Runners: do you focus on pace or distance?

Good morning!!  I hope your week is off to a fantastic start.

I was really excited to put on my running gear and hit up the trail since it’s been a whole week.  Typical J didn’t have any plans, just to run.  I actually like it that way.  It was a wet, misty/foggy morning as I ran to the beach.  Here’s the turn around where I realize how much I dig my sparkly purple BIC Band and how badly I need to get my roots touched up.  Let’s see how long I can go before I drive myself nuts with it.

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A reader asked about my pace since I don’t really post about it.  I prefer to focus on distance, instead of pace.  If I get the miles in, my pace improves over time.  I’m a long distance runner, not a sprinter and I’m pretty good about pacing myself to run the distance.  On the other hand, 5K races kill me, but I keep going back.  Guess I really do love self torture. 

This was a speedy run, I averaged a 8:56.  My splits were 9:13, 8:57 & 8:37.  No wonder I felt like death the last quarter mile. 

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I stopped at a light, looked down and realized I’m pretty much a poster child for Mizuno.  I am totally okay with this – their gear rocks my face off.

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Oh but it get’s better.  After lunch we stopped for coffee {like you didn’t see that coming!} and I spotted the Mizuno Golf trailer.  I did what any Mizuno loving run nerd would do and forced my husband to turn around and snap a picture of me next to it.  That boy had the nerve to ask me if I was really going to take a picture with my coffee in hand.  What is wrong with him!?  Coffee + running = the best things ever.  Just so the world knows, this is totally normal.  Totally.

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Since I was hungry + lazy I got my strength training in later that day.  I was pumped to get that in.  As much as I don’t really like it, once I get started I really dig it.  Go figure.  


I’m feeling really good about knocking out a bunch of things on my to do list, even though I didn’t get it all done.  Being productive makes the Type A in me a little happier than it probably should.

Do you focus on pace, distance or both?

Would you rather run fast for a shorter distance, or slower and go the distance?

Go the distance fo sho.

What is your absolute favorite distance to race?

I used to say the half marathon, but I really dig the 10K.  It’s the perfect balance between distance + speed for me.


40 Comments on “Runners: do you focus on pace or distance?

  1. I’m trying to be more about distance. I can’t help but look at the watch and think, “I’m not going fast enough!” but when I do that, I overwork myself and it’s counter productive to the fitness level I’m at. So, I changed my Garmin to kilometers for the winter. It’s really helped – I run by feel now. I have a general idea of what the paces equate to, but not enough that I’m overly concerned about it. I think it really helped.

  2. In the grand scheme of thing, I focus on the distance. I like to say that ‘it’s not about how the get the miles in, just that you do them.’ For me, I focus on pace at least once a week with an interval workout, but other than I just get out and run.

  3. I look at both distance and speed but I for sure focus on my pace more. I get obsessed with PR’ing every run I do. <– this is not the smartest thing to do! It has gotten me some great times but it's just asking for an injury. I need to work on being more balanced.
    I love the 10k and basically sprint the whole thing.

  4. I feel like we are running soul mates. While I would love for pace to be my priority, but I love to focus on distance. I hate running fast and like to stretch out a run and go slower 100% of the time. While I love the half, the 10k has been a better distance for me lately. My last couple of half marathons have really let me down, yet I keep going back.

  5. I really think I run on feel. I try to always get decent distance in, but if I’m warmed up, after about 4 miles, and I start to feel like I can push it, I do for the remainder of the run, unless I have a specific workout I’m doing. I hate to get to the end of a workout and feel like “You coulda done better.” so I try to make sure I get the most out of runs.

  6. I like to focus on distance, and long slow distance runs are so pleasant. Occasionally I’ll ramp up the speed and sprint for as far as I can, and I swear that is one of the best feelings ever.

  7. I have different intentions for each of my runs… some are pace focused, some are time focused, others distance but my favorite are the runs just for fun! 🙂

  8. I mix it up – some days I know I want to run 12 miles so I run the way I feel. Other days I have an hour and like to see how far I can go in that time. Lately I’ve been trying to really increase my mileage so I’ve been focusing on longer amounts of time at a slower pace.

  9. I used to be all about distance but now I’m mixing it up. The freezing cold temps in the Midwest have forced me to use the treadmill at least 4 days a week so 4-5 milers at a sub-8 min/mile pace are becoming more and more common.

  10. DISTANCE FOR THE WIN!!! :p .
    I’m a slow runner 10:40 per mile but honestly I don’t care, I’m all about the miles that I can accomplish, I think my favorite distance right now is 10 but don’t mind the 13, I really really really wanna do 30 for my birthday but we’ll see hehe

  11. Pace vs distance depends on where I am with my running. I believe there are times for both. Right now I could care less about pace. Coming off a full marathon last month I’m in cruise control mode. It is nice to just go out and run and not feel like I NEED to hit a certain pace. That being said if I’m in training mode and tempo or track day. It is ALL about the CLOCK!!!!

    Favorite distance is the marathon. I gag over a 5K. I’m a ball of nerves. For Sure slow and go the distance 🙂

  12. Wow!?! Didn’t realize you were a long distance runner? How many 1/2 marathons & fulls do you have under your belt? Please do a post on 1/2 & fulls. Thanks.

    • I should clarify what I consider “long distance” for me, anything over a 10k is a long run. I don’t do marathons but I have ran 4 half a. You can read about them on my race page above. Happy running!!

  13. I have to admit my first focus is usually distance because I know I’m not a speedster, but lately I’ve also been watching the pace on those runs to slowly keep inching it down!!! My roots are driving me batty, so tomorrow I finally made an appointment.

  14. I used to be more of a distance girl but now that I am trying to get speedier I probably look at both. Some days it is nice to just not wear a watch and not even look at any of it and just GO!

  15. It really depends on the type of run I’m doing. If it’s a 5k, I usually try to go for pace…if it’s distance…then I forget about pace and just try to get the distance in. I’d like to say my favorite distance is 10k but I’ve only run it once due to ITB pain. I run my second one in May and am hoping the strength training that I’ve started will help me with it. 10k seems to push my limits just enough.

    Love your bic band!

  16. I definitely focus on distance. I run along the lakefront trail and each time pick a farther turnaround point. I do have to pay at least a liiiiiittle attention to pace because I have to back in time to go to work!

  17. When I was new to running I didn’t focus on pace at all and focused on distance. However, now that I have been running for about two years I’m starting to pay more attention to pace. I’m running my first half marathon and full marathon this year and those I really don’t have a pace goal. I have run several 5ks and 10ks now so I feel like I can focus more on pace for those race distances. Love all the purple gear! Purple is my favorite color!

  18. For most of my training plan, I get to focus on the distance (as long as it’s in an easy pace range). Then there are a couple workouts per week where I have to really hit a certain pace (tempo and track). That gets to be a lot more work, but at least it’s only twice a week!

  19. I guess I focus on both depending on the run. If it is an interval workout its more about pace, same with tempo runs. But for my long runs and easy runs, I am getting better about not really focusing on the pace. The half marathon used to be my favorite distance but this past fall that changed. The marathon has truly become my favorite distance.

  20. I always focus on pace personally. I like high intensity interval training. I also like the idea of the “After burn effect” (or EPOC) and trying to raise my VO2Max. When trying to enjoy the run, release some stress, and take it easy, I like a really long run 🙂 Heck, if anyone is going on runs good for them!! More people should create this beautiful habit.

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