Not that Jack Daniels! The other one – legendary running coach Dr. Jack Daniels. I was introduced to the running coach J.D. years ago from a run expert who was helping me train for my second full marathon. My first marathon was not disciplined as far as pacing, nutrition, or strategy. Needless to say, I “hit the wall” hard with many miles to spare & blew up in a haze of glory 🙂
The second time training for the marathon was much better – I joined a running club which had knowledgeable coaches & a support system of runners with similar paces. One day, I asked the run expert what my ideal finishing time should be for the full marathon distance. The reply was, “look up Jack Daniels’ calculator.” So I searched this new concept.
Who is Jack Daniels?
In the running world, J.D. is considered one of the pioneers and foremost experts in USA running. At age 83 today, he still has the stamina to coach full-time at the college level and advise Olympic hopefuls. At J.D.’s own athletic peak, he competed in the 1956 & 1960 Summer Olympics in the Pentathlon event winning Silver and Bronze medals, respectively.
J.D. went on to the academic route and became a professor of Exercise Science. During his research, he developed the VDOT calculator with his fellow colleagues. VDOT stands for VO2 Max.
The calculator is able to determine projected finishing times for certain running distances & provides guidance for the optimal pacing during training runs. The best calculator that I have found and continue to use is HERE with a screenshot of the calculator below.
How the calculator works
In the example of the screenshot, I inputted my actual best time for the 1-mile distance (5:20 minutes) which I ran during the 2nd marathon training cycle. Based as the 1-mile time, the VDOT calculator projected my Full marathon time as 2:56:01 (FYI – my personal best is 3:04:14). In addition the calculator lists training paces that I should target, ranging from Easy to Interval speeds.
Really, the intention of the calculator is to help provide the best training paces based on an actual timed distance. Meaning, I must input an actual 1-mile time, NOT inputting a 1-mile time that I WISH for. By putting a “wish” time, this causes a risk of injury if you attempt to train at the suggest training paces.
Of course the calculator does not guarantee a sub-3 hour marathon, given conditions varies race by race. In the case when I completed a half-marathon in the same training cycle, my actual finish time was faster than what the VDOT calculator stated (1:22:56 Actual finish vs. 1:24:18 VDOT projected).
If you are training for longer distances, I highly recommend the VDOT calculator that has been proven to work. The calculator has been used by professionals, Olympians, and amateurs alike to train at each person’s optimal pace. Happy Running!
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