Pacing:The Secret to Success

Learning to run is so easy, as long as the pace is comfortable. SportMedBC's LearnToRun10K Program is a walk/run program in which the time spent running gradually increases as the time spent walking gradually decreases. By the end of the program, you should be able to run an entire 10K at a very easy, comfortable, "talking" pace. Over the years, it’s my experience that in most walk/run programs the walk tends to be too slow, and the run tends to be too fast.

The run portion of the training should be a very slow jog, more like a shuffle. The pace should be slow so it almost feels effortless. In fact, it might feel as if you could “walk” as fast as you are running. If the run is not always at a comfortable “talking” pace, then please SLOW DOWN! If you find the pace too slow, that’s GOOD. Be patient and resist the temptation to run too fast. Your body and mind need to adjust to the stress that running places on you. Ultimately, the idea is that the run portions will mesh with the walk portions, so that your body and mind hardly know the difference. By running too fast, you won’t increase your fitness…just your risk of injury.

With the Walk10K and Run10K Faster Programs, the principals of walking and running are essentially the same. The goal is to become more efficient and comfortable at a “talking” pace, whether you are walking or running. Try not to worry about how fast you walk or run. “Pace is personal”. Try to settle into a comfortable “talking” pace during your warm ups, cool downs, and for all steady walks or runs.

Both the Walk 10K and Run 10K Faster programs include interval training. For the change-of-pace intervals, your pace should be “brisk”, but still comfortable… just slightly faster than your comfortable “talking” pace…NOT TOO FAST. You should still be able to speak a few words to your training partners but not have a full conversation. If you are out of breath and unable to do that, then SLOW DOWN. Remember, this is the same for both walking and running.

It’s my experience that participants either find things too difficult, or wind up with injury simply because they push themselves too hard. The training is supposed to be FUN! Let the faster pace come naturally as your body and mind gradually become fitter.

Try not to worry about “keeping up”. There are always going to be walkers and runners who are not as fast as you are, and also those who are faster. When training with a group, your leaders will regroup during the recovery after every change-of-pace interval so that you will have the support and enthusiasm of the group regularly throughout the session.

Happy training…and remember…slow down!

Lynn Kanuka is SportMedBC’s RunWalk Coach. Lynn is perhaps best known for her 3,000 metre bronze medal win at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. Today, her demonstrated passion for encouraging and helping people embark on the road to fitness is remarkable. Lynn’s work in developing programs and infrastructure is essential for SportMedBC to remain the leading delivery agent of run/walk clinics in Canada.

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