pace training

**I know there have been several of you having issues with seeing my blog.  I believe the error was in my mobile plugin.  After struggling with trying to fix it, I decided to deactivate it.  So, you will no longer have a mobile version of my page (for now) but hopefully you will also ALL be able to read my blog again.  I’m so sorry for the inconvenience.  Please let me know if there are still any issues.**

I’ve had a few questions about pace training lately, but I really wanted to wait on addressing those questions until after the half marathon.  Thankfully, the half was extremely successful, so I’m really excited to let you know what I did. 

I am by far NOT an expert on this.  I’ve actually never trained according to “set” paces ever before – I always just ran a comfortably fast pace and would be happy with the results.  However, my goal for training for this half marathon was to NOT lose my 5K speed.  Since I am a shorter distance runner, I didn’t want to slow down to run long.  So, instead of just finding a training plan and saying “Go!”, I also looked into what paces I needed to be hitting in order to keep my 5K speed.


Side note:  I am LOVING my new Sweat Pink shoes laces!  I think they make my shoes look so much prettier! 😉

Enter the McMillan Running Pace Calculator.  To find the paces you need to run for various running workouts (speed, recovery, and long runs), you enter a recent race time and your goal race time.  Because I was wanting to keep my speed, I used the 5K distance for both of those times.  My recent PR is a 20:57.  My long term goal is under 20, but I wanted to gradually hit that goal, so I made my goal 5K time a 20:30. 



My “Goal Time” for the half marathon wasn’t too far off – about 40 seconds.  I’ll take it!  Next goal:  see if I can run under 6 minutes in the mile.  (My high school PR is a 6:03.)

Here’s what my pace results looked like:



I did the majority of my training (like 90% of it) on a treadmill, so I had to convert my 400m and 800m times to miles-per-hour and minutes-per-mile, which turned out to be 10 mph for the 400 and right around 9.5 to 9.8 for the 800.  I’m not going to lie – running 400 repeats at 10 mph TOTALLY freaked me out!  I had never run that fast on the treadmill for more than like 30 seconds – a whole lap around the track at that speed seemed impossible.

However, when I actually attempted that speed on the treadmill, I realized I hadn’t been pushing my speed nearly as much as I could have.  It was like a slap in the face.  No wonder I wasn’t getting faster – I wasn’t working nearly hard enough!

After that, I was hooked!  I can’t imagine training another way!  I am a little looser on my easy run pace– running for comfort for the most part (the faster end of their pace range), but otherwise, I try to stick to those paces.  It’s definitely made me faster and the proof is in that PR!

If you are looking to get faster, I definitely think this is the way to go (along with a proper training plan, cross + strength training, of course).  I’ll be changing up my paces to reflect my current PRs and paces – I’m ready for the sub-20 minute 5K!

Have you ever used McMillan’s Pace Calculator?  Was it successful for you?  Or do you just run at a comfortably fast pace?

  • Jen

    Great post, Kristen! I agree that the treadmill is an awesome training tool!
    Jen recently posted..Why Boston?

  • I’m just getting into serious speed training and pacing, and I’m having the same exact reaction–duuuh why didn’t I do this sooner! 🙂 I was totally underestimating myself too.

    I recently found a similar pace calculator, but the McMillan one is way nicer!! 🙂 I might have to switch. Thanks for sharing that!

    A sub-20 5K still sounds nuts to me. 🙂 But if anyone can do it, it’s you!!
    Kim @ Healthy Nest recently posted..Endure running tank giveaway!

  • Pingback: Speed tools and hot (running) pants()