Review: Jack Daniels’ Running Calculator

A new, easy-to-use tool gives specific pace recommendations from the popular running coach. 

The weather has taken a turn recently in San Diego and cold, wet, windy conditions have made training interesting to say the least. Not wanting to take any chances in re-injuring my knee, I’ve been using the Jack Daniels’ Running Calculator to determine my training paces for various workouts and have been careful to stay within Jack’s recommended pace ranges. Plugging in my half-marathon time from last month, and factoring in the 15 mph headwinds we were dealing with here last weekend, I was surprised to find out that for my most recent long run I should be running nearly two minutes per mile slower than my usual long run pace in perfect conditions! Looking back, the recommendation worked out perfectly, and prevented me from falling victim to running too fast in the windy conditions.

The online version of Daniels’ popular running calculator was revealed recently by the Run S.M.A.R.T. Project, an organization which provides coaching services and customized training plans written by Daniels, the legendary coach who guided Cortland State runners to eight NCAA Division III National Championships, 31 individual national titles, and more than 130 All-America awards. He has also coached numerous elite athletes to the Olympic Trials and is famous for writing Daniels’ Running Formula, a 1998 book outlining his unique training philosophies which are based on a variety of different training intensities.

By inputting a recent race time into the calculator, you are given paces appropriate to your current fitness level, allowing your body to handle just the right amount of stress while facilitating improvement.

“It’s a great tool to prevent overtraining and help people train at the right intensity each day,” says Brian Rosetti, founder of the Run S.M.A.R.T. Project.

Not just taking in consideration recent race times, the calculator also uses factors such as temperature, wind speed and altitude to determine training paces, such as it did for me last weekend. For example, if a runner is planning on running at 6,000 feet of elevation in the summer where it is typically 85 degrees and dry, the calculator can determine threshold, easy and interval paces for those conditions.

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“The key is that the calculator tells you what your appropriate training paces should be because most runners we encounter train too hard—they think that running faster more often is better,” says Rosetti. “But everyone has an individual pace.”

Rosetti also says it’s a great tool for new runners who aren’t sure what reasonable goals are for distances that have raced yet. By plugging in a recent 5K time they can calculate a realistic half-marathon or 10K goal time. Play around with your own paces at www.runsmartproject.com/calculator.

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