Swim Bike RUN: New Runners: Time vs. Distance?


So, you’ve caught the running bug? Welcome to the club! When starting out, it can be tempting to see how fast and far we can go, pushing ourselves beyond our means. Long story short: this won’t end well. You’ll get injured, or at the very least, wake up so sore you vow to give up exercise for good. So which should you focus on - time or distance?


The Psychology

Mentally, we gauge time and distance differently. 

An example of this in action is the feeling you get on the final stretch of a run. You round the corner, your house is in sight, and it’s like you can’t help but accelerate. 

Yet when you’re trying to hit a certain pace on the treadmill, those last five minutes can feel like an eternity.



Thirty minutes a day is enough to reap all the feel-good benefits (stress-busting, endorphins, weight loss, etc), but we’re not just talking about how many minutes you’re willing to put in here. 

Running at a set pace for a certain distance is an essential skill if you want to race. 

Alongside helping you look like a pro, it allows you to preserve and tap into energy exactly when needed. 



The further you run, the more your stamina will grow. 

Whether your goal is to run 5K or a marathon, there will be many milestones on the road ahead. 

Mileage is a great way to track your progress, and hitting a new distance is always a huge confidence boost. 

On the flip side, doing repeats of the same distance on a track or a treadmill will give you a better understanding of how hard you can push over a chosen mileage.

Listen to your body

When you’re focused on your pace or how far you’ve run, you aren’t listening to your body or paying attention to how it feels.

Getting to know yourself, your strengths, and any weaknesses is crucial in the early stages. 

So forget about all the smug Strava posts from your peers, quit comparing yourself to the athletes on the telly, and just get out there and run. 

Tune into your breathing and note how your legs feel after 10 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes. Next time, do the same with miles covered. 

You have all the time in the world for personal bests and prize places. But for now, get to know what feels good and not so good. It’ll make falling in love with running a whole lot easier. 

Oh, and it’s so much more fun with company! 

Make your move and sign up for Swim Bike Run activity near you by clicking here.

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