The Importance of Running Training at Goal Pace

by Dominique De Rooij - Date: 2006-12-09 - Word Count: 562 Share This!

When you are seriously working towards a key race, you are using a focused running program. You do your long runs, easy runs, tempo runs and intervals. Great ! But something is missing in this picture: Goal Pace Running!

Why you need to run at goal pace during your training

Running a race is exciting. I always get nervous in the last half an hour before a race. Does not matter what race I am running. I need to run to the bathroom and feel uneasy about the race. Have I trained enough?

Suddenly I feel a little pain in my left knee or my right achilles. I stretch a bit more. Do a few strides. Run to the bathroom again.

After the race has started this uneasy feeling is gone almost immediately. I then focus on my pace. I know exactly how fast to go. Why? Because I incorporated goal pace runs in my running schedule, of course !

As you know, it pays off to run even splits (= run at a steady pace per mile throughout the race). You know those runners as well, who start off too fast and burn out well before the finish line. I know them too and I am certain of one thing: they should have done goal pace runs in their training !

So, one reason of doing goal pace runs is to make sure that you are able to run even splits during the race. So you know how fast to go and don't burn out early. Or that you realize afterwards that you should have pushed it a bit more.

There is another good reason for goal pace sessions. If you are uncertain about whether you'll be able to hold your pace until the end, then you can test yourself during training.

Suppose you want to do a 10K in 40 minutes. If you have severe troubles when performing a 5K in 20 minutes in your training, then you have got to wonder...

A race usually brings out a little extra in you. But when you can't run half the distance in goal pace your goal is probably a bit too ambitious.

So the second reason for goal pace running is to find out whether you are ready for your goal race or not.

Goal pace sessions for different distances

When you are training for shorter distances upto 10K, your goal pace sessions are different from when you are training for longer distances (half or full marathon).

Intervals, Time Trials and Test Races at goal pace are all great for races upto 10K.

When you are training for the half or the full marathon, you are better off doing a prolonged effort of part of the race distance at goal pace.

A variation to this is to first do a part at easy pace and then do a number of miles at goal pace.

Goal pace running is an important part of your running program. Yes, you focus pretty much all your training on the traditional running training; your long runs, easy runs, tempo runs, and intervals. But you will want to put at least four to six workouts in your running schedule which are focused on running at goal pace.

After all, running at goal pace is a very good way to make sure that you find your right pace when race day comes and that you'll be able to hold on that pace for the whole race !

Related Tags: running, goal pace running, running tips

Dominique de Rooij is an avid runner and founder of Best Running Tips is a website devoted to Beginner Running Tips, Training, Apparel and Gear.

Want to know exactly which goal pace sessions are most effective for a 5K, 10K, half or full marathon? Then visit =>

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