How To Pace Running

I really want to get back into running. That is something that I never would have said just ten years ago. But I have found that I enjoy running for the exertion, endorphins, listening to my awesome playlist, and helping my daughters get ready for soccer season. 


I don’t mean to say that there are literal hurdles on the trail. But it seems that every time I plan to get out for a run, something happens. You’ve probably experienced Murphy’s Law at some point in your life too. 

While I was pumped to have more time for running at the end of our school year, one daughter hurt her foot…Twice! First, while playing with her cousins, one of them slammed a door that smashed her big toe and nearly took off the nail. It is mostly healed, but she still has a dark bruise on her cuticle. About two weeks after that, she tripped over her grandfather’s foot and nearly broke her pinky toe. It was the same foot, which seems to be having a rough summer break so far. 

The Goal

I want the girls and I to run a 5K together before the start of soccer in August. It will help us keep from being lazy all summer and get them conditioned for all the running they’ll do on the team. We are using a Couch to 5K program, but there are other ways to pace your running. 

How Fast Should You Run

According to my research, women run an average of 6.5 mph and men can average 8 mph. People running for their lives can average 12 mph, but I wonder how the researchers came to know this fact! Highly trained athletes can make it up to 14-17 mph. To accomplish a 4-minute mile, you have to pace at 15 mph. 

A good beginner’s pace is about 12 minutes per mile. That’s about three times slower than a fit, athletic runner. Tracking your pace is easy in our age of technology. There are a slew of apps and watches to help you track your progress. 

Tools Of The Trade

Strava is a fantastic app for running and biking. We have tracked family bike rides with it several times. Strava keeps your records for pace, distance, and time. It also offers achievement badges and challenges to keep up your motivation. The best part, it’s free.

If you have a FitBit, you can track a variety of exercise routines. You can log your miles, steps, and calories burned in the FitBit app. While you won’t get as detailed information, it is a great place to start.

You can get a runner’s watch. GPS companies like Garmin and TomTom make watches that do everything an app like Strava does along with virtual coaching and support. They are pricey though ranging from about $90 to $150. As with any new endeavor, I recommend using a free or inexpensive option when you are getting started. If you fall in love with running, you can upgrade to a high-end runner’s watch any time. 

Pacing Strategies

Once you’re ready to hit the trail, here are a few pacing strategies to keep in mind. Keep your expectations for yourself reasonable. Your first run is likely to consist of running and walking alternately. Don’t be afraid to slow down. Your breath is a good indicator whether you are pushing it too hard or not. You should be able to carry on a conversation.

Trail running is an excellent way to work your cardiovascular system and enjoy some fresh air and scenery. I’m excited to finally get out there again.

Categories Family activities, hobbies, resource, running, Spring, SummerTags , , , , , ,

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