Starting an exercise routine can be difficult and there are many factors to consider. It’s important to assess your body and how you feel, know what you’re trying to accomplish, and then determine what exercises/equipment you need to get there. If you choose to work on your running abilities, be sure to educate yourself on how to appropriately improve over time! 

Running continues to be one of the most popular forms of exercise. It has an extremely positive impact on our mental health, burns a lot of calories (sparking weight loss), strengthens bones, and can even reduce certain types of cancers. A 2012 study in the Journal of Adolescent Health showed that just 30 minutes of running during the week for three weeks boosted sleep quality, mood, and concentration during the day. As you continue with your exercise routine make sure you stay healthy and follow some of these tips to understand and improve your pace!

What does running pace mean?

Pace is the number of minutes it takes to cover a mile or kilometer. A pace number can be helpful while training for an upcoming race but finding your running pace can be difficult. If you push yourself too hard in the beginning, you won’t experience your full potential. Establishing a comfortable pace is essential to hit your goals, improve your endurance, and achieve a personal record. Scientific research has proven that having a pacing strategy can improve your overall running performance. Think of your body as a machine, once it’s warmed up and comfortable, it’ll run better. There’s nothing better than finishing a workout and feeling proud of how far your body has come since day one. 

What workouts can help improve my pace?

There’s more to training for marathons than just running—it’s good for your entire body. Incorporate some of these exercises into your daily workouts for a better chance at improving your pace and endurance.

  • Hill training can be very helpful to someone who plans on running a race that has a lot of hills. Run up the hill at your normal pace and then jog down it. Make sure to pay attention to each step you take, as going back down the hill too quickly can cause injury. If the hill seems too daunting to start out with then find a smaller one and work your way up, all while keeping in time with your pace.
  • Interval training is pretty common in the running world. It’s a great way to increase your endurance and really push yourself. Make sure to include a 5-8 minute warm up for your muscles to prepare before you jump right into intervals. Intervals once or twice a week will help improve your overall speed.
  • Tempo training is similar to intervals, except not as intense. Run at a pace that’s slightly harder than your regular pace and do so for a few minutes. The goal is to work up to running your tempo pace for longer amounts of time depending on what kind of race you’re preparing for. Sprinkle this training in with other exercises to see your pace increase over time. 

What tools can I use to improve my runs?

There are several ways to optimize your runs. Establishing an exercise routine and having the proper tools is the first step to getting the most out of your workouts. 

  • Use a printed out calendar or the one on your phone to mark the days you’ll be working out, for how long, and what you’ll be doing. Mapping out your whole week will relieve any stress about finding time to fit in a workout! Having a schedule will make it easier to plan other things you might have going on without worrying that you’ll be interfering with your exercise. 
  • While you continue your fitness routine, determine a running pace for yourself using a running pace calculator. Understand that your body will need time to figure out the right rhythm for success. This calculator will recommend a suitable pace to prepare you for whatever you happen to be training for. 
  • Another helpful tool is the timer on your phone. Use the timer during workouts so you don’t lose track of time or overwork yourself with one exercise. Always be aware of what your plan is in and out of the gym while working on your fitness goals. Go back and forth between various exercises to work each and every muscle the proper way. 
  • Shoes might not seem like a tool but they definitely are! Having sneakers that are made for running will improve any form of running you are doing. Make sure they have proper arch and ankle support and feel comfortable to run in for a long time. Your toes and heel should fit perfectly inside with not too much wiggle room. Testing out your shoes before a long run or race is important to prevent any blisters or discomfort in the future. 
  • Buy a water bottle that you’ll bring with you for all your workouts. Look into bottles that hold whatever amount of water you plan on drinking during a workout and make sure it’s exactly to your liking. Maybe you want something that you can grip onto well, or a bottle that can keep your water cold for a long amount of time. Whatever it may be, do your research and buy yourself the best one for your needs. Staying hydrated while working out is essential to your body.

What are you running for?

People run for various reasons. Some are preparing for a race, some want to improve their health, and others just want to keep up with their kids at the park. Ultimately, running is an excellent way to reduce stress, improve your heart health, as well as decrease any symptoms of depression. Find your reason to run and stick with it.