Race pace

This is where all my experienced runner readers chime in, okay? Even if you normally lurk, can you just come out of lurkingdom for a second and help an inexperience runner out.

Race Pace. I know what that is.

I always try to run my training runs as fast as I can. In theory, or in my head, this sounds like a good idea. I mean, If I can run a 10mile training run at an 8:40 pace, then that means I can probably maintain that pace, or faster during an actual race, right? That’s how my brain works anyways.

Am I thinking about this the wrong way? Should I be running my training runs slower? That doesn’t make sense in my head, but I’m no pro-runner so I have no idea what I’m talking about anyways most of the time. Say I run an 11 mile training run; should I say, “Okay, 5 miles of that will be at race pace, and the other 6 will be at 9:15” .. My ideal race pace for my upcoming 15k, to PR, is 8:42. Let’s be honest, If I can hang out at the 8:30 pace for 9.3 then heck-to-the-yeah, let’s do that instead.

So, should I be running part of my long runs @ 8:40, and the other part at a slower pace? What about my shorter runs? What pace do I run those at?

I know what my training plan says, but my training plan from Runners World is a some what of a generic form. I mean, I just plugged some numbers in and it spit me out a plan. It doesn’t actually know what I’m capable (or not capable) of. Does that make sense?

Tell me runner friends, how do you manage your training run pace?

I ran 3.06 miles tonight after work. I was planning on doing 5, but then I remembered I changed my schedule this week so my miles should only be 3 (yay!). I was totally not feeling 5. I actually didn’t think I would make it through 2. My quads were SO tight up until about 1.5miles, then they loosened up a bit. My time for my run was 28:38, and I don’t remember what the pace was, figure it out. My garmin died like .12 miles into the run. Thankfully I have runkeeper on my phone so I turned that on while I ran. I didn’t have it set to tell my me pace so I had no clue what my pace was. I was just running what felt comfortable. My legs were so tight walking sounded like the best idea EVAH!


While perusing the Wholeliving.com website today I came across THIS article;

“Ohhmm, yeah. New research published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine suggests that regular yoga practice can enhance your sex life.”

Maybe If I show Chris this article he will leave me alone during Jillian’s Yoga Melt down. Bahahah!


I’m currently stressing out over school. I have a few weeks left, and I’m really questioning how much I actually know. Ugh.


Happy Hump Day Y’all




10 thoughts on “Race pace

  1. I’m going to check back to see what sorts of answers you get! I kind of felt like when I was training for my first 1/2 I ran slow long runs by necessity, but now I find myself speeding up too. Maybe not quite to goal race pace, but close.

    In any case, I definitely think you’re ready to PR!!

    • I think Brit has a good point that longer runs are mostly for time on your feet. Maybe not for a 15k, but for a half, and then full marathon.

      My brain is definitely ready to PR, but when I sit around and think about the fact that I have to maintain a 8:55 pace for 13 MILES I get scared and intimidated.

  2. 9:21 pace for your 3.06 miles

    I shouldn’t answer this because I’m by no means a “real” runner.

    ::Swaying back and forth impatiently waiting for answers from “real” runners.::

    My answer for marathon long runs is to run them a minute or more slower than race pace at least for the first 2/3 of the miles, then if you feel like it try to run the last 1/3 at goal pace. The thinking behind that is that you will recover much more quickly from the slower run than a fast one and doing the long run is just about getting time on your feet.

    This is different though because it is not a super long run like when training for a marathon. I mean even after you race a 15K, you could in theory recover quickly enough to run another one in the same month, KWIM? So…real runners, I’m waiting to hear what you have to say also.

    I am using a RW plan for my marathon training and it has me running 3/4 of my runs at uber slow pace, like slow like I have never run that slow before pace. I have been running the speedwork a few seconds fast and the “slow” runs a minute or so fast. I’m probably going to overtrain and burn out before the race because of my rebelliousness. Serves me right.

    • Good point about the long runs being about time on your feet, not necessarily about speed. I tend to forget that. I ran 10 miles last weekend, and that was my longest run prior to my last half marathon. So, I think for my upcoming 11, 12 & 13 before my half in March I will slow them down and use them as “time on my feet miles.” Those distances start to make me nervous and uncomfortable.

      Yes, the RW training plan has me running like almost 11min/miles, which, IMO is quite a bit slower then what I run IRL. Even on a bad run I can still manage a 10:00.. (I am in no way saying that is slow, it’s just a slower pace for me, no one take offense if you are reading the comments, please!)

  3. {jumping back into the discussion} I totally agree with the point about long runs being more about time on your feet. I think this will hold true for me if I actually follow through with this whole marathon thing.

    If you were a normal 5K runner and were doing your first 1/2, the long runs would be more about time on your feet and survival. But for you, especially the 15K isn’t such a huge distance for your, so I think the long runs can be run at a pace that feels “comfortably hard” but not all out.

    I also like Brit’s point about starting your long runs about 1 minute slower than goal pace and speeding up during the last 1/3 if you still have some energy left in your legs.

    Another little tool I like to play around with is the McMillian pace calculator, and I use that for training paces for speed work rather than the smart coach suggestions.

  4. I’m not a good one to ask, since I can never stick to a formsl plan. I try to run as far time permits that day, as fast as I can. If I’m not wiped out at the end it wasn’t hard enough.

    In theory I think you should be doing runs where only some of the miles are at goal race pace. That way you’re getting in your distance and training your body to push through fatigue on the faster miles.

  5. Jena, in the “because I care” department, I am pretty direct. You do not train very well given the natural running talent that you posesses. You probably are not aware how few women as a percentage of all female runners can break 2:00:00 in a half marathon like you can. If you continue to desire improved race performance mixed in with the “fun factor” than you will need to adjust in at least 3 ways over time. First off, 850 miles as a goal for the calender year is woefully low. 17 miles average per week is not enough for someone like you. (but if work demands, stresses and pressures are high then maybe that’s ok for now). Secondly, assuming your health is good, you absolutely should be incorporating an interval workout once a week. Many of our Strider ladies who join our Tuesday/Thursday training runs have improved their half marathon times from 2:10 to 1:55 in one year and their Gasparilla 15k times from 1:30 to 1:20. Thirdly, your weekend long run pace should not match your race day goal pace for the entire run. If you can join the Striders this coming Saturday, I hope you can stick around after another one of your strong 8-10 milers so we can chat a bit at the Social Hour. Your running future continues to be bright, enjoy every mile!

    • David, Thanks so much for your response. I definitely value you words of wisdom.

      As far as weekly mileage; It’s low, I know. The last year has been insanely busy for us and I haven’t built my mileage to where to should be. I’m about to finish school (the end of Feb) and then that will give me some spare hours. Currently I spend quite a few hours a week doing school work. I also backed down my mileage because I was having hip pain in December & January. The hip pain as stopped and I’m comfortable adding miles.

      Interval runs seriously scare me. I know that need to do them, but they are incredibly intimidating. I would love to run w/ you guys tuesday/thursday, but I think it’s to far for me to drive and be able to get back home and ready for work in time.

      I just recently realized that I should probably not be running race pace for my entire weekend long run. That is something I am going to work on. I have a hard time relaxing and just running comfortably. I feel like If I’m not dying, I’m not doing it right. 😦

      I have 11 planned for tomorrow afternoon and I plan on hanging out in 9:30 range. (I hope) My legs are tired after today’s 10k 🙂

      Thanks again for your words of wisdom. I think I will be back to Starkey on Saturday. I have a kayaking/yoga trip planned w/ friends and I’m not sure what day we are going yet.

  6. Pingback: Called out | Life is Beachy Keene

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