Do You Run Set Times/Distances?

My weekly running schedule is pretty rigid in terms of times and/or distances, by which I mean that the duration of my Monday and Thursday runs are 1:30, while my Tuesday and Wednesday runs are an hour. On Friday, I run an easy 4 miles, and then on Saturday I do a long run that is based on whatever specific distance I have set.

I notice that a lot of runners I follow on Strava seem not to have set times or distances for their runs, as I am always seeing runs like 11.76 miles in 49:39 or 5.34 miles in 46:44.

Whenever I see these sorts of runs, I wonder why they didn't just run another 21 seconds and stop at a nice round number like 50:00 or run a little extra to hit 5.5 miles ... because that is what I would do.

When I get back to my car after running 1:28:44 seconds, I am gonna just run around a bit until I hit the 1:30 mark because ending it at 1:28:44 seems crazy to me!

Obviously, this is a personal obsession that the people I follow on Strava don't seem to share.

Am I the only one who does this?
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I always have a set distance which I attempt to run at a given, set pace. Distance is an absolute certainty unless I have an injury or other issue that causes me to end early. Most of my runs are out-and-back so that I can easily accomplish this without having to overthink my route.

My only explanation for the oddball folks is that they're not concerned with their exact mileage and are simply running a specific route (which doesn't come to a neat number). So, for example, maybe they run one 5.34 mile lap around a lake trail and call it a day?


Staff member
Personal preference. For me, 27 or 32 min is a 30 minute run - pace isn't a big deal. 57 or 65 minutes doesn't matter much, it's an hour run in my mind - it all adds up over time. If I want accuracy, we'll do intervals on a track. The main goal for most runs should be getting out the front door consistently, and many of the routes taken are not exact distances, particularly when you get on trails. If you're beat, you'll run slower on the same route - if you're feeling perky, you'll hammer.

But I get it, some people are type A (no you're not the only one) and need things a certain way - as long as you're getting out there, that's all that should matter in my mind.

I am more of an experiential runner anymore, my days of primarily chasing goals are in the rearview. Even so, I know how to get myself fit for a goal race almost as a matter of routine. Time at effort is what really matters, I feel, and even then I typically will run a route based on landmarks and not distance and won't tack on at the end to arrive at any given time or distance number. It's what I do in the time and distance between the start and end that determine whether my training is effective. Sometimes I'll set a floor and ceiling for the run in terms of duration (time) though that's usually only for long runs. To me the numbers are merely the result and representative, not the goal or driving factor, and over the week or month they add up to whatever they will be. I simply don't feel compelled to control them and micromanage them. The flipside is that I haven't noticed whether anyone I follow on Strava makes a point to train to round numbers. I definitely know people who are fastidious about that sort of thing, at least when they are on a training program. My wife will run a lap or two of a nearby parking lot to get to 6 miles if that's the day's assignment from the coach while I just stop the watch when I get home and am perfectly contented with 5.89 or whatever it is. She feels she is sticking to the plan and training appropriately, if not perfectly. I am certain I lose no training effect by doing otherwise. If it gets you out the door often enough, it's appropriate motivation. If it leads one to ignore clear signs from the body and then to subsequent injury, it might be an issue. You do you. (y)