If you are reading this just to find your VDOT Training paces (easy, marathon, tempo, interval, or repetition), scroll down to the calculator. If you want to learn what those terms mean and how to use them for your training, read on!
Effort-Based or Pace-Specific?
There is also the advantage that you can prescribe workouts to athletes based off of pace without needing to specify what that pace is for everyone. If a runner knows their VDOT (based off recent race performance) they will be able to identify their Easy, Marathon, Tempo, Interval, and Repeat paces at a variety of distances. When a coach tells a group of XC runners to do 10x 400m at Interval pace, each athlete will be able to know what their time should be based off of their associated VDOTs.
The VDOT Training Paces, Defined
“Easy” pace is easy enough that you can hold a conversation and exert relatively low effort. This pace is used for aerobic development. Think Heart Rate Zones 1 & 2 (59-74% of Heart Rate max)
“Marathon” pace is a moderate pace used for steady runs or longer repeats. You should be able to talk, but may be labored. Think Heart Rate Zone 3 (89% Heart Rate max)
“Threshold“ pace is meant to improve muscular endurance and anaerobic threshold. It may be challenging to talk. Think Heart Rate Zone 4 (88-92% Heart Rate max)
“Interval” pace is not all out pace. Intervals are meant to improve VO2 max (or velocity at VO2 max at least) and should be 3-5 min in duration with a set recovery time. Think upper Zone 4 to lower Zone 5 ( 98-100% Heart Rate Max)
“Repetition” pace is designed to help you feel comfortable at faster paces. This will vary based on the distance that you are training for and is therefore not associated with heart rate max often.