Running By Effort

Today I want to talk about running by effort. How hard is it?? 

On Monday, I had to go out for a 6ish mile run that was a workout. Coach Marc wanted me to do a 1.5 mile warmup, 8×2:20 minutes at 10K/half-marathon pace with 30 second break, then 90 second break before repeating those 8 reps again. 

Monday was hot and HUMID. I knew as I started the run that it was going to be a struggle. I took my warmup and cooldowns pretty slow, with some walking. I tried as hard as I could for those 2:20 repeats. Yet, when I finished, my watch still showed 11:30 average pace!

Well, not my watch. I actually downloaded Strava and used it for the first time, but for some reason saved it as cycling and not running, so I couldn’t see my splits. So then I REALLY didn’t know what paces I had been running haha.

Anyway, I was frustrated and tweeted about it and had this Twitter conversation with Marc:

Even when I’m just on recovery runs I wonder what pace I’m running. I won’t wear my GPS watch or track the run but I’ll still end up going home and calculating the distance and time…I know, ridiculous!

I guess because for me, one of my main goals is to make my easy pace faster. I have been stuck at an easy pace of 10-11 minutes per mile for years now. So I end up watching my pace during runs.

I know that on a hot humid day my pace will be slower and my body will have to work harder. I know that runners should go by EFFORT on any given day due to various factors. I also know that I shouldn’t eat as many cookies, but I still do ;)

I guess when I do workouts I want my paces to be sub-10 because I hope that is what my marathon pace will be. It’s definitely something I need to work on, and I’ve been mindful of it by not wearing my GPS watch and just wearing a normal watch.

I guess the point of this post is to ask advice: 

Do you worry about your pace? How do you stop worrying about it and just go by effort? Do you think it’s made you faster in the long run?

I have a 10 mile run today (hopefully…if it doesn’t storm later), and I plan on just going easy.

Thanks for your advice in advance!


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  1. I just run to the best oft ability I know with time and practice my pace will get better. Some days I look at the pace of others and think man I’m slow but then I think at least I’m running!!
    Ivanna recently posted…High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Running RoutineMy Profile

    • That is a great attitude to have! I need to think that way too and just know that just by runnign daily I will improve.

  2. I tend to worry about my pace too much, too! I should start going on GPSless runs just to run and enjoy.
    Nicole @ Fitful Focus recently posted…#LJInspired Instagram Challenge!My Profile

  3. On hot days, I don’t worry about pace. Those are the days I run by effort. I used to use my HR monitor to help me learn how to do this. Helped a ton!
    Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted…The humblingMy Profile

  4. When I’m training for something, I definitely tend to think about pace more than effort. But lately, I’ve just been doing leisurely runs and not worrying too much! :)
    Jen recently posted…ZOODLES W/AVOCADO, PEACHES & WHITE BEANSMy Profile

  5. When I was running frequently I was just like you. I would leave my devices at home during some runs but as soon as I got home I was on the computer looking at the distance and calculating the time. Good to know I’m not alone. Good luck with your training!
    Mrs.BarBelle recently posted…6AM BanditsMy Profile

  6. My trainer always tells me it is all about effort as well and not to focus on my gadgets. I don’t know maybe they know something we don’t!
    Deborah @ Confessions of a Mother Runner recently posted…Ton of Bricks WorkoutMy Profile

  7. I started running long before GPS was available and I still kept track of my pace. I knew all my routes, measured them out by car. Even now that I’m older and much slower I still keep track of my pace, but I don’t worry about it anymore I just like to know.
    Debbie recently posted…13 Tips to Help You Overcome Blogger’s BlockMy Profile

    • I used to do that too! (map out with my car), then I would use mapmyrun to map out a route before my runs. I started doing that now so I can just go run without a watch at all.

  8. Running is just so hard. I have a hard time not running with my gps because I want to know how far I’ve gone, but at the same time I keep looking at it and it drives me crazy.
    Jessica recently posted…What We Wore- Mommy and Toddler FashionMy Profile

  9. I totally understand and feel your frustration. I actually had to start running with my GPS watch… NOT on the screen that shared my pace. Only distance. I got so mental wtih that.
    Rachel recently posted…Virtual Racing WITH the BoysMy Profile

  10. On easy days I run with my GPS but just display the distance I’ve gone. Slowing down my easy days to a truly easy effort really helped me get faster, like 1-2 minutes slower than marathon pace. Then I feel that I go faster at the same perceived effort on my speed and tempo runs!
    Laura @ This Runner’s Recipes recently posted…Hiking at Lake Twenty Two + Fourth of July Weekend {Life Lately}My Profile

  11. I run naked (GPS free) for the very reason of not checking my paces all the time. Even on recovery runs I tend to become obsessed. I am learning to use GPS as a tool not a crutch, good luck on your effort training.
    Toni @runninglovingliving recently posted…Workouts That I am Loving Lately Plus a GiveawayMy Profile

  12. I think if I was big into running I’d be just like you: worried more about pace than anything. But I totally get how it can be a hinderance. Good luck with getting comfortable running without relying on pace!
    GiselleR @ Diary of an ExSloth recently posted…How to Replace White Flour when BakingMy Profile


  1. […] Monday: 6 miles. This workout was tough because it was something like 70% humidity out and almost 90 degrees. We were supposed to do a 1 mile warm up, then 8×2:20 minutes at 10K/half marathon effort, with 30 sec. break, and then repeat that one more time before a 1 mile cooldown. It sucked. I felt like I was really struggling. Which prompted me to write about this post about running by effort. […]

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