Interval Paces

Working out your paces for an interval training session can be tricky. Do you run as fast as you can? What is the difference between a 1 mile pace and a 10 km pace anyway? The advice below from our very own Tim Parnell (@timpar) will help you find out how to train effectively at the right pace to maximise your training benefit. Take it away Tim..

The great thing about interval training is that because you get a nice rest and recovery period between each effort then you can afford to go beyond the pace you’d normally feel comfortable running at – and doing this regularly through interval training WILL make you faster!

There are all sorts of resources online to work out your paces but I’ve included one below that you can try. If you’re not sure what training pace pushes you to that next level then have a go.

Go to McMillan Running and scroll down or click on the “TRY THE CALCULATOR NOW” button. Then follow the example below to understand how the process works.

Step 1. What is your goal?
In this section select the distance you want to run, and enter the goal time you want to achieve; maybe this is 5 km (5000m) in a time of 0:30:00.

Step 2. What is your current fitness level?
In this section select a recently run distance, and enter your current time; perhaps you currently run parkrun (5000m) in 33 mins, so you’d enter here a time of 0:33:00.

Once done the click “CALCULATE MY PACES” – you don’t need to enter your email unless you want to!

McMillan Pace Entry

The McMillan site will calculate your suggested paces at a wide variety of distances. The paces can be converted into Min/Mile or Min/Kilometre using the buttons above the pace results.

The results below show current and goal paces in Min/Mile for our example runner. Only distances more commonly used for interval training are shown in the image – others have been removed.

McMillan Suggested Paces (filtered list, in Min/Mile)

The pace calculator also extrapolates the time and pace for different distances, based on your current and goal race times. Using this conversion it is possible to select interval paces for any distance requested by the run leader. Our example runner (who is training to run a parkrun in 30 minutes) will look at these goal paces, and work to achieve them during interval training.

10 km efforts would be run at 10:02/mi or 6:14/km
5 km efforts would be run at 9:39/mi or 5:59/km
1 mile efforts would be run at 8:38/mi or 5:22/km!

So when attending interval training involving efforts at Half Marathon, 10 km, 5 km or Mile pace then you will know how hard to push. Just try the website with a recent race or parkrun time as your current fitness level and then add the target you are working towards!