Why you should Stick to your Group’s Target Speed

We all want to run at a speed which feels great, right from the start of our run but the speed which feels great isn’t always the best for your run…

Read this post to learn how sticking with your group’s target speed will help you progress faster with less injuries and more support from club members.

As an attendee of any even paced club run there will be times when you notice your speed gravitating faster than that agreed between members before the run. If you’ve agreed on a target speed, by starting with a group of runners, then you made a decision that the target speed of this group was the best for you on that given day.

If you choose the right group and stick to the target speed then your run will usually feel fairly comfortable for the first half. This is great because it means you’ll have the ability to catch up with other group members think about your technique and keep tabs on other members of the group.

In the second half you may feel the need to focus more on technique and where your feet land at the expense of conversation and supporting others. This is natural and shows that you’re pushing your body hard enough to stimulate the physiological gains you want from each run.

What’s Wrong with Running Faster?

If you start faster than the agreed target speed then you’re instantly forfeiting the responsibility you have to yourself and other group members.

Starting faster than your target speed greatly increases the chance you will:

  • find yourself unable to maintain the speed later in the run
  • cause over-training symptoms such as reduced immune function or increased muscle tension
  • lead other group members to also run faster than the speed they planned on running
  • leave less fit runners behind and demoralised or frustrated

Sticking to the group’s agreed target speed means you’ll be better prepared to perform other training sessions planned for that week. The benefits of performing one run as prescribed in the club’s programme will outweigh those of running faster. This effect is compounded two fold if you need to miss or ease back on a training planned for 2-3 days later due to running too fast in the first half.

What if your Group’s Target Speed is Too Slow?

Click here to read part 2 of this post…

About the Author

Conor is the Head Coach and Founder of Cheltenham Running Club. His experience as a Strength & Conditioning Coach, Triathlete and Personal Trainer ensure members are educated on best practice in regards to training progression while also nurtured through the early stages of fitness development.

>