General Discussion Triathlon Talk » How do you figure out your race paces? Rss Feed  
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2013-11-03 4:44 PM

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Subject: How do you figure out your race paces?
I am currently focusing alot on my running, eventually wanting to run a marathon in April next year. To that end, I am doing most of my runs slowly but steady, focusing on frequency (4-5 times, soon getting to 6 times), and I have seen my easy pace drop from around 8:30 min/mile to 7:30 min/mile. In a little over a month, there's a 10k that I'm interested in doing because it's on a newly constructed highway, hosting a race before it opens for car traffic.

Having said that, I just want to test my capabilities, and it is not super important and I don't want to alter my training too much. I will PR regardless, because I have never run a standalone 10k So how can I go about seeing what would be a sustainable race pace? Any workouts that might let me zero in on a broad pace zone? Ideally I wouldn't want to spend more than once a week doing some form of tempo or speed because I feel that the easy stuff is what's keeping me injury free so far.

Thanks for replying!


2013-11-03 8:49 PM
in reply to: Snaaijer

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Subject: RE: How do you figure out your race paces?
Link to Jeff Galloway's website. He uses a mile run to estimate paces for various distances.

http://www.jeffgalloway.com/resources/gallracepredict.html

Hope this helps.

2013-11-04 4:57 AM
in reply to: NCmtnborn76

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Subject: RE: How do you figure out your race paces?
Thanks! I found this site when googling for some answers and it seems like a nicely repeatable exercise which might give me a good ballpark figure.
2013-11-04 8:08 AM
in reply to: Snaaijer

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Subject: RE: How do you figure out your race paces?
When setting goal paces for a race it is good to have a lot of training to get an idea what a realistic pace might be.

Once I have an idea what I think I can run........ from Macmillan or Daniels or race-pace training or whatever source you (I) want to use:

I set a goal time for the run.

I figure out what I have to run in minutes/mile to achieve that goal.

I go out and hit that pace in the first mile or so and then hold on as long as I can. Some days I don't have it and have to slow down. Some days I really have it and can speed up.

I recognize that picking an arbitrary (and ambitious) pace can result in a spectacular blow up and I accept that risk and even embrace it. It is good to have a mid race melt-down every once in awhile just to prove that you are exploring the limits of your abilities. 2012, Boston, I was going to run sub 3 no matter what the temperature was........ At the half way point I was on pace...... Well, by mile 15, I was a mess and limped home is what is probably my slowest 11 miles ever. It happens.
2013-11-04 8:15 AM
in reply to: Snaaijer


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Subject: RE: How do you figure out your race paces?

It depends on the race, and usually through training you can more or less zero in it.

However, there are a few technical ways to do it, including trying to estimate your VO2max using VDOT tables, estimating your heart rate, or estimating lactate threshold.

Jack Daniels running formula uses VDOT, which is based off of VO2max, which is basically the most amount of oxygen your body can use. VO2max can only be measured in the lab, but VDOT will estimate this. However, in order to use VDOT, you need a race, or a race effort run (which is really hard to do artificially) to put in the table. You can buy Jack Daniels book (which has a lot of other great info), or find the tables online.

Max heart rate- there are various calculators out there that can estimate it for you, but it is probably better to use a hard interval session. Pfitzinger gives a sample of first doing a very good warm up, followed by 3 x 600m repeats on a moderate hill, jogging down immediately after each effort. After 3, he says you should be within a few beats of max.

Lactate threshold- again, a lab test is needed to be truly accurate, but a 30 minute sustained effort at max pace can be used to calculate this. Basically go as hard as you can for 30 minutes. You need to monitor your heart rate for the last 20 minutes at ideally 1 minute intervals, and take the average.

So, as I said, it depends on the race, and also on the racer, since, a highly trained athlete can stay at or closer to lactate threshold longer.

A 5k effort is generally a bit above lactate threshold, at about 93-95% max heart rate.
A 10k is right about at or just under lactate threshold between 80 to 90% max heart rate.
A marathon is a bit under lactate threshold, also at about 80 to 90% max heart rate.

Its also worth mentioning the McMillan Running calculator (can find online), which will also take a race effort, and estimate what your time will be for a given distance. Works well for some, but not all.

Technical stuff aside, I find that as you train, you have "race specific" workouts, which may be a bit under the exact level of effort, and a bit under the pace, but are designed to be close to what you will be doing for your goal race. These training sessions give me enough feedback to give me a close estimate of where I will be come race day.

2013-11-04 9:05 AM
in reply to: Snaaijer

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Subject: RE: How do you figure out your race paces?

I mostly use the pace calculators on the www.runnersworld.com website, but will cross-check them with others, such as McMillan.   

Everyone is different, and no one calulator is going to be exact, but they should get you in the ballpark of where you need to be with your training paces.

Like a lot of folks, I tend to fall into the trap of doing my slow runs too fast and my fast runs too slow.  Over the past year I've found it's helped me a lot to do a fairly hard tempo run once a week. 

Whatever method you use to determine your training paces, consistency over time is still the key.

Good luck with your training.

Mark



2013-11-04 10:50 AM
in reply to: RedCorvette

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Subject: RE: How do you figure out your race paces?
Thanks for the replies!

I had encountered Jack Daniels' VDOT chart before, and in combination with McMillan paces, and the Galloway prediction I should be able to put a number on it

Doing an all out mile sounds like a good and relatively simple way to test my speed, I will probably do one on my next short run to see where I'm at. The problem with some of these charts is that all I have to go by at the moment is my training paces. The last true running race I did was a half marathon early 2012, which was just under 1:40, but because I am already matching the race pace from then in my easy training runs it doesn't seem to be of any use in these charts. Then again, I might be going to hard on those runs. I'm having some hrm issues with my Garmin but usually I am around 155 avg (from a calculated max of around 197) on an hour run averaging around 7:30-35 min/mile.

Failing that, I guess that crashing and burning in a 10k is not as bad as doing it in a marathon
2013-11-04 12:25 PM
in reply to: Snaaijer


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Subject: RE: How do you figure out your race paces?
I run by RPE, and my running pace average is within 20 seconds of 8:30 for almost every run during the past year (whether 3 mile run or 13). On average, the race pace is about 20 seconds faster per mile. So...to maintain my race pace, I try to find an attractive runner at around the first mile mark that seems to be about my speed, and see if I can keep up with her for the rest of the run!
2013-11-04 9:31 PM
in reply to: Snaaijer

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Subject: RE: How do you figure out your race paces?
Running slow may keep you injury free, but if you want to race, you will need to pick up the pace sometime.

Do a fast mile and report back with a time.
2013-11-05 9:21 PM
in reply to: #4891320

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Subject: RE: How do you figure out your race paces?
I find race pace intervals worked into long runs to be a really good indicator. Do multiple long training runs where you finish with a substantial portion at race pace. For instance, for my last HM I did at least 4-5 runs of race distance or longer with the last 3 to 4 miles at race pace. Focus on perceived exertion... I could do that pace forever... or that one was a bit hot, might need to back off. I gradually get a feel for what I should pace.
2013-11-06 4:01 AM
in reply to: Snaaijer

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Subject: RE: How do you figure out your race paces?
Have you run 10K for a workout? I make a guesstimate that I'm 10% faster when racing.

Anyway, for marathon, I found this test which should be done some 2 weeks prior to the race:

Run 2x6000m with 2min rest. The first should be run at your desired marathon race pace while the second should be run all out. If the difference in pace (min/km) is less than 30sec. then your race pace is too optimistic.

Anyone tried that method?


2013-11-06 5:46 AM
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Subject: RE: How do you figure out your race paces?
Yesterday I ran a 10k to get a feel for things, I did the first 5k in sort of a faster easy run pace, a pace that I could definitely sustain for a medium to long run, but would not be regarded as "easy". Then the second 5k I accelerated to when I got around 180 bpm. The overall time was 43:46. First 5k was 22:18, second 21:28. What was most significant to me was how such a relative small increase in speed cost so much more energy. I was definitely feeling tired toward the end of the second 5k but I didn't push the pace too hard beyond 180 bpm at the end. (to get an indication, although I understand HR to not always be a trustworthy performance marker, at my HM in 2012 my avg HR was around 180, maxing at 190)

I will do the mile tt tomorrow and report back, thanks for the input so far. The race pace at the end of a long run sounds like a nice plan, however currently my long run is only around 8 miles. I have focused on frequency the last two months, only now starting to really add the miles.

Edited by Snaaijer 2013-11-06 5:51 AM
2013-11-07 4:41 AM
in reply to: Snaaijer

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Subject: RE: How do you figure out your race paces?
Did the mile tt today in 5:53. I think I went out a bit too fast, barely able to hold on in the end. Galloway projects around a 42:00 10k, McMillan estimates it a bit slower. It feels good to do some of these short hard efforst, it makes running more enjoyable (also being able to see splits that I usually don't see in my easy runs, although I'm sure my mile tt split is someone's easy pace )

Will repeat it a couple of times and maybe do some tempo intervals at my projected 10k pace (~6:46).

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/400985669
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