Temps are falling! Should your paces?

Have you felt the change lately? A little cooler in the morning, dark a little earlier, football games all over your TV?


That’s right, summer might not be knocked out yet, but it’s getting a standing eight count!


The arrival of fall means things get a bit easier (and less sticky) for us runners. And there’s the little added bonus of seeing your paces start to tick down a little faster, too.


But should your paces drop when the temps do?


I have a few thoughts:


1) Any drop in your pace should happen naturally

You shouldn’t be pushing the pace just because you can or to see how fast you can go. If your paces get faster with the cooler temperatures, but the effort stays the same, that’s great! But you don’t want to be forcing things just to say (or show on Strava) “see how fast I am now??”


2) Be especially careful on your recovery days

Once you start to see your paces drop a bit in workouts and long runs, it can be really exciting! And you may want to see that drop happen / feel that excitement across ALL your runs.


But remember that recovery runs are all about the recovery. The number one mistake runners make is going too hard on their easy days.


So it’s totally fine if your pace doesn’t get faster on easy days. If it IS faster, that’s ok as long as you follow tip #1 and you let it happen naturally.


These are runs you want to “protect” pretty aggressively.


3) Goal pace is still goal pace

If you’re training for a marathon or half marathon, you likely have a decent amount of goal pace practice on your schedule. And, again, as the temps drop it may be tempting to run faster.


But your goal pace (hopefully) was picked for a reason that didn’t have much to do with summer paces– so it shouldn’t change now that it’s fall. The point of practicing goal pace is to learn how it feels mechanically and physiologically. Running faster isn’t better.


Of course goal pace probably will feel easier than it did during the summer, and that’s great!


It’s a good reminder that it’s an appropriate pace for you and probably a good mental boost! But you still want the practice of running that specific pace, so don’t start going faster just because you can.


All that said, go out and enjoy the coming of fall — you earned it after this summer!


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About Coach Carl
Coach Carl is a USA Track & Field Level 2 endurance coach who works with runners of all ability levels to reach their goals. He has been featured in Runner’s World, Women’s Health, Men’s Fitness, and Competitor. For information on his coaching services, click here.