Greetings all! Can you believe it’s almost February?
The last time we “spoke,” I shared a post about creating SMART goals – especially timely for the new year. Now that we’ve all settled in to 2013, many runners I know (myself included) are putting those finishing touches on our master race schedule for the year with a variety of distances from 10Ks to halves, full marathons and more! After all the excitement around travel planning dies down, however, it’s time to face the cold hard reality of what we will REALLY need to do to prepare for our races: TRAIN.
Whether our goals involve pace, distance or frequency, it’s important as life-long runners to balance big dreams and operating in training zones appropriate to our current fitness level. Without formal coaching or guidance (which I would definitely suggest/recommend if possible) it can be daunting to decide upon realistic goals for ourselves – so how do you find the balance between pushing ourselves and playing it safe?
There are definitely many answers to that question, but for my own training and goal-setting, McMillan Running has been an excellent resource.
To start, visit McMillan Running and type in a recent race time. At this point, you can also add in Goal Race Info, but if you’re not quite sure about those details yet, you can move forward with just the first step filled in.
The next page will display your race time along with several distance equivalent times. It is noted here that these are approximate conversions, so say, if you run a 22:55 5K, it’s not some sort of guarantee that you’ll be able to nail a 3:43:18 marathon – it’s more of a guideline as to setting expectations of pace with appropriate training.
Using myself as an example, I plugged in said times above to make a goal for my next half marathon. My current PR for that distance is 1:47 – set last year – and appropriately, the McMillan calculator estimated my half time at a 1:46:06 (an 8:06 pace). Done! PR goal nailed – or if you want to push the envelope just a smidgen further, you can click back to goal race times – so, living on the edge like I am, I entered 1:45, then collected that data to compare against current times:
It’s inspiring to see the times stacked up against each other – and get this, it doesn’t end there! See, you can click ‘Training Paces’ to help you out with how you might want to train for those goals.
With this data, it becomes clearer at how training runs might take shape – I know that they definitely guide me in my more vague training plans that specify just time or distance, rather than these nitty gritty details.
Beyond this, you can choose to have training plans customized for you – even on your smartphone! I have not branched out to that portion of the site, as I have received formal coaching in the past and feel like I am cruising along my current path smoothly, but if you’re looking for a great and free resource to get your feet wet, definitely give McMillan Running a try!
Have you ever used the McMillan calculator? How do you decide on goals or make training decisions? What are some other tools that you use to help? Please share in the comment section below.