Fun With Numbers

If your a statistics geek and like to crunch numbers in excel spreadsheets than this will be the post for you.

I mentioned this in my weekly recap, but I wanted to get a little more in depth with the numbers, since I am the aforementioned statistics geek.  On my Saturday run last week with Rob he mentioned a training calculator on the Runner’s World website (found HERE).  You input your finishing time for your last race at any distance and it will calculate for you a projected finish time for most of the standard race lengths (and a few odd ball ones).  I plugged in my finish time of 58:50 from my 8K two weeks ago and this is what it gave me.

1500m                                  9:55
the mile                               10:41
3000m(3k)                        20:40
3200m(about 2 miles)  22:08
5000m(5k)                        35:32
8000m(8k)                       58:28
5 miles                                58:50
10,000m(10k)               1:14:05
ten miles                           2:02:40
a half marathon             2:43:19
a marathon                     5:40:30

These are some interesting numbers, the formula uses a fraction of the race distances to increase the time and then a static multiplier (1.06) to account for slower pace at a longer distance.

The shorter distance numbers are interesting, the one mile at 10:41 is pretty quick, and while my fastest mile is 10:08 my “usual” mile is not anywhere close to that.  35:32 is a pretty good 5K time, although my PR is 34:02, I was 35:10 at the Beat the Heat which was my last road 5K.  The trail 5K was a whole different animal.  The 10K time of 1:14:10 would be a new PR (current 1:15:34) so that’s encouraging and gives me something to shoot for at Rural Hall in October.  Just over 2 hours for 10 miles is an interesting target as well, gives me something to shoot for at the Tar Heel 10-miler.

Of course the half marathon and marathon numbers are what jump out at me the most since that’s what I was trying to predict.  2:43 for a half is a 12:45 pace, which shows the “slow down” with distance, since the 8K time I put in was just sub-12 (something like 11:57).  But 2:43 will certainly get the job done in Raleigh and bring me home in less than 3 hours and blast my New Orleans PR time by a good 30 minutes.  The marathon time is also interesting, because besides obviously not being trained for it, I’ve shied away from the marathon distance because I didn’t want it to take 7 hours. 5:40 is still a long time…. but it’s not an eternity.  And it’s a 13:00 mile pace.

The website also gives some “pacing information” which I found telling as well, and this is the part where I would like some advice from my fellow runner friends out there.  The training paces tell me my “Easy Run pace” should be 14:00, which seems a little slow, my “Tempo Run pace” should be 11:40, which is pretty much what me and Rob are doing on Saturdays, maybe a little slower at 11:50 or so.  Then it tells me my “Long Run pace” should be 14:00 – 15:30.  I never run my long runs that slow, in fact 15:30 is walking pace.  I know I’m a slow runner, but I don’t need to slow it down that much.

So here’s my question… Am I running my long runs too fast (12:30-13:00 pace)? I feel like if I run my long runs at a 15:o0 pace I’m gonna end up running my half marathon at a 15:00 pace, which is not gonna get the job done.  I know I don’t have hit my target pace of 12:30 on my long runs, but I want to stay pretty close like 13:00-13:30.  Should I slow it down, or should I continue to run what’s comfortable?



  1. The only time that I stick to the prescribed pace on Runner’s World is for the speedwork runs. The other times are WAY too slow for me. The easy runs should definitely be easy and the long runs should be long and easy, but in my opinion the prescribed paces for those are just too slow.

  2. I’m a big advocate of listening to your body. If the long runs are feeling ok faster, why not? But I am, by no means, an expert!

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  • About Me

    I am a recent graduate in Food Science (NC State, 2009) and I work for a major food manufacturing company. I love food, but I can no longer eat anything that crosses my path. About 24 months ago I begin a serious struggle to get my obesity under control and reduce my chances of developing Type II diabetes. Since September of '09 I have lost 50 pounds and I still have a long ways to go. I've started eating better and exercising more, including taking up running.