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Easy run question (Read 1341 times)

    From McMillan:

     

    The calculator is designed to prescribe training paces that advance your fitness above your current race times. Therefore, if you put in your goal time instead of your current time, then the suggested training paces will actually be faster than necessary for your goal time.

     

    I put that in there because I don't know what his current 5K time is.

     

    He is already running a full minute per mile pace ahead of the calculator that says and thinking that is an easy run.

     

    Aside the the heart rate monitor, fat burn, aerobic zone, internet pace calculator, etc. arguing, does anyone else think that his "easy" run was not what most would consider to be "easy".

     

    That's why I like the heart rate monitors and stuff, it gives you a real definition.  Easy can be defined about a dozen ways.  I ran a 9:00 pace for six miles back in November and thought that was easy at the time.  Now my easy run is 10:30+ pace after using a heart rate monitor to help me figure out what really was easy.

     

    I think one of the biggest problems for a newbie runner is not understanding what an easy run is.  A heart rate monitor really helps you figure that out right away instead of over years of training.

    Age: 46 Weight: 205 Height: 6'2" (Goal weight 195)

    Current PR's:  Mara 3:48:09; HM 1:43:26; 10K 43:59; 5K 21:27

      I agree that most experienced runners probably have this figured out.  The guy asking the question is not an experienced runner though.  He is very similar to me about 6 months ago when I was working out way too hard and thought I was working out easy.  A heart rate monitor really helped me figure that out.  It is a huge crutch for me right now while I'm figuring out how to understand what my body is telling me.  Mine broke last week and I struggled without it.

       

       

      You're not the first person on RA to express this.  But I really don't understand how someone doesn't know if they're working hard or easy.

       

      Like Jeff says, learn this stuff without the crutches.  It's a skill you need.

       

      However, I really wish my body didn't think it was running hard when I race.  It would be much more comfortable.

        I'm figuring out how to understand what my body is telling me.  Mine broke last week and I struggled without it.

        What?  Your body broke last week? ;o) 

         

        I agree that most experienced runners probably have this figured out.  The guy asking the question is not an experienced runner though.  He is very similar to me about 6 months ago when I was working out way too hard and thought I was working out easy.  A heart rate monitor really helped me figure that out. 

        Again, not trying to make it a sales pitch; but we had tried to incorporate all these into our Running Wizard training program.  We have each day's workout pace suggested (with a range) which actually comes out to be slightly slower than Greg's chart--I think we are trying to advise people to run longer, hence slightly slower pace...maybe...  Each workout's HR is suggested as well as RPE.  It's not perfect; it's still nothing more than a guide but we tried to create something that runners can use as a good guidance in order for them to make that "next step" where they can be self-coached.  Our plan starts out fairly slow--probably slower than most plan would suggest.  But we try to get you up to 2-hours of running and also the pace would increase slightly, as it should with your increased fitness level.  

        DoppleBock


          ???  There are many things that affect heart rate other than effort.

           

          I ran today at lunch - I did not wear a watch or a HR monitor (I never wear that) - I ran easy and enjoyed the sun on my face.  

           

           

          I'm a newbie runner myself, but the only way to really tell is to use a heart rate monitor.

           

          http://a-big-horse.blogspot.com/ 

          2013 Goals ~ Mar < 3:00, 5M < 29, 10k < 35  

           

            I think it is because you feel you are starting out running you go until you can't run anymore (pushing max heart rate) and then walk.  Then when you can breathe again you start running until you can't run anymore (max heart rate again) and then walk, etc.

             

            A few months later you are running 2 or 3 miles and you are no longer hitting your max heart rate and having to stop and walk.  It's still work though but you can get through it without stopping.  You are probably around 90% of max heart rate, but not hitting your max.

             

            That seems easy compared to a few months earlier when you were regularly hitting your max heart rate so you think that is an easy run, your not dying, just breathing a little hard and you don't fall down exhausted when you get back to the house.

             

            A few months later you might be up to 3 or 4 miles and you are getting used to this running thing.  You are in much better shape now and can even squeeze in a quick conversation while you are running.  Maybe you are only hitting 85% of your max heart rate now.  You arrive back at the house thinking you could have kept on running.  That's an easy run right? 

             

            That's exactly how I was doing things before I started reading and got a heart rate monitor.

            Age: 46 Weight: 205 Height: 6'2" (Goal weight 195)

            Current PR's:  Mara 3:48:09; HM 1:43:26; 10K 43:59; 5K 21:27

              It seems to me that this easy run question almost always comes from newer runners, running 10:00 - 14:00/mile paces. Often it feels a little hard. And then they get advice to slow down or take walk breaks. IMHO this is exactly the wrong advice at this level. The reason it feels hard is not because you're running too hard, you'd just not in shape. At this point, not much is going to feel "easy". 

               

              I was never much of a runner but some time in 2006 or 2007  - I can't remember - I just one day decided to go for a run. All I had was a watch so I could see how long it took me. I stupidly ran like 6 miles. It felt hard. Took me over an hour. 2 days later i did it again. It felt harder. I had to stop and walk for a side stitch to subside. I was breathing heavy and my legs were really tired and sore. I felt lousy. But 2 days later I did again. It felt a little easier. I did it a few more times and it got a little easier each time. I did not slow down. Frankly I had no idea what my pace was. I just ran a pace i thought I could handle for the distance. 

               

              I really just paid attention to the effort. When it got to the point that I could do the 6 miles easily, I added a mile. When that got easy, I added another. I never made it any more complicated than that. At 15-25 mpw, there was just no need to. Eventually I started logging my runs. Now I have a Garmin and I log all my runs and add workouts but I have never used a heart rate monitor and didn't even know about the McMillan calculator until I had been running for a couple years. 

               

              Just run. If you feel good, run a little harder or longer. if you feel like crap, slow down or take a rest day. Don't overthink it. Yeah, you might cross the line every once in a while. But it will give you an idea of where the line is and you learn from it. 

               

              Sorry, i just think the constant harping to slow down, slow down, easy, easy , easy gives a lot of people an excuse to never ever get out of their comfort zone. And that defeats the whole purpose. 

               

              "It is important to always stay within your comfort zone. This prevents having to subject oneself to the inconvenience of learning something new and potentially useful." - Mark Rippetoe

               

                Mr. Alfie seems to be making the case to run less easily more frequently. 

                 

                And yeah, I've always understood easy to mean the fastest I can run without sacrificing my ability to either do the same thing tomorrow or to run my next workout as well as I'd like.  Really nothing to do with that run itself. 

                 

                  People seem to be using lots of different words to say basically the same thing: you have to learn what your "easy" feels like.

                   

                  Try contacting a local running store and see if they have group runs.  The stores around here do, and there are folks of all abilities/fitness levels.  Tag along with the right portion of the group, fitness-wise, and make some friends.  In the process, you'll hopefully find yourself running at a pace such that you have enough wind to gab and make friends.  Take a moment every now and then on those runs, turn your mind's eye inward, and get a good look at that feeling.  It's "easy".

                  “Everything you need is already inside.” -- Bill Bowerman

                  DoppleBock


                     I disagree

                     

                    When I started running and I was 300+ pounds - I did run hard and then walk - I had a 4 mile loop.  After a few weeks I could run the whole loop - Hard.  It was mentally and physically hard because I was running too fast - Between 8-8:30 miles.  I continued to add miles at a too fast speed.  I said I ran easy - But I never did.  Eventually I worked into a hard speed and a really hard speed.  Still every run was not physcially or mentally easy.

                     

                    Then I learned whay easy was and running was much more fun -

                     

                    You know on easy long runs or recovery runs - I still add walk breaks on occassion.  When my goal is to run 30 or 40 miles and I am feeling a bit tired.  I have 2 choices - to run 15 miles easy without walk breaks or add 5 or 6 2 minute walk breaks and make all 30-40 miles.

                     

                    Lets go with the experts that have always said - Easy is @ 2 minutes slower than marathon pace.   I agree that every day easy can be different - Some days 7:30 is easy and others 8:30.  Since we have a lot of people around here that have easy runs that avereage < 8:00 pace.  We must have a lot of sub 2:40 marathoners. 

                     

                     

                    It seems to me that this easy run question almost always comes from newer runners, running 10:00 - 14:00/mile paces. Often it feels a little hard. And then they get advice to slow down or take walk breaks. IMHO this is exactly the wrong advice at this level. The reason it feels hard is not because you're running too hard, you'd just not in shape. At this point, not much is going to feel "easy". 

                     

                    I was never much of a runner but some time in 2006 or 2007  - I can't remember - I just one day decided to go for a run. All I had was a watch so I could see how long it took me. I stupidly ran like 6 miles. It felt hard. Took me over an hour. 2 days later i did it again. It felt harder. I had to stop and walk for a side stitch to subside. I was breathing heavy and my legs were really tired and sore. I felt lousy. But 2 days later I did again. It felt a little easier. I did it a few more times and it got a little easier each time. I did not slow down. Frankly I had no idea what my pace was. I just ran a pace i thought I could handle for the distance. 

                     

                    I really just paid attention to the effort. When it got to the point that I could do the 6 miles easily, I added a mile. When that got easy, I added another. I never made it any more complicated than that. At 15-25 mpw, there was just no need to. Eventually I started logging my runs. Now I have a Garmin and I log all my runs and add workouts but I have never used a heart rate monitor and didn't even know about the McMillan calculator until I had been running for a couple years. 

                     

                    Just run. If you feel good, run a little harder or longer. if you feel like crap, slow down or take a rest day. Don't overthink it. Yeah, you might cross the line every once in a while. But it will give you an idea of where the line is and you learn from it. 

                     

                    Sorry, i just think the constant harping to slow down, slow down, easy, easy , easy gives a lot of people an excuse to never ever get out of their comfort zone. And that defeats the whole purpose. 

                     

                    "It is important to always stay within your comfort zone. This prevents having to subject oneself to the inconvenience of learning something new and potentially useful." - Mark Rippetoe

                    http://a-big-horse.blogspot.com/ 

                    2013 Goals ~ Mar < 3:00, 5M < 29, 10k < 35  

                     

                    xor


                      I think it is because you feel you are starting out running you go until you can't run anymore (pushing max heart rate) and then walk.  Then when you can breathe again you start running until you can't run anymore (max heart rate again) and then walk, etc.

                       

                      A few months later you are running 2 or 3 miles and you are no longer hitting your max heart rate and having to stop and walk.  It's still work though but you can get through it without stopping.  You are probably around 90% of max heart rate, but not hitting your max.

                       

                      That seems easy compared to a few months earlier when you were regularly hitting your max heart rate so you think that is an easy run, your not dying, just breathing a little hard and you don't fall down exhausted when you get back to the house.

                       

                      A few months later you might be up to 3 or 4 miles and you are getting used to this running thing.  You are in much better shape now and can even squeeze in a quick conversation while you are running.  Maybe you are only hitting 85% of your max heart rate now.  You arrive back at the house thinking you could have kept on running.  That's an easy run right? 

                       

                      That's exactly how I was doing things before I started reading and got a heart rate monitor.

                       

                      You mentioned "max heart rate" a bunch of times in that post.

                       

                      I learned how to run easy without knowing what my max heart rate is.  I honestly STILL don't know what my max heartrate is.

                       

                      I could figure it out.  I could do a lot with that info, if I had it. And if I wanted to.

                       

                      But to run easy?  I really don't need that level of detail.  I go by how I feel, how I am breathing, and just a high level "eh, I think my heartrate doesn't feel all poundy" maybe.

                       

                      I agree that it is challenging for SOME new runners to figure it out 'easy'.  And heart rate can help.  But it isn't THE thing.  It's A thing.  There are other things.

                       

                      And yes, don't plug goal times into the McMillan calculator to poop out training target paces.  Unless you are already capable of the goal time you plugged in, what it poops out will likely be too fast and therefore more poop than pop.

                       

                        That's why I like the heart rate monitors and stuff, it gives you a real definition.  

                         

                        Sure, a quantitative approach is pleasing to a certain temperament, but the pleasure that is derived from the false sense of certainty that the quantitative approach promises can be an impediment to the work of becoming a runner. This work is both quantitative and qualitative. 

                         

                        Perhaps a useful analogy is the way in which the memorization of certain physical formulas can be an impediment to learning physics; it casts physics as a quantitative discipline of calculation, when in fact physics is a discipline of exploration--and it uses both quantitative and qualitative forms of analysis in that exploration.

                         

                        As in physics, the runner doesn't have to decide for one method or the other--to decide once and for all in one direction would actually be a decision that mutilates human reason. Hopefully we can use every tool at our disposal for intelligent analysis of our training. My worry is only that the qualitative form of analysis is rejected as imprecise and irrational from the outset by a type of quantitative rationality motivated by fear of the vague and subjective elements of experience and an unreasonable desire for certainty.

                         

                        /dissertation.

                        vegefrog


                          To the OP:

                           

                          I started running again in September and I found this site when I was online looking for a way to log my runs. I just used the maps and log at first, then I gradually started lurking and reading these forums. I read a lot and looked at people's logs and training plans.  The thing that I kept seeing in all the newbie running threads and running tips was "run a lot, mostly slow, some fast, but mostly just run". So I gave it a try. I ran slowly (able to maintain a conversation or sing to yourself is a good gauge of easy pace). I added miles little by little, keeping them slow and easy. It was more important for me to be able to add miles weekly then it was to increase my pace. I didn't do intervals or hills or any sort of hard thing, I just had a lot of easy runs and one long run on the weekend. After I increased my long run up to 10 miles I ran a 5K to gauge my speed. I ran it in 26 minutes, which was a surprise to me because the fastest I had ever run one since college was 28 minutes. I couldn't believe it actually worked...just adding more miles and keeping them easy...actually made me faster!

                           

                          Now I've been running for about 8 months and I do add some intervals and hills and stuff, but that's because I'm comfortable running longer distances (up to 20 miles) and I think I can get some added benefit from those harder workouts.

                           

                          I have never, ever worn a heart rate monitor. Running is not a hard sport, in fact it's as simple as a sport can be. You know if your pace is easy because you will be able to talk and breathe fairly normally. If your pace is not easy, you will be out of breath. I think the fact that your legs felt better after that easy run has probably already sold you on the fact that easy runs are an important part of any training plan. They make you feel good and they are good for you Smile

                           

                          If your goal is to try to run a 10K without walking or stopping...I think you would benefit from just running more at that easy pace then alternating between hard and easy workouts. It worked for me and these guys and gals on here really know what they are talking about, so I'd trust them.

                           

                          Good luck with your running and don't worry you will figure it out. Just remember it's supposed to be fun and try not to let it get too complicated.


                          MoBramExam

                            ...As in physics, the runner doesn't have to decide for one method or the other--to decide once and for all in one direction would actually be a decision that mutilates human reason. Hopefully we can use every tool at our disposal for intelligent analysis of our training. My worry is only that the qualitative form of analysis is rejected as imprecise and irrational from the outset by a type of quantitative rationality motivated by fear of the vague and subjective elements of experience and an unreasonable desire for certainty.

                             

                            Stolen from Bill Baillie: "You mean fast stuff fast and slow stuff slow, Coach?"  Wink

                             




                            A Saucy Wench

                              My easy pace varies a lot.  There are so many factors that go in to what makes easy easy.  I dont know if my HR tracks with that or not.  Somehow I do not think my HR tracks nearly as well as other ways of defining easy.   I will never know since I apparently short out HRM's on contact. 

                               

                              But this morning I ran with a newish running p who doesnt already know everything about me.  So I told her a lot about me.  Stories of meeting my husband and stuff from years back, etc.  We kept an animated conversation going the whole run.   Now, it wasnt such an easy run that we werent  a bit breathy sounding.  But talking in full sentences without totally gasping for air.  - easy run - check

                               

                              When we got to the spot we could split to go to our respective homes and I felt the desire to run more  - easy run check

                               

                              After we split I picked up the pace just a little bit and finished strong  - easy run - check

                               

                              Who needs a HRM anyway.

                              I have become Death, the destroyer of electronic gadgets

                               

                              "When I got too tired to run anymore I just pretended I wasnt tired and kept running anyway" - dd, age 7

                                Now, it wasnt such an easy run that we werent  a bit breathy sounding. 

                                 

                                Tell us more about this part, please.  For research. 

                                 

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