On A Runner’s Mathematical Prowess

I chuckle as it dawns on me that an unexpected benefit of my running has been the vast improvement of my mental acuity via mathematical calculations. While racing and even now, two and a half weeks away from my next race, I find myself perpetually performing relatively complex equations based on varying contingencies.

If Runner A (i.e., me) ran the first 10 kilometres of his race at a rate of 5:15 per kilometre, what pace would he need to run the balance of The Around The Bay Road Race to finish the 30 kilometres in 2:45?

Runner A (again, me), completes the first 20 kilometres of his race in 1:45. If he were to slow to an average pace of 5:45 per kilometre for the next 5 kilometres of hill climbing, what pace would he need to average in the final 5 kilometres to still finish his race in under 2:50? To finish under 2:45?

Runner A (still me) completes his final long run before tapering. He runs a relatively hilly course to simulate race day conditions, completing 27 kilometres in 2:29:58.9. Assuming with tapering and race day adrenaline that he were able to increase his speed by 7% on race day, how fast will he be able to run 30 kilometres?

I’ve done all the math. And although a new PB is not likely, I am happy to find that in each contingency I should be able to better my time from last year.

Here’s to finding out!

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4 comments

  1. I used to constantly do mental mathematics while running, to the point my coach could tell I was thinking too hard. He told me I was wasting my race energy on my calculations. I try not to do it now, but it happens!
    Good luck on your pb!

    1. So I’m not alone? GOOD 🙂 Thanks for your well wishes and for passing on your coach’s advice. I wonder if Runner A stopped calculating how fast he would be?

  2. Ha, I can only do mental math when I’m not running. The further I’m running, the worse my math skills get. Once during a half marathon I went past 19k and spent several minutes convinced I still had 3 km left to run.

    Good luck at ATB! Crossing my fingers for good weather.

    1. LOL! Well the good side of that is that at least you weren’t underestimating the distance you had left.

      I noticed you did a write up on your blog on ATB. Gotta make sure I read it!

      Good luck to you too Emma 😀

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