Saturday, July 20, 2013

Pace Shmace

Yesterday, a little over halfway through a 5K run on a particularly beautiful cross country course, on a
spectacularly humid morning, I found myself doing the math.

How far do I have to go? How long have I been going? How quickly can I get back?

Pace can ruin a run like the drunken asshole no one invited can ruin a good party.

Unless you are being paid to run fast, or you're an age group stud who can't get enough $2 trophies and $25 gift certificates to running stores, pace really isn't important.

Sure, it's good to measure your progress, a way to measure fitness, but that is at the macro level: Did I run this course faster than I did a month ago?

And to be faster and more fit, sometimes you need to achieve a target pace for a time.

But that's training, not running.

Running should be about the experience, the peace, the calm, the rhythm of breath and footfalls. You should be listening to your body, not the ticking off of the seconds.

The micro-management of pace turns every run into a workout, and that sucks the soul right out of the run.

I'd like to say "Don't wear a watch, just go out and run.", but I'm a data junky and most runners I know share my addiction.

Personally, I'm going to absolve myself of any pace goals for runs, saving those for workouts. I'll still record time and distance, and I'm sure I'll do the math to see what my pace was, but I'm going to save that for after the run... no more pace checks during the run.

Why ruin a good time?

Good running,
Doug