Can You Predict Your Running Pace?

Are you able to accurately predict your pace?  It turns out, I’m not.  Monday night’s Pacer’s workout was a predict a pace session.  Basically, we’d warm up and then predict our pace for a  2 mile run around the track.  We’d run watchless and see how close we came to our predictions.

Monday’s weather was crappy during the day and I was really not sold on the idea of driving to the track for a 2 mile workout that I could easily do from home. I figured I’d go home and just get my 2 mile run in before the 7pm track session even started.

My legs were really tired from Sunday’s 6 miles.  I thought I’d run the two miles at my easy run pace (about 12 min/miles).  I never really run by feel but I figured that was what would be natural. So  I set out and tried my hardest to ignore my watch. I was surprisingly successful at that part of the activity! I knew the route and I knew pretty much exactly where the first “mile marker” would be so I avoided looking down until I crossed it. I actually didn’t look at my watch until 1.2 miles in and the humidity must have been affecting my math skills because I didn’t realize how much I was off my goal pace.  I didn’t hit any stoplights at all – and those of you in the Pentagon/Crystal City area know there are a ton of stoplights in my neighborhood so this was crazy – so I finished up my run without much excuse to look at my watch.

I was definitely surprised to look down and see 22:06.  Whoops.  I was more surprised to look at my mile splits and see that they were both exactly 11:03.  At least when I run by feel I’m consistent?

I’m not really sure what to make of this info. I’m going to definitely make sure I do my long run this weekend at the pace Runners World Smart Coach recommends – about 12 min/mile because I don’t want to get hurt.  Maybe I can tweak some of my recovery run paces, but we’ll see.

Are you able to predict your pace without a watch? Have you ever tried a predict a pace run?

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9 Comments

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9 responses to “Can You Predict Your Running Pace?

  1. Opposite of me — I am SO inconsistent! This morning I had one mile at 11:58 and another at 8:54. I really need to work on this.

  2. I am really bad at this which is particularly a problem when I run races and think that I am doing the first few miles at a comfortable sustainable pace (even when the numbers on my Garmin are telling me I’m probably too fast). Then it turns out this pace is not so comfortable and I really slow down/struggle at the end. So I have to really force myself to use the Garmin and run what is really an appropriate pace.

  3. Amy

    I do this all the time, and even didn’t look at my watch for 25 of my last marathon. There’s something pretty liberating about it and then it feels great to be right on the mark of where you want to/think you should be.

  4. I cannot predict my pace at all, some days I go out and try to stick around 11 minutes per mile and find that I have negative splits and end with a 9:45 average. I’m trying to run more consistently at a quicker pace, unfortunately I’m afraid of the heat and haven’t been outside in a while…
    Being faster than you expected is not at all a bad thing (it means all that speed work is doing its job), but make sure you are comfortable and not pushing past your limits.

  5. I usually overestimate my total time for races, but I think that’s because the adrenaline from races makes me go faster than I do in training runs. I’m also terribly inconsistent. The first mile or so I go out way too hard, then the middle I’m pretty even, then at the end I run out of steam (thanks to the hard 1st mile…)

  6. That’s interesting.. I’ve never tried anything like that. Though I notice when I do my progression runs my leaps forward are sort of erratic. It’s a good thing to try though, it gets you in tune with your pace and feel and stuff.

  7. I’m terrible at predicting my running times, especially on shorter runs. Long runs I’m usually within the ball park.

    If I run with my Garmin I find I’m very erratic as I try to hold the same pace rather than run by feel. But when I run by feel I’m much more consistent. Sometimes training is just so frustrating!

  8. I definitely can’t tell how fast I’m going without looking at my watch. Some days I feel great and I’m going faster than I expect to and some days I look down and am surprised at how slow I am going…great question!

  9. Pingback: Week 8 Training Recap – My Best Week Yet | CarlyBananas

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