RunSmart & HRmax Calculators

Want to train smarter?

See below for some of our favorite fitness calculators that are very handy if you want to figure out how to set up your heart rate training zones, or how to assess your fitness and determine your training run paces for everything from interval workouts up to marathon distance training and racing!

RunSmart Calculator

This is one of our favorite run calculators – follow the instructions below to learn how to use this to help determine what paces you should aim for when running your EASY, TEMPO/THRESHOLD, RACE, and INTERVAL workouts!

You can also click on the app links below to download the “VDOT Calculator” as an app on your phone to use this great resource anytime!


1. Run a “baseline” or “best effort” run like a COOPER TEST and record your TIME and DISTANCE for a 12-minute time trial, 5k run, or any longer distance.

2. Enter your TIME & DISTANCE into the Calculator and then hit “CALCULATE”.

3. Click on the “TRAINING” tab…

Now look at the recommended paces…

EASY is where most of your running volume should be… for example long runs and “Maintenance Monday” runs. These paces should keep you around 70-80% of your max heart rate (aka ZONE 3) to help burn a bit of fat as a fuel source – which helps you build more endurance for long runs!

MARATHON is where your “race day” pace would be for a full (or half) distance marathon. Most of your long runs can and should be run slower than this, unless you’re a really competitive athlete pushing a full intensity “race simulation” run! You can aim for 75-85% of your Max Heart rate for these runs (high zone 3 or low zone 4), but definitely avoid going “in the red” (Zone 5). Experiment with pushing up to this pace about once per month on your long runs – right before a recovery week would be best!

THRESHOLD is where your 1-hour “best effort” pace would be – sometimes also referred to as your “tempo” pace and essentially your upper limit for a 10k to 10 mile run. Running faster will cause your heart rate to gradually increase and performance to decline rapidly, but staying below this threshold can be maintained if well fueled, rested, and if you’re watching your heart rate. Use this pace as the goal for shorter segments of your “Tempo” runs which should be run just below the threshold between a ZONE 4 and ZONE 5 intensities (about 85-90% of your max heart rate)!

INTERVAL is where you’ll do most of your short distance interval repeats on “Track” workouts, such as 800m and 1600m repeats (1/2 mile and 1-mile). This intensity is great to do in short bursts to build your VO2 Max fitness, speed, and to try and improve your running form and mechanics.

REPETITION is the upper limit of what you might aim for in very short distance repeats such as 400m (1/4 mile) efforts. Don’t go faster than this pace or you might not be able to “repeat” your interval efforts in the same time & pace!

Learn more about RUNNING SMART here.

VDOT CALCULATOR DIRECT LINK: https://runsmartproject.com/calculator/

HRmax Calculator

To calculate your Max Heart Rate (MaxHR), consider using the HRmax Calculator link below for a more precise calculator that factors in your height, weight, and whether or not you are on beta blockers: https://www.ntnu.edu/cerg/hrmax

Alternatively, if you need a simple formula, try the following HUNT formula instead of the traditional “220 minus age” formula as this is generally a better formula based on a wider population sample: MaxHR = 211 – 0.64*age


And if you want to tailor your heart rate zones to your true metabolism, consider getting tested in our www.MetabolicRunner.com metabolic testing lab in downtown Chicago with Coach Chris! Through our CardioCaoch Vo2 Max Heart Rate Zones testing, your metabolic profile and heart rate zones can be uploaded into devices like Garmin watches, or apps like MyZone, Apple Watches, and training platforms like TrainingPeaks, TriDot, and RunDot!

GET TESTED or SCHEDULE A FREE CONSULT today at www.MetabolicRunner.com

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