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Training pace calculator

This training pace calculator will automatically show how fast you should run the different components of a training week to ensure you’re training to your full potential.

How to use the training pace calculator?

It’s very simple, just tap in a recent race time, choose metric or imperial, and press ‘calculate’.

Recent race distance (you can use a decimal point, eg. 21.1):
My time (hrs:mins:secs): : :
Show my training paces in:
 
Your easy run training pace:
Your tempo run training pace:
Your VO2-max training pace:
Your speed form training pace:
Your long run training pace:
Your Yasso 800s training pace:

Easy runs

Easy runs build your aerobic fitness, and your muscular and skeletal strength. They also help you burn more calories and recover for harder workouts. 

Top coaches and exercise physiologists believe that most runners should do 80 to 90% of their weekly training at the easy run pace.

Tempo runs

Tempo runs help you improve your running economy and your running form. They are sometimes described as ‘threshold‘ or ‘hard but controlled‘ runs.

Tempo sessions generally fall into one of two categories: steady runs of 2 to 6 miles; or long intervals with short recoveries.

You should do tempo runs once a week, and these runs should make up no more than 10 to 15% of your total training.

VO2-max runs

VO2-max training helps you improve your running economy and your racing sharpness. These sessions are most useful when you are preparing for a race of 5K to half-marathon.

Example of a good VO2-max workout: 6 x 800 metres at VO2-max pace with 4 to 6 minutes of recovery jogging between efforts.

You should do VO2-max workouts once a week, and these workouts should make up no more than 6 to 10% of your total training.

When you run these workouts, you are running at or near 100% of your maximum oxygen capacity, which scientists call VO2-max.

Speed-form runs

Speed-form workouts help you improve your running economy, form and leg speed. These are interval sessions that will help you prepare for races of 800 metres to 5K.

Here’s an example: 8 x 400 metres at speed-form pace with 3 to 4 minutes of recovery jogging between efforts.

You should do speed-form sessions once a week, and these sessions should make up no more than 4 to 8% of your total training.

Yasso 800s

Yasso 800s are an invention of Runner’s World US writer Bart Yasso, who has run more than 50 marathons and ultramarathons.

If you want to run a marathon in 2:44, 3:28 or 4:11, you should train to the point where you can run 10 repetitions of 800 metres in the same time: 2:44, 3:28 or 4:11. The only difference is that your marathon time is hours:minutes and your 800 time is minutes:seconds.

Bart suggests doing Yasso 800s once a week as part of your marathon training. Start with 4 x 800 and build up to 10 x 800. Between the 800s, take a recovery jog that lasts as long as your 800s. 

Long runs

Long runs form the foundation of all marathon training programs – they build everything from your confidence to your discipline to your fat-burning. So, even when you’re not training for a specific marathon, it’s a good idea to do at least one semi-long run a week.

Because long runs are done at a relaxed pace, there’s great latitude in how fast you actually run. Let your long runs be your slow runs, and save your legs for other days of the week when you might do tempo runs or maximum-oxygen runs.

But there are a thousand theories about how to do long runs, none of which have yet been proven superior to the others. The important thing is building up the distance and training your body to keep going for 3, 4, 5 or however many hours it’s going to take you.

To get a general idea of what you should be running each week, follow these basic rules: 

How often should I do ‘hard days’? 

I recommend that most beginner and intermediate runners do just two hard days a week. More advanced runners can do three hard days if they’re careful.

Each of the following is a hard-day workout: tempo runs, VO2-max sessions, speed-form workouts, Yasso 800s, long runs.

What should I do on ‘easy days’?

A hard session should usually be followed by one or (even better) two easy day sessions. Easy days can include rest days.

How many ‘rest days’ should I have per week? 

I recommend one or two rest days, when you do no training at all (or just take a relaxed 30-minute walk).

Most beginner and intermediate runners should run no more than 4 to 6 days a week.

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5 thoughts on “Training pace calculator

  1. Great information, David! This sheds a lot of light on why my old cross-country coach chose to structure our workouts in the ways that he did.

    1. Thanks Josh! Usually the coaches don’t explain the reasons behind the workouts. I don’t know if this is a good or a bad thing but, there is a lot of reading, planning and headaches behind each one of them 😅

      1. I think in my case it would’ve helped to know my coach’s reasoning, because I’d have a clearer sense of the purpose behind our torment. Of course, asking why you’re required to do something is often seen as insubordination.

      2. Hahaha! That’s all true! I have been an insubordinated most of my life, and I earned more extra workouts than explanations. I think that’s why I became a trainer, LOL!!

      3. Haha, that could well have been why you became a trainer!

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