>General Running>Running for Distance or Time?
Mikkey is right-- it's personal choice. For me, I do a mixture. I usually think in distance but if I tell my partner I'll be back at a certain time I do my best to make sure I'm back at that time regardless of distance. For trails I'm a little more lax than roads because my pace can vary so much depending on terrain and technicality and my partner knows my ETA is more of an estimate dependant on how I'm feeling that day.
Sulphur Springs 50km-- Ancaster, ON-- May 28, 2022
Tally in the Valley 12 hours-- Dundas, ON -- July 30, 2022 (Support SickKids Toronto)
Stokely Creek-- 56km-- Sault Ste. Marie, ON-- Sept. 24, 2022
I run by distance not time. But, for a runner who always thinks in terms of distance, I certainly don't need to get in 5.0 miles or 6.0 miles or whatever even number of miles. I go for 'about 5 miles' so 4.8 or 5.3 doesn't bother me in the least. Last Sunday's long run was 14.67 miles, had someone ask why I didn't go to 15 even. It ends up being whatever it is when I stop and say "I'm tarred, think I'll go home now".
It's different for group runs.
When I was coaching jr Olympic age group team, the kids were 8-17 and had a wide range of ability. There were about 20 distance runners in the group, more for XC season. Some of the runs were out and back, and each little group that ran together would turn around when they reached 10,15, 20 or sometimes 30 minutes so they would all finish back at the same time (theoretically). One-size-fits-most doesn't work well for age-group kids, so workouts needed to be tailored for age and ability.
60-64 age group - University of Oregon alumni - Irreverent and Annoying
For me it's always about the distance, and to be honest I've never really thought about running for a specific time. Strange!
I'm almost always on a plan, so I'm running to get the mile sin, but perhaps this weekend I will set a time goal and see how my mind/body reacts!
There have been many training cycles in which some of my important runs were neither to get x miles nor to hit y time. It's not really a foreign concept.
If I wanted to do what we called "the fat ass loop" around Tiger Mountain in Issaquah Washington, I'd be getting 15-18 miles and it would take me roughly 3 1/2 to 4 hours. But the mileage isn't exact and might change on a day when I did a slightly different set of trails. And I was never trying to nail the time aside from making sure I could get to work on time. I just needed a long run on trails.
There are sometimes 3 sides to a coin.
Some of the runs were out and back, and each little group that ran together would turn around when they reached 10,15, 20 or sometimes 30 minutes so they would all finish back at the same time (theoretically). One-size-fits-most doesn't work well for age-group kids, so workouts needed to be tailored for age and ability.
I did the same with my MS & HS XC teams, particularly in the summer. I thought that would also deter the fitter runners from racing the easy workouts. Wrong. They'd race to see who could go farthest and still make it back. Or head out for 21-22 minutes and try to make it back in 19 or 18.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------“Some people will tell you that slow is good – but I'm here to tell you that fast is better. I've always believed this, in spite of the trouble it's caused me. - Hunter S. Thompson
It very much depends on my personal goals at any one time. Right now I'm plodding my way back from some knee issues so time isn't really a factor. Nice gentle runs are the order of the day and time won't really be something I start thinking about until my distance and endurance are back up, then I'll start aiming to get round certain routes within a time limit.
Speed also matters while you are running. If you are running for 20 minutes with your maximum potential, then it will be different that running for 80 minutes with low speed. I often measure both things while running according to plan.
When starting as a beginner I would say time, like slowly jog/walk for 10 minutes and return for a good 20 minute workout. Then it becomes an arbitrary preference. For myself it is distance as I run outdoors and have a mapped course I am doing that day. I may measure speed progress by how fast my time improves on a particular course. I keep track of weekly distance as well.
Slow and steady win the race
I like marathons, so I'm working on endurance, time doesn't interest me much. I think it's an individual thing. Someday I'll try time running, but it takes a completely different approach.