Call Out Your Pace

If you follow me on Strava (and why wouldn’t you?), then you may have already noticed that lately I have been including my target pace along with my activity description. For example, today, I ran about seven miles, trying to target a 6:50-per-mile running pace. In actuality, I ran a bit faster than that, averaging 6:41 per mile. This isn’t totally unusual for me, since I tend to look at target paces as being “about that fast, but no slower.”

But never mind that. The question of the day is, Why am I suddenly announcing my target pace? What does that do for me, as a runner? There are a couple of reasons.

First, some of my followers on Strava have asked me questions about how I train. By explicitly announcing what my target pace was for the run, those followers can take a look at my performance, compare it to my intended performance, and gain some insight into how I train. Adding this information should be beneficial to them, or at least I hope it is.

Second, inspired by some of those same Strava followers (check out this guy, a true inspiration), I’ve been making a concerted effort to train more like a runner lately, and less like a schmo who goes running every day. Having recently been running as slow as 7:15 per mile – virtually unheard of in my history as a runner – I’ve reached a point where I’d like to speed my pace up a bit, feel more like a runner, act more like a runner, be faster, be fitter. This means I need to start running more mindfully. If I go into a workout knowing that, although it is merely a recovery run, my target pace is 6:50 per mile, I’m less inclined to slack off. It also enables me to make marginal improvements on my pace. Last week, I targeted a recovery pace of 6:52 per mile; this week, I’m down to 6:50. Over time, I’d like my “on” days to be under 6:00 per mile, and my “off” days to be… well, perhaps in the neighborhood of 6:30. (I hesitate to put hard numbers here because I’m not really sure how fast I can expect to run anymore. It’s been many years since I attempted to be a fast runner.)

Anyway, keep watching my target pace. Hopefully it, and my actual running pace, will start to come down over time. Who knows? I might even start to run fast again.