SmartCoach Pacing

I am liking the smartcoach and was wondering how to set my Garmin to help me with paces.  If smartcoach says 3 miles @ 9:10 should I set my Garmin for a 9:00 to 9:20 speed zone?  If I aim for 9:10 the alarm would be going off constantly saying I was either too fast or too slow.  How are other people interpreting this?


  • TT,

    Not had my 305 that long but have used it to PACE myself in a recent race.  I set it up to display PACE and average PACE and did not use any alarms.  Damn thing would drive me mad if I was trying to keep to an exact PACE, bound to be some ups and downs.

  • If it says 9.10, I would set it to between 9.08 and 9.12.  I never have any problems with this kind of range
  • Cheers.  I have used the macmillan site to calculate a range for the various paces and so will add that to the types of run that smartcoach says and hey presto we have a plan.
  • fantastic - I have been twiddling with a plan for a few days and it wrote it for me. 

     Didn't think it would do one for me as 5k takes me 46 minutes but it did - fab

  • I'm not really in agreement with the paces it offers me. Based off my 10k pb of 37:57 it tells me to do all my training runs (with exception of tempo and intervals) and 7:26 pace when training for a half marathon. I wouldn't dream of doing a 17 mile training run for a half marathon at 7:26 pace...!

    It also puts the longest run a week before the race, and the training is identical whether I want a "tough" or "easy" training programme.

    I used to train fast all the time and got injury after injury, so I'm a little worried others may succumb to the same if they follow this to the t...

  • Thanks for your message Rach, I will bear this in mind, obviously I am a complete novice at this and looked more at the distances than the speed (any being better than none!) and over 16 weeks it moves me very slowly which sounds realistic.
  • marian, have a look at macmillan for the has been established longer and gives a range.  advice is to aim for the slower end of the range to start with and progress towards the faster end.  the big benefit of smartcoach for me is the type of training.........the number of easy runs, when to do speed and tempo and to include one long run.  this approach is similar to jack daniels.  four of my weekly six runs are of 3 miles (constricted by lunch time) and i think i have been running them too quickly.  my new plan is now - tempo run (5 miles on Monday), easy 3 miles Tuesday, speed intervals Wednesday (3 miles), form intervals Thursday (3 miles @ easy pace), easy three miles Friday and long run @ easy pace on Saturday (anything from 6 to 10 miles).

    rach e - what's gobi's view on smartcoach?

  • Rapid path to injury looking at the way it organises long runs and predicts pacing.
  • I see what you mean.  18m @ 6:59, one week out from a half marathon?!  Heehee.  No ta!
  • Robo-Gobi- My long runs, for a 10 mile race, start at 8 and add a mile every two weeks over a 16 week prgramme.  The pacing starts towards the middle of easy (using macmillan as a calculator) and progress towards the faster end.  Sounds gradual so I am happy to take your critical input as your posts on here and Fetch are always worth a read.
  • Toddy

    I am surprised that as your long run gets longer it gets you to run faster but if it stays in the easy band I am sure it will be fine.

    What sort of race pace/tempo work does it have you doing ?
  • Toddy

     Thank you for the tip, the site is great will work on this - thanks again.

  • Robo-Gobi - it alternates between tempo in week 1, speed in week 2, tempo in three and easy in four.  The cycle repeats.  Tempo starts at 10 seconds slower than my fastest tempo speed and quickens the pace every third run whilst also adding a mile on that run.  The speedwork starts  at the fast end of my interval pace but quickly moves into my mile pace on the second session which is week 6.  That sounds a bit fast to me.
  • agree, training too fast all the time is a recipe for injury and also burnout.
  • I got it to come up with a marathon programme and you'd die of boredom.  It basically takes a LSR, one 'quality' session in the week and pretty much splits the other mileage equally over the other days.  3 or 4 12 milers (at the same pace) each week pretty much every week for 16 weeks, anyone?  Now, maybe the other training programmes I've followed have been wrong, but give me P&D for a bit more variety any day!  And yes, the speeds were faster than I would usually train.
  • Toddy

    intervals should be fast :¬)

    whose schedule is it ?
  • it's the smartcoach schedule on here for a 10 mile race based upon my time in a 6 mile race.  the schedule lasts 16 weeks.  i aim to use the schedule to plan the different types of run: easy*3, speed*1, tempo*1 and long *1 each week: and the distances but i am using macmillan to work out the speed ranges.

    at the moment i am racing each weekend and so it's difficult to stick with a schedule but the long, easy, interval and tempo sessions seem to follow the jack daniels approach. 

    i was just following up on a comment that you made about the smartcoach schedule being "Rapid path to injury looking at the way it organises long runs and predicts pacing" but if i am using macmillan for paces maybe it's not such a big deal.

  • I had a little play with it and as i'm concentrating on 5ks it has me running 13 miles the week before my key race
  • good luck with it toddy

    I think I shall stick to writing plans instead

    Just one 13 miler Pammie ? or is that total miles ?
  • A 13 miler long run on the Sunday before.
  • nice :¬0
  • and what guidelines would you use to write plans?
  • old school

    hard easy principles.
  • There is no allowance made for age. Or am I still supposed to be able to run the same pace I used to when younger? ie I used to break the hour for 10miles and 90mins for a half. But my last run out was only just under 2hrs for a half, but there is a 40 year gap between those times. You should definately have to put your age in to get a correct pacing time!
  • okay, so using a race time and mcmillan, which will take account of current ability and the amount of time that i have (4 runs each week at lunch time, one evening club run and one long weekend run), here is my current plan.

    Monday (5 mile club run @ tempo pace)

    Tuesday (3 mile easy paced run)

    Wednesday (3 mile interval session - 1/2 mile warm up and cool down, middle 2 miles split between 1 minute @ interval pace and 1 minute @ recovery pace)

    Thursday (3 miles @ easy pace)

    Friday (3 miles @ easy pace)

    Saturday (90-120 minutes @ easy pace)

    Sunday (Rest).

     How does that look?  I have a variety of races coming up, 5 and 10 miles trail, 10k and HM road.  Was also thinking of doing a repetition session (intervals at mile or fast pace every third Wednesday).  Should I be looking to do longer intervals (2 minutes perhaps).  Should Friday's easy be something else? 

  • I may be missing a really easy point completely here, but when it says run 2mi
    @13:13 what does that mean? Should I be running 2 miles in 26 minutes 26 seconds?
  • yep.  13:13 is the pace per mile.
  • runalong - given you have to put a recent race time in why would it need your age to determine your pace?  wouldn't it just do it from the race time?
  • I agree with M., age doesn't determine your pace as much as previous pace does, but age probably does have a bearing on how much recovery you need and there's no allowance for that.

    Maybe some of us need to try and follow the plan and then feed back what our experience is? The plan it gives me for a slowish marathon looks harder and faster than I have done in the past, but then again my times are slipping backwards (that age thing again)... it may just be what I need ;o)

  • Sorry, I think SmartCoach is utter rubbish. I ask it for a marathon training plan, and it gives me 2 days of running per week, with a longest run of 15 miles and only one of them at that. Highest week mileage 21 miles. I've run 38 marathons so far, and my PB came off a 6-day per week plan with an 18-20 miler for 3 Sundays of each month and a 23 miler on the other, highest weeks 85 miles. I don't think I could even finish a marathon on less than a minimum of 3 days per week, and I certainly don't think one 15-mile run is anywhere near good enough. Even looking at other RW articles on this site, they advocate 3 days per week at least as a get-you-round plan.
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