Fast or slow: does it matter?

A few weeks ago I posted on my Facebook page a few questions:

1. How fast is you steady running pace?
2. How fast is your fast running pace?
3. Does it matter how fast you run?

The answers came in and as I thought, the numbers varied greatly, from very speedy 6:00 minute milers, to 12:00 and 13:00 minute milers. Some days it mattered to people, other days it didn’t.

Pace, speed and times used to matter to me when I started off running. But now they don’t really matter to be. I’d much prefer to go out on a leisurely run and chat with a friend that beast it trying to get a PB. Although there is room for speed work and racing at points, I do the majority of running, slow or comfortable (relatively).

A lot of people I meet who are runners seem to be hung up on pace and how fast you run. If I offer to run with them, they usually say ‘I’ll be too slow for you”, or “you’ll need to slow down for me”.

What they maybe don’t realise is that I run at any pace! (Well not quits any pace, but any pace slower than my fastest pace… and I’ll even try running faster than that until my body gives up!)

Everyone is different: whilst my speedy brother Neil and Bellahouston Harrier / racer friend Cris will race at 5:20 minute miles (:-O), I know plenty of people who run at 9 minute miles and plenty who are quite happy running at 12:00 minute miles.

Running pace can be affected by so many things:
Body weight
What you ate
What you drank
The weather
Hills (up and down)

It’s all relative, and whilst I’ll probably never win a race, when I do race I usually have another race or run to compare it to or beat. I only ever try to bear my own times and never try to beat others or push myself beyond my limits.

It’s al relative in that a heavier you (or I) would have run slower than a lighter you (or I). If you’re carrying more weight, you’re bound to run slower. And if the wind is in your face and you’re going up a hill, you will slow down. Same as if you’re flying down a big hill, you should go faster. 🙂

I’ve had lots of PBs, and done quite a few marathons. Each marathon coming in at around 3:40, a time which I’m pleased with. 3:40. 3:39, 3:38. They all come in about the same time. So I’m happy with my marathon time. And the same for my 10k. I know I gave it all to get my 10k PB, so if I don’t beat it, I’m ok about it. 🙂

Then my marathon magic brother Neil tells me ‘You could do a marathon in 3:30, easy’. The thing he doesn’t realise is that I’m happy with my 3:40 time. So I won’t be pushing for that 3:30 marathon time at any point soon.

The point I’m trying to make is that I think it doesn’t matter how fast or slow you go. It’s all relative and the main thing is that you are getting out and about.

I’ve even managed to sort of forget about pace, and I run to my heart rate now. See more here:

My zones are as follows:

Aerobic: easy: less than 140
Effective: sweet spot: 150-160
Anaerobic: hard work: above 160

Check out the link above for your heart rate zones and a bit of background of how to run to your heart rate.

I do most of my runs at below 160 and the odd few above 160. And sometimes I run with others and notice my heart rate has been nice and low, or I stay under 140 to make myself take it easy.

My Glasgow Marathon PB!
In September 2013 – I ran the best marathon of my life!  I ran with my heart rate around 165 and pushed myself to the limits for almost 3.5 hours!  I finished it in 3;28 – knocking around 10 minutes off my previous marathon times! It was amazing to do, but hard at the same time.  It just shows what you can do with your heart rate as your guide.  🙂

For me, the main thing about running is that if you choose to do it, train for it and get fit enough to run.

You can run anytime, anywhere. It’s a great way to relieve stress, to run free and get and stay fit and trim. There is no membership, you don’t need to pay fees or join a club (unless you want to). It doesn’t matter what speed you go, as long as you try and as long as you enjoy it.

Running is amazing and if I had one thing I’d get everyone to do, it’s run to their heart rate and have fun on the run. 🙂

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1 Response to Fast or slow: does it matter?

  1. Pingback: Making a difference | Lorn Pearson Trains…

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