One of the most common mistakes made by new runners – or even by more experienced runners – is to do most of their running at one running pace. There’s a misperception that good runners run fast all of the time. It’s true that to get faster you need to run faster – but you also need to run slower too to allow the essential physiological adaptation to take place. Good runners are far more likely to run at a range of running paces throughout their training from very fast to very slow, even walking! So by introducing some change of pace into your running – you too can start running faster.

How do I develop a range of running paces?

Often runners tell me “I only have one pace!”

Whatever your pace, you most definitely do not only have one running pace even if it looks like that from your current training. Running at different paces takes practice and confidence. And this is where having a coach can make a huge difference to your running. A good coach has the knowledge and experience to know what running paces you should be doing for what runs throughout your training week.

I often introduce change of pace to new runners with a simple session called Run Backs. We run 30-60 secs in one direction at a comfortable pace then turn around and run back for the same time interval at a faster pace with the aim to finish passed the point where we started. Even if you are a complete beginner this session is easily manageable and gives you practical experience of what it is like to run at different paces in your training. If you are a more experienced runner then the session can be developed with longer intervals but still follows the same basic principles.

Taking it to the next level

From here we can develop the concepts of intervals and tempo runs – and equally importantly – steady and recovery runs to provide better balance to your running. Overall you often find you may be doing the same total mileage but the improvements to your pace and fitness are far greater. As you become more experienced you will start to develop a far greater range of pace across your training and races.

What does a range of running paces looks like in practice?

This all sounds very good in theory but what does it mean in practice? Well to illustrate here is my current range of pace for training and races.

5k pace 6.15/mile
10k pace 6.25/mile
HM pace 7.00/mile
M pace 7.30/mile
Steady run pace 7.15-7.45/mile
Long run pace 8.00-8.15/mile

If you find that your 5k pace is close to your steady run pace or even your marathon pace then it’s probably time that you introduced some change of pace into your training too.

Get in touch today to find out more about my coaching and how I can help you to run faster.