T Nation

Help with Pacing While Running

Ever since I went Army Reserve and have to go running on my own I have lost my ability to keep a steady pace when running now that i’ve broken from formation running. I always go all out in the beginning and am wiped out by the time I get anywhere. Doesn’t help that I loathe running more than anything. What do you guys do to keep yourself going so you don’t hit burn out and can actually make some good mileage?

have you ever run with an ipod or similar?
find what your comfy running pace is,
put together some tracks that support that pace (it’s easy to get bpm from mp3’s now) and go.

another way is to use a heart rate monitor and do what it tells you to do to stay at 70% MaxHR.


Back when I started running more, and wanted to learn a faster pace, I would use a treadmill. It will tell you what your min/mile pace is, so you can set it and run your distance, paying attention to how your body feels.

Then you just fall into that same groove when you hit the road again. Another option would be to use a track or some other route where you know the distance intervals, that way you can figure out your pace and keep track of it.

A lot of people don’t like running on a treadmill, and say it isn’t the same as running outside. I think running outside is actually easier, because the scenery is changing. Treadmill is boring, just staring at the wall(or mirror if so equipped). Like I said, the treadmill option worked good for me.

hi boatguy

there are a couple of mechanical and sensory reasons treadmill running is different from real running, and that generally athletes test weaker coming off treadmills and ellipticals.

one is gait: our gait running outside is not regular, and a treadmill enforces that. there are a handful of studies now that have been looking at this going “hmm, that’s different”

the other is the sensory motor dissonance between being on and off the treadmill - that kind of resettling that we go through being on stable ground again when our body thinks it’s been moving over the ground.

so if we do a comparison of athletes who have done say 20 mins of rowing or biking with athletes who have done 20 of treadmill or elliptical with pre and post muscle tests in a double blind, the folks on the treadmills/ellipticals test weaker. That suggests for some reason the nervous system is shutting down from a threat response to something.

So that could also contribute to why “real” running feels easier: your nervous system isn’t feeling like it has to protect itself from what it’s being asked to do


What really helped me was doing 1/4 mile or 1/2 mile intervals. Say your goal is to keep an 8 min mile pace, then you would aim for 2 min 1/4 miles or 4 min 1/2 miles. The aim here is to learn and ingrain that pace. These aren’t sprinting intervals, they are to learn the pace you want to actually run at.

A sample workout could consist of a 5 min warm up and stretch followed by eight sets of 1/4 mile runs/1/8 mile walks.

I spent a couple of weeks doing this and even without using any external pacing method, I can complete a 4 mile run with a pretty consistent pace.

Check out www.stewsmith.com - He’s an ex-SEAL who now mainly trains guys for military/police pfts/training. There are a bunch of free running plans on there. There is a free 6 week running plan which is very heavy on intervals like I mentioned above. That’s actually where I got the idea from.

Tougher hit the nail on the head, its all about intervals…

Thanks for all the replies everyone, I’ve got some running trails nearby that i mapped out the distances on so I’ll give the running 1/4, 1/2, whole mile for time to get a good pace going.