The Magic Mile

GoodGym Track Night

Recently the running/volunteering group I attend GoodGym announced they were holding a  track night. At the grand old age of 29 this would be the first time I had ever ran on a real running track. It was safe to say I was pretty excited and as we arrived at the track in Mile End the floodlights switched on; It felt proper. For a brief moment I was expecting Mo Farah to pop his head around the door and announce he would be joining us a for a run.

Pictures courtesy of GoodGym

Pictures courtesy of GoodGym

I had been thinking a lot about what my mile time would be mainly whilst listening to the Marathon Talk podcast. And to be honest I didn’t really have much of a clue. My race 5K PB is only 22:12 but I have ran 19 min 5k’s in training runs all be it with downhill involved. So I had a suspicion I might be capable of doing something half decent. The problem being I literally had no idea about how to pace it. Of course I had read a little bit beforehand and Ade one of the GoodGym coaches gave us some valuable advice before we set off.

Pictures courtesy of GoodGym

Pictures courtesy of GoodGym

There was only about 11 of us taking part but some serious runners were in the group so I was curious to see how I would match up to the tough competition. After doing some fun dynamic warms ups we got ready to start our race. I remember thinking this is amazing, why haven’t I done this before, followed by thinking I hope I don’t false start. Then before I knew it we were off and all I could think was; “wow! this is fast”. A couple of the runners set off at a blistering pace probably sub 5 min, so within a 100 metres I knew my race would take place somewhere in the middle of the pack.

I tried settling down into a nice rhythm trying not to worry myself with what the other runners were doing or how I was quite close to the back of the pack. Honestly after 2 laps I remember thinking I can’t believe I have to run two more of these. I was definitely feeling the burn but on that third lap my body realised it would all be over soon and I realised Ade and I had reeled in the runner in front and as she went past I went with her. All of a sudden I felt a bit more optimistic, perhaps I was fitter than I realised and capable of not collapsing in a pathetic heap.

Pictures courtesy of GoodGym

Pictures courtesy of GoodGym

After that I felt we picked up the pace and all of a sudden I felt I had rhythm, I was still in the middle of the pack but the runners in front were in my sights. Basically I left it too little too late I went with about 150 metres to go overtaking Ade (who I am sure could have caught me if she wished) and sprinting hard to the finish. I nearly caught Callum in front but he had a great sprint at the end as well.

My mile time was 6:12 and I think I finished 6th.


I will definitely be trying more track races in the future. With a bunch of good people it can make for a great way to vary your training and practice that extra kick at the end of a race. We ended the evening with fun 100 metre rely which I really enjoyed, although running fast around a corner was a strange experience. Afterwards we headed to a lovely pint in a great local pub, fun running with great people. All in all a perfect Friday evening.

If you have ran a mile race what was your time? How do you go about pacing yourself? With how far left do you normally accelerate? I would love to hear your stories and strategies.


6 thoughts on “The Magic Mile

  1. I’ve only been running about 2 years now but have NEVER timed a mile. I’d be really curious. I’ve always done mid-long distance (half marathons)

  2. Is there a running track near you? The one we did it at you could just go on for £3. It is where the US Olympic team were based out of for London 2012. I think it really helps mentally to know you can get up to a certain pace if required.

  3. I’ve never timed a mile either, and I’ve been thinking about going along to one of the track nights my running club hosts, so it was interesting to read your experience. I’m not sure if I’m more tempted now or a little intimidated (my 5km pb is only a shade under 30 minutes, so I’m slow!)

  4. You should definitely give it a go. The experience of running on a springy surface is really fun. I think no matter how fast you can run it the experience of pushing yourself really hard for a short amount of time is really interesting and kinda fun.

  5. I’ve never tried running on a track, I might have to give it a go because I know my boyfriend likes running on a track.
    Awesome mile time, I’m very jealous 🙂

    • I think you can just pay £3 and enter the track at Mile End in East London. I am thinking it would be fun to get a few people together and do a couple of events. I am pleased with the mile time, I reckon if you were running against other people you would be surprised at how fast you can run.

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