Timing your training runs
When it comes to measuring how hard you’re training, most runners focus on the miles they’ve covered. Here’s a look at why the amount of time you spend running can be just as important.
Here are some of the risks of focussing on distance:
- You may push yourself too hard to reach set distances. This can lead to overtraining, illness and injury.
- You can easily get bogged down in recording your daily and weekly mileage, and lose sight of how you feel and whether you’re actually improving - your training should be about quality not quantity.
- Your training programme might become repetitive as you strive to reach your target distance. A healthy training programme should be varied and include different types of exercise, like hill running, treadmill running, Fartlek training, resistance training and whole body sessions. It’s also important to allow time to recover from your workouts.
- You’ll find it hard to stay motivated and focussed on your training if you struggle to achieve your target distance. Try to set yourself smaller, achievable goals to keep yourself on course and constantly improving.
Here’s how to measure your training sessions by time:
Set an aim for the session at the start - if you usually set your targets in distances, convert them to time. For example, rather than running 10 miles at a steady pace, aim to run for 90 minutes to 2 hours at a steady pace.
This is particularly useful when it comes to recovery runs. If you set yourself a 3 mile recovery run, you may find you have to work hard to reach 3 miles and the session turns into a full workout. By setting yourself a 25 or 30 minute run you can keep the pace as gentle or fast as you need.
Another benefit is you’ll only need to take a stopwatch with you. Running to a time limit means you can vary and improvise your route – there’s no need to keep checking your location or mileage.