The fastest mile I ever recorded was 7:16, during a failed and puke-inducing attempt at breaking 50 minutes in a 10-K. Last year, I toyed with the idea of working toward a six-minute mile. A pace I have only sniffed while running 800-meter intervals (if you can call 6:52 "sniffed").
I've always wondered how fast I could run a mile if I ran all out. However, I have never run in a mile race or focused on it during interval training, so it's difficult to track other than my splits from training runs and races.
Jim Fixx wrote in his seminal Complete Book of Running that all runners, no matter when they start running, improve their pace each year until they peak at 10 years and start to decline.
I started running in 2006, so according to Fixx I still have about seven years of upside. However, it also means, I have a limit to how fast I will ever be able to run a given distance.
The blog Gravity and Levity has an interesting post, "The Fastest Possible Mile," which delves into the limits that all runners face and concludes with a fixed time that anyone will ever be able to achieve in the mile.
The fastest mile ever recorded by a human is 3:43:13, by Hicham El Guerrouj in 1999.
Gravity and Levity posits that El Guerrouj came within 1.5 percent of running the mile at maximum human capacity.
I'm not going to spoil the surprise by telling you what that capacity is. Go read it for yourself. But it pretty much says I won't be coming close that mark. Not in a million years.
Perhaps a better study for me would be to see if I can reach the maximum human capacity for chugging a pint of beer.