Friday, August 3, 2012

Do the Math

Running is supposed to be simple.    Lace up your shoes,  put one foot in front of the other, repeat as often as necessary.  So what’s with all the calculations?

I’ve been running according to heart rate using MAF Formula.

The math is easy.

The MAF 180 Formula:
To find the maximum aerobic heart rate:
1. Subtract your age from 180 (180 - age)
2. Modify this number by selecting a category below that best matches your health profile:
a. If you have, or are recovering from, a major illness (heart disease, high blood pressure, any operation or hospital stay, etc.) or you are taking medication, subtract an additional 10.
b. If you have not exercised before or have been training inconsistently or injured, have not recently progressed in training or competition, or if you get more than two colds or bouts of flu per year, or have allergies, subtract an additional 5
c. If you've been exercising regularly (at least four times weekly) for up to two years without any of the problems listed in a or b, keep the number (180 - age) the same.
d. If you have been competing for more than two years duration without any of the problems listed above, and have improved in competition without injury, add 5.
For example, if you are 50-ish years old and fit into category b: 180 - 50 = 130, then  130 - 5 = 125.

Easy Peasy, right?

Then what about these other guys with math degrees?

Like the McMillan Pace Calculator, you type in your current race time for a given distance, and the calculator will predict your pace for other distances.   I f your best 5K run took 25 minutes, the calculator shows you that your 8:04 minutes-per-mile pace translates to about an 8:38 minutes-per-mile pace in the 10K. At that pace, you could run a 56 minute 10K, which means you’re probably capable of running a 9:19 minutes-per-mile pace on average in the marathon, assuming you’ve put in the miles and trained for it. (Or about a 4:04 marathon.)  Works in theory doesn’t it?
Then  there’s  Jack Daniels, who introduced the concept of assigning intensity points to workouts.  Jack was either a NASA scientist or consumed way too much of his namesake beverage.

His formula looks a little something like this:

I = 0.2989558e-0.1932605t + 0.1894393e-0.012778t + 0.8

Now I’m not really much of a math person, so this formula may looks a little intimidating at first. The "e" represents what is called the Euler's constant. Because it is a constant, it is always equal to 2.7182.

The "t" is the amount of time that a human can run at the calculated intensity. And finally the "I" is the intensity that is expressed as a percentage of a person's maximum oxygen uptake capacity. 

Or you can just download the spreadsheet here and all the Einstein stuff is done for you.   All you need is just the basic facts.  Age, height, weight, some basic heart rate info, and a recent 5K time.

Quite simply, I’m all for just cranking up the tunes and summing it up like this.

Cover up your face
You can't run the race
The pace is too fast
You just won't last

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