SmartCoach Pacing



  • jlms, that's a better way to work it out if you're converting from miles to km. I wasn't thinking about that when I posted the km to miles conversion.
  • Roslyn wrote (see)
    jlms, that's a better way to work it out if you're converting from miles to km. I wasn't thinking about that when I posted the km to miles conversion.

     My metric dark side emerged there image

     To go the other way around then take 2/3rds of any distance in Km to get miles, round down for better accuracy.

     i.e. 10K is approximately 6.666666666666666666 miles image  , so lets say it is 6.6miles (it is actually 6.21371192 , but  we want easy quick and dirty conversions with no difficult mental arithmetic involved).

  • Is it not easier to say that 1km = 5/8 of a mile? That's the way I was taught to work it out. So divide your miles by 5 & multiply that by 8 to get your kms? 5 miles = 8kms etc.

    You've lost me now, how can 6.666666 be 6.2137.....? imageimage

  • I've found with the Garmin forerunner that if you set the distance and the time and use the virtual trainer it gives you a great sense of how well you are doing. Updating you on how far in front or behind you are. Due to the undulations near where I live I cant keep a constant pace so customising the second view screen to show average pace is a great help also. Fantastic bit of kit and the old 101 with bike mount was only £60. My own training has benefitted enormously from it
  • Pablex, that's a good idea, I've only used the virtual partner once or twice then stopped, but I do struggle to keep a constant pace - never thought that using the virtual partner would be helpful.


  • Hello everyone.  I've been running for about 5 or 6 years, not competitively but just to keep fit.  I also do lots of other exercise during the week.  I don't seem to have gotten any quicker over the time I've been running and I was losing my mojo a bit so I set myself a bit of a challenge.  Using Smart Coach I asked for a "very hard" 8 week half marathon schedule based on my average running of 16-20 miles per week.

    My questions are these: 

    Even with such a short programme the easy runs were only a 2-3 miles long - I usually run at least 5 miles each time I head out, and they were at a very slow pace - 11 minutes plus.  Now I'm not fast by any means, but can run steadily for a long distance at around 10 to 10.30 pace.  Should I be slowing down and running much shorter distances as the schedule says? 

    The LSRs on a Sunday also were very slow.  It seems like a backward step to me.  Is it or is the training programme not challenging enough? 

    Certainly the speed sessions have been challenging but they are not over any decent kind of distance.

    I've just looked at another "very hard" schedule aiming for half marathon on 30th November but again some of the easy and LSRs don't look harder than I know I can already do.  What do other people think here?

  • Wee Curly Dee, the point of the slow LSR is to help you build endurance - you get that slowly and gently and gradually work up to doing it faster. The short runs are essentially recovery runs designed to help your body expel toxins/loosen off again after either shorter fast sessions, or longer endurance sessions. The slow runs will seem ludicrously slow if you've been running at the same pace all the time over the years, but that's exactly what they're meant to be - although I know a lot of us struggle to go quite as slowly as we ought to and sometimes it can be painful to slow down that much, so a wee increase in pace to get comfortable shouldn't be a problem

    I think that essentially, the combination of running longer distances, in a way that isn't hugely stressful for your body, combined with shorter speed sessions challenges your body more effectively than plodding along in the same way all the time. The fact that you're finding the speed sessions actually challenging means that you should start to see improvements on the tempo runs, as the pace on these drops, the speed session training allows you to not collapse in a soggy heat.

    Perhaps re-run the schedule over 16 weeks to see how it looks as it builds up, or look at a marathon schedule to compare. You'll see that the LSR pace gradually increases, as does the tempo distance/pace & the speed session distance/pace.

    There was a bit of debate on here about the smart coach not challenging enough if you wanted to improve your time over a distance you'd already completed, and I can see that. It doesn't push too hard if you're using a 10k time to get a 10k schedule. But if you're using it to increase distance and motivate you, I'd say that it's worth persevering. The majority of your runs should be easier/as easy as you can do already, with the longer runs increasing over what you're already doing & the speed sessions effectively running you into the ground. image

    Does that help at all?

  • Thanks Roslyn.  I had made up my mind to persevere anyway and see if it worked out and I did get any faster but it's helpful to have your take on it. Not sure I can make myself slow right down to 11+ per mile though, or if I can be bothered to get all hot and sweaty just for a two mile run when I usually comfortably do 5.  It's a difficult one isn't it.  Everything I've read warns against pushing harder and faster too quickly but when you know you can go faster and further than you are being asked to it's hard to hold back!

    By the way, I have only ever completed one half marathon before in 2006, in a time of 2.13.  I just thought I'd use the training to motivate me and to see if I could get my time down a little. 

  • I don't like 2 mile runs either. When my schedule has 2 milers in it, I tend to see what the other short runs are that week & turn them into 3 minimum. Works ok if I have 3x 2 miles, so I can do 2x 3 miles, but when you've got a 2 & 3, I just shove in the extra mile. 2 never feels particularly good, but 3 I can do happily & then stop again - anything shorter & I find my legs hate me the rest of the day 'cos they've only just begun to loosen off properly.

    As for 11+ pace, I found fairly quickly that I was more comfortable around 10.30-10.45 which was still slow enough to achieve LSR, but much better than constantly forcing myself to slow down. Eventually the slow plod lets your mind wander too, making the run really easy to achieve 'cos the miles just tick by without you really noticing.

    Have you got a place on another HM or is this purely for the sake of it?

  • Thanks Roslyn.  I've been tending to stick to 3 hours for the easy runs and doing them at around 10.30 as you say, same type of pace for the LSRs.  As I said before, it feels a bit like a backward step to go any slower than I'm comfortable with.

     And no, I haven't got a place on a HM but I was thinking about doing the Folkestone Half which is on 28th September and that's what I aimed the training schedule at.  There's also the Norwich Half on 30th November.  Maybe I'll give them both a go after following two consecutive schedules and see whether they do actually work and whether I've got any quicker!   The other thing is that this is my 5th attempt at getting a place in the London Marathon and I thought I'd get in some training just in case I finally get in!  If not this year, then I'll definitely get a place for 2010.

  • I did hear that anyone getting rejected for the FLM got an automatic place in the Edinburgh marathon, but from Folkestone, that's maybe a bit far to travel image
  • I've just realised in my previous post I said "I've been tending to stick to 3 hours for the easy runs"!  Of course I meant 3 miles!

     I hadn't heard that about Edinburgh but I've always had it in mind that if I ever did a full marathon it would have to be London as that was where I was brought up.  I live in Suffolk now though.

  • I had wondered what you meant about 3 hours, but figured you meant your long runs, so it makes much more sense now!

    I'm at the opposite end of the UK to you, in the Outer Hebrides, so I have no idea at all what distance you're talking about, don't even know where Suffolk is!! my geography stinks. image Are there smaller scale local marathons? Or are they all just halfs?

  • Outer Hebrides eh, that is opposite to me then!  Suffolk is South East of England, that bit that sticks out to the right on the weather map!  There are loads of different distance races from 5k right through to full marathons.  I've just not really entered any.  I tend to run on my own as my family live in London which is about 75 miles from where I live and I've never fancied doing a race completely on my own.  I'm thinking of joining the local running club though.

    I'm from Glasgow originally.  Small world.

  • It is a small world. The connections you make on here, this place is cool like that.

    I don't have a running club, although I believe there's an athletics club about 20 miles up the road from me. But from what I've been hearing from other folk, those who've taken the plunge & gone to a club have found it really good, with the majority having folk of various levels and abilities so no-one feels out of place. And I think it's helpful in giving you motiviation too, taking part in club sessions & challenges pushes you more than you would by yourself. Or so I hear. Also gets you into a lot of races a bit cheaper image

    Good luck!

  • I've skipped from page 1 to page 9 so I've probably missed a load of relevant stuff in the middle, but when I put my 5k time in (28:38) for a half marathon training plan it has me running at an 11:29 pace which seems a bit slow to me...  Am up to 6miles on my own made up plan and the slowest I've averaged (according to Nike+) is 11:07 but the pace that pops up at most mile markers is 10:28.  Would I be better slowing down a bit to get the distance without walk breaks or stick with my regular pace????
  • CazSoul, I'd say that slowing down to achieve distance without walks is the better option. Once you can do the distance without walking, then you can start upping the pace. If you've only done a 5k race before the smoartcoach will start you off gently. The alternative is to time yourself over 10k & use that as the smartcoach basis, but that's likely to be slower than what you'd do in an actual race anyway.

    The other option is to ditch smartcoach & use one of the beginner HM schedules that's on RW - or even use one of the Super Six people's schedules - Dump Truck started as a total beginner with almost no running at all. His would be a good option, his goal was initially just to finish, not any specific time, but the schedule still has him training at good speeds.

    I still think the goal is to be able to increase your running mileage, although there's nothing wrong with scheduling the odd walk break, the point of the LSR pace is to get you able to manage the mileage without putting too much strain on your body. You'll soon feel the benefit of it & will possibly find that once you can do the distance without walking, you start to increase pace slightly anyway, back towards the 11.07.

    Does that help?

  • Thanks for that Roslyn, have got a 7mile run planned tomorrow so will take the pace down a bit and see how I get on. 

    Have got my 1st 10k race on 19th October and was thinking of starting the HM training once I'd got that under my belt even though I probably wont have the courage to actually attempt a HM for at least another year or so.  Will enter my 10K race time in it once I've done it and see what it comes up with.

    I seem to have had a series of off days on my long runs just lately, whether I've got my timing wrong between breakfast & going out or not I dont know...  I've managed just under 6miles before without having to stop but the last couple of times I've had to take it down to a walk at least 3 times... Grrr!!!  Will make sure I have my porridge & banana 2hours before I go out, only left an hour & half last week and got a killer stitch ow ow ow. image

  • I struggle with getting the eating timing right too. I'm more likely to get 10 minutes into a run & them my stomach starts growling though 'cos it's been too long. I've had to cancel a few runs because of getting so hungry there was no way I was going to make it out. I'm doing the GNR & I'm really worried about eating beforehand 'cos I don't tend to eat early in the morning & I think I'm going to have to practice getting my body used to an early breakfast so I manage on the day.

    Good luck with the 10k. Once you've got that done you'll be ready for an HM in no time! It's amazing how little the difference is between 6 miles & 13 really. And if you can already run longer than 6, then you're past 1/2 way already. I find that if I don't have something to train for, I just don't go out. Too lazy unless there's a point to it. Even though I love running, I still need a kick up the *ss to get me moving, so well done on running for the fun of it!

    What would runners do without porridge eh! image

  • All hail the mighty porridge & banana.. Hee hee. 

    Yes you will most deffo have to have some trial runs with the eating prior to GNR, they do say that you shouldn't try anything new on the day.  Hence me trying to work out the exact time I need to eat & what to eat prior to going out for my long run.

    I may say now that I'll carry on running after I've done the 10k but as you say its hard to motivate yourself if you havent got a goal, might have to sign myself up for another race early next year to make sure I dont hibernate during the winter months.   I know after I did my 1st RFL I was full of all good intentions to keep up with the running but whithin a month I'd let it slide so I had to basically start from scratch again when I got back into it.

  • Caz, not sure what's going on here, but I've posted you a reply twice now & they've both disappeared.

    I was just trying to say that I've got a number of HMs planned for next year starting around June, so I'll probably take a running holiday after the GNR - weather up here will be getting grotty by then anyway - re-join the gym and stick indoors until about March, then head out onto the road again just in time to start building up mileage for the first HM

    I hope this one sticks! image

  • Hi  I have just jumped on here after reading page 1.  I have just ran 3 miles on a treadmill as I start my prep for my first HM in March . Started running last July and did my last REAL run last November (Derwentwater 10m) and have been very lazy since then (initially due to bad knee but then just couldn't get into it again!). I put my details into smart coach to get me going again and give me a plan to work to but it appears to have slow times - don't get me wrong I'm not fast at all (took 30 mins for 3 miles) but I find it difficult to go slower , or faster!  Should I try to reduce my pace or just use the distances as a guide and my own times. Any advice appreciated.
  • Go slower Mo Mo. The goal is to get the distance in comfortably on long slow sessions, work on pace on short faster sessions and have a few slow recovery sessions in between times. Don't force yourself to go too slow, but if your race pace is 10 min miles, train at 11+ sort of thing.
  • SmartCoach is great and has helped me improve no end.  The PBs keep coming!


    What has happened to the printable version of SmartCoach?  Its suddenly gone from pringing a neat text tablation to including unnecessary graphics wasting almost half a page, and the lines delineating the cells have gone.  If we select 'view this article with no images' we have to re-enter all the data, only to find there in no GO >> button!

    Can we have our old, neat printable text version back please?

  • Ah!  Referring to my previous post I've found out what's up.  The SmartCoach doesn't print properly but the .com one does.  Until now I've apparantly had the .com one bookmarked and not used the one.  I'll revert to he .com version and forget the version until it's corrected!
  • That's handy to know as I've always used the version & the only thing that it seemed to do was make me re-enter the information to build the schedule. Then it would print ok. Think I'll give it a try 'cos I'm needing something to run too again.

    Cheers for the tip-off rayellis.

  • Hi advice please? Training for London Marathon. Following smartcoach programme which is going well. Did first 20miler yesterday. From tomorrow supposed to be 8mile Wed 8mile Sat 7mile.

    I have miscalculated the run date as the week before, on my finish date!

    How shall I best adjust the schedule please?


  • I'd suggest just sticking in an easy week the week before, just to keep ticking over. Advice I've had in the past is that you don't want to be doing a long run, or training hard in the run up, especially to something like a marathon. Look upon it as good fortune that you miscalculated!

    If I recall the days, you've probably got a fairly normal training week ending with the Sunday saying 'Race day' or something along those lines yeah? Take that 'race day' and do something long & gentle, but don't try & add more mileage, something a wee bit less than your current maximum won't hurt. Then just have whatever would be a normal 'easy' week, with 3 shortish slow runs to give your body time to recover fully. It sounded crazy to me when I first heard it, but it does pay off - you'll be totally fresh.

  • I'd agree 100% with Roslyn.  Isn't it great when folk agree! 

    In a sense I'm doing some similar rethinking myself just now.  I was booked into the Wokingham Half which was cancelled because of the weather, and am running Reading at the end of March, so these last couple of weeks would have been quiet ones after Wokingham before starting training again on Monday for Reading.

    As these weeks weren't planned for, I did what felt good at the time.  I took it a bit easier for the first week, then ran 12 miles last Sunday and 2 x 5 mile runs on Tuesday and Thursday, one a tempo run, the other a speed run.  Tomorrow I'll do 7 or 8 miles easy then I'll start the Reading schedule on Monday.  The result has been two weeks of relaxed runs that have felt really good, and that unexpectedly included the fastest 5 miles I have ever run!  And now I'm feeling really good and relaxed to begin the build up for Reading. 

    I guess the thing is not to be a slave to the SmartCoach schedule but to do what feels good and right at the time and always listen to your body.

    Good luck in London!

  • Thanks guys good advice. Reassuring when you have others to keep you right. Smartcoach is good but we have to be adaptable too!

    Happy running to all

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