How to Use a Running Calculator to Improve Your Speed

We’ve already heard from cult run coach Eric Orton who feels that an increasing amount of runners aren’t developing a solid run foundation and end up spending the bulk of their race walking after jumping, too quickly, into a half or full marathon. While Orton’s approach is to work on improving runners’ one-mile speed, it’s one of many tactics that have helped people improve their race times. Legendary running coach (he was named “The World’s Best Running Coach” by Runner’s World) and two-time Olympic medalist in the Modern Pentathlon, Dr. Jack Daniels, has another method, which he bases on a running calculator.

Here’s how it works

Input a recent race result or estimated result into the below calculator to determine your proper training paces. Then take your training paces and apply them to the below workouts, which Dr. Jack Daniels has outlined for us.

Workout No. 1: Repetitions

This workout will work to improve your speed and economy (economy refers to your energy demand while running; runners who need less oxygen at a given velocity are said to have a better running economy).

  • 6 x 200m at [repetition pace], with a 200m recovery jog between each
  • 3 x 400m at [repetition pace], with a 400m recovery jog between each

Workout No. 2: Intervals

This workout will work to improve your aerobic power or maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max). VO2max refers to the amount of oxygen your body is capable of using in one minute. It is a measure of your capacity for aerobic work and is used as a predictor of your potential as an endurance athlete.
  • 6 x 2 minutes at [interval pace], with a 1 minute recovery jog between each

Workout No. 3: Threshold

This workout will work to improve your endurance.
  • 3 x 1 mile at [threshold pace], with a 1 minute recovery jog between each

For an eight-week plan, spend two weeks of your running training at least three to four times per week at your easy pace. Then, incorporate one hard workout each week rotating for the six weeks leading up to your race. Always jog at least 10 minutes at an easy pace before and after each hard session. Your other runs of the week should consist of short/easy runs of at least 30 minutes at your assigned easy pace and one longer run of the week at the same pace. Dr. Jack Daniels underlines that it’s important to remember that when you’re running at your easy pace, you should always be able to have a conversation. If it’s too challenging to talk while you’re running, your easy pace is not slow enough.

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