How to Find Your Perfect Running Pace

Natalie Cecconi
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What is running pace?

Your running pace is defined as the speed at which you run at any given time. It is measured in minutes per mile (or kilometers, for metric users). Your running speed will change a bit depending on the surface you’re running on, the level of difficulty of a route you take, outside temperature, wind direction, and a number of other factors.

The first couple of minutes of your run are usually spent warming up, getting a good rhythm, and preparing yourself for the actual workout. During this time, you won’t be going as fast as you are going to after you warm up.

However, even if your running pace changes during the run, you are still not likely to cover more than a couple of minutes of difference in running pace from your fastest to your slowest.

To determine your actual running pace, you need to do one of these two things:

At the beginning of the workout, run for a certain amount of time at race pace. Then use a stopwatch to find the average time you ran at that speed.

The other option is to estimate your race pace using perceived exertion.

Is it hard to find the right pace?

Finding your “magic mile” – what’s known as an even-splits pace – can be a challenge for many runners and can keep them from achieving PRs or racing goals.

The Magic Mile is a pace that keeps your heart rate at a rate that’s sustainable in a race. It results in a negative split race. This means that you start the race a little quicker, but you end the race faster.

It’s important to develop a pace that’s sustainable both during a race and in practice.

When you find your magic mile, it may be pretty quick if you’ve been running less than 10 miles a week, or it may take several months to find it if you’re running more than six miles a day.

Start by finding your goal race pace that you want to hit during the race.

Know that this pace will be a bit slower than your magic mile.

Come up with a mileage goal based on a magic mile training schedule that will help you find a magic mile pace that’s right for you.

You can take a few different approaches to finding your optimal pace.

Why is the right pace important?

If there “ is one consistent in the world of running, it’s this: consistency is key. The more consistently you run, the longer you will run. Running consistently, week in and week out, will be the biggest key to success … as long as you are running consistently at the right pace.

The perfect pace to run is the pace that allows you to run at the same distance from run to run. Not too fast, not too slow, and not too inconsistent. But what pace is that? If you look at the world’s top runners, they all run at a different pace. There is a wide variety, from the elite athletes who run between 14 to 18 miles per hour to the beginners who average 8 to 11 miles per hour.

If the runners vary in pace, then how do you find your own perfect running pace?

Simply answer the following 2 questions and you will find out:

How long does it take you to run a mile?

How do I figure out my pace?

One of the most overlooked questions when someone is starting their running journey is how fast should I be running? Everyone has different goals and that largely determines how fast you should be running.

However, if you are looking to run a certain distance, or simply looking to run faster and reach your goals, the proper answer is to run at a speed that will allow you to complete the distance without getting tired.

For example, if your goal is to run a 6K race and the race has been measured to be 3.1 miles, you should be able to run the entire race without stopping or walking.

That's the level of fitness that is required.

Check out my article on how to develop a training plan to reach your goals and take it slowly.

My advice would simply be to keep running at a slow pace and see how your body feels. Check out a route which is not too far away on your training plan and focus on maintaining good running form.

If you are new to running, finish your session first, and then check your distance to ensure that you didn’t over extend yourself. If you are over extending yourself, slow down a bit.

If you have been running on a regular basis and have experience, you can easily determine your pace.

Use a GPS watch or phone app

Many fitness watches these days come with a built in GPS. This means that it calculates pace based on information it receives from satellites that constantly orbit the earth. With this information, the watch can tell you many things like heart rate, distance traveled, time, and pace.

You can, of course, also use a GPS enabled smart phone or tablet.

If you have neither of these available but still want to know your pace, you can do some quick measurements with a mile marker.

For this, map out a route that has at least four miles worth of mile markers. It doesn’t matter if there is a longer route with more mile markers if that is all you have. All you need is a four mile stretch.

Here are the steps for using mile markers to determine your pacing:

Run for a while and then stop.

Count the number of mile markers that you come across. Let’s say we have 3 miles of mile markers. The markers are numbered every 1000 feet (or so). For example, the third marker will be 3300 feet. We will calculate the pace for 3 miles at 3600 foot markers.

Find the most recent marker number that you come across.

Run with a stopwatch at a track or place mile markers

Every 0.25 miles

Once you know how fast you run a mile, you can set a pace for yourself.

Next, tie a small but heavy object to your running shoe (a rock, small bag of coins, or an old smartphone works well).

Now, run at your usual pace for one mile.

At the end of the mile, check the stopwatch and see how far the object traveled. Use a tape measure to determine the distance from the first marker to the last marker.

Take the object’s total distance traveled and multiply it by your pace. This is your pace per mile. (i.e. if the object traveled 3.5 – miles, you run at 6 minutes per mile.)

Multiply your pace by 60 to determine minutes per mile.

Splits are more important than your finish time. You will probably want to run at your 5k pace at the end of the run, but you will likely spend some time running at your 10k pace.

Run on a treadmill

Before we get started with your perfect running pace, the most important thing to consider is where you run.

If you run outside you have the wind, hills, and weather to take into account. Although the treadmill isn’t the best thing, it’s a good starting point.

When you run on the treadmill, you aren’t restricted to a certain notch. There are always seconds, minutes, and miles to consider. Running on the treadmill allows you to have control of your speed.

Running is something that is always changing for the better. Whether it’s the goals you’ve accomplished in the past weeks or months, or what you have planned for the next few weeks and months.

As you get better at running, it can be a tough decision to determine what to do when trying to decide on your perfect running pace.

Take the time to evaluate your goals and find a distance that you are comfortable with if you have extra energy.

For beginners who just want to finish at the end of the race, you should start slowly and decrease the time you rest.

As the race progresses and you have adjusted, start increasing the mileage and improving the time you rest.

It’s important to remember that running requires effort.

How can I find my perfect running pace?

One of the biggest mistakes people make when starting an exercise routine is starting off too fast. While starting fast has its benefits, it is important to not overdo it. This is especially important for beginners.

If you jump into a running routine too fast, you may experience health issues and set yourself up for failure. Identifying your perfect running pace is one of the keys to developing a running routine that you can keep up with over time.

By feel

Here’s an example. Pick two songs that have a steady beat. The first should be something you can easily run to straight away. You could even play it on first time you try this method to practice.

The second should be something fast and fun. It doesn’t have to be a sure-fire running high tempo; just something with a clear and obvious change in tempo that you can manage to keep up with for roughly 10-15 minutes.

Run to the first song at a pace where you are comfortable and enjoying it. This should be the pace you could maintain for a long time. This is your base pace.

When you get to the point of “How much longer can I do this?” and start to get tired, switch to your second song, and run to that.

You should find that you run slightly faster to try and catch the beat. If you can keep up with for a whole minute, you have found your per-mile pace for the second song.

If not, try again with another song. Listening to music is better for this than using a coach with a stopwatch.

You need to run for a good ten minutes to get a decent average pace. If you are aiming to race, ten minutes is probably the absolute minimum for recording your 5k and 10k times.

By heart rate

Perceived exertion, or a prescribed pace?

To determine your perfect running pace you can take your pulse, which works best for runners who get into the running groove.

Another is your perceived exertion, which allows you to run in your own rhythm and can be hard to monitor.

However, runners who plan to continue running for the long term will find it helpful at zone training since they learn to use heart rate zones to meet their goals.

Using a prescribed pace is the most precise way of finding your running pace, allowing you to set goals depending on your pace. It also allows you to measure your progress.

It means that every runner has to find his/her running pace by one of these methods to find the best running pace. The three mentioned above are explained in detail below.

Pacing is the most efficient way to run fast, but there is no reason why you shouldn’t enjoy running. So if you are just starting to get into running, you will want to ease into it and slowly build up without running too fast which might bring about an injury. Beginners should keep a slow pace to run longer.

There are two schools of thought into the best way to determine your tempo. Some people think that you have to set a specific heart rate in order to make your running more effective and others think that you should match a specific pace.

What is my perfect running pace?

Finding your perfect running pace is essential to good running. You may run faster than your perfect pace with proper training, but you will not have a good run at all and you will likely suffer from sore and stiff muscles the following day.

Your running pace depends on your training level, your body and your goals.

Throughout your running career, your pace will change as your fitness, body and goals do.

Finding and maintaining a proper running pace will give you the best possible good running experience.

You may have a running buddy, but if you don’t and you are not sure where to start, there are several easy ways to estimate your running pace.

The simplest is to take your running speed measurement and then add 10 % to it. A quick and easy way to check your running speed is to use the running speed calculator.

Just enter your pace in minutes and seconds and it will give you your running speed.

Additionally, there are also running pace calculators that take into account your running speed, and give you your target pace.

The best way to find your perfect running pace is to use a premium training program that will give you your recommended pace.

There is a running pace calculator within the Run Faster program. The pace calculator is easy to use, and very accurate.

Long Runs and Recovery Runs

Whether you’re a seasoned runner or just starting out, it can be a challenge to know how fast to go during your long runs. As a novice, you may be tempted to start slow and gradually speed up, but this isn’t by any means the best approach. A better tactic is to start your run at the pace you would usually run your shorter workouts at and then maintain that pace throughout the run.

If you’ve been running for a while and you’ve already figured out your pace for a 5K or 8K, choose that pace and execute it for the entire long run.

If you’ve gotten your pace down to the exact second, you’ll find it easy to maintain your pace throughout the run.

If you need a little help with pacing, use a GPS watch, download a run-tracking app, or, if you’re running on a treadmill, set a virtual partner and stay on pace throughout the run.

Running is a tough sport. You will be challenged physically, and you’ll discover mental strength you didn’t know you had. You’ll adapt and grow and decide, after a few months or years, that you will run another race.

Tempo or Interval Runs

Conclusion

As a beginner, I would recommend starting with the consistency aspects such as frequency, location, and time before adding distance and pace into the mix. By establishing a consistent rhythm, you encourage yourself to become more regular with your workouts over time.

It may be easy to fall back into bad habits, like skipping a day here and there, or finding excuses to simply avoiding them. But as you progress, you’ll find yourself running more frequently and for longer distances even if you don’t feel like running.

A properly formulated running plan, especially when paired with a few tips to help you avoid injury, is always going to give you a greater chance at success.

When it comes to running in particular, it’s a very individual sport. Not everyone runs at the same pace or mileage. But if you implement any of these suggestions, you should be able to run a lot more without getting injured.

How to Use This Book

This book offers a collection of tips and tricks to help you benefit from your travel time and make the most of your journey. The tips are applicable to any mode of transportation that you often use for travelling – whether it’s driving in your car, on your bike, or on the bus.