Run for Time Not Distance If You’re Training Indoors This Winter

It was 12 below zero this morning when I got up to run. Obviously, hitting the ice-covered streets and sidewalks isn’t an option. So I got bundled up and headed to the Y where I found plenty of empty treadmills.

treadmills

It’s only 12 below. Where is everybody?

I can get motivated to do some rather serious training runs in the spring when I have events coming up that I want to be semi-competitive at. At this time of year I’m on a maintenance running program. The goal is to not lose everything that I’ve gained over the last year.

Should You Run for Time or Distance?

The time vs. miles debate is one you should research and consider if you’re doing treadmill running. If you’ve been running outside for the past seven or eight months, getting on the treadmill and setting the same mileage-to-time goal that you were doing outside is not only impossible, it’s de-motivating!

Experts will tell you to set a time goal and not worry about the miles. At least for now.

That’s what I did today and the outcome was better than it would have been if I would have been working on a distance goal.

Time Flies

Once you get warmed up and into the workout the time will start to go faster. Remember, the second half of the run always feel better than the first half does.

Jason Karp, Ph.D. says that time is more important than miles, especially if you’re training for longer runs. You will begin to see progress in both your distance and the time it takes you to cover it when you learn to stress your body for a certain length of time. If you’re training for a run that you think will take you an hour and a half to complete, run for an hour and a half. When the day of the event comes your body will be prepared for that duration.

Time vs distance

Plus, if your goal is to successfully run for one hour, regardless of the miles covered, when your watch says you’ve been running for 60 minutes you’ll have a feeling of accomplishment.

If you set a goal to run six miles in one hour and it takes you an hour and four minutes, you’ll focus on the failure of not meeting the miles-to-time goal. Chances are you will have trouble motivating yourself to try again.

Time Vs. Distance

I believe that establishing time rather than distance goals is the secret to success for indoor winter training.

When you move back outside in the spring you can begin to incorporate realistic miles-to-time goals and add tempo runs and speed drills so you’ll be fully ready to kick butt at any event you sign up for.

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Just getting started on your running journey? We all started in the same place. Here’s my story as I went from running a 5K to a half marathon. My Running Success Story.

 

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