Running for Beginners: Increasing Pace


An Easy Guide

I think I’ve entered the world of at least intermediate runner status, and I want to share how I was able to (finally) run a half marathon under 2 hours (it took me 5 tries).

The key is to incorporate around 2 workouts a week that focus entirely on intervals. Here I made an easy-to-use graphic on a quick 24-minute treadmill workout that bumped my average pace from around a 12:00 mile to a 9:00 mile.

*It’s also broken down by time, because I know trying to do ANY math while running is just EVIL. You’re welcome!


Feel free to tweak the speed, especially if you’re further along in pace or if the running pace feels like you’re pushing it already at 5.5 mph (I’ve been there).

I still do this workout now, actually, I just adjust the speeds to 4 mph, 6.5 mph, and 8.5 mph. It’s a great workout to keep using in this way; it helps you gauge your progress in incredibly tangible terms. I remember, back when I first started running, that my sprint was 6 mph. Now that’s a slow jog.

Happy running!

14 thoughts on “Running for Beginners: Increasing Pace

  1. dtills says:

    Ha Ha! I love the comment about trying to do math and running, It’s so true! I have messed up every calculation I have tried after the 4 mile mark! Directions are tough too when you are running in a new area, which is something we have been doing a lot of this past year. I can’t tell you how many times I have been lost and ran more than I was planning for that day!. Keep up the pace!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ed Wyrd says:

    I have lots of questions. You say incorporate at least 2 intervals, is that in addition to whatever other runs you do? And what DO you do? A long run (how long?) and a fast run (how fast?) or what? Also, even though you’re at the stage where you’re running half-marathons, you’re still incorporating WALKS into your workouts? I guess I thought once you reached a certain fitness level you didn’t need the walks any longer. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Real Life says:

      Hey, Ed! Thanks for stopping by, and with such great questions.

      Yes, I try to run about 4-6 times a week. Let’s say it’s a week where I run 5 days. It might look something like this:

      Monday: Run 4 miles, easy
      Tuesday: Run this treadmill interval workout (adjust speeds for fitness level and progress)
      Wednesday: OFF or cross train
      Thursday: Run 3 miles tempo (at a faster pace throughout) OR interval workout
      Friday: Run 3 miles easy
      Saturday: OFF or cross train
      Sunday: Long run (depending on fitness level and training, I’ll say 10 miles for me)

      “Long” and “fast” are really subjective and relative to where you are in your fitness journey. You can use “perceived exhaustion,” which is how I came up with the speeds on this treadmill workout. For me, 5 mph (a 12-minute mile) is a slow jog. If that’s your average pace for most of your runs, then you can reserve that pace for “easy” runs. If you’re doing 3-4 miles each run, then you’ll want to incorporate ONE “long” run each week, at a 10% increase each week. With that example, your first long run might be an easy 5 miles. The next week, an easy 5.5 or 6.

      And yes, I still incorporate walk breaks into my workouts, for many reasons. First, if I am really struggling with my breathing or cramping, I just walk and then start up again (you can’t subscribe to an all or nothing mentality with this… you’re going to have to accept that some runs will feel harder than ever.) Another reason is that it’s great for your fitness level (heart rate) to alternate between walking and running (and sprinting! like this treadmill interval workout incorporates). Another reason is that this workout is meant to really kick your butt during the sprints, and walking helps you recover and get ready to give it your all again. What these intervals do to your metabolism is outstanding.

      If you’re quite new to running, take it easy while experimenting. Once you can get to a comfy 3 mile mile, start introducing bursts of faster paces–or adding an extra mile at your regular pace.

      I hope this helped! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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