Running can be a numbers game. When you finish a race, you’re rewarded with an official time. That individual time is made up of multiple splits that you can divide and divide and divide, giving you the play-by-play of how you ran your race.
As a result, it’s so easy to get caught up in the data. Gone are the simpler days of a 30-minute run by feel guided by the stopwatch on your Timex Ironman. In a world where “Strava or it didn’t happen” exists, runners rarely leave the house without syncing their GPS watches to a satellite so their followers can see where they run. (It’s not always a bad thing to keep your training to yourself.)
And then there are the situations where you don’t have your watch fully charged before a run, and your device bonks out before you’ve logged double digits. Worse yet, you forget to place your watch or phone in your gym bag. This leaves you guessing about just how fast you ran for the duration of your run.
Never fear! With a little math (and our helpful tool) you’ll be able figure out your pace for any run—or the pace you’ll want to run to hit a goal time. Just follow our pace calculator instructions, and plug your data into the pace tool above.
What this tool does: Our running pace calculator tells you how fast you ran for a given duration and distance. You supply two of the variables—pace, distance, and time—and the calculator produces the missing one.
Why use it: This tool is vital when you don’t have access to GPS data or are too tired from training to do math. Who doesn’t like to know how fast or far they’re going? It can seriously help plan tempo runs or race paces.
Also fun: Input time and distance from elite races to see what pace the pros hold for several miles, and ponder how far you could run at that pace. (Your jaw might drop when you see Eliud Kipchoge’s world record pace.)
How to use it: Enter two of the following variables: pace, distance, and time. The calculator will supply the missing variable. For example, if you enter a distance of 5 miles and a time of 47:15, the calculator will give a per-mile pace of 9:27.
If you’re planning to do a tempo run, the tool can help you get a sense of what your pace should be. Say you decide to go for a 3 mile tempo run. Simply put in your goal pace and the mileage you’re looking to hit, and you’ll get your goal time. If you’re running a half marathon and have set a goal time, you can type the race distance and pace to get your finish time.
Note: The calculator answers in terms of the variables you choose. So if you enter variables of 5 kilometers and 30:00, the pace provided will be 6:00 per kilometer.
Don’t get too tied to pace: Perceived effort is often going to be more important than pace or time. If you normally do your runs at 8-minute pace, but it’s a really humid day, or its raining, or its snowing—you could be running the same effort it would take to run an 8 minute mile even though you may actually be running slower.
It’s key to remember that while numbers are important, they’re not everything; listen to your body, be aware of the conditions you can’t control, and most importantly have fun while you run!