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Running: Why to Vary Pace with Training

Boost Your Running Performance: The Power of Varying Pace in Training

Hello Run R2P Community,

Today I’d like to share some insights that can elevate your running experience and performance. Today, let’s delve into the art and science of varying pace in your training regimen.

Why You Should Vary Pace in Training

Running is more than just putting one foot in front of the other; it’s about optimizing your body’s capabilities, both physically and mentally. Incorporating varied pace into your training routine can be a game-changer, and here’s why:

1. Enhance Your Metabolic Variability

Incorporating different types of runs, such as long-slow lower intensity “base” runs, shorter, higher intensity continuous threshold or tempo runs, or the use of higher intensity speed intervals, conditions your body across the entire spectrum. This diversity makes you more efficient at buffering metabolic waste, improves oxygen delivery to working muscles, and enhances your ability to tolerate higher intensities. Think of it as giving your body a well-rounded workout, ensuring all systems are firing optimally throughout a week or training block.

2. Boost Mental Strength and Confidence

Running is not just a physical exercise; it’s a mental challenge as well. Varying your pace exposes you to different challenges, preparing you for any type of run or obstacle that comes your way. When you conquer varied training sessions, you build mental resilience and confidence, knowing that you have the capability to tackle any running scenario. This mental strength is a powerful asset that extends beyond your runs and into various aspects of your life.

3. Avoid Burnout with Engaging Running Workouts

One of the pitfalls of a monotonous training routine is the risk of burnout. Doing the same runs day in and day out can lead to boredom and a lack of motivation. By introducing variety through different pace workouts, you keep your training engaging and exciting. This not only prevents burnout but also keeps you motivated and looking forward to your next run. After all, the best workout is the one you enjoy and can sustain over the long term.

How to add in

Now that we understand the benefits, let’s talk about practical implementation. Consider structuring your weekly training plan to include a mix of long-slow base runs, threshold or tempo runs, and speed intervals. As a general rule, the majority of the time you spend running should be at lower intensities, intermittently and strategically dosing in higher intensity runs 1-2x/week as appropriate. There are times when higher intensity runs will take up a larger portion of your weekly training plan to accomplish a specific adaptation, but this is often done strategically and not for long periods of time. Listen to your body, gradually introducing these variations to avoid overtraining and injuries. Remember, the key is to strike a balance between different intensities to experience the full range of benefits. 

The Finish line

Incorporating varied pace into your training plan is a strategic approach to enhance both your physical and mental performance. It’s not about pushing harder every time; it’s about challenging your body in different ways to become a more well-rounded and resilient runner.

If you are having trouble implementing these ideas, consider a free phone consultation with myself to decide if R2P+ is right for you. My email is

Stay tuned for more tips and insights on optimizing your running performance. Lace up those running shoes and embrace the power of varied pace!

-Keep running strong!, Dr. Greg.

running physical therapist

Dr. Greg Ellis PT, DPT, CSCS

Performance Physical Therapist 

Follow Greg on Instagram (HERE) for more content and to see his running progress!

Fitness Focused Physical Therapy

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