• Sunday, May 5, 2024
  • 12 Kilometers (7.46 miles)
  • Spokane, Washington
  • 48th Running

Setting the Pace

This information courtesy of Providence Health Care, Bloomsday's Official Training Sponsor

Are You A Walker, Jogger, Or Runner??

To get the most benefit from the training clinic, it is important to progress at a pace that is right for you. This year we will be breaking into five major groups for our practice sessions. Please read the criteria below and decide which group you should join. You may change groups as your training progresses.

1. Walkers

Anyone who intends to walk most (or all) of the Bloomsday Race, and/or anyone who has had minimal physical activity in the past six weeks.

2. Racewalkers

Anyone who would like to learn and/or practice racewalking techniques.

3. Joggers

Anyone interested in combining jogging and walking (or just jogging if you can stay within your target heart rate range). No prior jogging activity is required to join this group.

4. Runners

Must have been involved in an aerobic activity (continuous exercise for at least 20 minutes, where training heart rate is maintained) at least three times a week for the past six weeks. Must be able to sustain an 8-minute mile pace.

How Much Is Too Much??

There are several ways to tell if you are exercising too hard. They are:

  • Faintness, dizziness, nausea, chest tightness and/or pain, major shortness of breath, or loss of muscle control. If you feel any of these, cool down, and then stop exercising. Relax completely.
  • Heart rate too high. Count your pulse 1-2 minutes into your cool-down. It should have dropped by 20 to 30 beats per minute or more. If not, you're pushing yourself too hard. Count your pulse again after five minutes. If it is not below 100 beats per minute, continue your cool-down until your heart rate has dropped. Ease up a little on your exercise program.
  • Tiredness. Exercise should take some work but not make you feel worn out and tired all the time. If it does, you may be overdoing it. Slow down. The goal is to have exercise help you feel energized, lively, and happy.
  • Inability to talk while exercising. You should be able to talk with a partner while exercising aerobically. If you are too short of breath to talk during exercise, you are overexerting yourself.

Modified Perceived Exertion Scale

Using this scale, you can correlate your perception of exercise effort with actual intensity level. Once you have established your upper and lower THR range, it is important to perceive how you feel within that range. Are your heart rate and respiratory rate elevated to a moderate level? Can you still talk, or are you breathless? What do your muscles feel like in this range? Eventually, it will be easy to use the scale for your intensity level by self-perception rather than by having to stop to take your pulse. A perceived exertion of 4-5 on the modified Perceived Exertion (PE) scale of 1-5 is too much.

Here's how the Modified Perceived Exertion Scale should be used:

Ex Scale


0: Rest. Sitting in a chair.

1-2: Low intensity exercise. More of a “stroll.” You can talk easily and your breathing is normal. You probably aren’t sweating. Try to increase your pace at this point! This level of exertion is more appropriate for the warm-up and cool-down phases of exercise.

3-4: Moderate intensity exercise. Your heart rate and breathing are accelerated. There is a good chance you are sweating. You are able to talk but not sing. You feel “comfortably uncomfortable” and that you can maintain this pace for the remainder of your workout. This is the goal range!

5: High intensity exercise. Your heart rate and breathing are rapid. You are not able to talk more than a few words before taking a breath. This is too vigorous! Slow it down to a more moderate pace.

This information courtesy of Benjamin Howie, MD
Providence Orthopedics & Sports Medicine

About Dr. Howie:

Board certified in Sports Medicine and Family Medicine, Dr. Howie offers comprehensive care to athletes and patients seeking to live more active lifestyles.  His clinical interests include acute and overuse musculoskleletal injuries, activity promotion and ultrasound-guided procedures.  He enjoys adventuring in the Inland Northwest outdoors with his wife and 3 children.  He is dedicated to keep Spokane moving!