Race Performance Calculations & Other Cool Stuff for Runners

Runners get the blues too? What's this all about, you ask? Well, long ago before I became an Internet Junkie (in the 80's), I was an avid runner. I never reached anywhere near top level status (37:51 10k PR), but as with all my endeavors, I became obsessed with the sport. Along the way I developed a program in QuickBasic (I said it was a long time ago!). I named the program RunPro, and it attempted to project equivalent efforts for various distances based on user input of a specific distance and time. Eventually I developed an Excel spreadsheet to replace and greatly expand on the functionality of RunPro.

On this page you'll find all of my running programs/spreadsheets, and a whole bunch of links to other interesting training and racing information I've found on the web.

Jack Daniels' Training Tables - 06/02/06 (Excel 2002 Worksheet)
[formerly named Jack Daniels' Intensity Points Table]

This Excel worksheet has become my pride and joy. In his 2nd Edition of "Daniels' Running Formula", Jack Daniels introduced the concept of assigning intensity points to workouts. Basically, the longer and/or faster the workout, the higher the intensity. Jack's tables present the info based on minutes run. Some time ago I set out to create an Excel spreadsheet to approximate intensity points from a mileage perspective. This utility provides a convenient means of comparing intensity levels of various workouts based on miles run, rather than minutes run. For general use, the worksheet provided default percent of Heart Rate values for 4 levels of runners - Novice, Intermediate, Advanced, and Elite. It also provides projected training and racing paces based on a race time input by the user. Since that first production, updates to the spreadsheet have run rampant, as I added more calculation tables than you can shake a stick at. Many of the added charts are related specifically to "Daniels Running Formula" and are so noted. While some are not directly related, they provide useful tools that enhance the overall Daniels experience.

Following are descriptions of the more significant updates as they are released.

Update: Revision 2.3 - 09/19/06
In revision 2 the user interface has been improved / simplified, and there are significant added features. An appropriate heart rate profile is now automatically calculated based on race time input (no more Novice/Intermediate/Advanced/Elite buttons). The ability of more fit runners to race at a higher percentage of HRmax (especially at longer distances) is reflected in the table. Percent of HRmax for each race distance is automatically adjusted up as fitness level improves. Input has been expanded to allow input of several popular distances (rather than just accepting 5k times), and a Daniels' VDOT value is calculated. There are also new supplemental tables for calculating suggested paces for extended Tempo Runs, Effects of weight loss (or gain) on one's VDOT score, Effects of heat on one's racing & training performance. There's also an Interval pace calculation table, as well as a split-time totaler, which will calculate total and average time for up to 25 splits.

This added functionality really makes the Intensity Table worksheet more of an all-around tool for analyzing and planning training and racing strategies, based as closely as I could on on Jack Daniels' training guidelines. Therefore, I've changed the name of the file to DanielsTables2-3.xls

Update: Revision 2.6 - 10/04/06
Modified the Points Calculator (Blue Section) to calculate points directly as Daniels intended... from time and effort (heart rate). Using this method, pace is irrelevant. Added WMA (formerly WAVA) Age Graded calculations. You can now compare your times to equivalent times of runners of other ages. Also added BMI (Body Mass Index) and Absolute VO2max calculators.

Fixed a serious problem in Revision 2.3 with the drop down menu for selecting input race distance.

Update: Revision 2.7 - 10/29/06
Now with WMA Age & Sex grading. Compare times between men and women of same or different ages!

Also, the Tempo Pace Calculation Table now calculates approximate distance to be run for threshold run of a given duration and pace. And a couple of utility calculators, including a freeform VDOT calculator for calculating VDOT from *any* race distance.

Update: Revision 2.8 - 01/12/07
Added a Weekly Intensity Distribution Table, a tool to help with scheduling the appropriate amount of training in each zone (Aerobic, LT, Interval, etc). Also a couple of minor bug fixes.

Update: Revision 2.9 - 04/28/07
Added couple of neat tables. The Peak Potential Table shows the hypothetical best time posible for the user's current age and BMI factor (height and weight). The Age/BMI Adjusted Time tables work in the opposite direction, by adjusting race time by age, weight, height, sex and temperature to calculate the equivelant time for a 25 year old, skinny, open class runner. These tables aren't training aids, per se, but allow for interesting speculative "what if" type ponderings.

Update: Revision 2.9d - 01/20/08
Some minor maintenance and clean-up. Tweaked the Racing HR formula for Marathon. Now in line with Daniels' numbers in Table 2.2 of Daniels Running Formula (edition 2). Added metric Option to Free-Form VDOT Calculator. Reformated the Peak Performance, Age Grading and Adjusted Times section. Now more intuitive and flexible, but with overkill functionality gone.

Update: Revision 2.9e.0 - 05/11/08
Added a calculation table for converting between m:ss/Seconds/MPH formats.

Update: Revision 2.9f.00 - 07/22/08
Added a calculated Heart Rate Reserve (Kavonen) row to the top section of the worksheet.

Update: Revision 2.9g.00 - 01/20/10
Reset Marathon HR back to pre-2.9d update formula. Trying to implement Daniels' non-liner HR/Pace relationships in Table 2.2 of Daniels Running Formula (edition 2) put MHR too close to half-maration HR for middle of pack runners. Made some improvement tweaks to the way the spreadsheet handles empty and/or invalid height, weight, birthdate, and HR entries.

Update: Revision 2.9h.00 - 11/13/10
Fixed a very minor glitch in %HRmax calculations, and added 2nd %HRmax Calc Option to allow a bit of user tweaking. Both changes alter the HR values by 2-3 beats in most cases. Added a calculated Lactate Threshold Heart Rate range (based on 88-92% range as defined by J.Daniels), located in yellow LT Heading Panel near the top of the worksheet.

Update: Revision 2.9i.00 - 01/21/11
Fixed calc bug in the "Weight Change" section. Removed some hidden objects that were causing issues. Moved the instructions to a seperate tab.

Update: Revision 3.00.00 - 05/02/11
Added metric option to Intensity Points Table, and enhanced Intensity Points Calculator to include more input choices.
Enhanced Heart Rate Tweak Option to include Moderate, Advanced, and Aggressive scales.
Added Aproximation Tables for McMillan and Friel training guidelines.

Screen Shot

Download DanielsTables3-0.xls    

Runner's Projections v3.0

This is the predecessor to the DanielsTables sreadsheet above. It was written with QuicBasic and compiled for DOS. I have confirmed it runs in Win98, ME and XP. Users of other platforms will just have to try it.

I no longer use this program myself, and there will be no further updates. I'll maintain a download linke here primarily as a historical artifact. There is no mouse interface, strictly arrow key operation. The formulas used for these calculations are based on pace calculation information collected from several running books popular in the mid 80's. It does not take into consideration age, sex or weight. see the links below for several interesting calculators that make age/sex/weight graded calculations.

In addition to equivalent racing efforts, the program breaks out some rough guide lines outlining basic appropriate training levels given a specific racing performance. You can log your races in a simple text file that is easily edited by Windows Notepad. You can also get a nice race result print-out showing equivalent efforts for all distances.

Update - 02/14/06
The brand new 3.0 version of RunPro is now available. This version is powered by the Pete Riegel prediction formula, and offers the option to adjust the formula to fine tune RunPro's calculations. There are several additional enhancements, including the option to set the output of the training pace section to approximately model any of four separate coaching guidelines (Jack Daniels, Greg McMillan, Pete Pfitzinger, and Matt Fitzgerald).

Screen Shot

Here's a link to an example of the Race Log

To download, left click and save the following zip file to your PC. Read the short install.txt file for info on installing RunPro v3.0.

Download RunPro31.zip

Riegel Predictor (Excel 2002 Worksheet)

This Excel workbook features a Riegel powered Race Predictor tool similar to RunPro. It also has some interesting additional features, including a worksheet for calculating your own Riegel exponent (Rx), allowing you to fine tune the Predictor to your personal race profile. There are several additonal worksheets modeling some other popular coaches' prediction models, as well as modeling actual world record times. This provides an interesting means of analyzing how well these models correlate with each other. This file was developed in Excel 2002. No guarantees it will work with earlier versions of Excel.

Download RiegelPredictor.zip

The above spreadsheets and programs brought to you by - ElectricBlues.com

Good Reading

Daniels' Running Formula

There are many fine running books available, and I've read several. This is the one I most often refer to. Daniels manages to present fairly detailed and scientific information in a way that's reasonably easy to comprehend, and he covers all aspect of training necessary to become the best runner you can be. The heart of Daniels' program is his VDOT method, relative V02max values from which all training and racing paces can be derived.

Buy Daniels' Running Formula at Amazon.com.

Oxygen Power: Performance Tables for Distance Runners - by Jack Daniels and Jimmy Gilbert

Those of you familiar with Jack Daniels' VDOT method of training and race projections may be interested in the following info. Jack first introduced his VDOT method in 1979, in a spiral bound book he co-authored with Jimmy Gilbert entitled "Oxygen Power". This book is comprised mostly of a series of tables listing performance VDOT values incremented by .1 (yes, one tenth!). The tables list VDOT data for a wide array of metric and mile distances. However, there are no listings for training paces, as there are in his newer publications. In the back of Oxygen Power is an appendix section discussing the philosophy, formulas, and procedures used to generate the VDOT tables. This book has been out of print for some time, however, a plastic bound copy can be obtained by sending a check for $20 to the following address:

Jack Tupper Daniels
20 East Separation Canyon Trail
Flagstaff, AZ 86001

Arthur Lydiard's Athletic Training - by Arthur Lydiard
A Guide to the Brooks / American Track & Field Lydiard Running Lecture Tour in 1999
Courtesy of FitnessSports.com

This is a Lecture summary in book format in which Lydiard covers many aspects of his training methodology.

View the file in html:

or download the file in .pdf format:

Coaching Quotes and other Tidbits

Speedwork During Base Phase?

I asked Pro Coach Greg McMillan "what's the harm in doing speed work during the base phase?" Here's his reply:

"I'll fall back to Lydiard who learned that during aerobic base building it is not good to 'pull down the ph' as he stated it. The reason is that a large build up of lactic acid (lowering the ph in the cell) can destroy the aerobic enzymes - not what you want during this period of training. We also know from Lydiard that heavy anaerobic training cannot be sustained for long periods of time so it's better to only insert it at appropriate times."

Drink a Slim-Fast Shake after your Long Run

Also from Coach McMillan's website, this recovery tip:

"...researchers discovered that the enzyme, glycogen synthase, that turns carbohydrates from your food into glycogen for storage in your muscles is most active immediately after exercise. If you ingest carbohydrates soon after exercise, your muscles store two to three times as much glycogen than if you wait until you eat your post-workout meal, usually two to three hours later."

Get all the details at the following URL from McMillan's site:

An Interesting Twist on Marathon Training - By Greg McMillan
Article Publishing In Running Times - November 2006

Follow the link below to an article that turns traditional marathon training upside down.


Jack Daniels on Stride Rate

In his book "Daniels' Running Formula" (2nd edition), Jack Daniels suggests a stride rate of around 180 steps per minute. Being 6'2", and (at the time) having a much slower turnover (155-160), I wondered if such a quick turnover applied to all runners, regardless of height. Here's his reply:

"As for stride rate, even the 6-6 guy (who plaed 9th in the Olympic marathon, and was a subject of mine for many years) turned over at 180. On the other hand, I assume that some people may not be built to go that quickly, but I have not come in contact with one who was a good runner. Maybe that is a factor that has allowed some to be better than others? It does make sense that a very slow turnover produces more air time and harder foot falls, and possibly more chance of injury, than the shuffling stride you find you are doing when turning over that quickly. Nothing applies to everyone as to proper mechanics and proper training. Jack"

Needless to say, after reading that I worked on improving my stride rate!

The Minimal Effective Training Program - By Herm (Me!)

Want to train, but your job/life/family keep you really busy? Wonder what would be the least amount of time you could put in that would still result in good training results? You can get in surprisingly good shape on a 4 times per week schedule, training only 30 minutes most days. In the article linked below I offer my own suggestions for a 4 day schedule, designed after much personal experience, observation of others' experiences, and after reading a good many articles and books.

Minimal Training Schedule

SideNote: As an alternative to the plan offered above, which favors a predominance of easy running, seasoned runners seeking a more aggressive "few days per week" program can check out the FIRST system (Furman Institute of Running & Scientific Training), a 3x per week training schedule (plus crosstraining) modeled around 3 key workouts including an interval session, a tempo session, and a long run session. I have no personal experience with this program, so I can't comment on its effectiveness, but I would be concerned about injuries on a program that includes such a high ratio of fast running.

Effects of Excess Weight on Performance

Ever wonder how much a little extra baggage slows you down? There's a simple formula you can use to calculate a projected Daniels' VDOT fitness level based on a projected weight loss. Simply multiply your current weight by your current VDOT, then divide the result by your projected weight. For example, I currently weigh in at 195 lbs, and based on my most recent races at that weight my current VDOT is around 44. If I wanted to see what my projected VDOT would be if I were to lose 10 lbs, here's the formula...


As you can see, if I drop 10 lbs my VDOT would go up over two points! A 5k time at VDOT 44 is 22:14, while at VDOT 46 it's 21:24. That's a pretty significant improvement for simply losing 10 lbs. You can use one of the links provided farther down on this page to find your current VDOT and the projected races times of your weight adjusted VDOT. The formula works just as well with either pounds or kilograms.

This is only applicable for those with a little extra fat to lose. If so much weight is lost that muscle mass begins to diminish, race performances will suffer, not improve.

MAF - Dr. Philip Maffetone's Article on Aerobic Training
Want Speed? Slow Down!

Maffetone's 180 Formula (180-age, +/- an ajustment factor) for determining the ideal aerobic training heart rate results in very easy aerobic training paces, and lends support to the Hadd training method, covered in detail below. I believe strongly in the benefits of long bouts of purely aerobic training. Maffetone does caution that his recommended training pace will feel much too slow for many runners. Maffetone suggests it takes 3 months to build a good aerobic base.

My 180 Formula is 127 plus 5 points for 2 years or more of consistent training and racing. That's very close to the 135 bpm baseline recommended for me by Hadd. Interestingly, my typical training pace is currently 9 min/mile at a HR of 135bpm (73% of max), while my current 5k race pace is around 6:55-7:00. According to the MAF/5k comparison table near the bottom of Maffetone's article, a 9 min/mile relates to a 21:45/7:00 5k. Lines up pretty well, eh?

Hadd's Approach to Distance Training
A Base Training Plan with a Focus on Improving Lactate Threshold
[Download Hadd Article in Word Document] -

In an extremely long letsrun.com message thread from March 2003, Italian coach John Hadd (possibly an alias) explained his philosophies on endurance base training in painstaking detail. The underlying philosophy of Hadd's program that really grabbed my attention is the premise that not only is it OK to do lots of easy, gentle running, but in fact LOT's of EASY RUNNING IS A NECESSARY COMPONENT FOR ALL DISTANCE RUNNERS! This is not a new concept. Many, probably most coaches advocate training programs consisting of a majority of easy training miles. But Hadd's article is the one that got this concept to sink in for me.

The other major component of Hadd's program is Tempo Runs... long tempo runs of up to an hour at approximately marathon pace two to three times per week for many weeks..... between 12 and 20 weeks depending on the starting level of fitness.

As an injury rehab program, I began a modified version of Hadd's approach in July 2005 (way fewer miles and more easy/off days). Despite using a heavily watered down version, over the next four months I experienced significant improvements in my conditioning and some of the best, most enjoyable running since reviving my commitment to training two years ago. For me, accepting the notion that lots of easy running is not a waste of time, but rather a key ingredient of a successful training program, allowed me to train much more comfortably, while still feeling satisfied that I was doing beneficial training. All that easy running also allowed a chronic two year old knee issue to heal. I'm sold on Hadd's approach, and anxious to begin a more complete implementation, which I plan to do early Summer 2006.

Mr. Hadd, if you're out there and you run across this page, please drop me a line at .
I'd sure like to thank you personally for sharing your approach to distance training!

Training Update - 05/01/06

The proof of any plan is in the results.
To the right are my times for 5k & 10k
pre and post Hadd:
DistanceBefore Hadd
After Hadd

While those improvements aren't dramatic, it's important to note I was dealing with a 2 year old, persistent, nagging knee problem. Following a highly modified version of Hadd's principles (much reduced work load), I was able to recover from the knee issue AND improve my 5k and 10k race times.

For the May 2006 - April 2007 season, I embarked on a full fledged Hadd based training program. Still watered down from Hadd's program in terms of mileage (50-60mpw rather than 100+ mpw), I did follow his program as closely as possible in terms of workout types. For anyone interested, below is a link to my real-time, detailed account of this season as it unfolded.

My 2006-2007 Hadd Season - Detailed Account

Below are a couple of links to a an analysis and somewhat counter-view of Hadd's paper.

An analysis of Hadd's Approach to distance training.
Part II - Mitrochondria.

Links to Running Info

Racing Statistics (World Records, etc)
International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF.org) Index of World Records.
Running USA's searchable index of Road Racing records.
Association of Road Racing Statistics (ARRS) - Tons of statistics.

Online Performance Calculators
Pro Coach Greg McMillan's Running Calculator
Features extensive racing and workout calcs. One of the most comprehensive calculators on the 'net.

Runworks.com's VDOT Calculator
Produces a breakout of equivelant race efforts and training paces based on Jack Daniels' VDOT Tables.
Includes a useful collection of additional calculations for altitude, temperature, elevation profiles,
windspeeds, and a range of treadmill inclines.

Another nice Daniels' VDOT Calculator by the folks at AttackPoint.org

Run-down.com's Performance Predictors
Shows individual results and averages from four different models:
Purdy, MaxVO2, Dave Cammeron, and Pete Riegel.

Santa Clarita Runners Race and Training Pace Calculator.
Merv's Running Calculator - Includes equivalency conversions from road to treadmill.
MarathonGuide.com's Fitness Calcs - Includes age/sex equivalency and nutrition calcs.

HillRunner.com's Treadmill Conversion Chart
shows equivalent efforts for various combinations of pace and incline.

Age and Weight Grading Calculators
Howard Grub's' World Association of Veteran Athletes (WAVA) Age Grade Calculator (2006 facors)
Calulates equivalent times across all ages. Allows comparisons of performances at different ages.

RunCoach's Advanced Calculator
Calculates age/weight graded performance equivalents
compared to past times based on current age and weight.
(Input past times and program calculates current equivalents based on age and weight)

Flyer Handicap Calculator
Works in the opposite direction as RunCoach's calculator...
Age/weight grades a current 5k time as compared to 25 year old, 143 lb male (110lb female)
(Input current 5k time, will calculate equivalent time of fit and trim 25 year old athelete)

Boston's Heartbreak Hill Striders Age Graded Calculator

Jack Daniels

Jack Daniels' discussion of Endurance Training Principles.
Sort of a condensed version of what's in his book, "Daniels' Running Formula".

Larry Simpspn's detailed discussion of Jack Daniels' VDOT Formula. - (Very deep stuff).

Joe Friel

Joe Friel's Quick Guide to Training with Heart Rate, Power, and Pace (PDF file)

Description of Joe Friel's Training Zones based on Anaerobic Threshold Heart Rate

Joe's discussion of his 7 Basic Training Assumptions. So simple, yet so profound.

Joe Friel's discussion on Crash Training, a method of improving performance through supercomensation

Aerobic, Anaerobic, Lactate Threshold

Masters Athelete Physiology and Performance (MAPP)
A comprehensive site maintained by research oriented exercise physiologist Stephen Seiler.
Lot's of great info in here, tho it gets pretty involved. A couple of pages to get you started:
Explanations of  Lactate Threshold   and  V02max

Another explanation of Anaerobic Threshold
(Yeah, understanding the concept of Lactate Threshold is important)

Good 2009 Running Times article discussing the Balance between Aerobic & Anaerobic Training.
Includes a table that shows the results of two studies (one from 1990's and one from 2001)
outlining the aerobic/anaerboic percentages of common race distances.

This Combined Zone & Critical Zone Training Regimes
article is more of a summary outline of training priciples. It's sketchy and lacks detail,
explanation but does include tables showing aerobic/anaerobic breakdown of race distances.

Excel Worksheet showing a table of Aerobic/Anaerobic Breakdown of Events
taken from Peter Coe's "Better Training for Distance Runners".

Marathon Training Plans

Pfitzinger 55 mile / 18wk Marathon Plan.

Pfitzinger 70 mile / 18wk Marathon Plan.

Hal Higdon's Novice to Advanced Marathon Plans.
(Hal has free training plans for every race distance imaginable on his site).

Other Neat Links and Info

How long does it take to Recover / Benefit from a hard workout?
Good Running Times article supported by the training philosophies of Pete Pfitzinger.

Download link to Greg Maclin's very cool Training/Racing HR Spreadsheet.
User inputs Max and Resting HR, spreadsheet calcs HR ranges for wide array of racing/training paces.

Heart Rate Training Zone Calculator
Calculates both straight percent and Karvonen formula based on your inputs.

FIRST Training Method
Don't want to train 5-7 days a week, or just don't have the time? Check this out.
Train for marathons (or I suppose shorter distances as well) on three days a week.
I'm neither advocating or discounting this method, just presenting the option.

Map My Run     Gmaps Pedometer
Trace any route on a Google.com style map and calculate the distance. Amazingly accurate! (Who needs GPS?)