Jack Daniels anyone?

The last couple of days I have been thinking about my training and looking at getting a schedule together. I keep on buying running books but very rarely actually read them. This is about to change!

For years now I have heard many runners talk about the Jack Daniels formula book, for those of you who don't know about this book, its the runners training bible. Not the drink (although I do like a JD and coke now and again, but not while training). 

Training for most of us is a bit of guess work, how fast should an easy run be, how hard should a threshold run be etc. Jack Daniels, Ph.D, has put together a formula which tells you your optimal training paces, all you need is a recent race time and you can then either check out his book or visit many websites on the net that do the calculations for you. One such website is Runbayou, the higher your VDOT the higher your fitness. Your VDOT is the maximum amount of oxygen you consume during a minute of running, so the more oxygen you can take in, the better your running should be.

With this in mind, I went down to Edinburgh parkrun yesterday morning and went to see how my 5km time is doing just now. I have had a poor week of running, work has been really busy and I've been too tired to think about going out for a run. I got myself on to the start line and off we went, the first mile felt really comfortable and I got a bit of a shock when my I checked my pace and I ran the first mile in 5:29min/mi pace! If I could hold on to that pace I would be on for a PB but alas, it wasn't to be and I'm not surprised. I came round and in to the second mile in 5:46min/mi and the final mile, which I found really hard was in 6:04min/mi pace. The final 0.14mi was covered at a pace of 4:54min/mi! That was mostly due to the fact a small group of guys came from nowhere on to my shoulder and I wasn't going to let them beat me. Ok, one of them got ahead but all in all, I was really pleased with my run. Think I should have paced it a bit better but I am tempted to just keep on going out hard and then trying to improve the other 2 miles. 

I know its a 5km race, but I work in miles on my watch and in my head. I tried racing in kilometres but I found it difficult. Don't know why, I guess I have just always ran in minutes per mile. I finished 8th overall which I was also really happy with. Was sitting in 5th for quite a bit of the race but that last mile really took its toll, maybe it was the first mile that took its toll and the last mile was to be expected.

With the finish time of 18:01 that gives me a VDOT of 56 which means I get the following training paces:

Easy pace: 7:48min/mi
Marathon pace: 6:37min/mi
Threshold pace
400m - 1:33min
800m - 3:06min
1000m - 3:53min
1mi - 6:15min

Interval pace:
400m - 1:26min
1000m - 3:34min
1200m - 4:18min

Repetition pace:
200: 39seconds
400: 80seconds

I am going to put a training plan together and use these values for training. Then maybe once a month head down to parkrun and see how my fitness is coming along, unless I have another race planned which I can use. Ideally the race should be done in near perfect conditions but you can adjust your VDOT depending on the weather or the course terrain.

Will see how I get on. Does anyone else use the VDOT for training??

Owain Williams

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