Your own speed while jogging gives you good information about your current training status and is the starting point for various training methods. Depending on the running speed, different goals, such as losing weight, can be pursued. Personal goals as well as physical and psychological requirements influence the speed of running.
Everyday factors can also cause running speeds to be significantly slower on one day than on another. In the following, we want to take a closer look at how the running speed can be determined, how relevant the speed is when running and which pace is suitable for whom.
the essentials in brief
- The running speed is given in the so-called pace. This indicates how many minutes you need per kilometer.
- The optimal jogging speed varies from person to person. What is an easy run for some can be a strenuous session for others.
- Always adapt your running speed to your goals and your physical and mental requirements. Breaks and regeneration phases are also essential for the body to avoid overtraining.
Jogging speed: What you should know
Before you determine your running speed, you should be sufficiently informed about the different speed classifications and the topic in general. Therefore, in the following sections, we will give you the most important information about speed when jogging.
What units is jogging speed measured in?
You can measure running speed in the following two units:
- Minutes per kilometer (min/km)
- kilometers per hour (km/h)
The so-called pace or kilometer time describes how many minutes you need per kilometer (min / km) (1). Depending on where you are and which units are used as a standard measure, the pace can also be expressed in minutes per mile. Pace is the reciprocal of your usual speed, which you typically measure when cycling or driving a car.
A comfortable jogging speed can be different for everyone (2). First, run by feel without putting yourself under pressure to determine your current training status. (Image source: Chander R / unsplash)
The classic indication of speed in kilometers or miles per hour is rarely used as a unit of running speed. Nevertheless, this is often given and can easily be calculated from the pace (3). However, since the information in kilometers per hour is not as precise, it appears less frequently in running than the pace.
How can I determine the speed when jogging?
There are different ways and technical aids to determine your own running speed. You can use these either while running or after your run.
Speed measurement while jogging
The development of technical products allows us to see the running speed directly. Whether it’s a cell phone or a smartwatch, with the right app you can easily track your jogging speed (4). Note, however, that direct speed measurement can have both advantages and disadvantages.Advantages
- Current speed visible
- Speed history can be viewed
- Relatively accurate measurement
- motivating factor
- Mobile phone or watch must be taken with you during the run
- Depending on the GPS signal
- May not be usable in the rain
The measurement using the smartphone or smartwatch is now very accurate. Although the accuracy of the tracking result also depends on the GPS signal, this is also of good quality almost everywhere. With the help of the simultaneous measurement, you can see both the average speed and the respective pace per kilometer (4).
With a smartwatch, you can not only record your pace while running, you can also measure your heart rate. (Image Source: Luke Chesser/unsplash)
You have to take your cell phone or smartwatch with you to run, but in the end the added value outweighs it and there are now enough tools on the market that make it easier to take electronic devices with you. All you have to do is choose your favorite from the large selection of tracking apps.
Speed measurement after jogging
If you don't want to take your smartphone with you for a run or don't have a smartwatch, you can also determine your speed after your jog. You can do this in different ways on different websites.
If you already know the length of your run and had an ordinary watch with you to measure the time, you can simply enter the number of kilometers and the duration online and your average pace will then be given (5). On some pages you can also reconstruct your running route and find out how many kilometers you have covered. However, you always have to record the duration yourself - either with a wristwatch or you check the time before you leave the house and when you return.Advantages
- Running without additional material possible
- Jogging by feel instead of pace (no pressure)
- Not weather dependent
- Only average speed is calculated
- Mileage information must be known but is quite imprecise
Although measuring your speed after jogging offers the advantage that you don't need a cell phone or smartwatch, the distance and duration data must still be known and collected. In addition, only an average speed and no maximum or minimum speed is visible at the end.
So if you want to run a specific pace or intervals at different speeds, you should determine your running speed while jogging.
For a simple run without specifications and based on feeling, however, the measurement after the run is optimally suited. This way you don't put yourself under pressure and you can still determine how fast you ran on average at the end.
What running speed is optimal?
There is no generally optimal running speed that applies to everyone (6). From a 7:00 to a 4:00 pace, everything can be found in the hobby area. The range of the average speed is therefore very large and the optimal speed is different for everyone.
The optimal pace for you to run depends on various factors. Your physical and mental requirements as well as your goals influence the optimal running speed for you. Accordingly, you should first check these three factors and define them for yourself (7).
- Physically: Physically, of course, your previous sporting experience and the associated basic endurance and speed play a role. But long legs can also be advantageous for higher speeds. You should also consider your body weight and age. The time per kilometer tends to increase with increasing body weight and age.
- Mental: Your mental attitude and strength also influence your jogging pace. Find out for yourself whether you prefer longer runs at a lower speed or short and fast sessions. Depending on your goals, you will certainly lure yourself out of your comfort zone and thus build up mental strength.
- Goal: Your goal determines your running speed. Whether training basic endurance, burning fat, promoting health and detoxifying the body or running a certain distance faster - the respective speed looks different for each of these points.
If you want to cover a given distance in a certain amount of time, it is beneficial to know the pace for that goal. It will be much more comfortable for your body to run a pace steadily instead of completing interval changes in speed. Therefore we have listed the respective pace for different target times of different distances for hobby runners in the following table:
|pace||5 km||10 km||21.1 km||42.2 km|
How do I find out the right running speed for me?
Since there is no universally optimal running speed, we want to give you a few tips on how to find the perfect jogging pace for yourself.
Depending on which goal you are pursuing, your running speed will also be different. If your primary goal is to improve your basic endurance, you should do longer runs at a slower pace. Long and easy runs are counted among health sports and help against tiredness and listlessness (7). Your heart rate should stay in a low range.
Running a half marathon or even a full marathon is a goal worth striving for for many. For this you should train early enough and with the right training methods. (Image source: Martins Zemlickis / unsplash)
If you generally want to increase your speed when jogging, interval runs or short distances at high speed are particularly suitable. Intervals stimulate your cardiovascular system particularly intensively and are correspondingly exhausting.
For example, a pace of 5:30 may be a hard run for one person while another person runs at that pace easily. To find out how strenuous a running speed is for you, you can easily test it with the speaking test (8).
- Conversing Easily: If you can easily converse with someone while running, you are in the basic endurance range.
- Short sets: If short sets are only possible every few minutes and the rest of the air is used for your breathing, you are between the speed training and basic endurance range.
- No exchange of words: If you can no longer manage to exchange a word, you train very intensively, as is the case with interval training.
Your heart rate is much more precise than the speaking test. The higher your speed, the higher your heart rate. Different heart rate zones are recommended for different forms of endurance training. The table below shows the different classifications.
|% of max heart rate||training area||effect|
|60-70||Basic endurance 1||improves long-term endurance / trains fat burning / simple cardiovascular training|
|71-80||Basic endurance 2||Getting used to slightly higher speeds over a longer pace / improves speed and stamina|
|81-99||Tempo training / competition-specific endurance||improves endurance and speed / high calorie consumption and afterburn effect|
The table shows that the different training zones are determined based on the maximum heart rate. In the following we want to show you three ways how you can find out your maximum heart rate:
- Formula: The formula "220 - age = maximum heart rate" is kept very simple and therefore not particularly precise.
- Self-test: If you are completely healthy and recovered, you can go to your maximum performance in a running unit and determine your heart rate. The highest measured heart rate is then considered your maximum heart rate. Of course, this test depends on your motivation and your stamina and should definitely take place under the supervision of another person.
- Performance diagnostics: For a particularly precise measurement of the maximum heart rate, you can do a stress test with a sports doctor. Here, it is determined very precisely where the limit of your heart rate is. However, such an investigation is also associated with costs.
The easiest and most reliable way to measure your heart rate while jogging is with a chest strap. Many chest straps can now be paired with an app so that you can see your heart rate on your smartwatch or cell phone while running. At the same time, you can classify the training area in which you are with the current running speed.
Some smartwatches now also measure your heart rate, so you don't need a chest strap. However, the sole measurement on the wrist is not as precise.
Music while running can help you maintain a certain speed. Different songs have different BPM (beats per minute) values. You just have to find the right BPM value for your running speed.
Songs between 110 and 170 BPM are particularly good for jogging!
There are now playlists with appropriate fitness music as well as the option to add any number of BPM to your favorite songs. If you already know your own running pace well but need extra motivation to keep going, music could help.
listen to your body
Although you have now read a lot about theory and recommendations, in practice it can often look different. Your body always gives you honest feedback and you should listen to it. If you have slept less or are currently in a stressful phase, it may well be that your running speed is slower and you are still strenuous.
Jogging can have both a regenerative and an exhausting effect on your body. Always take your body's signals into account and give it enough time to regenerate. (Image source: Philip Strong / unsplash)
So always keep in mind that your well-being and fitness level does not only depend on numbers, but on many other factors of everyday life. If your body signals exhaustion, notice it consciously and reduce the training intensity. Even easy runs at a very low heart rate are effective and can, for example, strengthen your immune system or increase your concentration for the rest of the day .
How do I increase my jogging speed?
If you can run for 30 minutes straight without any problems and you want to increase your speed, there are different training methods you can use (9). In the following, we want to introduce you to four different running variations that will help you to increase your running speed.
Always run in enough before faster passages to warm up your body and avoid injuries.
In the driving game, you change speed at will during a 60-minute run. Some passages are run loosely, others very quickly. Of course, it depends on your own motivation, how often you increase the speed and how long you hold it. Anyone who struggles with such a free specification should rather use a specified interval training.
Interval training is very structured and tells you how many intervals you should run at a fast pace. In order to make interval training a little more varied, you can vary and customize the number of intervals, the distance or duration of an interval, the recovery time between two intervals and the type of recovery break.
In principle, escalation runs are self-explanatory. You gradually increase your speed over a distance you set (e.g. 100 meters). You start at an easy pace and increase the speed until you sprint. Then you continue to run at a relaxed pace for a few minutes and repeat the whole thing. You should do about four to five progression runs per training session (10).
You should only do a tempo run when you are in a very good training condition or in preparation for a competition. In comparison to the other training methods, you run at a relatively high pace, which is at the aerobic-anaerobic limit (approx. 85 - 88% of the maximum heart rate). In addition to a good level of fitness, this training also requires a strong will.
If you try any of these training methods and run at faster than usual speeds, you may experience greater body fatigue and muscle soreness. The new stimuli must first be processed by your body. So leave enough breaks between workouts that are more intense.
There are advantages to measuring speed while jogging. This way you know your current training status and can adapt your future running units to your goals. Technological advances also make it possible to measure heart rate with a simple smartwatch, so you can relate it to speed.
But running by feel or without direct speed control also offers great added value. This way you listen to your body and only go as far as your fitness level allows. The jogging speed is therefore not the ultimate, but a practical parameter that can help you achieve specific goals. Don't let the running speeds of others put you under pressure, instead find your own pace.
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