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What is the best practice for street runners when it comes to stopping or not stopping the clock at traffic lights?

When I go running on the street I ask myself if I should keep the clock running when I stop at a traffic light or not.

Ideally, I know I should run in a place where there are no traffic lights but sometimes it is not possible. I'm concerned since it can make a large difference in my pace if I get a bad day where I have to stop many times on a small run.

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If I was running next to a street in a situation where I needed to cross roads and stop at lights I wouldn't be overly concerned about pace. I think it is more important to be aware of hazards (eg: cars) and I would be worried that my concerns about pace might encourage me to take risks I wouldn't otherwise.

When cycling I sometimes stop the clock when I stop for a rest but I generally don't because I found I had a hard time doing so consistently. Sometimes I would forget to stop the clock and sometimes I would forget to restart it afterwards which was worse. This would also encourage me not to bother doing this.

I don't know what type of device you use but some have the ability to automatically stop tracking when they detect you have stopped moving and will show you your overall pace as well as your 'moving' pace. With a Garmin you can use the settings for the Run activity to turn on Auto Pause. In the stats for an individual activity the headline pace will be the overall pace but if you scroll down to the bottom you can see the Avg Pace and the Avg Moving Pace.

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If your main concern is tracking your pace over the time while moving, I would recommend using Strava to track your workouts.

Here's a recent run of mine where I stopped twice to do some quick errands:

Strava activity summary

You can see that elapsed time and moving time are tracked separately, and the pace is calculated based on moving time. I do not pause my watch at all during runs.

You can use the Strava app directly on your phone, or if you're already using a different app or fitness watch, you can upload those activities to Strava (I use a Garmin watch, for example). Here's a list of watches and apps that are compatible with Strava.

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