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How often should I adjust my paces as an athlete?

As athletes get faster, their training paces need to adjust accordingly. What was once a challenging pace may now be too easy to elicit training adaptations and results. As such it is important that an athlete updates their training paces periodically throughout their training schedule. How often an athlete needs to adjust really does depend on the athlete themselves, the particular phase of their training, and unique adaption to the training load. Newer athletes will likely make more rapid gains than more experienced athletes. Thus, it is appropriate for newer athletes to adjust their ranges more often.

I recommend adjusting ranges every three to five weeks for newer athletes who are running at least three days per week. More experienced endurance athletes may go two or three months before having to adjust their ranges, as smaller incremental changes take longer to elicit at a higher level of endurance. If an athlete is racing throughout their training plan, race data can provide enough feedback to adjust ranges, and can be a perfect substitute for a field test. Athletes will often know when it is time to adjust the ranges, as difficult workouts now seem more doable. This is the optimal result of training, but unless the paces are increased, the training adaptations will plateau. The stress of training (paces) must rise to meet the athlete's increased fitness gains in order to continue to progress the athlete to be fitter and faster.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.