Should You Train With Miles or Minutes?

Train with Miles or Minutes

When it comes to quantifying your running, which measurement should you use—miles or minutes?

It's a question every runner should be familiar with.

I believe that, 90 percent of the time, busy adult runners should be using minutes to quantify their running. The other 10 percent—namely, workouts or longer runs—should be calculated by miles.

With that in mind, let's explore the topic in more detail, specifically looking at easy runs, workouts and long runs.

Easy Runs

I always assign my clients minutes for their easy runs.

Why? Because one of the keys to being a good runner is to run easy on your easy days, so you can run hard on your hard days.

If you run 40 minutes on an easy day (versus a certain number of miles), you can run slower and easier than you normally do. When you run for time on an easy day, you accomplish your goal simply by getting in the number of minutes assigned, regardless of the pace. This sets you up for the next workout or long run, increasing your chances of feeling good and running well.

Workouts

I also quantify most of my clients' workouts in minutes. Many of them are busy adults with hectic schedules, and they need to know ahead of time how long each run will take and the necessary strength and mobility exercises they should perform to stay healthy.

Minute-based workouts let you know exactly how much time to plan during a weekday to fit in a run—without being rushed.

Let's say the workout is a 10-minute warm-up jog, a 40-minute progression run (every 10 minutes is a bit faster) and a 10-minute cool-down jog. You can have a great workout and run farther in that 40 minutes, but you could also have a rough day and not cover as much distance. Either way, the key is to know your run will only take an hour.

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About the Author

Jay Johnson

Coach Jay Johnson works with runners of all ages and abilities. A former collegiate coach at the University of Colorado, he's coached U.S. national champions, adult and high school runners. Visit his blog, coachjayjohnson.com, where you can join Jay's email list to receive exclusive videos and articles. Jay also hosts the Run Faster Podcast, which you can find on iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Twitter, message him on Facebook, or find him on Instagram.

Coach Jay Johnson works with runners of all ages and abilities. A former collegiate coach at the University of Colorado, he's coached U.S. national champions, adult and high school runners. Visit his blog, coachjayjohnson.com, where you can join Jay's email list to receive exclusive videos and articles. Jay also hosts the Run Faster Podcast, which you can find on iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Twitter, message him on Facebook, or find him on Instagram.

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