Tuesday, July 8, 2008

My Beef with McMillan...

I can think of a couple people who frequent this blog that are going to totally disagree with me. In fact, one that I can think of is actually doing a custom plan by McMillan himself. But, his math just doesn't quite work for me.

My contention is that I'm a better short distance runner. I'm built better for it. Or perhaps, I'm not built well for long distance. Others will tell you that you need to "train for the distance". I think that is a funny statement. It seems to imply that I am doing 5k training to run a half marathon. Huh? Really? I'm totally not doing that. I train for the distance.

Also, I'm totally willing to concede the full marathon as a distance I have not trained "well" for yet. So, throw that result out. But, in looking back at my half marathon during my full marathon training (read: trained for the distance), I ran a 1:54:55. If you plug that into McMillan, it gives you a 5k equivalent of 24:52. At that point (in fact well before that), I had already run a 23:15. Well ahead of the equivalent performance.

So, what gives? I don't know. Am I just not at a point where my running has been consistent enough to fall in a good range for McMillan's calculator? Or, am I on to something? Could some people be freaks (read: me)? If you know me at all, you know that I'm a freak. So, that's a definite possibility.

So, what do you think? Am I crazy? Let me first say that I love the calculator. I just wish the results were more consistent for me. Or, I was more consistent for the results.


kchealy said...

I think I'm just the opposite of you - a better long distance runner than short. I always find shorter races and shorter intervals harder than longer races/intervals, and my times reflect that. According to the calculator, based on my half marathon times, I should be able to run the mile a good 20 seconds faster than I've actually ever managed to.

cymrusteve said...

i think i'm the freak :) (enter the one actually doing a custom plan by McMillan)

my race times at the moment are pretty accurate across the board from the mile to the marathon. however, it hasn't always been like this.

if i look back at my 5k times from the late 90's, McMillan predicted a sub 2:56 marathon time - something i never achieved until 7 years and many marathon attempts later.

personally, i think it took me quite a while to work out what works and doesn't work for me in marathon training and now i think of myself as a better marathon runner than 5k runner - the longer the better as far as i'm concerned.

if it's any consolation the calculator doesn't do anything for my wife either, but then again she'll be the first to admit she never trains properly for a marathon.

sorry for the complete non-answer, but at least i don't totally disagree with you eh?

cyberpenguin said...

Interesting post.

Regarding your running type, I think I'm very much like you in that respect: I also seem to be built for power & speed for the shorter distances. Of course, I'll let you know if that needs to revised after I finish my first several 10 milers. The data has yet to be collected for those. ;-)

Just out of curiosity, how many marathons have you run total? Have you used McMillan calculations for any of your previous marathon times? If so, how close did you come to any of those previous predictions?