The Great Debate: Should You Run for Time or Distance?

Advanced Runners and Marathoners

For Jennifer Gill, an RRCA-certified running coach and creator of SoleHealthandWellness.com, fitness levels factor into the equation.

"I usually need to have an idea of what one's fitness is," Gill says. "If someone I am training has a good base of cardiovascular fitness from doing other things, they may be okay to focus on distance."

For someone who may not be able to run a mile without stopping, forgetting about distance is the preferred method. If someone can consistently run for more than 30 minutes straight, distance training can be an acceptable alternative.

Adding runs for mileage into a training regimen can be especially beneficial for someone who is working towards a longer race.

"Sometimes for advanced runners, people who have ambitious goals of a marathon or half marathon, every now and then we will do workouts based on mileage," Hamberger says.

More: Plyometric Workouts for Runners

Becoming a Slave to Numbers

An infatuation with data can be dangerous for runners. Focusing too much on distance covered and pace-per-mile can take attention away from more important things, such as form or simply enjoying a run. For this reason, Hamberger prefers using time.

"I don't like for runners to be a slave to numbers," he says. "That can lead to way too much number crunching and thinking while training. I usually just tell people to run for time, because it gives them more peace of mind."

More: 6 Benefits of Running

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About the Author

Hunter Hewitt

Hunter Hewitt is an online content editor for Active.com. As a former collegiate athlete, Hunter has always been passionate about living an active, healthy lifestyle. He enjoys running, basketball, ultimate frisbee and many other outdoor sports and activities. Follow Hunter on Twitter @HunterHewitt
Hunter Hewitt is an online content editor for Active.com. As a former collegiate athlete, Hunter has always been passionate about living an active, healthy lifestyle. He enjoys running, basketball, ultimate frisbee and many other outdoor sports and activities. Follow Hunter on Twitter @HunterHewitt

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