Predicting Your Time in a Race


As you may have already deciphered from my blog, I have been training using the Furman Institute of Running (FIRST) training method. The book they have published, Runner’s World Run Less, Run Fasterprovides a lot of the background on why their program works and most importantly, how to use it properly and for the most impact on your performance.

All runs in the training program are to be run at prescribed times. For example, on Key Run #1, which is a speed workout, you run 10 minutes of easy warm-up, then a number of repeats such as 400 meters with a 400 meter cool down (10 times for example), followed by a 10 minute cool down. Where the science comes into play is not just on the structure of the workout, but the actual pace that you need to run the repeats at. The program will tell you how fast you need to run the 400 meter repeats. The obvious questions is how do you know how fast to run them.

The actual paces that you need to run are determined by your most recent 5-K race time. If you don’t have one, then go back to your most recent race (e.g. 10-K) and from there you can determine what your 5-K time would have been. For ease of reference, FIRST has developed a race prediction table that can be used to predict race times. The file can be found by clicking on the Race Prediction Table. For example, if your most recent race was a 10-K and you ran it in 0:54:58, your predicted 5-K time would be 0:26:20. Further, the table predicts that you would run a marathon in 4:20:08, provided you did the training as directed using paces determined by that 5-K time. When you actually put the paces and training runs into practice, I have found them to be difficult, but not too hard so that I can’t finish them. Most importantly, I feel that my running is improving .

The only negative thing that I can comment about on the program is that on the 10-K training program, Key Run #3 (the long run) seems really long. On some weekends you are prescribed up to 9 mile runs, which is way above a 10-K. This is to prepare you for the 10-K distance as race pace, but it can seem a bit long. Overall I have enjoyed using the training program and look forward to seeing my performance in my next 10-K in September.