Update on McMillan Running Calculator

When I got the Garmin watch it helped my running immeasurably — well, maybe measurably. The feedback it provided just provides a marvelous kind of real-time motivational tool that makes such a difference. I’ve heard similar experiences from other runners. I used to run slower — I used to only run X number of miles, but now I run farther. It’s hard to say exactly what it is about those little numbers on the watch. Perhaps it’s the amount of data at your finger tips — my setup that I’ve been using for ages is with four data fields: time, distance, current pace, pace overall for the run. Really helpful for keeping on track!

I got an email the other day from the running calculator people. It’s below. The McMillan Running Calculator is one of my favorite running tools. Once you’ve got some small base of running under your belt, it’s really satisfying to set up a training plan and some goals. But how to make them realistic? I got my initial goals from one of my favorite running books, Brain Training for Runners by Matt Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald is one of the few runners out there who writes engagingly, which makes things a little easier. And it was from Fitzgerald’s book that I first heard of the calculator.

The next thing, given that data you’re accruing on your sports watch, is to move up another step on the ladder — get a bird’s eye view. Get a plan. Put each run in context of other runs. Think about how many rest days you need. A good book on training can do that. Or maybe try the McMillan Running Calculator. Even a quick perusal will give you some ideas about the variety of kinds of runs you should be doing to set up a good training plan. It’s free, after all.

(Here’s that email they sent me. They’ve updated the calculator.)

You asked and we listened. High school coaches wanted the 1600 and 3200 meter races added to the Calculator so in the most recent update, we’ve added them. Cross country runners and coaches wanted 6K and 12K added so we’ve added those as well. Military, police, fire and other emergency personnel asked for the 1.5 mile distance that they often have to use as a performance calc pacestest and ultra runners wanted the 50K, 50 Miles, 100K and 100 Miles so we added them as well (though ultra runs are very hard to predict due to the variation in terrain and environmental conditions).
You’ll also notice that we’ve widened the Recovery Run, Long Run and Easy Run pace ranges. We found that runners who wear speed/distance monitors were forcing themselves to jump right into the pace ranges whereas those who ran more by effort eased into the paces. So, we widened the range to better match what runners should do – start easy and gradually pick up the pace. Research and practical experience also taught us that while runners at the front of the pack did their easy runs slower than marathon pace, runners at the middle and back of the pack needed to spend more time at around marathon pace (or even slightly faster) so some runners will notice that their Endurance Workout paces should be a little faster.

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