Wise Running

Train smart, eat well, and enjoy the run.

Social Pace: The Role of Social Runs in a Training Plan

“Social runs are good for your emotional and psychological health!” — Terri Preast

water hydration couple

I am adding a new category to my training plans.  So far, I have tried to stay true to the 80-10-10 rule.   About 10% of your weekly miles should be  run at a pace somewhere close to your 5K personal record pace (Tempo/Intervals).  About 10% of your weekly miles should be faster than that pace (Speedwork).  About 80% of your weekly miles should be relatively easy, at a pace that is 1.5-2 minutes slower than your 5K personal record pace (Easy Miles).  Research shows that runners that stick with this as a guiding principle tend to improve faster than runners that do not.

The 80-10-10 rule has worked very well for me, but this makes for a lonely life.  You see, in planning my next training schedule for maximum improvement my easy pace will be 7:15 minutes per mile.  At the social runs in which I have participated, there have been very few runners that expect to run at a 7:15 pace.  There are much faster runners in this town, but the elite runners do not usually join the social runs.  Most of the participants in the social runs average between 8:30 and 10:30 minutes per mile.  That means that If I stick to my training program pace, the only time I get to talk to people at a social run is before and after.  That is nice, but it seems to be missing half of the point.  There is joy in running together.  Running in isolation all the time can be rewarding, but a more balanced approach is healthier both mentally and emotionally.

I think it is time to add a new category.  I am going to aim for a 70-10-10-10 program.  I will aim for about 10% of my weekly miles to be at a new pace.  I shall call this Social Pace.  Social Pace will be defined as: “Whatever pace the main group of runners is maintaining during a social run.”  Will it slow my progress?  Probably, but just a little.   I like my runner friends.  The time with them is far more valuable than that price of slightly slower progress.


Train hard. Race easy. Enjoy the run!



The Gift of Running,by P. Mark Taylor, is available in both paperback & e-book

– Paperback Version – Amazon.com $9.00

– Ebook Version – Kindle Store $2.99

One response to “Social Pace: The Role of Social Runs in a Training Plan

  1. Laura May 2, 2013 at 11:57 am

    Great post…social running earns it’s place in training plans. I never used to like running with people but I try and do at least 2-3 social runs a month. Honestly I don’t think it slows progress at all, it’s time on your feet, running, and talking to people who are interested in the same things. You may not break any speed barriers but you might find some new places to run, find some new methods other people try, and might learn something along the way, that isn’t slowed progress. And either way…slow progress is still progress.

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