Originally Posted by Capt Tasty Cheeks
how many minutes per mile should I average with 6 miles? Is 10 good?
I'm far from an expert, but I can tell you what works for me.
When I run, I set a pace in my mind that I know I can keep. I don't try to run my absolute fastest, at least not very often. For me, trying to get my best time is like maxing out on the bench press. There is a place for it, but not every time.
I don't concern myself with my average time. I want to set myself on cruise control so that every mile is run at the same speed. (If I'm running six miles, my fastest and slowest WILL BE within fifteen seconds of each other.) If that means my fastest time for six miles averages ten minutes per mile, I may run at a 10:15 pace just to make sure that my last mile is the same speed as my first mile.
While I can't say what a good pace is for anyone else, I can pass along something that happened to me when I started running (just last spring). I was running with another beginner, and I am a better athlete than my running partner, so I had to adjust my pace a bit so I didn't get way ahead. After a while, I started having knee problems. This kept up until I ran with an experienced runner who watched me run for a few miles and then said "keep up" before taking off. I had to damned near sprint for about a half mile to keep up, but my knee pain went away.
Afterwards, he told me that I had been running too slow (about a 10:15 pace iirc), and that I was essentially running with the gas and brakes on at the same time. Running with a slower partner had caused me to slow myself down every step and was exerting pressure on my knees. Speeding up to a 9:00 pace was much easier on my body and wasn't much harder for my lungs.
My advice would be to find a pace that works for you and let yourself naturally get faster. If you run six miles at a ten minute pace and feel like you have energy left at the end, try 9:45. Just make sure that you know your marks ahead of time. By that, I mean that you should be at 2:26 after a quarter mile, 4:52 after a half mile, 39:00 after 4 miles, etc. Make a game of it.
I like to run outside, and I know every inch of the path I run most often. I know the fence post I need to hit at 2:30 if I want to run a pace of 8:45. I know the scratch in the pavement at 27:30. I always thought I was weird that way, but I've talked to several runners who are the exact same way.
In the end, it's really about what keeps you going. From a results standpoint the distance matters WAY more than the speed.