Elevation-adjusted pace

Date: 4/4/22

A blogger I follow posted about an online calculator you can use to find your equivalent pace based on elevation gain, elevation and temperature. It got me thinking…

Way back in the day, like 11 years ago, I was a lot faster than I am now. But I was also running at sea level, and now I typically run at about 4,500 feet. I’ve always wondered how much the change in elevation impacted my pace, so I punched some numbers into the calculator.

I put in the the time it took me to complete my first official half marathon along with the approximate elevation of the course. For temperature I arbitrarily picked 73°F (23°C) and kept it the same for both the real and target environments. For target elevation I used the approximate elevation of the Grand Teton Half Marathon.

I finished the Grand Teton HM in about 2:22, so clearly I am slower than I was, but not as much as I thought. Kind of comforting. Elevation alone accounts for almost a minute per mile increase! How crazy is that?!

For shits and giggles I put in my average long-run pace from back when I ran at sea level (9:30 min/mi) with a distance of mile and compared it to my current 4,500 ft.

My current average pace for outdoor long runs is around a 13 min/mi, so regardless of elevation, I am waaaaaay slower than I was back then. At least I can blame 1:24 min/mi on elevation now!

Finally, I put in my current average long-run pace with a distance of one mile with the real elevation of where I currently train compared to the average elevation along the Continental Divide portion of the Beaverhead 55k.

My pace will likely go up by a full 2 min/mi! This is good to know so that I don’t get down on myself come race day when I’m running way slower than I usually do. This also motivates me to train at higher elevations before the race.

All in all, this little experiment was fun!

Rest Day Journal

Christina View All →

Endlessly seeking adventure.

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