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Running: How Do You Find Your Pace?

Stew Smith, CSCS

Then I see if I can pull it all together with sub 7 mile pace for 2-3 miles.  Now this pace maybe too fast or too slow for you depending on your running level and experience, so I recommend running the original route you and your friends like to run and mark off time checks at certain landmarks like intersections, flag poles, someone’s house, etc.  Then see if you can push yourself to match those scores the next time you run alone.

I have often used the stop watch as a training guide for a variety of events – especially physical fitness tests.  When I do situps, I try to find my goal pace that will get me to 100 situps in 2 minutes.  This is 25 in 30 seconds or 50 in 1 minute.  I repeat those sets a few times in my PT workouts and compete with no one but myself and my watch.

The same can be done with swimming, biking, and running.  Find a pace you like to strive for and divide that distance by a number that makes sense and work several sets of that pace into a workout.  Like this:

Swimming a 500m swim – divide the swim into 5 × 100m sets or 10 by 50m sets.  If you goal is to swim in the 8 -8:30 mark then shoot for a pace of 50m in 50 seconds.  In the end you should be at 500 seconds (8:20) for 500m.  Your multiple sets of swimming at that pace will soon be easier and easier to maintain.

Running a 3 mile run – divide the run into ½ miles or mile runs and do a workout called “repeats”.  Basically, run 5-6 ½ mile runs at your goal 3 mile run pace or run 3-4 mile runs at your goal 3 mile pace.  These workouts will challenge you and you may need to rest in between for a 200-400m walk to catch your breath, but as you practice these run or swim sets, you will find maintaining a faster pace while running gets much easier.

Hang in there and keep practicing to learn or muscle memory a pace.  Feel free to email me if you have any questions at I will try to answer them all or even create a new article out of them if the question inspires me.

Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. If you are interested in starting a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle – check out the Fitness eBook store


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