Difference Wiki

Pace vs. Speed: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on January 8, 2024
Pace refers to the rate of movement in terms of distance per time unit, often in steps per minute, while speed is the rate of change of distance with time, measured in units like miles per hour.

Key Differences

Pace is a term often used to describe the rate of movement, particularly in walking or running, and is usually measured in steps or strides per minute. Speed, in contrast, is a broader concept referring to the rate at which an object covers distance, regardless of the mode of travel.
In athletics, pace is crucial for endurance training, focusing on maintaining a consistent number of steps over time. Speed, however, is more about the overall rate at which distance is covered, important in sports where time to cover a distance is key.
Pace can be subjective and varies greatly between individuals, depending on stride length and frequency. Speed, on the other hand, is an objective measurement, universally applicable across various forms of motion.
When pacing, the emphasis is often on the rhythm and consistency of movement. With speed, the focus is on the rapidity and efficiency of covering distance, irrespective of the pattern or rhythm of movement.
Pace is integral in activities like walking tours or hiking, where the goal is to maintain a steady rhythm. Speed is crucial in scenarios like racing, driving, or flying, where reaching a destination quickly is the primary objective.

Comparison Chart


Steps or strides per time unit
Distance per time unit

Focus in Athletics

Endurance, consistent step frequency
Time to cover a distance


Varies with individual's stride
Objective and universally applicable


Rhythm and consistency of movement
Rapidity and efficiency of movement

Typical Use

Walking, hiking
Racing, driving, flying

Pace and Speed Definitions


A measure of progress or speed in a given activity.
The project's pace accelerated as the deadline approached.


The rapidity of moving, especially in terms of reaching a destination.
He was amazed by the speed of the internet connection.


The rate of walking or running measured in steps per time unit.
She maintained a steady pace of 120 steps per minute during her run.


The rate at which someone or something is able to move or operate.
The car reached a speed of 100 miles per hour.


A unit of measure in walking, equivalent to a natural step.
She measured the room's length in paces.


A high rate of motion or performance.
The speed of the athlete during the race was incredible.


A consistent and rhythmic movement in an activity.
He kept up a brisk pace throughout the hike.


A gear in a vehicle determining the rate of motion.
He shifted to a higher speed on the highway.


The speed at which someone or something moves or operates.
The class progressed at a pace comfortable for all students.


The ability to move quickly and efficiently.
Her speed in completing tasks impressed her boss.


A step made in walking; a stride.


Distance traveled divided by the time of travel.


A unit of length equal to 30 inches (0.76 meter).


The limit of this quotient as the time of travel becomes vanishingly small; the first derivative of distance with respect to time.


How is pace measured in running?

It's measured in steps or strides per minute.

What units are used to measure speed?

Common units include miles per hour or kilometers per hour.

Is pace important in long-distance running?

Yes, maintaining a consistent pace is key in endurance running.

How does speed vary in different vehicles?

Speed varies based on the vehicle's capability and road conditions.

Can pace vary for the same person?

Yes, an individual's pace can change based on fitness and conditions.

Is speed a scalar or vector quantity?

Speed is a scalar quantity; it has magnitude but no direction.

What is pace?

Pace is the rate of movement in steps per unit of time.

What is speed?

Speed is the rate of change of distance with time.

How do athletes train to improve pace?

They focus on stride frequency and length for a consistent pace.

Do walkers consider pace?

Yes, walkers often monitor pace for exercise or leisure activities.

Is speed important in non-physical contexts?

Yes, speed can refer to the quickness of any task or process.

How do pedometers help with pace?

Pedometers count steps, helping people maintain or adjust their pace.

What factors affect a person's pace?

Factors include fitness level, terrain, and walking or running style.

What role does speed play in emergency responses?

Speed is crucial for quick response and reaching destinations rapidly.

Can technology help improve pace and speed?

Yes, various technologies aid in monitoring and improving both pace and speed.

How is speed important in a race?

Higher speed can lead to winning in time-sensitive races.

How does speed affect travel time?

Higher speeds generally reduce travel time.

What influences speed in an aircraft?

Factors include engine power, aerodynamics, and atmospheric conditions.

Can pace be the same as speed?

They can correlate, but pace focuses on steps per time, while speed is distance per time.

Does pace matter in cycling?

Yes, cyclists consider pace, especially in terms of pedal strokes.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons