MISTAKE: Running By Pace
Focusing on pace alone can be deceiving and derail your workout. A tempo run with headwind could make a normal 8:30 pace much harder than usual, and to trying to maintain it could push you past the red line fitness level—the point where your body starts to use more glycogen versus oxygen, says Hadfield. At that point, you’ve negated the tempo workout and turned it into an interval run.
FIX: Run By Effort
Don’t measure your mileage by setting an 8-minute pace—try going for distance instead. “Pace has nothing to do with what’s going on in your body,” says Hadfield. “If you want to run with purpose, it’s truly about the effort level.” It’s okay to monitor your pace, but it’s the outcome of the workout rather than the goal. Aim to have your effort level alternate between three zones: yellow, orange, and red. At yellow, you should be able to hold an easy, conversational pace; at orange; you’re down to blurting out one-word answers; and when you’re in the red zone, you don’t even want to think about talking.