Pacing on Saturdays

Pacing on Saturdays

*Contributed by Jeff Henderson - MIT Head Coach

Proper pacing on Saturday’s is crucial to the success of you training. First and foremost our pace groups are based on TRAINING PACES not race paces! You will frequently hear us talking about Saturday workouts not being done at race pace. MIT recommends doing your Saturday workouts at a pace 60-90 seconds slower than race pace. Not sure what that is? There are a couple ways to figure that out....

  1. Ideally we should all let our Heart Rate guide us to the appropriate group... you'll learn more about this soon!
  2. Have you run or walked a 5K? Add about a minute to your pace per mile and that is probably your goal race pace, then add another minute and you have your training pace (aka your pace group).
  3. Still need help? E-mail Jeff! He will help you find the best group for you! Jeff can be reached by e-mailing

There are several reasons why this will be beneficial in the long run.

  1. Slowing down allows for active recovery.
  2. Constantly pushing at race pace will quickly break your body down putting you at risk for injury and overtraining.
  3. By race day our goal for you is that you will have spent 3-4 workouts moving forward for more time than it will take you to finish your half or full marathon.
The longest workouts during the season are 12 miles for the half marathoners and 20 miles for the full marathoners. If you are constantly pushing at race pace you will never spend the amount of time on your feet that it will take your body to finish your race; if your goal time for the half is 2 hours, but your longest workout only took an hour and 40 minutes because you always went out a race pace, you will leave your body fighting to continue moving for another 20 minutes. By slowing down, as you progress through the mileage you will train your body to continue to provide/process the fuel necessary to continue moving forward.

This may sound relatively counter-productive to some. We assure you that you will have plenty of opportunities throughout the rest of your weekly schedule to hit race pace and work on the strength and stamina needed to complete your goal. Over the years we have seen few examples of individuals going out a race pace every Saturday who successfully meet their goals. However, we continue to see many MIT’ers who have decided to slow down who are setting 20-30 minute personal bests.

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