Timing your run or even a circuit of exercises you have planned out for yourself can be a helpful motivator. Instead of a couple of paragraphs instead I laid out the pros & cons to make it a bit more straightforward.
- You can figure out your pace from your time and distance. This can be helpful when training for a race but even if you want to kick it up a notch and give yourself a goal every time you go out.
- The first time you time yourself, the bar has been set.
- Feeling of accomplishment when you beat last weeks time – even if it was by a second.
- You can see your progress over time, especially if you record it.
- If have a fancy gadget you can track other things – heart rate, distance, etc…
- If you are training for a race…you have the confidence going into that race knowing that you can come close to your average pace.
- Bragging rights.
- You don’t need music to listen to. You already have a motivating factor.
- Being too hard on yourself. Sometimes you may be a bit slower. But take a step back. You still worked out today…you did not sit on the couch. Did you run in 80 degrees weather? Running against the wind? Still sore from sprints 2 days ago? Did you just start running after no exercise for 5 years? Keep perspective.
- Form may suffer if you are doing a circuit. Lets say you are doing 5 sets of the following: Sprint up one flight of stairs, 10 bodyweight squats, 10 flutter kicks and lastly 10 3-count mountain climbers. Maybe you are going so fast in the squats you are off balance and jacking up and down. That’s no good. Stay focused on the movement. Over time you will need less time to recover in between the exercises and the sets. You can cut your time down that way.
- Not focusing on running or the circuit and enjoying it because you are too busy stressing about time. Focus on your running cadence or the circuit movements instead or whatever reward you have for yourself after the workout. Don’t look at your watch every second.
- Burnout…if your goal is to blow last workout out of the water. You don’t want to be aiming for the fastest 5K two months out. Two seconds faster than last week is faster, period. Same time as last week? Good work, it was a tie! Don’t ignore progress & don’t expect yourself to murder every workout. Chip away at it.
Myself I would not time a circuit I am doing until about 2-3 months out of a race or event. I want to reduce the chance of pushing myself so far out & over training and possibly hurting myself (been there, done that). As for runs I usually time them all the time but I am good about not always looking at it and I set reasonable goals leading up to an event so I peak at the right time. Trail runs you can only go so fast because of the terrain, road runs are different. There are 2-3 points in the run I would have a landmark and look at my time to see where I am at. Overall timing can be a great motivator, even if you just do it every couple weeks to assess yourself.