pace for speedwork sessions

image I’ve downloaded a customised training program from this site for a 10k run but I’m struggling to work out what pace I need to run at for the 800m repeats in the speedwork sessions. This will be my first structured plan for running on a treadmill  The plan states “800m @ 5:20” Can anyone tell me what speed I need to run each 800m at (in either miles or km per hour) ?


  • stu jstu j ✭✭✭

    here is a good conversion site I use:

    5:20  (per mile) would equate to 11.25mph / 18.1kph

  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    5.20 per mile seems very fast for a beginner.
  • I'd struggle to hit 800m at that pace for sure!  I guess it could be metric?

    7 miles an hour/11.25 kmph

    Unless it means 800m in 5 minutes 20 seconds?

  • Thanks for your comments all, it seemed a bit fast to me too. The key doesn't say it's in metric and all the other speeds are in mph but it could be 800m in 5mins 20 secs. I think I'll start at 11.25kmph and build on that.


  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    Do you have a 10k or 5k PB? We may be able to give you some guidance if we have an idea of your ability.
  • If it is in metric perhaps it is 5:20 per km?

    Edit: oops, Daeve's already said that. Seems the most likely to me though. What's your target for the 10k?

  • I ran a steady 5k in 34 min 54 sec on the treadmill. I don't really have a target for 10k but I downloaded  an 8wk Runners World plan for 10k primarily to lose weight and improve my running endurance.

  • Okay, I've had a look at the smartcoach (if that's where you got it from?) and it seems that the paces for the normal runs are in minutes per mile (so use the calculator stujones links to above). The paces for speedwork are ambiguous - it doesn't explain that they aren't in minutes per mile, but 5:20min/mi pace would be bonkers and way too fast. I tried asking for the same schedule with my race paces, and it seems to be the total amount of time you are supposed to take to run the 800m, not the pace you are supposed to do it at.

    I make it 6:40 per km, which would be 9kmh. Does that sound sensible?

  • stu jstu j ✭✭✭

    I thought it seemed crazy fast too, hence why I underlined / bolded!

    Either way that site is pretty good.

    Another one that is touted around here is McMillan Running ( ) that will give you a host of training paces and best guess times for other distances.

  • Thankyou so much for taking the trouble to work it out and yes, I did use smartcoach. No way I could get anywhere near those first speeds image. I'd say 9 -10 kmh is much more sensible for me. I will also check out the macmillan site .

    Thanks again guys for your help

  • You're welcome, sh33pster - if you look at the training paces McMillan recommends the 800m rep time seems to more or less match what the smartcoach is suggesting too.

  • @ sh33pster. I use the same tool and have the same confusion. All other sessions are in miles except the speedwork which seems to be in metric. I just assume that it is in per km's, the pace always feels about right for the targets I have put in


  •  The times must be total times - On mcmillan the times for 400m, 500m, 600m....800m remain the same when you change between km and mile format (option at top if page).

  • Yeah, it's definitely total time for the rep in the smartcoach. Otherwise it's telling me to run at 2:51/km, which is not a pace I can even do, let alone for 6x800m!

    Disclaimer: 2:51 looks a bit bloody hardcore anyway. The McMillan calculator is offering me 2:54 to 3:01 for 800s. I think all the smartcoach paces are a bit on the quick side.

  • @iteratin not so sure it is total time for the rep as (the one I have) is asking for 4X1600m @ 5:30. I think when it asks for a speedwork session it is saying how many meters to run for at mins / km.

    Not 100% sure but using it this way certainly feels like a challenging but possible speedwork session.

  • Hmm, that's odd, because 5:30/km would certainly feel very different to 5:30/1600m and wouldn't feel at all like speedwork if you could do the latter. Whereas I certainly can't run at 2:51/km, not even for 800m. I think the conclusion is that the smartcoach is a bit dodgy...

  • Smartcoach uses time per interval, so run 800m in 5min 20sec. That is all I can add, other than it would be very unusual to prescribe speedwork intervals using pace in a training plan. Can't speak for the numbers that Smartcoach churns out - how they are calculated is ouside of my area of expertiseimage

  • Well, that's what I thought Also-ran, but Steve's programme seems strange because if he is finding 1600s at a pace of 5:30/km (8:48 per rep) to be a challenging workout, it's got no business telling him to run 1600 in 5:30 total. What numbers did you put in, Steve?

  • Steve, the speedwork sessions are in metric as many runners do them on a track (not me as I am alergic to tracks).  Pace info is  substituted for time per rep. It is difficult to calculate pace on the fly on a track using gps- garmins etc are pretty useless as they plot a bowl of spagetti, so with experience you tend to focus on split times per lap etc. At least that is how I understood it

    As Lit says lets see some numbers as 5:30 per 1600 (the way I saw Smartcoach) would be rather 'pacey'. I may have completetly misunderstood SmartCoach

  • A-R - I looked at smartcoach using the OP's data for a 10k programme, and then using my own, for comparison, and the times it gave me seemed to more or less match the times per rep recommended by McMillan.

  • I couldn't resist and generated a 10k plan for me. The 800m reps were out of my league. This is very reassuring as  McMillan and Daniels intervals are also too much for me!. All is well with smartcoachimage

  • Did you do it off your marathon time though A-R? Cos you're like me with being better at longer stuff, only times about a million.

  • I did indeed Lit - I like climbing mountains, plus ignoring Mcmillan's and Daniel's advice about not  misusing the calculators gives me something to moan about to myself.    

    But as you say, and for the benefit of others, Smartcoach is churning out sensible paces when I put sensible figures in for me, with the speed intervals expressed in time to complete each rep (not pace they should be run at.).

  • This advice, you mean?

  • That is the very advice LIT, and the same from Daniels with multiple VDOT thingys for various distances for those of us aren't "combo runners"

  • Training instruction for interval  running, should be between 60-80% effort.

    The  best way to judge effort is if at the end of first one or two reps, you are able to talk after short period, then you are on right pace. 

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