|ROAD COURSE CALCULATOR
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This calculator is designed to help you plan and evaluate your training
sessions or races on a road course (or on a path, around the block,
at a mall, or wherever). The course can be a loop, out-and-back, or
point-to-point. The calculator considers each completion of the road
course as one "loop" (even if it is a point-to-point course), and
can easily perform the following functions:
FUNCTION - example question that can be answered by the
to laps - How may loops must I complete to cover 5 miles?
convert laps to
distance - How many miles did I go if I just completed 7 loops?
convert pace to
lap time - What loop time equates to a 6-minute-per-kilometer
convert lap time
to pace - What was my mile/kilometer pace if my loop time was
convert pace to
race time - Click here to forecast your race times at ALL distances!
convert race time
to pace - What was my mile pace if I completed a marathon in 4:17:23?
If you have questions about the calculator and its calculations, please
see See NOTE 1 and the other notes for answers. If
your workouts are on a track, our track calculator will probably serve
you better. Otherwise, let's get right to the Calculator.
NOTE 1 - GENERAL: All conversions to and from the metric system
are based on 1 foot equaling .3048 meters. For lap and pace time entries,
a missing entry in the hours, minutes or seconds box is considered
to be a zero. All pace times are shown in whole seconds where .5 seconds
or higher is rounded up to the next higher second.
NOTE 2 - DETERMINING LOOP SIZE:
RACE COURSES: For single-loop, out-and-back,
or point-to-point races, the loop size is the race distance. For multiple-loop
races, the loop size should be printed on the race flyer -- or able
to be calculated from the information given (e.g., a 10K race with
two loops of the course indicates a 5K loop).
For courses used as part of training, one way to determine the loop
size is to measure the loop in a car or on a bicycle with an odometer.
For greater accuracy (especially using an odometer that only measures
in 10ths of a mile or 10ths of a kilometer), complete the loop several
times and divide the total mileage by the number of laps made.
PRECISE MEASUREMENTS: If you desire a
more precise course measurement, or if you are trying to set up a
race course, you should obtain a booklet entitled "Course Measurement
Procedures" from USA Track and Field, or a manual entitled "Course
Measurement and Certification Procedures" from the Run Canada Committee,
a part of Athletics Canada. It should be noted that, if race times
are to be submitted for official records, the course must be measured
by a person certified by the organization that keeps the records.
Most road courses are certified using a Jones
Counter, a device that attaches to the front wheel of a bicycle
and counts the number of revolutions the wheel makes. The counter
makes 20 counts per revolution of the wheel, thereby accounting for
partial revolutions. (A newer version of the counter, the Jones-Oerth
Counter is also now available and makes about 23 counts per revolution.)
The measurement of a road course using the Counter
begins and ends with the measurement of an accurately measured calibration
course (a straight and level distance of at least 300 meters). This
establishs the distance traveled during one revolution of the wheel.
The measurer then rides the road course several times to obtain the
actual measurement. Measuring the calibration course both before and
after the road course measurement is designed to compensate for errors
due to changes in tire pressure from thermal expansion and slow leakage.
Finally, a value equal to one tenth of one percent ( .1%) of the road
course measurement is added on to insure against having a short course.
The official requirements for race course measurement
are much more complicated than outlined above. Anyone wishing to make
an accurate measurement is strongly encouraged to obtain the official
U.S. or Canadian instructions. Further information about course measurement
can also be obtained from an Internet search engine by entering "jones
counter" or "jones oerth counter" -- or by accessing the USATF and
Athletics Canada Web sites.
I want to thank Dr. Wayne Armbrust for his technical
help in my preparation of this Web page. Wayne is the president
of Computomarx, a firm that provides track and field products and
consulting services -- including support for the proper marking of
track surfaces. For more information about Computomarx, go to www.computomarx.com.
Please note, however, that any errors in the text on, or calculations
made by, this Web page are solely my responsibility as the Webmaster.