Subjective pace refers to the individual perception of how fast or slow one is running, based on internal cues and sensations rather than objective measurements like speed or heart rate. It is the runner’s personal assessment of their effort level, comfort, and overall perception of their speed during a run.
Subjective pace is highly individualised and influenced by many factors such as fitness level, fatigue, motivation, terrain, weather conditions, and overall mental state. Some runners may feel that they are running at a fast pace while others perceive the same pace as moderate or slow.
Runners often use subjective pace to guide their training and adjust their effort levels during a run. The same absolute pace on different days may feel quite different and an adjustment may become appropriate.
As an example, it is advised that the majority of your running should be at a comfortable pace that you can easily hold a conversation – breathing is barely labored. On some days (due to factors mentioned above), your easy pace may feel harder than usual, and reducing your speed to compensate should be considered.