also predicts I'd finish a half marathon in 4:35:37 in a hard effort under ideal conditions. Considering that my last half marathon (back in March) was 4:50:06 (chip), I'd certainly take a 15 minute improvement!! Still, I'm not where I want to be, which is definitely a sub-4:00 half marathon finish (and that's just for starters!).