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What’s the average training pace for amateur runners?

APR 8, 2022

Minute 1: Maximalist shoes could maximize performance

Over the past few years, we’ve seen shoe manufacturers enter into a kind of footwear space race. New technologies like rubberless shoes (featured in Minute 5 of this issue) and carbon fiber plates are intended to launch your race pace into the stratosphere. The size of a typical running shoe has changed to fit in this new tech, and research shows the added cushion can bring a real benefit: “New study says high cushioned shoes improve exercise performance.” Compared to medium cushioned shoes, high cushion resulted in a 5.7% boost in running economy, and 4.6% less muscle damage during downhill running. Not only will you run faster with more cushion, but you’ll also recover quicker according to the new data. Nike and Adidas both offer excellent options for the next generation of running shoes, and you read the comparison in “Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 2 vs. Nike Vaporfly 2.” The Vaporfly 2 edges out the victory in weight, coming in 30 grams lighter than Adios Pro 2. On the other hand, Adios is slightly cheaper, and runners have proclaimed a superior foot lockdown compared to Nike’s looser fitting shoe. For a more detailed review, check out “Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 2 Review: The Best Value Carbon Racing Shoe” to find out if this is the super shoe for you?

Minute 2: Should you run an hour per day?

According to Strava data, the average run for an American man covers 4.0 miles at an 8:52 pace. Women average 3.4 miles at a 10:33 pace. Both genders run between 35 and 36 minutes per outing. What would happen to those folks if they mimicked professional runners and bumped up their average runs to a full hour? Sure, plenty of folks hit that mark on a long Sunday run, but “Is An Hour Running Each Day Too Much?” Beginner and intermediate runners should aim to run for an hour straight no more than 1 or 2 times per week. The added volume can wear down your muscles and tendons, and without enough time to adjust, you’ll increase your likelihood of injury. A good way to ease into this volume is by following the walk-run method, in which you run for 10 minutes at a time, followed by a couple minutes of walking. Each day, increase the run duration and reduce the walk duration a couple minutes at a time, until you’ve reached 60 minutes of running straight. That will give you a good base from which to build to a marathon or even longer distance. If you really want to test your limits, there are some helpful hints in this new story from Outside: “Camille Herron Will Run Her 100,000th Mile This Week.” Going from an injury-prone high school XC runner to a record-breaking, world class competitor wasn’t easy, but Camille credits a lot of her progress to her emphasis on easy days. You need the discipline to hold back when it’s necessary for your recovery, so listen to your body to know if you’ve been going too far, too fast. #PowerHour

Minute 3: Try this Okinawan eating habit to live longer

Lance Armstrong just hosted Tony Robbins on his podcast. Before you say “The King Ranch produces less B.S. than those 2 guys,” consider the topic of their conversation – medical science can now provide a way to live for 100 high quality years. Robbins just wrote this well-regarded book: “Life Force: How New Breakthroughs in Precision Medicine Can Transform the Quality of Your Life & Those You Love.” We will hit on a couple topics covered by Lance and Tony in the coming weeks, but today we are sharing some news from “Blue Zones,” the pockets of the world with exceptionally high life expectancy. One of those Blue Zones is Okinawa and a new piece describes their diet: “The #1 Best Eating Habit from The World's Longest Living People.” The people of Okinawa have a saying that goes: “Hara hachi bu,” roughly translating to “eat until you are 8 parts out of 10 full.” As a result, Okinawans eat slower, giving their stomachs time to signal the brain to finish a meal. They consume an average of 1800 calories a day, and their elder population has an average BMI of 20, compared to the United States’ average of 27. How does that affect aging? Well, an explanation can be found in this story from Harvard: “Can Calorie Restriction Extend Your Lifespan?” As your body adjusts to a smaller diet, your metabolic rate drops. Higher metabolic rates are associated with higher production of free radicals, which are known to damage proteins, DNA, and fatty tissue, resulting in many of the diseases commonly seen in later life. So by eating less, you effectively slow your body’s rate of living, thereby slowing your speed of aging.

Minute 4: How the outdoors makes exercise feel easier

The weather in the northern half of the U.S. has finally turned from “too cold to run outside” to “too nice to run inside.” Our vitamin D intake now comes from the sun rather than from a sun lamp. Being outside makes us happier and we enjoy our runs more than our winter indoor workouts. Everything seems to flow a little easier when we are outdoors. There’s a new study that shows there is a reduction in perceived exertion while outside, and it’s just one of many of “The Benefits of Exercising Outdoors | Our Planet, Our Health” according to Polar. The change in perception is quite substantial. When comparing speed, heart rate, and blood lactate levels at each RPE level, performing exercise outdoors lowered the difficulty by 2 RPE units compared to indoor activity. What exactly does that mean? There’s a helpful chart to clarify in “Rate of Perceived Exertion: Why RPE Is The Best Running Metric.” While we’re on the subject, let us point out the benefits of the RPE scale as a way to dictate your runs. Every run has numerous variables that will affect its difficulty, from your energy level, to the weather, to the course you take, and beyond. Forcing a specific distance and pace can cause you to have a hard session on a day where you planned an easy one, or vice versa. Running according to RPE can minimize the displacement these variables have on your training, putting you back in the driver’s seat so you can train according to your plan.

Minute 5: Quick Intervals

  • No matter how many booster shots you get, masks you put on, or hand sanitizer bottles you drain, some viruses are always going to slip through the cracks. At that point, it’s in the hands of your immune system to put up a fight. To fully weaponize our internal warriors, we need to pay attention to our diets. Some helpful tips are in this new story: “Which vitamins boost the immune system?” Not surprisingly, Vitamin C is on the list, but so is the Vitamin D that we mentioned previously.

  • In times of stress, our nervous systems are designed to react quickly and decisively to keep us out of harm’s way. The “fight or flight” response is useful for addressing physical danger, but so often the causes of our stress are more abstract, and not so immediately harmful. Unfortunately, our nervous systems are primed to react all the same, and it can make it difficult to react with a level head when faced with a tough decision or challenge. If you want to regain some calmness and focus to better respond to life’s challenges, try some of the techniques mentioned in “5 Ways To Regulate Your Nervous System, According to a Neuroscientist.” We like #5 which is to focus on positive thoughts or mental imagery that you stockpile in advance in case of emergency.

  • Judging by our exercise habits and budgets, you’d think staying in shape requires tons of time and money. It’s predicted that across their lifetime, millennials will spend more money on their health and fitness than they will on higher education. While time and money can make it easier to excel at fitness, you shouldn’t have to break the bank, or your schedule, to reach a comfortable level of activity. One technique is to break down your exercise into “snacks,” 10 minutes here and there to keep the blood pumping. You’d be surprised how the minutes will add up across a week, so check out “How ‘Exercise Snacking’ Can Help You Reach 150 Minutes of Movement a Week.”

Minute 6: Daily Inspiration

Training routes for a race look a little different for every runner. Some might hit the pavement, some the trails, and others the track. We like the path chosen by professional ultra runner, Fernanda Maciel. We are anxious to recruit 2 friends and some clothesline to replicate her workout in the video below. Fernanda ropes herself to a pair of mountain bikes ridden by 2 grown men and proceeds to haul them up a mountain road. We’ve never seen this workout before but it must be effective, considering she’s the women’s record holder for climbing up and down Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa and Aconcagua in Argentina. If we ever spring a flat tire on our mountain bike, we know who to call for a tow.


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