Pacing Myself

I have been looking for some guidance on pacing my various runs, and am drawn to the suggested paces on The McMillan Running Calculator.

When I plugged in my GW Parkway Classic data




It showed me what I might have been able to do at the Zooma Annapolis Half Marathon if I hadn’t had my annoying Camelbak issue or had to walk off a cramp:




All things considered, I wasn’t too far off with my 2:02 finish, but I was aiming for 9:00 min miles, not an 8:43 pace!

His 5K data also was faster than my Lawyers Have Heart finish




But I could have come close if the course hadn’t been so crowded. Again, though, I never even thought to aim for a sub-8:00 pace!

The Runner’s World Training Calculator gives me similar race paces:

1500m 6:58
the mile 7:31
3000m(3k) 14:32
3200m(about 2 miles) 15:34
5000m(5k) 24:58
8000m(8k) 41:06
5 miles 41:21
10,000m(10k) 52:04
ten miles 1:26:13
a half marathon 1:54:48
a marathon 3:59:20

What I really need guidance for is training runs. While the McMillan race times seem ambitious to me, the long/slow/easy run paces seem slow:

Endurance Workouts


Recovery Jogs

10:42 to 11:12

Long Runs

9:42 to 10:42

Easy Runs

9:42 to 10:12

On the other hand, the suggested pacing for other types of workouts seems fast!

Stamina Workouts


Steady-State Runs  

8:43 to 8:59

Tempo Runs  

8:22 to 8:43

Tempo Intervals  

8:15 to 8:32

How long are these “stamina workouts” supposed to be?

And then these speed workout paces seem ridiculous!


1:46.4 to 1:50.9


3:37.0 to 3:47.0


4:43.4 to 4:56.5


5:40.5 to 5:55.8


7:44.6 to 8:02.4


9:53.1 to 10:10.2

I don’t think I’ve ever made it around the track in under 2 minutes.

Clearly, my natural running pace doesn’t fit these parameters. My race times are relatively consistent (given the high bar set by the perfect conditions and all-out finish of the GW Parkway Classic), but my long/easy runs are too fast and my speed work is too slow. Since I prefer to train conservatively to avoid injury, I am not going to push my speed workouts, but I am going to try to slow down my long runs.

As I contemplate my performance at Zooma and consider signing up for another half marathon, I realize that if I want a half marathon to feel comfortable, I need to be used to running for 2+ hours. I only did one almost-two hour training run, and probably could do more without getting injured if I ran a bit more slowly.

Have you checked out The McMillan Running Calculator or the Runner’s World Training Calculator?

Do you find it easy or hard to adjust your pace for different types of runs?

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9 Responses to Pacing Myself

  1. Yum Yucky says:

    Geeze. I’m still trying to pace myself when I eat. Gotta slow it down. LOL! I’ll see if my kid knows about those calculators. Thanks for sharing!

  2. David H. says:

    I got really obsessed with running pace calculators several years ago only to realize that it was causing some unnecessary stress. They are fairly accurate though and can definitely help you on your runs, especially with setting goals for races. I feel, though, that if you mix up your runs enough, whether it’s on different surfaces or different shoes or different paces, you’ll be stronger come race day.

  3. I’m not sure I get your reasoning for needing to do more longer than 2 hour training runs for a half marathon. I don’t get why you think you should slow down either? If you’re already comfortable doing your long run at a steady 9ish minute mile pace why slow down?
    I’ve never really bothered with those calculators, I try to avoid putting silly time expectations in my head.

    • Coco says:

      My thinking is that a 2 hour half would be easier if I was used to running for two hours. I don’t want to do too many more 10+ mile runs because I tend to get injuries at that point. So, running slower is another way to get used to running close to 2 hours.

      Makes sense to me.

      Plus, can all the running calculators that suggest really slow long runs be wrong? Maybe, I guess!

      Sent from my iPhone

  4. I haven’t checked that out but I have a feeling I would face much the same issue. I notice with the Smart Coach on Runner’s World some of the easy or long run paces seem so slow for me, but then I have to hoof it to meet the seed work stuff. it’s all so foreign to me! I wish I understood it all and if/how applying it would affect my overall running.

    • Coco says:

      I think Steena has the right idea–take these numbers as an interesting suggestion, but don’t get too wrapped up in them. The main idea is to run your long runs at an “easy” pace–which I still need to work on!

      Sent from my iPhone

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