Run Faster – How to Use the RPE Chart for Runners


Want to know the secret to run faster? It’s actually easier than many running websites make it seem! That’s because step one is to know your current running fitness level and then use that information as a guide to do speed workouts. Today I’m sharing the best RPE Chart for Runners and a few funny RPE Running Charts to help you get started. Let’s go!

Many Speed Workouts for Runners posted online give you paces to run according to things like your 5K PR minus 15 seconds per mile. But if you don’t have a recent or applicable 5K PR time or are just starting out with these type of runs – it’s confusing, intimidating and not super helpful.

If you’re new to running, new to speed workouts or getting back to it after time off – start here using the Rate of Perceived Exertion Chart for Runners (also called RPE).

how to run faster step 1 chart

How to Start Running Faster for new or returning runners:

Step 1: Study the RPE Chart for Runners and think about how each level might feel. How would you describe your last run using the chart?

You can use the fun running charts I posted if they seem easier for you to visualize and remember. This is a starting point to pay attention to how you feel and how much you’re pushing or taking it easy while running. After you get to know your body while running – you can move to the numbered RPE Chart for Runners.

Step 2: Pay attention to how you feel while warming up, mid-run and during cool down. What was your RPE for each? Note it in your running log right after each run.

Note any variables that may impact your RPE. For example: Was your run very hilly? That might mean a higher RPE. // Were you running with a friend that’s a little slower? That might mean a lower RPE.

Do this for at least a week and write down as many notes as possible in your running log. This will help you learn your body, current fitness level and see any variations that may impact your performance.

Step 3: Use your RPE information to incorporate speed work into your training. Depending on your current fitness level it can be a set speed workout or a few faster segments you plan into your current plan.

For Example: Warm up at your warm up RPE. Then, run for x minutes at an RPE that’s higher than your easy pace. Instead of trying to hit certain paces – you’ll aim for pushing yourself to the effort level that’s applicable. 

Here is the straight forward RPE Chart to use as a guide to assess how much effort you’re feeling on a run. PLUS – a the funny options I shared on Instagram @RunEatRepeat in case you need a lil reminder that running can be fun!

How to Run Faster with RPE Chart for Running

RPE For Running explained by emojis:


How to Run Faster with RPE Chart for Running Meme

RPE For Running explained by the animal you are at each level:

How to Run Faster with RPE Chart for Running Meme Instagram

The main thing is to be consistent – use one RPE scale for all your runs so you know how each level feels. Every runner is different and these levels may feel different depending on your current fitness compared to your past. Use the chart to help you listen and learn. Then, use that info to help you run faster and feel stronger.

Be sure to follow @RunEatRepeat on Instagram for more Running Tips, Motivation and Accountability. I posted these charts there in case you need to double check them during a run.

PILE on the MILES Challenge – is going strong!! Keep it up! Today is day 18 of the challenge – what are you doing today? Stay accountable by checking in here or on today’s IG post.

*Always consult with your doctor before trying any new exercise or diet plan. The information here is not intended as health, fitness or medical advice.*

Keep Going with these:

How to Measure Running Effort – Run Eat Repeat Podcast episode 9 [You can listen on that post OR on Apple Podcast, Stitcher or Spotify]

How to Start Running with the Run / Walk Strategy 

Tempo Run Speed Workout Playlist 


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