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Steady Pace?

Steady Pace?

Is there a secret to running at a steady pace. I still have my "P" plates on as a Runner and trying to get some consistency into my running. I am slow ... and I mean really slow but when I look at my run on Strava/RunKeeper I see peaks and troughs all over the place. I really want to try to find a steady pace and run at it ... then work on gradually improving it ... but I just don't seem to hit it! Instead I am all over the place.

If I could maintain a steady pace for 5 minutes it would be a start!

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I wouldn’t worry about it. Just run and enjoy it. As you get stronger you improve. You can work on your running form as told by your podcaster. Run tall, shoulders down and back. Etc

Have you done the c25k+ Stepping Stones podcasts?

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It’s not about running faster specifically (at the moment) just my pace seems to be so up and down. Would be nice to run even for 5 minutes at a consistent pace.

I may be overthinking this but if I look at some other peoples runs on Strava for instance the pace seems so constant whereas mine is like sawtooth!

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Try controlling your running pace through the use of a regular rhythmic breathing pattern - takes some practice . I use no pattern at all when walking/jogging very easily/conversationally , then a 4-4 pattern when running slowly/easily by myself, 3-3 pattern for tempo runs/parkruns, 2-2 pattern when running fast intervals or finishing the last 200 metres at parkrun

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Thanks - whilst I have been breathing all my life - it seems incredibly difficult to be rhythmic when running. I presume that is 4 steps breath in and 4 steps breath out etc??

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Yes - it just takes a bit of practice and then becomes quite automatic. It's a bit like dancing :) - when dancing , you step to the beat of the music - rhythmic breathing means breathing in and out to the beat of your feet on the pavement. 4-4 is in-in-in-in- out-out-out-out . Try it - you will like it. I witness so many runners at parkrun spasmodically gasping for air and with no control over their breathing at all - their heart rates will also be sky high because of the "fight or flight" response of their bodies.

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Thanks for the advice. I will give it a good try (as in not just try and give up)

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Definitely needs more work on this one ... but I see what you mean with the breathing. Started out this morning with a very slow 9m/k pace and 4-4 gradually trying to up my pace before doing some other bits. I was able to do the 4-4 thing and then naturally as I sped up the 3-3 kicked in.

I have tried to control my breathing before and not quite managed it and did not in full during today's run but I can see the method working to settle myself down. Practise makes ... better!

Thanks

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Good - keep at it. Next thing breathing practice wise is to attempt to breathe ONLY through your nose while running slowly/easily - or in through the nose and out through the mouth.

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I agree with Bazza, but 4:4 is too much for little ol’ me. I go for 3:3 on an easy run. This also means you are alternating legs for the in/ out change which some say balances impact better.

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It could be that your "easy run" is not so easy at all - and hence that is why you are needing 3-3 :) It is a common statement that we amateur runners run too hard when we are supposed to be running easy and run too easy when we are supposed to be running hard. Have a look at this NIKO NIKO running video regarding easy running :) youtube.com/watch?time_cont...

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Thanks Baz i looked at this when you previously posted. Its very intetesting and useful! I just dont seem to have the lung capacity for a 4:4. Maybe it will come as i continue.

Trust me I run easy! My pace is slower than slow. Hubby says im like a metronome.... i dont believe he means that harshly 😏

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Look at your elevation graph, that's not smooth either is it? Even little inclines will change your pace. Your friends on Strava probably run somewhere flat.

You could try some fixed cadence music, if you know what your cadence is you could go to Audiofuel,they make the music for C25K and other tracks too. Or RockmyRun, if you have a smart phone, or Podrunner - they are free. A bit ravey and not to everyone's taste but it would help you achieve a smoother pace.

I wouldn't worry about it too much, if like most of us you have roads to cross, gates to open, people to weave past on narrow pavements, your pace graph will always look like that. And another thing - your friends on Strava - are they doing longer runs? The graphs will be squashed up if they are running further that you, so it will look more even.

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That’s a good point about the longer runs - I had not thought of that.

I checked out my graphs when I did one of the C25K+ podcast and it was the same. I have tried a bit of methodical counting too. I will take a look at the apps you mention also - thanks.

Re the squashing up - I looked at my last run on my PC and it was sawtooth and also on my phone and it was smoother!! Never considered that it could be just a visual thing. However I do know the stats vary wildly from peaks of <6m/k to troughs of >9m/k within short spaces of time. So all suggestions welcome.

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Of course, it will also depend on how often your app communicates with the satellite, if it's every 20 seconds or whatever it's really just filling in the gaps if you know what I mean. I have two Garmins, and they differ wildly if I wear both on the same run sometimes. All of these devices are really just for general information. Try doing exactly the same route on different days and see if you even get the same distance!

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I know that I records every couple of seconds but what that actually means is anybody’s guess!!

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More up beat music today - will watch the pace over time

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Richard, I tend to run with my phone in my hand so I can keep a track of my pace. I just glance at it every now and then to see that I'm on track and either speed-up or slow-down accordingly.

Its not for everyone I know, but for me it is preferable to counting or messing about with breathing. At the moment I am listening to audio books as I am undertaking longer runs, so want a bit more than music for mental stimulation.

You could also hook it up to an i-watch too, rather than carrying the phone.

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I use a TomTom watch and try not to look at it too much. But will try a bit of a mash up of checking current pace and breathing etc. Thanks - recently I started just having it on average pace instead of current but you have a point so will mod the display settings.

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Thats it - just try a few things out and see what works best for you.

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Switched to 30-20-10 style run this morning so difficult to focus but switched watch over to Current Pace to give me an idea.

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don't worry about the speed you are running at, make sure you are going at a pace suitable to yourself ... i used to wear headphones whilst running needed the music to get me through that and i was doing the c25k podcast ... however i couldn't hear how hard i was pushing myself and soon tired vvery quickly, yes i was quick (well for me anyway) but i couldn't keep up a sustainable pace ... now that i have ditched the headphones i can hear how hard i am pushing myself and can adjust the pace accordingly, yes a snail might be quicker but at the moment it is the only way i can see me hitting distance targets i have set, after that i can concentrate on getting quicker...

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As you get fitter your running will be smoother🙂

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Can you set your TomTom to after pace? Many devices can do that.

I think CG's point about gradient us probably the cause. I run on fields and hills and pace inevitably varies, but when I ran Exeter Riverside parkrun, apart from my first silly split, my splits were within a few seconds of each other on this virtually dead flat course........a novelty for me.

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Thanks good feedback. I can set the TomTom to do splits/laps and also average and current pace. I tend to use average to give me an idea of whether I am going slow or fast over the whole run as the current pace seems to be a little odd at times but Strava calculates current pace differently to Tom Tom do the oddities are not carried over to Strava. Tom Tom did release a firmware update recently so will give the current pace another go. Also I think the comments about uneven/inclines etc could be a factor. Generally I have been running down a canal towpath which is uneven in places so a little dodging required. I switched to a flat route yesterday but again was dodging ice patches. Will try current pace on flat route etc and see where that takes me. If that is the problem then I will just not worry about it and run wherever.

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Shock Horror!!! You could try a session on a treadmill, then your pace will be fixed and you can really work out what your easy pace is under "lab" conditions with nothing else to change your pace like hills or the weather. Hopefully you can then run at your comfortable pace for 5 mins and then perhaps up or lower the speed a bit until you find your "happy pace".

Then get outside again :-)

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Stupid question - but can you do that without taking out gym membership? Must confess to having thought about it a few times recently with the weather!

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Wasn't sure what your access to a gym or perhaps a friend with a treadmill may be. Some gyms (my local YMCA does) allows you to just have an hour session for a few pounds. Perhaps worth a phone around if its something that you may feel beneficial.

For info, my pace goes up and down and I tend to look at my average pace over 1km and perhaps raise or lower the effort for the next km.

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Cheers - will do some hunting for the bad weather as a minimum. Nice seeing the ducks on the canal though too!! Next run I have a lot to think about!

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Just found this site

payasugym.com

Good to know that there are some near me - might try one over the Christmas period if it continues icy weather!

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Gradient will make a difference as others have pointed out.

Breathing evenly will help.

Listening to music with a suitable beat might also help - if you can keep your "feet to the beat" as Laura says in the C25K+ podcasts. There is also a metronome app you could use if you don't actually want to listen to music - you could have it going all the time and just listen to it now and then to check if you are anywhere near the same cadence (number of times your feet hit the ground in a minute).

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