SmartCoach Pacing



  • Absolutely agree with you Ironwolf, i've only done one marathon and would not feel comfortable or even confident if i didn't do at least 18+ milers (i did about 4) and felt i didn't do enough, and a weekly mileage that is less than the race distance itself is absolutely barking.
  • I really wish we could get our schedule in kilometers instead of miles!! I've got all my kit set up in km and I entered my details in km (though I actually had to get out a converter widget to work out how many miles I do per week!), so I'd have to manually convert all the milages to get it workable for me!

     ugh, I'll just go out on my owninstead... image 

  • M, I agree with what you say about recent race time being enough info. But I am more concerned with the amount of speed training the schedule threw back at me. Because I think I could get injued doing that much interval training. I rely mainly on steady state runs with some hill work and a bit of fartlek at the moment. and I feel that had I put my age in the equation then a more suitable schedule would have come out of the pot.
  • hello everyone, i am doin my first marathon this w'end-loch ness!

     am nervous coz i have been bit lazy over the past 3-4 wks and not doin my long runs-just ticking over w 2x half marathons and  2 x10ks(1 a forest-quite tough). have been doin lots of yoga thats my excuse-am studying for my teachers cert.

     the marathon plan i got was out of my loch ness booklet and it looks nothing like the one smartcoach gave me- i put in all my details coz i am hopin to do dublin in 4wks.

     i think its a bit of trial and error until you get up to serious standards.

    my friend has ran over 50 full marathons, and  has stuck to the old fashioned 18wk plan for the past 30 yrs. wow!

     so im a long way off that yet.

     good luck y'all.

  • Pammie*Pammie* ✭✭✭

    Hello Lisa welcome to RW

    And Good Luck for Sunday. And for Dublin i did that one last year and had a good time, can't believe its a year already.

    I'm sure you'll be ok you wouldn't want to be doing long runs too near the event anyway.

  • thanks pammie, will let you all know how i get on.

    away to bed to dream of nessie!

    good luck with your training.


  • Hi,

    I'm a bit of a plodder and have just been doing my own thing for the last few years and seem to have ground to a halt in progress terms. To re-invigorate things I thought I would try this programme, but because I haven't been taking it too seriously feel a little un-certain about a few things on the plan I have.
    I currently run 5k in about 28, heart rate building throughout the run.If anyone could help I would be much obliged.

    warm up and cool down: at what pace?? normally I warm up for 5 minutes at fast walking pace, but should this be for the full mile before and after like my plan suggests?
    For the speedwork it says 3x800@4:19; is this 4;19 mile pace or for the 800 metres and is it in mph or kph??
    Following the plan what sort of pace should I be aiming at for my 10k race, still at 6.4mph or lower?

    Sorry for the quantity of questions, but i'm still on the learning.
    Thanks for any advice in advance
  • ShaunV - I do warm up and cool down at EASY pace.  I use McMillan to calculate what that pace is based upon my time for a recent 5 mile race.  Distance depends on how much time I have.  If you have time then do the full mile.  The speedwork is 800metres @ 4:19 minute mile pace.  That does sound fast to me based upon your time for 5k, however, again use McMillan as it will give you a 800 metre pace.  McMillan can also give you a pace for a 10k race.  If training goes well then aim for the 10k for the first 5k and then try to increase slightly so you do a negative split, overtake some folk and run faster than the 10k pace given.  A winner all round.
  • Hi All

     I am really confused! I want to improve and am desperate for a training schedule that is realistic to get me from 10k at 65 minutes ( I am old and flabby!) to a half marathon in 16 weeks. This one looked good to me - with distances I  can achieve now to maintain motivation but the thing that worried me is the pace. It seems very slow - two miles at 12.27 will bore me stupid. Is the slow pace to help me build up distance and I can increase speed later? I do have trouble evening out my pace, so find I do the first two miles in under 19 mins, then gasp later on! And then I read all the comments from much more experienced runners and don't know whether to start or scrap this schedule and look elsewhere!
    Help please!

  • toddytyke,

    Thanks very much for the advice, still slightly concerned re: the speedwork as I'm 40 with a dodgy left ankle which plays up if I push too hard on the pace. I'll check out Mcmillan and see if I can get the best from both or just rely on their advice.

    Many Thanks again
  • ShaunV,

    In this case the speedwork is 800metres in 4:19 minutes.

    With a 5k time of 28 minutes, you wouldn't be expected to a mile in 4.19. 

  • Thanks Sean G

    Seems that there are differing opinions on this, see toddytyke, I think what you have said is more realistic, but as the rest of the paces are per mile you would think toddytykes logic is correct. I think I'll plumb for 800 mtre 4:19 pace and see how that works out.

    Thanks all
  • ShaunV

    It is misleading that when is says (for example) 3mi @ 8.25 it does mean 3 miles at 8.25 mins per mile but when the distance is in metres (for example) 800m @ 4:19 you run 800 metre in 4.19 pace NOT 800 metres at 4.19 mins per mile pace.

    Running 4.19 mins per mile would make you at Elite athlete.


  • Definitely not elite at anything, let alone running, but thanks again for making it clear.
  • I have just been looking to set my schedule with this smartcoach for the winter, I have seen you mention Macmillan. What is this  and is there a website?
  • From a recent race result it will give you indicators as to your perfromance over different distances (provding the correct training is done).

    It also calculates your long slow run, tempo, LT paces etc.

    McMillan Pace Calculator

  • Thanks for the link!

     I have been an intermittent runner for maybe 30years but hadn't run for nearly 18months when on August Bank Holiday I succumbed to entering a 10K race 3 weeks later under peer pressure. "What the hell!", I thought - if nothing else it will motivate me to get back into running.

    I started out running 2mi and built up over the 3 weeks, running a couple of 10K early the week before in 53:15 which quite suprised me. I did 54:10 on the day but there was quite a strong headwind and I had trained on the flat and the course was undulating rather than hilly but i suffered on those climbs.

    I came across RW and the Smartcoach and am nearly two weeks onto a program but I am having my doubts. I think the program seems weak but maybe I just don't understand it.

    That was, until I soaked up the McMillan site! What a fantastic resource! I now fully understand my plan and the pace seems a lot more accurate. Thanks for the posts and unwittingly helping out a newbie.


  • ShaunV, just reading all the background info on smartcoach and concur with Sean G about the speedwork.  It gives you a distance, a number of repeats and the time to complete that distance......and not a per minute mile pace as I said earlier.

    Sorry for any confusion.

  • Hey guys,

    Sorry to drop in but I just thought it was worth pointing you towards our calculators. We have a training pace calculator, race time predictor and pace band for you print off.

    With regards to SmartCoach, I know some of you have some questions regarding the background and science behind the tool. We'll, we hoping to get one of the creators online in the near future, to help with your problems and answer some questions.  Keep your eyes peeled to the thread for an update.


    Daniel RW
  • Pammie*Pammie* ✭✭✭
    Thanks Daniel, that would be quite interesting if you can get them online, always worth seeing thier answers to their logic
  • Interesting reading, I had a look at Macmillan. I'd never heard of it before so thanks...

     I understand most of the numbers but what are cruise intervals and when should I be using them in training?

    Currently using Smart coach to train for a 10 miler with a little bit of flex to fit in a couple of 10K races I have coming up and make it work for me and also try to get in a longer run before the 10 miler.

  • As someone who likes hills & hilly racing, does anyone have suggestions for supplementing / swapping elements of the training schedule for some dedicated hill-training sessions (i.e. every third easy-run or every other speedwork)?

    I live somewhere fairly flat so I usually make a special trip to get to somewhere a bit hilly hence not so easy to sneak some in!

    (I'm currently considering Marathon - Moderate level - 26-30miles per wk for the Three Forts Marathon next May)


  • If you build it he will come… (well something like that).

    I’m happy to announce that one of SmartCoach’s creators, Amby Burfoot, will being dropping into the forums this Thursday at 2pm (for one hour only) to answer your SmartCoach training questions. To give you a sense of Amby’s background, he has an incredibly impressive running CV - from winning the Boston Marathon in 1968 to becoming the Executive Editor of RW in the US. He’s done it all.

    So whether you want to know more about the science behind the tool or how to make the most of it’s power, Amby will try his utmost to lend a helping hand.

    It might be a good idea if you could try and post your questions before Thursday so that Amby can hit the ground running rather than having to deal with too many questions all at once.


    Daniel RW

  • Hi everyone: This is Amby Burfoot from Runner's World in the U.S. I helped develop the SmartCoach tool, and will be back here Thursday at 2 pm to have a "forum discussion" with you.

    For now, this is just a test.

    See you Thursday at 2 pm. 

  • Dear Smart-coach.

    I am aiming to cut my next half-marathon run time by 25% (2hrs down to 1hr 40mins)... are the schedules tailored for this? I've incorporated some circuit training into my current schedule which I hope will help cut my speed time, and also give me a general training mix.

    Many Thanks,

  • Hi Amby,

    I'm not able to be online at 2pm as it will be 2am here in New Zealand and I'll very definitely be asleep.  But if you get a chance I'd be interested in learning about some of the parameters that Smartcoach uses - eg does it limit long run as a % of total weekly miles, does it limit weekly mileage increase.  also the easy and tempo paces improve with each 4 week cycle but how do you decide by how much?

    finally -  the schedule smartcoach has turned out for a half marathon (25-30 miles a week, very hard) has a longest run of 13 miles.  do you think that is enough?  i guess i expected to run overdistance a few times before race day.

    Thanks in advance for coming online to answer our questions


  • Agree about overdistance runs, M.

    More generally, a lot must depend on what sort of training you have been doing until now. Smartcoach does ask about mileage but not how long your long run is, if you're used to speedwork, and so on.

    As others have mentioned, I'd have thought age, and therefore age grading for the recent race time, was important to show if you're pushing the envelope or just toddling along.

    Another useful feature would be asking you for a target time for your target race.

    Look forward to reading Amby's comments. 

  • Hi everyone. Amby Burfoot here. I'd like to start with a brief comment on coaching in general. The best coach is a veteran one who is with you, observing and discussing your workouts. Few of us have that luxury. And a coach like this might reasonably expect to be paid for the service.

    SmartCoach is the best, free alternative that you can find on the Web. It combines a certain about of training/physiology "science" with the "collective" wisdom of all the runners who have pursuing the sport for the last 40 years that I've been a participant, observer and writer. SmartCoach is quick, powerful, and surprisingly subtle-sophisticated in many ways.

    But always remember: It's just software. It can't discuss your training with you. It's always a good idea to discuss your training with others, maybe lots of others. And Forums like this one are a good place to do it.

  • I came across race pacer on RW. I put my distance down into times i need to hit each mile. so i guess if i keep up with some sprint training i should manage this. i just wasn't sure how the schedule affected your speed.


  • Responding to Tanya... Tanya, I'm not sure your goal is very realistic. It could be. But only if you did little training for your first half, and if you have lots of talent. SmartCoach would never claim to enable you to make that kind of gain. SC is programmed to be conservative, help you improve, but very importantly to keep you from overdoing it and getting injured. SC believes in gradual, successive improvements. A good goal, still challenging in fact, would be a 5 percent improvement.
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