A time trial in running is a maximum effort run that is not in a race, typically performed alone. The main purpose of a time trial is to cover a specific distance as fast as possible, providing an opportunity to measure a runner's current fitness level and compare it to previous performances or other runners. Time trials are often used in training as fitness tests and can be incorporated into the build-up to a goal race as a "check-in" to assess progress.


  • Location: Done on a measured course like a track or a road.
  • Timing: Use a stopwatch or a timing system to record your effort.
  • Distance: Can vary based on training goals, from a mile up to a marathon.


  1. Motivation Boost: Aiming to beat your personal best can be highly motivating.
  2. Pacing Practice: Helps improve your ability to maintain an even pace.
  3. Fitness Assessment: Lets you gauge your current fitness level and adjust your training.
  4. Mental Toughness: Running solo against the clock teaches you to push through fatigue.


  • Do them every four to six weeks in your training schedule.
  • Ensure a proper warm-up beforehand.
  • Choose a course that mirrors the terrain of your target race.
  • Set realistic goals based on your current fitness.

In summary, time trials are a valuable method for runners to challenge themselves and improve. They help you focus on personal goals, refine pacing, and test your fitness in a race-like scenario without the external pressure of other competitors. Adding time trials to your regular training can significantly enhance both your physical and mental running abilities.


To prepare for a time trial in running, you can follow these steps based on the provided sources:

  1. Warm-Up: A 15-minute warm-up, including 5 sets of 30-second sprints and 2 minutes flat out, can help prepare your body for the intense effort of a time trial.
  2. Course Recce: Familiarize yourself with the course beforehand to know the route, identify tough sections, and spot any hazards. This can be done by riding or driving the route or using online resources to study the course.
  3. Equipment: Ensure you have the necessary equipment, such as a timing device, appropriate running gear, and any required safety equipment.
  4. Nutrition: Test different forms of nutrition during practice time trial workouts to understand how your body responds and determine the best approach for fueling before and during the time trial.
  5. Pacing: Time trialling is a test of pacing ability, so it's essential to know how to measure your effort. Practice running at the target pace to familiarize yourself with the intensity.
  6. Rehearsal for Race Day: Use the time trial as a dress rehearsal for race day, simulating prerace routines, meal timing, and dealing with aches and fatigue. This can help boost confidence and prepare you for the actual race.

By following these steps, you can effectively prepare for a time trial in running, allowing you to perform at your best and accurately assess your current fitness level.


The time of day can affect time trial performance in various ways, as suggested by the search results:

  1. Circadian rhythms: Research suggests that performance may be improved in the evening, accompanied by an improved hormonal and metabolic milieu. This could be due to an increase in core temperature, which may improve glycogenolysis and glycolysis.
  2. Chronotype: Different chronotypes, such as morning-types, neither-types, and evening-types, may exhibit different diurnal variations in performance. Morning-types, for example, have faster 2000 m ergometer time trial times in the morning compared to those in the evening, while neither-types and evening-types display no diurnal variation in performance.
  3. Familiarity: Training at the same time of day as the time trial can help maximize adaptation and improve performance.
  4. Pacing: The effect of time of day on pacing may be more notable during short-distance time trials, where pacing is determined by the interplay between aerobic and anaerobic responses.
  5. Laboratory-measured performance: Some studies have found that diurnal variation in laboratory-measured performance is modified by training time-of-day. For example, morning training can remove diurnal variation in short-term maximal performance, while evening training can enhance this variation.

In summary, the time of day can affect time trial performance due to circadian rhythms, chronotype, familiarity, pacing strategies, and laboratory-measured performance. It's essential to consider these factors when preparing for a time trial and determining the best time of day for training and competition.