I was a math major in college. There was something comforting about numbers and formulas; there was always one right answer, nothing to be argued or evaluated subjectively. (In upper level math courses, where there are more Greek letters than numbers, this falls apart, but I digress.)
When it comes to running, I still love crunching numbers—the weekly total, the paces nailed, the amount of miles on my shoes—but in running, at least, I’ve come to have a serious problem with formulas: running calculators. Specifically, those race equivalency calculators that tell you if you run X pace for a 5K, you should be able to run Y for a 10K and Z for a half. They spit out what seems like a nice, tidy answer, but it isn’t always right.
If you are just starting out and have no idea how much you might slow down for a longer distance or speed up for a shorter one, they can be useful tools. They are based on lots of data, averages from thousands of runners. But they don’t represent every runner. Especially this one. Read more >>