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How to Pace Myself Without a GPS Running Watch?

by Richard Jones
(Flitwick Beds)

Without the aid of a GPS unit (watch etc.) how do you run at the correct pace for the designated training time trial? Also what is the best way to measure a correct mile / 3 km or 5 km distance?

running tips
Answer by Dominique:
Hi there,
Thanks for your question about running without a GPS.

Valid question.

After having run with a GPS for the last four years or so it is hard to imagine life without one.

I am not a real gadgets freak.

Well, I do like Shiny New Things, but I am usually too stingy to fork out large amounts of money for them.

So, it took quite a long time for me to convert.

However, I am now very happy with my GPS running watch. It's so useful when running races and doing workouts. Immediately after getting it I started running PRs again.

Why? I could pace myself correctly. This usually meant slowing down a whole awful lot in the first few kilometers, which I'd get back (with interest) at the end of the race.

You see without that immediate feedback it is hard to not get swept up in the speed of a race. And in the beginning you always feel like Superman, so it is hard to work out your exact pace at the beginning.

Having said all this, the best way to measure your distances and to run at the correct page for time trials or goal pace running without using a GPS device is by using internet maps.

MapMyRun used to be big, you can also use Google Maps or Bing Maps.

What I used to do is map out my runs via these internet maps. I had this loop near my house that was 2.4km. It was basically a triangle consisting of an 800m road, 1,100m road and a 500m road. I used that triangle for time trials and/or goal pace efforts.

It wasn't exactly like the immediate feedback of a GPS running watch, but at least over the course of 2.4k I'd have a few measuring points.

After that it comes down to experience. Doing it often and getting used to how it feels to run a 4 min/k, 5 min/k, 6 min/k etc.

Also, if you have an iPhone or Android, there are some cheap apps that provide the GPS service. All you'd need to do is download the app and of course, carry your phone with you when you go out for a run. Well worth the few dollars!

GPS running watches are coming down in price. I have got the Garmin Forerunner 405cx, which is now about 2-3 years old or so. It still works very well and has all the technological features I need, but because it is an 'old model' you can pick it up a lot cheaper than what they used to sell for.

See here my review --> Garmin Forerunner 405CX Review

Hope this helps.
Good luck.

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