Four ways to keep your running effort honest

Like many of us it’s the easy to get distracted while running and find that were not running the place we’re supposed to be running.  What we thought was comfortable and attainable is now downright hard to keep up with. So what do you do to maintain your place? There are four good solutions to that problem. See which one works best for you and then experiment with the other three.


1. GPS. The GPS device is awesome for when you’re running out on the roads and don’t know exactly how far or how fast you’re going. It’s best used for long runs and for workouts you do on the roads.  It’s an on the spot coach for your wrist. If you use it wisely it can be a great benefit to your running, but if you let it, it can rule your running and consume you.  Use the GPS watch as a guide rather than the rule, which means that you run by your effort rather than by what the watch says.

2. Heart rate monitor. A heart monitor is a great tool to use if you know your maximum heart rate. If you do not know your maximum heart rate it becomes a little less useful in terms of actual running in, but that could be useful for other metrics such as how well rested you are and how you recover from workouts.  To get tested for maximum heart rate, an exercise physiologist will measure your oxygen intake and how your body uses oxygen. This test can be rather expensive and sometimes unnecessary for the majority of runners out there.

3. A track. Similar to a GPS watch, a track can give you precise splits throughout your run or workout. Unfortunately the track is only 400 m long and can become rather monotonous quite quickly.  To combat this boredom I would suggest starting a run away from the track and then doing a few laps around the track to determine your pace and then finishing your run off the track. Not only will this keep your run more exciting but you will avoid injuries such to your IT band, calf and hips  (from the repetitive left hand turns).

4. The talk test. The talk test is totally effort based. It’s main premise is that your ability to talk depends on how hard have an effort you’re putting out. This simply implies that your ability to talk is relative to the pace in which you are running. Therefore the faster you are running the less you should be able to talk. So an effort at 5K pace will result in you speaking less and only in short bursts. An effort at marathon or slower pace should allow you to speak in full sentences and be able to tell a story if you had to.


However you choose to pace yourself on your runs is up to you.  Know there is more than one option and keep getting those miles in!


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