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Boston JP Morgan, Andy nagelin

In Pursuit of Goals

The McMillan Running Calculator

A plan is essential to achieving a goal. Knowing where you want to go is not enough. You need to plan each step along the way. Without a plan there is no way to chart your progress or know what to do next. Your goal is point B, but each step along the way can motivate and reward you or give you a wake up call.

For runners there are many tools and programs to help with planing. A popular tool s the McMillan Running Calculator. If you have run at least one race, you can use this calculator.

To use this calculator you enter a recent race finish time and the goal time for your next race. The calculator can take a finish time from a one-mile run and make a calculation for a marathon finish.

Basically, you tell the calculator where you are currently and where you want to be. McMillan then calculates what pace and time you should be able to run several common distances if you want to achieve your goal.

Using what your current finish times and what your goal finish times should be, you can build your training plan.

In Pursuit of Goals

A goal must be well defined and achievable.I want to run a fast marathon” is not a clear goal.” ” I want to run a marathon as fast as Meb Keflezighi” is a goal 99% of us could never dream of achieving.

My goal is to run a 3:25 marathon in five months. Many runners my age can run that fast so I know it is achievable. Weather or not I can achieve that goal is something I will have to find out for my self.

But my goal is clear and achievable. That is step one.

Once you have established your goal, your Point B, you need to access where you are at currently, Point A. Is the goal beyond your current capabilities? Maybe way beyond your current capabilities? Do you have the resources, talent or drive to achieve your goal in the time frame you have established?

Step two is building your plan

The McMillan calculator will provide finish times you should currently be capable of based on the recent finish time you entered. Compare these times to other recent race finish times. Are you ahead or behind the calculated results? This is Point A.

The table below is based on a recent 1:45 half marathon. I put the McMillan numbers into a spreadsheet and plugged in my most recent finish times for those distances and you can see that I am way off on most of them.

My 1:45 half marathon finish indicates that I can finish a marathon at 3:40:59. That is 15 minutes slower than my goal, and there are many variables that could keep me from even achieving 3:40.

Across the board my numbers are off. My 5K is only off by 7 seconds per mile, but my 10K is off by almost a minute per mile! My half is spot-on since that was my benchmark time. I should be able to run a marathon at an 8:26 pace, but my current pace is 9:32 and my PR pace is 9:09!

CURRENT TIMES
Distance 800M 1 Mile 5K 10K 1/2 Mar Mar
Time 2:56 6:32 22:41 47:06 1:45:00 3:40:59
Pace/Mi 6:32 7:18 7:35 8:01 8:26
Recent Times 7:25 8:34 8:02 9:32
GOAL TIMES
Distance 800M 1 Mile 5K 10K 1/2 Mar Mar
Time 2:43 6:03 21:02 43:42 1:37:25 3:25:00
Pace/Mi 6:03 6:46 7:02 7:26 7:49
Recent Times 7:25 8:34 8:02 9:32

When we look at the second part of the McMillan Calculator results,my goal times, the numbers look even worse! It’s a good thing that I have five months to meet this challenge!

The early goals in a plan should be striving to hit the finish times the calculator says you should be running currently. You may not want to run a test marathon, but you should build into your training plan several 5K, 10K and even one or two half marathons

You don’t want all of your training runs to be at race pace. When you do train at race pace check to see if you are hitting your current goal pace for that particular distance. As your training progresses you should start to hit your target pace at the different distances.

Races are the best way to test yourself. When you are running with friends, everyone may not want to or be able to run at your target pace. At a race everyone is running as hard as they can. Run some races, test yourself and have some fun!

As your training progresses you should be hitting or exceeding your target pace on a frequent basis.

To achieve Your Goal

My basic philosophy for achieving a goal is to:

  • Identify my goal and have a specific outcome and time frame
  • Assess my current position, condition etc. and be honest with myself
  • Map out a plan to get from point A to point B
  • Work the plan, be dedicated, but not rigid
  • After a set-back, re-adjust my plan and keep moving forward

Going from a PR marathon time of 4:00 to 3:25 is a very aggressive goal. I need to knock a minute and twenty seconds off of every mile for 26.2 miles. I’ve made some changes in how I think about racing over the past two years and it has made a difference. Now I need to change my approach to training. A goal like this requires greater focus and dedication.

I have my goal, I have my plan. Game on.

I don’t think that my approach is revolutionary. It’s pretty basic stuff that anyone can use to achieve their goals. No matter what your running goals are for this year, or the rest of your life, check out the McMillan web site. Punch in your latest finish time and then punch in your next race goal.

Run well my friends.

© 2013-2015 andrew nagelin


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2 responses to “In Pursuit of Goals”

  1. sincerelylily Avatar

    wow what a nifty calculator… def. looks like I am better at longer distances than shorter! My times don’t match up lol

    1. imarunner2012 Avatar

      Me too. I’m slow, but I can run for a long time.

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