I have learned so much about running since starting to train using the Hanson method. It has truly elevated my running and just really helped to continue to fuel my passion for running. One of the things I learned through Hanson is that varying the pace on your training runs is actually quite important. I used to run just about every single run at the same pace.
Benefits of varying the pace:
- Actually having easy runs. Now I’ve said this before in a previous post but the key here is easy PACE not necessarily how it feels. I used to be so guilty (and still occasionally make this mistake) of running my “easy” runs at a way too fast pace because it “felt” easy. Okay, I’m not trying to be rude, but that is actually pure crap, y’all. The whole point of an easy run is to get in miles to build your strength without overtaxing your body by running at a pace that is slower than your goal pace – and by slower, I mean anywhere from 1 to 2.5 minutes slower. My general motto is that I can’t really run too easy on easy runs but I can definitely run too fast. This article by Luke Humphrey helps to explain some of the science behind this. I highly recommend reading it.
- Learning what your goal pace feels like. This has been incredibly important in my training. I actually remember thinking when I was training for my first marathons – how am I going to know what race pace feels like? Unfortunately, I never really answered that question. And the answer was – I didn’t know what race pace felt like because I never dedicated any runs to running race pace. Now, I run race pace miles each week during a training cycle and I run ten seconds faster than race pace once a week. This means that by the time my race comes around, my legs know what race pace feels like and I can be dialed in pretty quickly during the race. It’s like my legs can be on autopilot because they know what the pace they are supposed to be running feels like. That helps a heck of a lot during a tough race.
- Mentally, varying the pace mixes it up. Training for 18 weeks (or however long your cycle is) can be hard. Mixing up your training paces introduces some much needed variety in your training.
- Bonus benefit: mixing up your training paces gives you the chance to run with more running friends. The one thing I have LOVED about getting a bit faster is that I can now run with some faster friends. For example, I ran a number of my tempo runs with a faster friend – my tempo pace was her easy pace so it worked out perfectly for me. I also love running my easy days with friends and not caring about the pace. It makes it more fun to train with friends!
How do you determine the pace of your runs?