Marathon Pace Calculator

by S. Scott Zimmerman

Here's how to use the Marathon Pace Calculator. If you don't understand any of these instructions or have other questions, please e-mail the author at scott@zimtech.org.

What Is MPC?

Marathon Pace Calculator is a programmed Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet that calculates pace and splits based on a given marathon time. To calculate your pace for each mile (or kilometer) and your mile (km) splits, you type your projected marathon time (PMT) into the cyan-colored cell, and the spreadsheet automatically calculates the average pace and the splits for each mile (km).

In addition, if your planned marathon has certain miles (km) in which you expect to run faster or slower than the average, you can type a projected mile (km) pace (PMP) into the yellow cell that corresponds to the mile at variance from the others.

How to Use MPC

To use MPC, do the following:

  1. Run Microsoft Excel and then open the file Marathon Pace Calculator Update 2. Your screen should look something like the figure below. If you want your splits in kilometers, click the tab labeled "Pace Chart Kilometers" at the bottom of the window. Also not that the latest version of the chart includes your split at the 10K point and at the half-marathon point.
  2.  
  3. If necessary, click the mouse pointer on the cyan-colored cell near the top middle part of the sheet to select that cell. You are now ready to type your PMT.
  4. Type your projected marathon pace (PMT) in the format hour:minutes:seconds. For example, if your PMT is 3:45:00, type 3:45:00.
  5. If you want to run an even-paced marathon, make sure all the yellow cells are blank. If necessary, drag the mound pointer from cell A4 down to the lowest yellow cell, and press the Delete key. The figure above shows an even-paced 3:45 marathon. Notice that, in the upper right corner, the average pace appears. The column labeled "Splits" gives you the projected times at each mile. Off to the right, the splits for the 10K and half marathon appear, but are not shown in this figure.
  6. If you expect to run certain miles slower than the average, perhaps because of an uphill grade or because you slow down during the final 5 miles, or if you expect to run certain miles faster than the average, perhaps because of a downhill grade, then click the mouse pointer in the desired yellow cell to the left of the mile in which you want to change your pace. (If you're dealing in kilometers, substitute "km" for "miles" in this paragraph.)
  7. Type the desired pace into the yellow cell using the format hour:minutes:seconds. You must include the hour position, even though the mile pace is (almost) always in the minutes range. For example, if there is a steep uphill section over miles 14 and 15 that you think you will run at a 9:45 pace, type 0:09:45 into each of those cells. The results appear as follows:

Notice that now, in the "Pace This Mile (Min)" column, the pace for miles 14 and 15 have changed to those you typed in the yellow cells, and the other pace values have automatically adjusted so that the marathon time is still 3:45. As you can see, to achieve a 3:45 marathon, you have to run the other miles at a 8:29 pace, a bit faster than the overall average of 8:35.

Good luck!