Running for time is a great way to set up your training. In most recent running literature they will advise you to run based off of feel so as to not compromise your quality days of training. Running for time naturally fits hand in glove with this sort of advice.
For example last week I was able to run an additional 7 miles for the week in the same alotted time as the previous week. This was not planned. I just felt stronger and I was able to do an extra mile each day in the alotted time. Now if I only ran for a set number of miles I probably would not have got as many miles done but maybe I would have ran them a little quicker than the previous week. I would also have ended up running for a shorter period of time. So answer this question. Is it better to run at a slighlty quicker pace for a shorter period of time or is it better to run for a quicker pace for the same amount of time? Obviously the second choice is the correct choice and this is where running for time can bring quicker improvements over time.
Not only does running for time give you the opportunity to make the most of your improved fitness it also gives you the opportunity to tone it down when needed. Let's say I was worn down from the extra miles put in from the previous week. Naturally I would like to slow down a bit so as to not break down. So I will end up running slower paces but for the same amount of time. This means I will end up running less mileage. But fret not, because the time spent is worth something. This will allow you to recover for the following week and get the same effort of work done. If I were to run the same amount of miles as the previous week but take longer doing them you can see how I could end up still being fatigued for the following week. I am fatigued but I am making myself spend longer amounts of time finishing up a set number of miles. You can see how some people can end up with long patches of stale running.
Obviously, running effectively on a set mile plan is definitely possible. But you must know when to follow the set plan or when to adjust it. In essence, if you are running a set number of miles and you want to spice it up with something different running for time can be a great way to train.
By the way training is going well and I'm making strides each month. Hopefully I can stay injury free and get a pretty long patch of training in. I plan on doing some things in the Fall. I've done 2 races recently and I'll blog about each soon when I get a chance.
Week 3 - January 15 - January 21
17 hours ago