Time in the bank or rest on your body?

time bank

On my long run this weekend my run I was lucky enough to have someone out there to pace me.  As we started running on a slight downhill, I started to pick up the pace and was running about a minute per mile faster than the goal.  I don’t look at my watch too often when running, usually only at every mile split, but he was keeping a close eye on the run and told me to slow down.  It started a conversation that I have with myslef often when running long miles for a specific overall pace.  Do you use the downhills or “second winds” to run a little bit faster and put “time in the bank” or do you put rest and recovery in the “bank” instead and keep your pace steady?

I have always been one to take advantage of easier bits of running and try to put time in the bank.  I would rather give a little bit more when I can than end the race with anything left.  And if I bonk I bonk.  I guess the trick is know how much time to bank versus how much recovery to bank.

What do you do?  Do you push the pace when you are feeling good or take the rest so you can draw on it later?


  1. I’ve tried both, and had much better success going fast and taking chances! Nice long run this weekend Becc!

    1. It’s interesting that you say you do better going fast and taking your chances…that works for me on short distance races, like a 5K. Usually. But for marathons, I have had my best results running negative splits (first half slower than 2nd half). Also, statistics show that running even splits or negative splits give the best race results. Positive splits pretty much never win the race.

  2. These are my thoughts: (1) You can’t put time in the bank. You may think you’re doing that, but really you’re setting yourself up to bonk. I have enough experience in this area that coupled with all the reading I’ve done on the topic, I am certain this is true. (2) If you are running hills or rollers, you should not maintain the target pace throughout. I am usually :30-1:00/mile faster on downhills and about the same amount slower on uphills. It evens out. I do not fight the downhill. That just wears you out more. Go with gravity. Let it pull you downward while turning the legs over rapidly and lightly/easily. I also run by rate of perceived effort (RPE). If it feels easy going down, I go with it. That said, if you were only on a slight downhill, as in this specific case you relate, then 1:00/mi faster was probably too much.

    Now whether I push the pace and “if I bonk, I bonk” vs. trying to ration out my energy reserves and avoid bonking…that varies from workout to workout but unless I’m doing a race I where I don’t really care about the result, I will do my best to avoid bonking. I hate, hate HATE bonking. It feels so terrible and is very humbling/humiliating to me. That is, if I’m trying to do well. The trick is to figure out just how hard you can push and still not bonk. I guess that’s why you should try to avoid bonking in training. However, sometimes you will go over that line, but if you bonk in training, hopefully you learned something about yourself that you can use on race day.

    I guess I had a few words on this topic. 😛

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