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As a New Runner, Should I Improve my Distance Covered or Pace?

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Congratulate yourself as you’ve already taken the first step towards good health by choosing to run. The next thing to do is to do it right – know the correct running technique and understand how to go about pursuing your passion as a new runner.

New Runner Dilemma: Confused between Distance and Pace?

If you’ve been thinking whether you need to run for a longer distance or run faster especially if you want to take your passion to the next level, let’s help you understand what comes first.

1. Distance

Running long distance plays a major role in building your stamina.

As you run, gradually increase your distance till you reach your target. You can target 5km, 10km or half marathon. You should be able to cover this distance comfortably at a jogging pace.

By following this you will slowly get your body accustomed to being able to run for a longer distance without getting tired.

As a New Runner, Should I Improve my Distance Covered or Pace

This also helps to condition your legs and lungs, making them stronger to enable you to run for a longer time easily.

Once you accomplish your targeted distance without feeling exhausted, you can then go on and work on increasing your pace.

A few things to keep in mind as you increase your running distance:

a. Warm-up is Essential

Do not let injuries sabotage your passion for running and for this it is highly essential that you warmup before running.

As a New Runner, Should I Improve my Distance Covered or Pace

This helps in preventing side stitches and muscle stiffness.

b. Understanding your Kickoff Mileage

By ‘kickoff mileage’, we mean the distance that you can run without feeling exhausted or gasping for air. The kickoff mileage varies from runner to runner.

As a New Runner, Should I Improve my Distance Covered or Pace

Keep a track of your mileage over the last few weeks or months and understand your starting point (the mileage that you are comfortable with). Then, gradually add miles to further build up your mileage.

c. Running with Others

A lot of new runner’s feel motivated when they run in the company of other runners. If you are one of them, join a running group or find some buddies who are equally passionate about running.

As a New Runner, Should I Improve my Distance Covered or Pace

This not only motivates you to cover longer distances but also enjoy running.

d. Undergo Training for Repeated Weeks

Continuous workouts along with an increase in mileage for multiple weeks ensure that you not only attain the desired mileage target but also help your body to adjust to the increasing mileage without any injuries.

e. Signing Up for Half Marathons

A lot of experienced runners believe that one of the best ways to work on the distance covered is by signing up for half marathons.

As a New Runner, Should I Improve my Distance Covered or Pace

Running distances more than this is not recommended for a new runner as this can lead to serious injuries.

Now that you know the essential of distance, time to check speed and pace:

2. Pace

If you are a new runner, directly increasing pace can strain your legs. Focusing on the mileage, initially, then the pace helps to strengthen your leg muscles and lungs, and this automatically works to gain pace.

Your average running pace increases only when you make an effort to run faster.

As a New Runner, Should I Improve my Distance Covered or Pace

In the beginning, don’t wear yourself out by trying to cover the same distance in a particular time. Vary the time duration slightly until you get a hang of it.

Let your body adapt to the speed by gradually increasing the pace of the workout.

Use the following methods to increase your pace:

a. Try the ‘Hard/Easy’ Principle

Combine speed sessions with your regular workout regime.

Do the regular workouts at a constant pace but try and increase the pace of speed sessions like interval, fartlek and tempo runs.

b. Running Base

Target at running 20 miles a week before you start the speed sessions. If you try to increase pace all of a sudden it can result in muscle strain.

Set definite goals for your workout and gradually work towards it.

c. Interval Training

Try high-intensity exercise for short intervals by taking ample rest in between. As you progress, try doing the exercises faster but with proper rest of course.

d. Fartlek

Add some excitement to your regular run schedule by incorporating short, fast runs called Fartlek.

Build speed and endurance by gradually increasing the rate of your Fartlek runs.

e. Tempo

Running at a pace faster than your normal workout for a shorter distance that too at a uniform speed, is what tempo runs is all about.

As a New Runner, Should I Improve my Distance Covered or Pace

Building speed by maintaining pace is the motto followed here.

Also click here to Know more about Tempo run and its Advantages!

Running UpHill

Running uphill at an average pace and jogging or walking while returning will help to increase your endurance and speed. Repeat this exercise to increase your strength.

As a New Runner, Should I Improve my Distance Covered or Pace

Both distance and pace go hand in hand, with each complimenting the other. Fo a new runner, working on both in the right order ensures safety as well as increases your capability for a long-distance run.

So, run along to build your speed and distance! You can never choose between the both!

Enjoy your running spree and share your experiences with us.

Running - Enthusiast
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