It’s not about the pace

I’ve believed for quite some time that few runs are about the pace. I’m not an elite runner, heck I’m not even much of an age group competitor. My goals aren’t to place when I race. My goals are to finish strong and be healthy enough to go out and keep moving. Just the other day I told a friend as we were having a very healthy, fun walk that my goal isn’t to average a certain pace on my runs. My goal is to still be moving and healthy when I’m 72. So whatever I need to do now at 42 to make that happen – that’s my goal.

If that means stepping back on the pace, who cares?! If that means some weeks I need more rest than others, that’s fine! If that means I need a break from time to time, it’s all good! The goal is to be healthy and strong – not win some imaginary competition. There’s no spreadsheet in the sky that makes me a better or worse runner than someone else because of my speed when running.

Do I have a goal time for a race? Almost always. Does that mean my paces during training count? Not really. See, my race goal is based on how well I’m training. So I look at what I’ve been able to do during that training cycle and set my goal accordingly. Sometimes I push a bit. Sometimes I happily stay in the comfort zone. But that’s on race day. On a random Tuesday the paces that I run or bike or swim don’t prove anything. Today’s run at an average 10:35 minute mile might have been far easier than last week’s run that averaged 11:10 minute miles. And the only thing that really counts is that I went out for a run. I got myself out of the house and moving for 30 minutes or 45 minutes or 90 minutes.

As I look ahead to a long training cycle, I’ve decided not to track my pace at all. There will be some interval runs or speedwork days where I’ll need to watch my pace for segments. But overall? For me right now? I don’t care if my runs average 12 minute miles or 9 minute miles. I’m going to give it all I’ve got on any given day and that’s the only measurement I’m worried about.

One of the key things I learned in the hours and hours of training for the Olympic Triathlon last summer is that the journey is going to be long, so I might as well look for ways to enjoy it and thrive and grow and be stronger.


I’m a healthy, strong runner & triathlete and I’d like to stay that way! 🙂 Want to go for a run?


8 thoughts on “It’s not about the pace

  1. Yes, I want to go for a run! I don’t think I can come cheer you on during the marathon, which slays me (stupid Halloween), but I would love love to join you for as many parts of long runs as possible. SIGN ME UP.

  2. love this! I’m totally with you. I am more and more injured and therefore more and more slow. But I want to run forever. I’m ok with slowing down—and resting—to ready that goal.

    1. If I had a talent for fast running it would be different but I don’t. I have a talent for stubborn, dedicated running 😉 Wish we lived close enough together to be run buddies!

  3. Love this! I always say that my special talent isn’t speed, but relentless forward motion. As I was reflecting back over Sunday’s race, it occurred to me that being injured for so long, struggling for so long to recover following surgery, all the setback injuries last year… It was all perfect! I learned so much during that period of time about running, my body, and how to recognize/react to my limitations. And now I’m finally getting my groove back at a time when my daughter can join the journey. I don’t care if I’m ever fast. I’d just like to keep training and running races with my kid forever! : )

    1. “Relentless forward motion” is my new favorite phrase. And yes, who cares if I’m fast as long as I’m still able to get out there. Hooray!

  4. It is about the journey. And it doesn’t matter if you feel you are fast or not fast, enjoying the journey is the most important part. And that sometimes means looking back on the days that felt hard with a satisfaction that comes from pushing through the though parts and continuing forward.

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