QT: It’s All About the Pace, ‘Bout the Pace, Not Distance!

Think back to the last long race that you ran.

Don’t worry, I’ll wait…

How did you feel after your race?

Were your quads barking at you? Were you pretty for a few days?

If so, what do you think caused the achiness after your race?

The distance, right?


Post-Race Soreness is Almost Entirely Related to Your Pace

Last weekend, I ran my third Shits & Giggles 26.2.

What is that? It’s quite simple: it’s just me running my own marathon.

I grab the things I need for my run, and then I go. 26.2 miles later, I call it a day.

A funny thing happened after this S&G: I woke up on Sunday morning feeling fantastic.

And on Monday, I was feeling good enough for a couple of easy miles to start the week.

In all honesty, I felt better coming off of this 26.2 than I have the day after some good speed workouts in the past month.

And that got me thinking…

Maybe Bill Jones Was Right?

One of the quotes that I regularly share on Twitter is this little gem:

Remember it’s the pace that kills, never the distance.

Every time I share it, I always get at least one response trying to convince me otherwise.

So let me just say, once and for all, that distance does matter.

Pace, however, matters a whole lot more!

If you have never run more than a mile or two and you set out to do a marathon, you are going to be sore the next day.

It doesn’t matter how slow you run, you will be sore. Shoot, even if you walk the whole thing, you will be sore.

Why? Because your body hasn’t adapted to the demands of being on your feet for that amount of time.

But if you’re well trained? Pace is going to kill you way before the distance does.

There’s a Big Difference Between Running and Racing

While the above statement may seem pretty obvious, it’s something that a lot of runners still don’t fully grasp.

Shoot, a year ago I didn’t grasp it either!

Running a marathon at an easy pace, for someone that has been running consistently for awhile and has a good base of fitness, really isn’t that impressive.

Racing a marathon?

That’s how much of a difference the pace makes.

If you’re running at race pace, you are pushing your body and mind to the limits!

You can only do that for so long until you either break down or blow up.

But just running at an easy pace for 26.2 miles?

It’s an impressive number (I guess) but all it really takes is the determination to keep going and having 4-8 hours free in the day to make it happen.

Train Smarter by Controlling Your Pace

By know, you probably know I’m a fan of the 80/20 training philosophy.

But whether you want to go all in with 80/20 or follow a different style of training, the fact of the matter remains the same: you need to control your pace.

The difference between a long run and a race comes down to pace. 

Running 26.2 miles isn’t scary to me any longer.

You know what is scary? Running 26.2 miles at 7:15/BQ pace.

I know that I can handle the distance. But that pace? That might just kill me!

What is More Difficult for You: Pace or Distance?

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