Pace Key

Understanding the terms in your schedules

Posted: 6 May 2002

Running at different paces will not only add variety to your training, it’s also the most effective way to enhance your overall performance. Short, fast bursts will improve your racing sharpness and your body’s capacity to pump blood and oxygen to your muscles; easing off the accelerator over longer distances will build muscle-strength and prime your body for the loading demands of prolonged exercise.

Understanding the purpose of each workout is key to maximising the benefits of our training schedules, especially if you need to shuffle sessions around within the week to suit your other commitments. Completing hard workouts on consecutive days, for example, will leave you exhausted and more susceptible to injury - instead, it’s important to follow each hard day with an easier session to allow your body time to recover.

Spend a minute familiarising yourself with the training terms in the pace guide below so you know just how hard you should be pushing yourself during each workout. Then, either check out our training-pace calculator for a better indication of how these intensities translate in practice (calculated from a recent race time) or read our ultimate guide to heart-rate training for the most objective way of monitoring your progress.


  • Jog recovery – a period of extremely slow running (barely above walking pace) in between the efforts in a speed session.
  • Easy – a gentle jog at below 60% working heart rate (WHR). Running at this intensity will help your body recover between harder workouts, while still building your aerobic fitness and muscle-strength.
  • Slow – conversational pace (60-65% WHR). This is the speed at which you should do your long runs - it might feel awkward at first, but it’s better to hold back initially and last the distance than set off too fast and burn out just a few miles later.
  • Steady – a comfortable, but purposeful, pace, similar to your marathon pace (65-75% WHR). The ‘steady’ run helps teach your body economy, and also familiarises you with the speed you should set off on marathon day. After a few runs at this pace, make a note of your target heart rate as you’ll really need to stick to your guns in the first few miles of the marathon and avoid getting caught in a rush.
  • Threshold (THR), or Brisk – around your target half-marathon pace (85% WHR). 'Brisk' sometimes refers to half-marathon pace while 'threshold' refers to 10-mile pace. Often described as feeling 'comfortably hard', aim to hit about an 8 on a perceived-exertion scale of 10.
  • Fast – your 5K or 10K pace, depending on the distance of the speedwork reps (85-95% WHR). Try to hit your 5K pace for reps measuring up to 400m, and your 10K pace for reps between 800m and 1M in length.
  • Fartlek – an easy pace, with fast bursts as you wish (70-85+% WHR).

To calculate your working heart rate, subtract your resting heart rate from your maximum; take the appropriate percentage of this figure, and then add it to your resting rate to find your target training rate.

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Discuss this article

What is a Jog Recovery?

Can anyone help me out?
Posted: 14/01/2005 at 13:39

I want to know this too
Posted: 14/01/2005 at 14:24

jog recovery is also used when doing hill training - sprint up a steep hill (anything upto 50m), then gentle jog back to start post
Posted: 14/01/2005 at 15:08

A little bit more than walking - a chance to get your breath back and recover, but keep the legs moving so you don't cool down or start to stiffen up.

Perhaps very slow running whilst you get your breath back would be more accurate.
Posted: 14/01/2005 at 16:05

during the jog recovery it's important your heart rate drops to a comfortable level, then you have it large again during your interval! failiure to take sufficient recovery means you won't be able to go as hard which will make the session less worthwhile
Posted: 14/01/2005 at 16:20

Thanks everyone I just wanna make completely sure I've got this right. If I'm susposed to do
1Mile jog, then
3x 1Mile jog recoveries then
1Mile jog

I jog 1M easy then
Run a 1M harder
have a recovery jog until my heart rate drops, then
Run 1M harder
Run 1M harder
Jog 1M easy then...
Die at my doorstep!

Is that about right?
Posted: 14/01/2005 at 17:05

Thank you so much EP really appreciate the guideance :)
Posted: 14/01/2005 at 18:20

Thanks Guys,

I thought I had lost the plot!

Posted: 14/01/2005 at 19:40

Have just logged on and found what I wanted, did not know what a Jog Recovery was, many thanks to you all.
Happy running from a beginner.
Posted: 14/01/2005 at 20:20

Thank goodness I'm not the only one who didn't understand the schedule.
I was just going to ask the same question.
Thanks to everone who replied.
Posted: 17/01/2005 at 19:20

Hi, found it hard trying to run slow even though I am a beginner. Ran my first 7miles last Sunday, felt great untill I remembered that I will have to keep going for another 19 on the day. Am signed up for the Edinburgh Marathon but finding these schedules great, although a bit confusing at times.
Hope you are all enjoying your training!!!
Posted: 18/01/2005 at 18:52

I'm using the RW Marathon Training Speedwork Schedules (available online or as a weekly email) Eg. Marathon Sub 3:30 pace says 1M jog, then 4 x 1M jog recoveries, then 1M jog.

What's the time/distance/% Working Heart Rate for the jog recoveries?


Posted: 21/01/2005 at 10:52

Should I assume a jog recovery is 400m?
Posted: 24/01/2005 at 14:35

I am following the weekly email schedules too, but I found that if you actually click on to the full marathon schedules hotlink, it takes you not only to the full schedule, but it also gives you it in a lot more detail -

Eg I think the run you refer to above is in this schedule:-

Week Three
Mon 4M (35+ mins) easy
Tue 1M jog, then 4 x 1M (or 7 mins) fast, with 400m (3-min) jog recoveries, then 1M jog
Wed 7M (58-61 mins) slow
Thu 4M (approx 32 mins) steady
Fri Rest
Sat 5M (44+ mins) easy
Sun 13M (1hr 48 – 1hr 54) slow

If you've got a pace calculator (eg I use you can convert any of these sessions to an actual guide pace.

I always convert my schedule using these full details so I have an idea of exactly what sort of pace I should be running all the sessions, be that speed, long runs or the vaguely worded "easy" "brisk" etc etc (but then I am very sad!!).

Hope this helps.
Posted: 25/01/2005 at 07:17

The RW Ultimate marathon schedules do give you more details, ie times which give you some idea as to what you should be achieving, even though they are dated 2000!!
and they do explain more about the speedwork, which for a novice like me is invaluable/
Posted: 27/01/2005 at 21:47

Great there is no excuse to miss those sessions!
Posted: 28/01/2005 at 21:10

i have a confusion to add to this... where it tells you how to calculate ur pace: easy, slow etc, in relation to WHR,is this the target Training rate? it says:
"To calculate your working heart rate, subtract your resting heart rate from your maximum; take the appropriate percentage of this figure, and then add it to your resting rate to find your target training rate." i dont understand if for the different paces, you add the resting HR back on after you have done the %. Do i understand that the "target training rate" is the % with the resting rate added back on? I am confused whether the WHR is just the Max - Resting, or whether its: Max - resting, then the % then add resting back on?!
Posted: 23/01/2006 at 15:35

Worked example

resting HR 50
max HR 200
working HR 200-50=150

60% : 50+ 60%(150)=50+90=140
70% : 50+ 70%(150)=50+105=155
80% : 50+ 80%(150)=50+120=170
90% : 50+ 90%(150)=50+135=185
100% : 50+ 100%(150)=50+150=200

Posted: 23/01/2006 at 15:56

THANK YOU!! I was suddenly confused there!
Posted: 23/01/2006 at 16:02

Over the years I've done a few half marathons (when I've felt like it!) and for the first time this year the Dublin marathon. I still consider myself a beginner though as I'm quite slow (and old!). I've always ignored all the stuff about taking and using heart rates and I normally run/exercise - when I feel tired I stop, or slow down. So, how important is all this heart rate stuff!! Instinctively I feel it should be!
Posted: 22/11/2006 at 22:38

i am hoping to just get around the marathon, and am wondering what 60-70 mins; run 2-3 mins, walk 2, actually means. does it mean i run 2 or 3 mins, then walk 2 as many times as possible in 70 mins, maybe i'm just stupid.
Posted: 19/12/2006 at 23:31

I am confused, I am following the sub 4 hr marathon schedule and am happy with the pace indicators but now I you are going on about jog and jog recovery. Can someone help with the pace on these please.

Posted: 07/01/2007 at 20:31

From the pace guide- an example: 4 x 1 mile at tempo run pace with 2 minutes of recovery jogging between efforts. It gives a tempo pace for a 4hr marathon @ 8:34 or a 3:50 @ 8:13
(If you're unsure about pace, the goal is to run the final fast stint as strongly as the first one, coming home feeling you've used almost every ounce of energy you have.)
Posted: 15/01/2007 at 13:03

David Weir is a top class wheelchair athlete.......?
Posted: 28/12/2008 at 19:32

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