Training

Should I Run For Time or Run For Distance?

by On May 11, 2014
Should I Run For Time or Run For Distance?

Whether you are an accomplished or novice runner, it is important to understand the difference between running for time and running for distance. Both variables will help you with your race training. Checking time or distance help you set physical goals and improve training.

Health Benefits of Both Running Types

Distance improves a person’s endurance levels. Experts have said that running for distance reduces circulatory issues and the likelihood of heart disease. Running for times strengthens a person’s upper leg muscles and cardiovascular system. Both types of running have some serious weight loss benefits.

Should I Run For Time or Run For Distance?

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Setting Short and Long-Term Goals

When deciding to run for distance or time, one should think about his or her strengths. Some people like to compete against their old times, especially if distance running isn’t their strength. Distance-focused goals involve long sessions since people have to expand the number of miles they reach. Setting goals around time is better for people who have time constraints on workouts and are better at speed than distance.

How to Calculate Progress

The same metric is used to measure progress for both running for time and distance: minutes per kilometre (or mile). After a workout, one should time the workout and identify how many kilometres were run. The time is then divided by the number of kilometres. People should keep track of workouts to see if they are progressing. There are many apps available to help runners track their goals, and some people like to update a fitness journal to chronicle workouts as well as diet.

Should I Run For Time or Run For Distance?

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Consider the Strengths of the Runner

Running for time or distance depends on an individual’s strength. People with a lot of endurance may be able to run long distances at a slow pace whereas people with speed tend to taper off after a while. It is important to identify strengths so that runs are enjoyable. Speed-focused runners will be discouraged if they shoot for distance instead of time.

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Identify Ideal Pace

Beginner runners may not know their strengths, which is why it is important to understand a person’s pace and strength. Time-based runs help people identify their breathing rates, how the legs feel and other patterns. Repeat runs help people understand how to go about race training, pinpoint strengths and develop a training routine. From here, one can run for distance or can continue to hone their times.

Type of Race and Goals

Though both running methods are effective, some methods may be more effective or efficient at certain times. For example, during marathon training, people will schedule a weekly long run, most likely around 30km (20 miles) long. The runner may have a goal to run a 4 hour marathon, which would mean hitting the 30km point in 3 hours. However, people should not only run for 3 hours because their pace may not be where it needs to be (i.e. they may run for 3 hours and not reach the 30km mark). Thus, it is important to run for distance in this situation.

Should I Run For Time or Run For Distance?

Photo Credit: 123rf

Tempo Runs and Fitness-Focused Workouts

Tempo runs are focused on building stamina and strength so runners can maintain a strong pace for a long period of time. The distance of this type of workout is not important. Instead, the length of the pace is important. Runners want to run for time to ensure they can maintain this pace.

Training for Distance Tips

When training, people need to gradually build their distance or endurance. This means establishing short and long term goals. If a person wants to run a marathon, they should start small. For example, one could begin their training by running 8km and then increase this by 10% each week. A personal running experience matters. Experienced marathon runners could start at a bigger goal whereas a sprinter should start small and build up. Doing too much too soon can cause injury and discourage runners.

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Training for Time

When training for time, one should run the same amount each week and track the time. Everyone from sprinters to marathon runners can pace train. This establishes how quickly one runs everything from 200m to a marathon. Runners can start by establishing how quickly they run 1.5km. If they normally run 1.5km in 9 minutes, they could work on cutting this back each week.

Should I Run For Time or Run For Distance?

Photo Credit: 123rf

Race training is all about comparing a person’s strengths and goals. Understanding how to train ensures the right workouts are planned and that goals are set and achieved. Some people like to run for distance whereas others like to run for time. Both types of running help people stay active and focused. Setting goals and reaching them is exhilarating. Running is a great way to build strength, endurance and to prevent heart disease.

Now, take some time to identify which method is right for you and ensure that the workouts are enjoyable and successful.

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