27 July 2009

Training By Time

I have only been running a short time, but ever since I started I have read many times over that it is best for beginners to run by time rather than distance. It is beneficial in different ways to run for thirty minutes rather than run for, say, three miles.

It has taken me an entire year to heed that advice.

A couple of weeks ago, when coming back from a slight foot injury, I decided to run by time and not worry about distance at all. I have not had a bad run since then. (knock on wood)

There are a couple of different things, both mental and physical, that make training by time better for me. First of all the body does not know what one mile or one kilometer is, but it does know what thirty minutes or an hour is. Time is more realistic to the body, and the body knows the difference between minutes rather than miles.

Another aspect for me is mental. Twenty minutes will always be twenty minutes, but one mile can be anywhere from eight minutes to eleven minutes for me. As long as I keep my pace the way it needs to be for that particular run, my mind is in it better because I know how much longer I am running for.

Another thing that I tend to do is run fast to get that first mile done with, or speed up to finish that last mile. This can mess up my workout and I will completely fail to reach my goal for that run. Now if I focus on time, then it does not matter how fast I run, that last five minutes will always be five minutes.

One of my problems however, is that I am a stat whore. I love compiling numbers and measuring the distance I run each week and month. No problem there, I can always plan my runs by time and log them by mileage.

Problem solved.

So the training plan I have written up for my first marathon starts next week. Every run is by time rather than distance, even the speed workouts. The only workouts where I am measuring my runs by distance are the Yasso 800's.

I will be doing five of them starting at 6x800 and working up to 10x800 a few weeks before the marathon. I am interested in seeing how well that will measure preparedness for the marathon.


Denise said...

Sounds like you found something that works for you. Good luck with the training. My philly training started yesterday.

Brian said...

I was talking to a friend about training by time last night. definitly forwarding him this post , good one!

Stacey said...

It's great to find a system that works for you. The trick is to enjoy the training. Race day comes and goes.... it's the blood sweat and tears that goes into the training that makes it all worth while!!


lindsay said...

my plan is based off of mileage but some days i incorporate running for time for the same benefits you do it. i love the stat comment - i have to do the same!

glad your training is going well!