Training Pace Calculator (2024)

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Enter a recent race result to get your training paces and personalized training sessions.

Introduction

This tool allows you to calculate five main running training paces: easy, sub-threshold, threshold/tempo, interval/VO2 max, and speed endurance.

Your race pace - which may or may not fall into the range of one of these five paces - is also important. And additionally, all runners should work on basic speed, which for distance runners is effectively achieved by regularly including strides in your training.

Those who prefer training by heart rate can use our heart rate zones calculator, which provides recommended training sessions based on your personal heart rate zones.

Easy/long

An easy running pace is one that requires little effort. Easy running shouldn't feel too demanding. A good guide that you're in the correct zone is that you are able to hold a conversation whilst running.

Easy runs are sometimes referred to as recovery runs, steady runs, conversational-paced runs, aerobic runs, or low-effort runs.

This is the pace at which the bulk of your training should take place, including most long runs. It's also a suitable pace for the beginning of warm ups and for cooling down.

There are many medium- and long-term benefits to be gained from easy running, including building robustness and thus injury-proofing yourself, increased vascularisation so that oxygen is better able to reach muscle cells, strengthening of cardiac muscle, and skeletal muscle fibre adaptations such as an increase in the number of mitochondria (energy-producing organelles within muscle cells), and better muscle fibre recruitment resulting in improved running economy.

The range of suitable paces is quite wide. Recovery runs the day after hard sessions should be done at the slower end; the faster end is suitable for shorter easy runs, or for when you're feeling particularly energetic and well-rested.

Sub-threshold

This range covers what you could probably maintain for two to two and a half hours. It shouldn't feel too demanding, but you should feel as though the pace is close to shifting into harder territory. Conversation should still be possible, but you'll prefer to stick to shorter sentences and feel as though you need to concentrate a little more on your running and maintaining pace.

For some runners this pace will be close to marathon pace, and some coaches, including Jack Daniels, include a "marathon pace" or "M pace" in their categorisations. But since intensity is a function of time, we feel it's more useful to think in terms of "sub-threshold" or "high aerobic". Confusingly, some runners refer to these runs as "steady", while others consider "steady" to mean easy-paced (see above).

Many coaches would place these paces into the "easy" category, but it can be useful to distinguish between the two, since these paces certainly feel more demanding. Certainly, a long run for many runners can exceed the maximum time it's possible to maintain these paces.

It's not absolutely essential to warm up for runs at these intensities, but five to ten minutes in the easy range is recommended before shifting gear to sub-threshold, and an easier five minutes at the end can help cool down.

Longer runs of 60-90 minutes at this pace are excellent for marathon training.

Threshold/tempo

These are the paces you can maintain for roughly 45 to 75 minutes.

Many runners refer to this intensity as "tempo". However, since the term tempo has a range of uses, "threshold" or "anaerobic threshold" are more suitable terms and more descriptive.

20-30 minutes at threshold pace (following a warm up) provides a good time-efficient workout.

Coach Jack Daniels developed the idea of "cruise intervals". These are repetitions carried out at threshold pace with relatively short recoveries (usually 1-2 minutes). The idea is that by dividing a threshold run into sections with short recoveries, you can achieve the same benefits as a continuous run of the same overall distance, but with less difficulty.

Interval/VO2 Max

These are the paces you could maintain for approximately 8 to 15 minutes.

Interval training is often referred to as "speed training" by distance runners. However, it's important to distinguish between this type of session and sessions that actually develop speed. While it's true that interval/VO2 Max sessions are performed at a pace typically faster than a distance runner's other training, this pace is still quite a bit slower than top speed.

Training at these paces is perfect for improving your VO2 Max. Bear in mind that sessions including repetitions at this pace are tough.

As a general guide, the slower pace is suitable for repetitions between 3 and 6 minutes, and the faster pace is suitable for repetitions between 1 and 4 minutes.

Speed endurance

This pace is approximately what you could expect to maintain for two to four minutes.

Some distance runners may find these paces challenging, or even impossible, to hit. Speed tends to decline more quickly and more drastically than endurance as we get older, so there may be some difference in how older runners perceive these sessions compared to younger runners. If you find yourself struggling with the prescribed paces, then simply concern yourself with running at any pace that feels "fast".

Race pace

This is simply the pace required to run the distance and time entered.

It's really important to include sessions at race pace, but this is often overlooked by many runners. Biomechanics, muscle recruitment, energy use, coordination, and a range of other factors are all unique to a particular pace. Runners typically focus on training energy systems such as VO2 max and anaerobic threshold, and that should be the main focus over the longer term, but those runners who don't incorporate race pace training into their plan are missing a trick. The inclusion of regular race pace in your training is an essential element of race day preparation.

Your goal for race pace sessions is essentially to spend lots of time running at race pace. These don't necessarily need to be tough sessions. For example, an hour of running alternating five minutes at easy pace and five minutes at half marathon pace should not be challenging, but will provide 30 minutes of race pace practice.

Basic speed

This is running performed at, or close to, your maximum speed. While this type of running isn't of particular importance to distance runners, there are several benefits to be enjoyed from including basic speed in at least some of your sessions.

See our article on strides for a comprehensive review of the benefits of strides and tips on how to incorporate them into your training.

Paces for hills and hilly runs

Running by paces is all very well, but hills upset our careful calculations. On gentle hills you can use your judgement and target the slower end of the range for uphill running and the faster end of the range for downhill running. For steeper hills it's best just to run by effort.

See our sessions page for examples of hill training sessions and check out our tips on uphill and downhill running techniques.

Missing paces

You'll notice that the pace ranges given do not cover all possible paces from the slow end of "easy/long" to the fast end of "speed endurance". That's not to say that these paces can't be useful. Certainly, including a wide range of paces in your training can be beneficial, and there will be overlap in the energy systems that are trained by any type of running. However, you tend to get more out of training if you focus on one thing at a time, so the majority of your training should be done withing the prescribed ranges, including your race pace(s).

Fartlek runs and progressive pace runs are good ways to include a good mix of paces in both a single session and in your overall training program.

Heart Rate Zones Calculator

» Pace/speed conversion calculator

» Pace/speed conversion tables

» Pace tables

» Pace band creator

» Training sessions

» Guide to strides

Training Pace Calculator (2024)

FAQs

What is the 20 80 rule of training? ›

Specifically, it has been demonstrated that triathletes and endurance athletes gain the most fitness when they do approximately 80 percent of their training at low intensity (think zone 1 and 2) and the remaining 20 percent at moderate (zone 3) and high intensities (zone 4 and above).

How do you calculate pace value? ›

Pace = Time / Distance

Note: your pace might not be calculated into a round number of minutes. Converting it to seconds can be easier. To do this, multiply the decimal number by 60. For example, 0.5 minutes = 30 seconds.

How to figure out tempo pace? ›

Scientific testing shows that the most effective way to conduct a tempo run is this: Monitor your heart rate during a 30-minute run. The first 10 minutes of running will see your heart rate climb and then level off at your lactate-threshold (your tempo).

What is the 85% training rule? ›

The 85% rule is a psychological concept that was conceived within the sport and fitness industry. It explores the idea that to operate at any higher than “85% effort” for a task will start to reach a point of diminishing returns in terms of quality, finesse and form.

What is the 20 60 20 rule fitness? ›

The 20-60-20 Rule: Twenty percent of the time, we feel pretty bad – tired, sore, grumpy, error-prone, etc. Sixty percent of the time, we feel ok but not ideal. And 20% of the time, things feel great and we seem to be executing ideally with little effort.

How to figure out pace? ›

Pace is given in units of time per unit of distance, whereas speed is the distance over time. In order to count speed and pace all by yourself, you need 2 formulas: Speed (km/h) = distance (km) / time (h) . Pace (sec/km) = time (sec) / distance (km) .

How to do a pacing formula? ›

The formula we are using is Pacing = Actual * (Number of days in the week/Number of days completed so far in the week) . For example, if it is today, Monday May 15th, and my sales for the week so far are 2900, I would do 2900 *(7/2) = 7350.

How do you calculate pace count? ›

Determining Your Pace Count

Use a variety of legs, including cross-country, trail runs, uphill, downhill, open areas, and thicker terrain. Using the pace scale on your compass, measure out how many paces you expect to take for each leg. Round up or down to the nearest 5 paces. Write these numbers down.

What is VO2 max pace? ›

Quickly defined, your VO2Max is the maximum rate at which your cells can consume oxygen without going into an oxygen debt. You CAN run faster than your VO2Max pace, but only for short periods of time. Your VO2Max pace is FASTER than your lactate threshold pace, and can most easily be described as your 5k pace.

What is a reasonable running pace? ›

A noncompetitive, relatively in-shape runner usually completes one mile in about 9 to 10 minutes, on average. If you're new to running, you might run one mile in closer to 12 to 15 minutes as you build up endurance. Elite marathon runners average a mile in around 4 to 5 minutes.

How many miles is 10 k? ›

A 10k run is roughly 6.2 miles long – but don't be daunted by the distance. It's the ideal length for experienced runners to try next, especially if there are ambitions of taking on a half-marathon, which is 13.1 miles long.

How do you calculate pace rate? ›

The formulars used to work out pace are:
  1. Speed (km/h) = distance (km) / time (h)
  2. Pace (sec/km) = time (sec) / distance (km)

What is a good run walk ratio for beginners? ›

Run-walk workout for beginner athletes

A 1:1 work-to-rest ratio is a good place to start, which means you run for as long as you feel comfortable, then walk for the same amount of time. If you're new to running, start with short blocks of time like one minute on and one minute off.

How to calculate your threshold pace? ›

The proper pace for T-pace running is about 83 to 88 percent of VO2 Max, or 88 to 92 percent of vVO2 Max or maximum heart rate. You can establish your proper pace for threshold running fairly closely by running at a velocity that produces an elevated yet steady state of blood lactate accumulation.

What is the 20 80 rule in practice? ›

The Pareto Principle, or the 80/20 rule, states that 20% of any given causes lead to 80% of any following effects (give or take). What this means is that 20% of your effort is going to yield 80% of your reward, 20% of your sales will yield 80% of your revenue and so on.

What is the 80/20 rule for fitness? ›

In order to see results at the gym, lose weight or even maintain overall health, we're told that it's an 80/20 balance. Meaning 80% of your results comes from the food you eat, and only 20% of your results come from your workouts.

What is the 80-20 workout method? ›

'From our research, it's clear that elite athletes (including Kipchoge) train around 80% of the time at what we'd call low intensity, and they spend just 20 per cent of their time training hard,' says Dr Stephen Seiler of the University of Agder, Norway, one of the world's foremost exercise physiologists.

What is the 80-20 rule strategy? ›

What's the 80-20 Rule? The 80-20 rule is a principle that states 80% of all outcomes are derived from 20% of causes. It's used to determine the factors (typically, in a business situation) that are most responsible for success and then focus on them to improve results.

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