On my 10-Miler today I was talking with Justin, the owner of RUNdetroit, about goal pace and training. It is essential to have a goal pace in mind during your training and set that goal from the start. My plan has tempo and interval runs that require me to run at marathon, 5k, or 10k pace for X number of miles. Without knowing your pace these runs will be very difficult.
Before today, however, I was thinking of my marathon pace in terms of my LAST marathon (7:26/mile). Justin reminded me that I need to think about my next marathon, set a new goal pace, and train for that. Makes sense, of course! Even though Boston is a totally different beast (what with the hills and all), I decided to go ahead and set a goal that's faster than Detroit but hopefully attainable. I shaved almost 9 minutes off my marathon time in 2 months, hopefully I can take off another 5 minutes from October to April. So my Boston goal? 3:10:00.
I always use a simple pace calculator when getting ready to run/train for a race but below is one that's very cool and more advanced. It's from Jack Daniels, who is an Olympian, coach, and exercise scientist. What I like about this calculator is that it shows you not only the time and pace for your marathon but also for all the other race distances. For my upcoming half marathon I already decided on a goal of 1:31:30 and what it shows is pretty close. The 5K and 10K times are nowhere near my PRs! haha! New goals for me to strive for, I suppose. (I'm definitely a distance runner!)
Another cool element is under the "Training" tab where it lists pace for Easy, Marathon, Threshold, Interval, and Repetition. Next to each is a little note to click on with a description of what each type of run means. For the type of training plan I'm currently following, this is great because the pace varies on different days or at different points in the run. I use my Garmin to make sure I'm running the correct pace. Remember, the only way to race faster is to train faster! Speaking of running faster, I need to get on the speed work train once the ice melts so I'll be consulting the 400m and 200m paces for that.
One more note about this calculator is that it even has "Advanced Features" where you can input either wind, temperature, or altitude to see how that will affect your pace. How cool is that?
I highly recommend checking this out and using it for your next race!
Do you use a pace calculator to help you set a race goal?