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Better Than the Alternative Tuesdays: Change of Pace

Posted Aug 20 2013 6:31pm

In the running world there are all types of paces and pacing strategies.

Marathon goal pace.

Tuck in and surge at the halfway point.

5K race pace.

Draft off the leader.

Half marathon pace for first part, pace down :15 seconds every mile.

The paces and workout combinations are endless. Some coaches will try to tell you there’s a magic formula to pace workouts. I bet my money that for elite athletes, they are right. There is fine-tuning that happens at that level for those individuals that cannot be diminished.

My track workouts are nothing like theirs but it kicks my butt all the same.

My track workouts are nothing like theirs but it kicks my butt all the same.

But for the rest of us, it’s simple a matter of forcing a Change of Pace in our runs.

One thing I dig about a Change of Pace workout is that, by working really hard and pushing well outside of my comfort zone into my shorter race paces, suddenly, marathon goal pace feels like a piece of cake.

...or several cupcakes, if you will.

…or several cupcakes, if you will.

This is absolutely an exercise in confidence as much as it is an exercise to get your body in shape. And we runners love these workouts not only because they feel shorter, but because we sometimes surprise ourselves with the speed we can produce during them.

The 'ol clock and straight-up course of Summer Streets don't lie.

The ‘ol clock and straight-up Park Ave. course of Summer Streets don’t lie. 20 miles on the road is 20 miles on the Garmin is 20 miles on MapMyRun. And yes, those negative splits are real.

I don’t know about you guys, but I definitely was in need of a Change of Pace after this year. Summer has been blissfully and purposely slower for me.

I needed it. I needed it so badly. I needed to slow down, regroup, and recharge.

Peanut kisses recharge the soul.

Peanut kisses recharge the soul.

It’s good to have a Change of Pace every now and again. In running and in life, we get so wrapped up in one pace, one goal that it becomes a daily burden. 

And now that it’s marathon season, all you hear from runners is “marathon goal pace” this and “sub-whatevertheircurrentPRis” that. It’s easy to get sucked into the vortex of race pace anxiety three months out from the actual race.

But when you have a Change of Pace workout and speed it up or slow it down, suddenly you are no longer obsessed with the goal number, but your current number. You’re {maybe} enjoying and {definitely} living the workout you’re doing right now.

Right now, at this moment in the this 5K, I am hating it. It was hot. It was humid. It was close to the finish. But I did feel kinda badass PR-ing my 5K time in the middle of marathon training.

Right now, at this moment in the this 5K, I am hating it. It was hot. It was humid. It was close to the finish. But I did feel kinda badass PR-ing my 5K time in the middle of training.

Sometimes it takes a Change of Pace in our daily routine to appreciate the day-to-day things that make up lives. Sometimes it takes a Change of Pace to rejuvenate a love of the {seemingly} ordinary. Sometimes it takes a Change of Pace to gain perspective on what’s important.

It’s true in running for sure.

And when you go back to that goal pace, it somehow seems more attainable. You’ve done harder workouts, this pace ain’t nuthin.

And that feeling is certainly way Better Than the Alternative.

Happy Tuesday, friends.

Now go out and run.


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