There are a number of training drills that call for running at 5K pace or a 10K pace. Some drills just tell you to run at your goal race pace. Though I’ve gotten into incorporating more tempo runs and speedwork into my training I still haven’t quite figured out the paces I should be shooting for in those runs. The most I’ve taken the time to figure out is my goal time for different distances. If I took the time (and was good at math) I’m sure I could quickly figure out those different paces and times that I should be using in training.
I’ve run a consistent 9-minute mile for a long time; on longer runs I might average 9:30 and shorter runs I can usually stay under 9 minutes. These ranges are what I consider to be my “training paces.” I’d like to learn how to better use these paces during different training runs and I’d like to set more training pace goals. However, I also would like to better establish my race pace. On my recent half marathon I finally think I achieved what I could consider a race pace. Mile after mile I managed to maintain an 8:58 pace.
There is something about pinning on a number, tying a chip to the shoe, and standing in line with a bunch of other runners that changes my running mentality…and pace. What I decided at the half marathon is that “race pace” is not just a matter of achieving a certain time; it’s a much more comprehensive, mental way to run. I’m sure I could train at an 8:58 pace on a regular basis but the way I felt at that pace during an actual race was much more confident and focused than I feel during regular runs. Now that I know what race pace feels like, I think it will be easier to achieve the 5K or 10K pace that different drills call for.
What about you? What is your race pace? How do you practice for your race pace? Do you have a training pace?