Finding my Training Paces.

When I started making my training plan, I didn’t know what training paces to use for my runs. I have only ever walked marathons, albeit super fast, with my mom, and have run half marathons, never actually run a full marathon. It is daunting to think about running for hours on end and being able to maintain a certain pace for 26.2 miles. I have a half marathon PR of under 1:38:00, which is about 7:30 min/mile, and it is hard to say how this would translate to a marathon. 

Being my first running marathon, my number one goal is to finish, but after looking at some race charts and pace calculators, I tried to find a pace plan for my training that would challenge me to maintain certain speeds, and increase my fitness level come marathon time. Runner’s World has a bunch of different training pace calculators, as does Running Room.

Initially, I created my schedule with mileage only. For a beginner, I think this is definitely the way to go. Finding your pace, testing out certain speeds for certain distances, and using a trial-and-error approach to workouts is probably the best when first starting out. I read through a few training plans in the “Run Less, Run Faster” book and saw that they all had set times/paces for the workouts. Based on your goal finish time, or predicted finish time, the book lays out what pace you should be training at for each workout. I had never tried to do running workouts at a certain pace, mostly just going off of how I felt, but the challenge of meeting a goal for a workout intrigued me. I settled on the 3:35-Training Plan from “Run Less, Run Faster” and the majority of my workout times now come from that plan. 

In an effort to compare these training paces with ones completely based on my past performances and my goal race time, I have tried using the pace calculators from Runners World and Running Room. 

Running Room Training Paces:
Runners World Training Paces:

Considering both of these tools spit out some similar numbers, it seems that there is a pretty scientific formula for training paces. I have spent far too much time putting my half marathon stats, my goal marathon stats, my 10K stats, etc., into these calculators only to realize that I can train how I want and how fast I want. If I don’t use a certain pace for a certain workout it doesn’t mean I won’t be able to run a marathon. I do however like having these handy tools to motivate me to push myself. Remember when I thought I couldn’t run a sub-7 mile? Some of these training paces scare me but they motivate me even more!

As of now my training paces are:

Easy run:        8:15-8:45 min/mile
Tempo run:    7:45 min/mile
Speed form:    6:45-7:15 min/mile
Long run:       8:30-9:00 min/mile
Race pace:      8:00-8:10 min/mile

This 16 weeks of marathon training is about trying new workouts, challenging myself, running smart, and making the most of the long journey towards the starting line on June 1st. 

How do YOU calculate your training paces?


  1. For last year I used the 3:15 training plan from Run Less, Run Faster – distances and paces for each workout.
    This year, the coach I’m working with had me perform a fitness test. It was a 6 minute time trial – simply run as far as you can in 6 minutes and record your finishing distance and heart rate.
    The results of the test provide your maximum heart rate and your velocity at VO2 max (vVO2max). The training paces for each of my runs is now a percentage of vVO2max. The coach said we’ll repeat the test as training goes along to constantly refine the training paces. The link below has a bunch more info (and probably describes it a lot better than I just tried to do 🙂

    – Shawn

    1. I think I recall you having to recover for days after your 6 minute VO2 max test! I think it would be really interesting to do one though 🙂

  2. For my first marathon I just focused on getting the required distance in! I made that my main goal and was ok with whatever pace it took to get there! But as I’m thinking about starting training for my second I have a time goal this time so my pacing will be much different. I have used the calculators on Runners World so I’m going to go with that for now and see how it works! Good luck with your training!!!

Comments are closed.