Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Running Predictors: Do you believe them?

The marathon is over. I trained, tapered, and recovered. Now I'm planning a few weeks of shorter faster training, in hopes of breaking the ever elusive 20 minutes for the 5K. Why the rush? Well, I always run the same turkey trot every year. It's fun, convenient, and I've conned my parents into going for the last three years. In short, I like it.

Unfortunately though, I had an unwelcome wake up call today. I did a 1 mile time trial (after an appropriate warm up of course). The result was a 5:58 mile, which at the time I thought was reasonably fast. Then I plugged that time into the Mcmillan running calculator to see my predicted 5K time. Ugh, that calculator spit back 20:40. Not what I was hoping. Especially, when I think about how I ran 20:25 5K 12 weeks after Emily's birth on a long course. Could I really be slower than so soon after having a baby? Apparently, I can.

To be honest though, I'm not sure that I trust that calculator. It also spit out a 3:21 predicted marathon time (for the 5:58 mile time), and I wasn't able to run that a couple weeks ago. Yet, I have this gut feeling that if I were to run a 5K right now I'd be able to do low 20 minutes. Basically, in my mind, it's short changing my 5K time and being overly optimistic about my marathon time.

Does anyone else use running predictor calculators? What are your thoughts?


Karen said...

I look at them as guidelines. It seems like they're more accurate if you put in an actual time that is close in distance to the one in question. ie- half marathon time to see your predicted full marathon, but not a mile time to see a predicted marathon.

I don't use them to set my goals for a race or judge my capabilities, but I do like to use the training paces they suggest for tempo runs and such. :)

Raina said...

I am all over your blog today! Ha!
(This post is actually what drew me here- I just had some catch up to do)

In my experience, the predictors have been fairly accurate as long as you are looking at races that are similar distances and that are close on the calendar. What I would want to know is, is this faster than you could run a mile (stand alone) when you ran your 20:25 ? I bet just have better endurance for the longer distances, and even did when you were 12 weeks PP. And you are still figuring out the marathon...I predict a sub 20 for you!!

Ana-Maria RunTriLive said...

The predictors work fairly well for me in terms of shorter races, but they predict a faster marathon than I managed to achieve.

As far as the 5:58 mile...I personally think that is not a good predictor for you right now. You are 10 days post a marathon that left you sore and beat your body up. You may be feeling fine now, but it is too soon IMO to be able to run a good mile. And a TT mile will always be slower than a race mile.
So, I think you are going to break 20. I just hope the course will not be 3.26 like it was last year.

Jenn said...

Hmmm-running predictors...

OK-my 5K PR was 20:08 on a slightly long course but I haven't run a recorded mile faster than 6:11. Interesting. I also ran a 3:18 marathon but could never run the 5K 10K times predicted for that at the time. Weird. In fact, my HM was maybe at 1:35-1:36 best case for 3:18.

My more recent complete marathon training cycle had me running faster 5K/10K but yet I still ran a slower marathon. This is SCREWING with my brain-ha ha!

I'm agreeing with AM and Raina. Totally think you are capable of the sub 20 especially if the course is accurate! Best of luck to you!