Upping the pace but running more slowly?!

Hello all, I seek your great collective knowledge. Since graduating from the c25k plan a few weeks ago I have been doing 30 min or 5k runs - the two coincided shortly afterwards which I was very happy about. It's been a struggle getting out to run sInce the summer holidays began but I've managed a couple of PBs nonetheless. However, I properly tried the Stepping Stones podcast today to help stabilize my pace. (I did have it running on my last run but didn't stick rigidly to the pace as I was battling a sea breeze at the time & also wanted to make sure I ran 5k again even if it killed me). I did feel like I was picking the pace up yet I seemed to be consistently slower! I kept checking my phone, as I had Strava running, & thought it must have paused or lost signal or something! But no, the 30 minutes coincided with the podcast. Today I was running in a partly wooded park, no traffic or strong breeze, or any major inclines, & meant to be faster, but only covered 4.7km instead of my now usual 5.

So how does that work? I do feel maybe I was taking smaller strides in order to get my feet to keep to the beat, but I don't take massively long ones normally so surely that can't be it? So how did I seemingly run at a faster pace to my legs but not in terms of distance?!

Thanks in advance for your input πŸ˜‰


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  • I did stepping stones and found exactly the same - it was probably my slowest run as I think I was doing the same as you by taking smaller steps. Interestingly my run on Thursday was through the fields and woodland path but todays run was on tarmac and today I covered a greater distance but only did about 30 more steps so was obviously taking longer strides. I would think that I was probably more cautious taking smaller steps to avoid tree stumps etc on Thursday.

  • Hmm I did enjoy the first half more because I've realised I'm happier running in a wooded area than an exposed (in every sense) seafront! But yes the downside is watching out for tree roots & sudden holes so maybe I was just inadvertently running more cautiously, but keeping to the beat with smaller steps. Have you tried any of the other post-grad podcasts?

  • I'm doing a bridge to 10k at the moment (or 60 minutes running in my case). I'm on week 2 at the moment which is three 15 minute sessions running with a one minute walking interval. I don't run as fast as you but I covered 3.85miles (just over 6k) in the 47 minutes I was running-walking today. I'm quite enjoying the new challenge.

  • That sounds great! Which programme is it, or is it just called 'bridge to 10k'? I started looking at a couple of apps but didn't like the voices - I got too used to Sarah Millican I think! πŸ˜‚

  • I'm using a free podcast - Blue fin I think. The music leaves a bit to be desired as it's repetitive but it gives a countdown every five minutes and then 2 minutes and one minute to the end of the run. I tend to block out the music by letting my mind wander but I do like the countdown so that I don't have to look at my watch.

  • Strange when I use Stepping Stones I run just under 6 mins per km. the 3rd km is usually the fastest. So 5km in 30 mins.

  • Interesting. I've been doing 5:45 - 6ish mins/km recently in order to do the 5k in 30 mins (or just under) but today I was way over my 6 mpk target! I felt quite comfortable for the first half - much better than my last two runs - but do wonder now how much was to do with the change of route.

  • Trail / running in woods may be slower because as you say you need to watch where you feet are landing etc. BUT- running in woods and on trails is great for building core strength, which will ultimately aid your pace and stamina wherever you run.

  • Aha, I like your answer there! I do just feel more relaxed running in wooded areas I have found, very recently, but the fear of ankle-twisting is definitely there at times. Think I'll aim for a bit of a mixture. Thanks for your comment!

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