# Am I Running Too Fast? Confused by McMillan Calculator

So thanks to Dorothy at MilePosts, I’ve learned that I am running my long runs way too fast.

Using the McMillan Running Calculator, I inputted my current 10K PR of 58:25 (9:25 avg).

This is what McMillan deduces for me:

According to McMillan, my long runs are supposed to be 10:58-11:58 and my tempo runs are supposed to be 9:31-9:56.

Daily Mile tells me that I’ve been doing everything too fast!

Last two Long Runs:

• 9 miles at 10:33 avg
• 8 miles at 10:22 avg
Last Tempo Runs:
• 5 miles at 9:35 avg (just made it into the range with this one!)
• 4 miles at 9:23 avg

I’m so confused. My long runs don’t SEEM like they’re too fast, and my tempos are manageable. I’m working, but I’m not totally gassed.

Maybe this means that I’m actually a little faster than the time I entered? Or maybe I just don’t push myself hard enough in races? Maybe the long run pace is geared towards full marathon training, and not half marathon training?

I think I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing until the RnR Half Marathon on March 17. Hopefully I can blow my 2:10 current half PR out of the water and follow it up with a PR in the Cherry Blossom 10 miler a couple weeks after.  According to this chart and my training, I believe a couple PRs are totally doable! YEAH!

##### Note: I am almost guaranteed to PR at the Cherry Blossom. I’ve only raced one 10 miler, way back in 2008. At the time, it was the longest distance I had ever run. I ran the first 7 miles with a friend who was considerably slower than myself before picking it up for the final 5K. I finished with a 10:52 avg pace.

QOTD: Do you use McMillan calculator for your training paces or do you just go by feel? Do you have any thoughts on my training paces?

### Related posts:

30 Responses to Am I Running Too Fast? Confused by McMillan Calculator
1. Jen @ The Well Wire
January 29, 2012 | 11:29 am

Ooh, Cherry Blossom 10 Miler? I didn’t know about this (new to the area) but I will for sure be there! I love 10 milers … perfect distance.
I wanted to comment to say that I have NEVER went by any of these charts/rules, but I bet they would help me get faster. The thing is for me, I run for fun, so it is hard for me to listen to a chart! I commend you for your dedication!!!

• Brigid
January 29, 2012 | 11:35 am

Thanks Jen! I actually haven’t used the chart before (hence why my paces are off) but know that I should have a run that is long & slow and one that is faster each week. I’m still learning about the best ways to race and improve.

2. VetRunnah
January 29, 2012 | 11:33 am

I didn’t even know that this tool existed. Right now since I am just establishing my running base I go by feel. When I feel strong I go faster, when I am flat or had a harder run the day before, I go slower. Probably as I start training specifically for a certain time for a distance, I might try to get a little more “into” who fast/when.

I wouldn’t worry too much about this kind of a pace chart, they are only a guide, each individual is different.

Harold

• Brigid
January 29, 2012 | 11:44 am

Thanks Harold! I tend to do the same. I won’t try to hit a given pace on a day when my body just isn’t into it. Good luck working on your base!

3. MCM Mama
January 29, 2012 | 11:38 am

I would slow your long runs down just a touch. The purpose of the long run is to get your body used to moving for longer amounts of time and to teach your body to burn fat as fuel. I wouldn’t worry about the slightly too fast tempos. If you can complete your planned distance and the last mile is not your slowest, you are probably fine. However, if you find that your last mile is slower than your first few and it’s because you can’t keep up the pace, then I’d slow down the first few miles closer to what McMillan prescribes.

• Brigid
January 29, 2012 | 11:43 am

Thank you! My tempo runs are pretty consistent throughout. The last mile definitely NOT the slowest, so I’m OK there. I’ll try and slow down the long runs a tad. I really appreciate the input from more experienced runners like you!

4. Jen
January 29, 2012 | 12:38 pm

I’ve used McMillan with my marathon training and I’d have to say I like the tool. It gives me a guideline as to where my runs should be. I would slow down a tad as well – especially for the long runs. I used to get worried that the pace “with the girls” was too slow, but then I started McMillan and realized they were perfect for my pace.

• Brigid
January 29, 2012 | 12:51 pm

Thanks Jen. The overall message I’m getting is to slow down a little. So I’ll try! It’s nice that you have a group of girls to run with. I’m usually doing my long runs with my hubs so I always feel like I’m really slowing him down.

5. Ali Mc
January 29, 2012 | 12:45 pm

I am so glad you just visited me b/c I completely agree. a few weeks ago I used that calculator and dropped my long runs back so much. It helped that I had this slow older lady in my group to run with (she was sick this week) and I found it really helped me do my speedwork during the week. B/c I ran today’s long run so fast I guarantee I’ll probably be a slacker on my other runs this week. I think it benefits your harder workouts to run long runs slow. Although I think with a 10k pr of 58mins (which is awesome) doing a 10:30 pace is completely fine. I’d say as long as you other workouts aren’t suffering run however you want

• Brigid
January 29, 2012 | 12:49 pm

Thanks! I think the takeaway for me is that I CAN slow down a bit and not worry. The point isn’t to hit a certain pace, but to get used to covering the distance. I’ll use my fast runs as an indicator of whether I should slow my long runs.
By the way, I’m now subscribed to your blog

6. Madeline @ Food Fitness and Family
January 29, 2012 | 12:52 pm

Wow! I am super excited that you posted this today. I am training for my next 1/2 marathon now and these equivalents are pretty awesome for me to figure out my pacing. I too have apparently been running too fast? Thanks again!

January 29, 2012 | 2:10 pm

I need to use the chart. I think I plugged all my numbers in a couple months ago and was surprised by what it told me. I need to copy what it told me and put it somewhere I can see before I head out to run.

Great reminder, thanks!

• Brigid
January 29, 2012 | 5:42 pm

No problem. I think it’s a good guide. Although I’m not so particular that I’ll follow any plan/pace EXACTLY. Glad you find it helpful!

8. Amy
January 29, 2012 | 3:16 pm

I hadn’t heard of this tool before, but what a great thing! I have been running my longs too fast as well. I really had no idea that there were different recommended paces for training runs. Thanks so much for sharing!

• Brigid
January 29, 2012 | 5:44 pm

No problem, Amy! I’m glad I showed you a new tool to add to your collection. I think it’s helpful as a guide. Especially fun to see what it predicts for races of different distances. 4:34 marathon? That’s a LONG time to be running!

9. ginny
January 29, 2012 | 3:17 pm

I use the McMillan often. I believe it is a good “ballpark” estimate. How long has it been since you ran the 10k PR? If it’s been a while – I know some people do not like 5ks, but, if you are OK with them, and you have time, I would recommend a fresh 5k time. It will give you data on your current fitness which you can plug into the calculator. The 5k recovery time is short so you can quickly carry on with your training plan. (i use a couple of 5ks to test my marathon training) just a thought is your 10k PR is a dated result.

• Brigid
January 29, 2012 | 5:46 pm

That’s a good idea Ginny! I may be racing a Valentine’s Day 10K, so we’ll see how I do then. If not, I’ll suffer through a 5K

10. Tara Burner
January 29, 2012 | 3:19 pm

I get confused every time I try to grasp the charts/calculations

• Brigid
January 29, 2012 | 5:47 pm

It is a little overwhelming! I find them very interesting, but never follow them to the letter.

11. Jessica
January 29, 2012 | 5:56 pm

I don’t ever listen to those mass calculators… running is so individual, how could some chart cover everyone? I totally just listen to my body on my runs and do what feels right. If you really need guidance, check your heart rate and go by that instead of what someone says your pace should or shouldn’t be.

• Brigid
January 29, 2012 | 8:51 pm

Thanks Jessica! I tend to agree with you. I mainly go by feel also. I know I have to have some fast runs and some slower runs each week. No need to stress about exact pace ranges.

12. Kris | iheartwellness.com
January 29, 2012 | 7:19 pm

Hey Lovie!!

Congrats on rocking your running!! That is amazing! I wish I had it in me to actually love to run like you and my man do….he has a running coach that tells him all this stuff and I just run to run when I can

xxoo

• Brigid
January 29, 2012 | 8:53 pm

Thanks Kris! I ran for years just to run, and am just now focusing on races and getting faster. I’m sure you could do it too

13. Christine @ Love, Life, Surf
January 29, 2012 | 8:50 pm

Thank you for posting this. I was just thinking the same thing. I too am training for a half and this is the first time that I’m using the McMillan paces. I’ve been running faster than the chart tells me too but I also feel good during my runs. I think that I’m going to try dialing back my long run pace a little and see if I can get an updated 5K time. I’d love to hear how your training goes and how you end up using this chart.

• Brigid
January 29, 2012 | 9:02 pm

I ran 10 miles today and felt great even though I was going much faster than the chart suggested. I’m starting to think that maybe my entered time is off. I’m debating doing a 10K over Valentines Day so I can see then. I figure just run your long runs so that it seems manageable. I’m not going to worry about it if I’m supposedly going too fast so long as it feels right. I’m now following you on twitter and pinterest by the way. Thanks for reading!

14. Alison Gittelman
January 30, 2012 | 8:04 am

How long ago was that 10K? If it’s been a while, then I’d say you’ve gotten faster since that race! If it was more recent, then maybe you’re right that it wasn’t a really hard effort. The tempo run is a good indicator because it should be hard enough that you’re saying to yourself “I can’t hold this pace for that distance” but not so hard that you can’t do it if you really try. Good luck at RnR and I’ll see you at Cherry Blossom!

15. David H.
January 30, 2012 | 11:40 am

Don’t get too wrapped up in McMillan. It could be a sign that you could push yourself even harder in the shorter distances. By a general guideline (not a rule), slower runs should be 60-90 seconds slower than race pace.

Otherwise, just have fun!

16. Britt @ Chicago Runner Girl
January 30, 2012 | 9:05 pm

I would t get too caught up in pacing charts, they are just a guide not necessarily the rules for running. If you have a heart rate monitor I would suggest putting it on and gauging where your HR is while you’re doing your workouts. Running by feel and assessing your bodies response to your workouts through recovery time is more important then hitting the numbers a chart is telling you. You have to do what works for you!

• Brigid
January 30, 2012 | 9:25 pm

Thanks Britt. That’s what I was thinking too. My body knows best!

17. [...] also want to thank everyone who weighed in on my confusion about long run pacing. Am I Running Too Fast? I appreciate everyone who weighed in on the McMillan calculator and how it was matching up with my [...]