Zone Calculator Road vs Track | 80/20 Endurance

# Zone Calculator Road vs Track

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• #9337
Charles
Participant

I finished the 5K plan today, and since I had to run virtual I took my road race to the track. I crushed my road times by almost two minutes.

I’ve been using races vs tests to estimate LT Pace. I almost exclusively run either cross-country or road races and use the 80/20 Zone Calculator to adjust my next training segment.

Flat track, no obstacles, and ultra-lite racing flats. Track and Road are two different animals.

My running has improved, but how do I use this information? I’m inclined to use one of the age-grade calculators and slow the pace to a road equivalent, but I tend to the lazy…

#9348
Matt Fitzgerald
Keymaster

Hi Charles,

Congratulations on your PR! With respect to your question, something is amiss. As a runner with vast experience on both tracks and roads, I can tell you that the track is only slightly faster than a good road course. I’m wondering if there was a measurement issue. Did you run 12.5 laps around a 400-meter track?

Coach Matt

#9354
Charles
Participant

You ask a fair question Coach.

I ran the outside lane to avoid other runners (COVID) and relied on GPS to alert when I completed the distance. Examination of files convince me that the distance is accurate, and the times are completely within my expectations based on my training. (My last 5K was 18 months ago and I have worked my way through the 1/2 Marathon, Stride Academy, 10K & 5K Plans since but, without the opportunity to race).

Let me clarify my question. My NGP paces are typically 15sec/KM faster than actual paces because of the rolling hills I normally train and race. I want to set my next training segment to optimize for road races, but I am concerned that if I use the track results I may be pushing the efforts a bit. So, the question is this: Should I adjust my new threshold pace estimate to reflect the courses that I actually use in my training?

#9357
Matt Fitzgerald
Keymaster

Thought so. GPS measurements are famously inaccurate on the track, so don’t be too sure about the accuracy. I recommend you do another test on the road or consider switching to power- or HR-based training, as no adjustment would be needed for either of those metrics.

#9358
Charles
Participant

Understand what you are saying about GPS. I counted laps in the run file recognizing that I was running an additional 53 meters each lap by staying in the outside lane. The 5K time is good.

Still suggest that I abandon pace?

#9360
Matt Fitzgerald
Keymaster

If you’re confident in the accuracy of your time trial, you can base your training zones on it. Just be away that they apply only to flat terrain.

#9361
Charles
Participant

Got it! Thanks!

I was surprised by your comment that road and track are so close, it certainly feels different.

I will check to see if I can use the new paces on my normal (rolling hill) courses and still stay within the 80/20 Zones. If not, I will drop a few seconds to my Training Peaks Lactate Threshold estimate to compensate.

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