How to Set Your Running Pace

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running pace
An important part of long distance training is learning how to set your running pace. When you come into a race too strong you run the risk of hitting that dreaded wall too early, which may drastically reduce your chances of making it across the finish line in time to reach your goal. Set your intent at the starting line. When you know your running pace you will be able to manage the distance ahead of you without hitting that dreaded wall we hear about.

Determining your pace is a personal conversation. It can be tempting to compare your run times and pace to others. I’m definitely guilty of this. However, by doing so it removed any enjoyment I found in running. No matter how tempted you are, be sure you don’t look through someone else’s lens when pace training.

Your Fastest Mile

Remember, you want your last mile to be your fastest mile.  Jesse is the master of this.  He starts out fast, only to finish faster. We ran a distance run last Saturday of 6 miles. And since I’m the one sharing, I will use my time as an example (even though his was better)…

Mile 1:  11:17.14
Mile 2:  11:24.13
Mile 3: 11:31.41
Mile 4:  11:18.53
Mile 5:  11:03.04
Mile 6:  10:50.45

So, you see I struggled at the beginning to maintain my pace. But, not enough to throw me off for the rest of the run. Toward the middle of my run, I finally found my groove and my last mile was indeed my fastest mile.

Keri Cawthorne from Iron Mountain Movement has shared her advice with us on how to set your running pace.  Apply the following tips to your long distance training to make your last mile your fastest one.

How to Set Your running Pace

When it comes to setting your running pace for distance training, keep your pace realistic. Select a pace that is comfortable to run at, it shouldn’t be a struggle to maintain and even if you run alone, you should be able to maintain a conversation. Your pace should change depending on the distance that you are running as well as the type of training that you are doing.

Save your speed training for your shorter distances or track work. Speed training is just as important as logging distance mileage; if you want to run faster, you need to train faster. Speed training should only be done after a comprehensive warm-up and should be followed by a complete cool-down as well as stretch. You shouldn’t feel like you need to spend the rest of the day on the couch after a speed session, but you should feel like you have had a good workout.

Incorporate interval training to improve your cardio into one of your weekly runs by adding hills. Focus on shortening your stride and keeping your heart rate consistent as you climb so that you save something for the other side of the hill.

When it comes to tracking your mileage and pace, invest in a good running watch with GPS as well as heart rate capabilities. And if you don’t want to break the bank, check out many of the apps available for your smartphone.

Keri Cawthorne, Owner, Iron Mountain Movement

What type of training have you incorporated into your routine to help set your running pace?

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  1. Evilcyber March 26, 2012 Reply
    • amypowell March 27, 2012 Reply

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