Unlike HR and pace, RPE can help you take into account the effect of stressors like heat, lack of sleep, elevation and inadequate nutrition.
For example, let’s say you’re a morning person. All of your runs up to Week 3, Run 2 have been in the morning. You rated most of the running intervals of Week 3, Run 2 as a 6 or 7.
Then you get called into an early meeting at work on the day you're supposed to run Week 3, Run 3…so, you squeeze in the run at 9 PM (after dinner and the kids are in bed). Your pace was slower and it just felt hard. Most of the running intervals felt like an 8 or 9!
Yes, there are always different variables at play, but running the same route (at the same pace) at a different time of day made the run feel harder.
What Level of Intensity Should I be Running?
When you’re starting N2R, you should aim to run the running intervals at an intensity of 5 or less.
Will there be times (especially in the first 4-5 weeks) where you might hit a rating of 8, 9 or 10 during some of the running intervals?
Perhaps (especially near the end of a particular workout).
And that’s okay.
Improving your running involves training your brain to be uncomfortable just as much (or possibly more) than your body.
You’ll learn more about your body after each run and be better able to manage your intensity.
When should I repeat a week?
Each week of the N2R plan you perform the same run three times.
If during the 3rd run of the week, most of your running intervals were at a 7 or lower, you’re likely okay to proceed to the next week of the plan.
If the last few intervals of the 3rd run of the week took you over the edge and into the 8, 9 and 10 range…I’d encourage you to consider repeating that week.
Note for N2R app users: To mark a particular week incomplete in order to repeat it, please see the screenshots below.
How do I know I am getting fitter if I use RPE?
REMEMBER - you’re training your body and your mind!
As your body gets fitter, your brain also gets accustomed to higher levels of perceived effort.
The workouts will get more difficult, but your mind is better prepared to tolerate them.
That’s when running gets easier and more enjoyable!