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“What type of run should I do today? How fast should I run? Is this a good workout for me?”

Those are questions runners ask themselves daily, and they are great questions to have. Because while trying to run every day is a great motivator, you will start to see real improvement when you mix up your running workouts.

This fun tool comes in handy when you are at a loss for how fast you should run for any given workout on your training calendar for any given race. Keep reading to see how best to use our Training Paces tool, the difference in the workouts, and how to utilize it best for your runs.

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What This Training Calculator Does: Our training paces calculator recommends appropriate paces for six key types of running workouts: easy runs, VO2 max workouts, tempo runs, speed workouts, long runs, and Yasso 800s. The calculator supplies these paces based on a recent race result that you input.

Why Use This Training Calculator: Smart training consists of doing a variety of types of runs, with each type of run having a specific purpose and intensity level. Our tool takes the guesswork out of knowing how hard to run on these workouts. Basing the paces on a recent race result ensures that you’re working at the right intensity—neither too hard nor too easy—for your current fitness level.

Here’s a quick guide to the types of runs the tool provides paces for. For more information on building a good training program, go check out our training plans for any distance.

  • Easy run: A standard “getting-in-the-miles” run of short to medium length.
  • VO2 max: Aerobic intervals done at about 5K race pace.
  • Tempo: One sustained run or two to three shorter bouts at about the pace you could hold for an hour.
  • Speed: Several short repeats (usually 400 meters or shorter) at about mile race pace.
  • Long run: Your longest run of the week or month, about 50 percent to 100 percent longer than any other run you do.
  • Yasso 800s: 800-meter repeats done in the same time (in minutes and seconds) as your marathon pace (in hours and minutes). For example, if your marathon time is 3 hours and 45 minutes, you would do Yasso 800s in 3 minutes and 45 seconds.

How to Use These Training Paces: Input a result from one or more recent races. Try to use races in which you felt you gave a good effort for the whole race and in which outside factors, such as bad weather or a hilly course, didn’t significantly affect your time. The more recent the race, the more accurate the prescribed paces will be.

Results will be returned in pace per kilometer or pace per mile. The exception is for Yasso 800s, for which the pace given is per 800 meters (two laps of a standard outdoor track).

There are two important things to remember when using the results.

First, although the paces are stated precisely, such as 9:05 per mile or 4:53 per kilometer, you should usually use these figures as guides. Running 10 to 15 seconds slower or faster than the stated pace shouldn’t feel that much different on easy runs and long runs. For harder workouts, use a narrower range of a few seconds faster or slower than the stated pace.

Second, for VO2 max and speed workouts, bear in mind that you’ll often be doing several repeats of shorter than a kilometer or mile. Use the given pace to figure out the proper time to shoot for in these shorter intervals. For example, if your stipulated speed workout pace is 6:00 per mile, you might do 6 x 400-meter repeats at 1:30 each, or 12 200-meter repeats at 45 seconds each. Similarly, if your recommended VO2 max pace is 6:40 per mile, you might do 6 x 800-meter repeats in 3:20 each.

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