123

How does slowing down my fast runs speed up my race times? (Read 517 times)


Muddling through

     And how is it that a body used to running easy at say 10-10:30 min/mile, with a few miles of tempo run at say 9-9:30, can suddenly run a 8 min/mi half marathon? Doesnt your body need to be accustomed to running that distance faster? 

    I wouldn't expect that. Those numbers are inconsistent. Someone running 8 min pace for a HM would likely be running easy at 9:15-9:30 pace and running tempo at 7:45 pace. Someone running easy at 10-10:30 pace might be running tempo at 8:30 pace and racing the HM at 8:45-8:50 pace.  Note there's about 1:30-2:00 difference between easy pace and tempo pace, not a minute. With the possible exception of elite runners who are running HMs in close to an hour, HM pace will always be slower than tempo pace. There are definite relationships between different training paces and race times. There are also different benefits from running at different paces and distances. As long as you varying your workouts to get a full range of benefits, it shold all come together on race day. It may seem like magic, but there's logic and science behind it.

    2014 Goals: Run first trail ultra, first 100K, and see what I can do in a 24-Hour race

      I'm starting to "get it".  I have a question, however.  How do I know how slow is right for me?  Can I run too slowly to realize the benefits?  Slow is something I can do!

       

      I agree with Spaniel here, I think it is hard to run too slow to gain benefits.  Granted, you have to remember that one of the reasons to run slower is so that you can run farther and get more mileage in.

       

      If I go to the McMillan pace calculator and throw in my last 5K time, it says my easy pace should be 7:30-8:00mpm.  In reality most of my easy runs are more like 8:45-9:15.  But then when I do my speedwork, I am always fresh and get good workouts in - using these easy pace and running as much as I could for about 6 months, and then for 6 weeks doing one interval and one tempo run per week, I was able to throw down an 18:52 5K last year.

       

      So I wouldnt worry too much about your pace, just get the miles in for now.  Get a good base, then when you get closer to your race, throw in the speedwork then and I think you'll be pleased with the results.

      cmb4314


        And how is it that a body used to running easy at say 10-10:30 min/mile, with a few miles of tempo run at say 9-9:30, can suddenly run a 8 min/mi half marathon? Doesnt your body need to be accustomed to running that distance faster? 

         

        I run my easy runs mostly 9:45-10:15 min/mile, and my HM PR is an 8:24 pace.   My race PR paces line up terribly for various reasons, but most recently I have been running my normal 10k-ish paced tempo runs at ~8:00/mile, and my VO2Max intervals at ~7:40/mile.

         

        Over time, my HM has gone from a 10:12 pace down to an 8:24 pace, but my average easy pace has only gone from ~10:30 to ~10:00.  Long runs are still probably ~10:15 pace most often, though I've found that in the winter weather they are drifting a bit closer to 10:00 as well.  The biggest difference has been my ability to run more and more miles at that easy pace, while simultaneously including tempo/interval runs at faster paces.

        My wildly inconsistent PRs:

        5k: 24:36 (10/20/12)  

        10k: 52:01 (4/28/12)  

        HM: 1:50:09 (10/27/12)

        Marathon: 4:19:11 (10/2/2011) 


        A Saucy Wench

          agree, if you are running an 8 mm HM you arent doing tempos at 9:30.   That's very close to my PR and I think my easy runs then were about 10 mm but I would do some work in the 7:45 range.

           

          If your easy runs are at 10-10:30 pace, then  you will have SOME work at a much faster pace.  Make all your easy easy so that you can make your hard stuff hard.

           

          But really, where you are right now, nothing will give you speed more than more miles and to adapt to more miles you need to keep most of them fairly easy.

          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

            when in PR shape of just under 1:41 half (just under 22 5k, just over 45 in 10k)  my easy pace was ~9:30...

            a following Daniels VDot brought my half time there from 2:2x.... (And I had done halfs over a decade of running first)  and it required a lot of slowing down at first.   Daniels also has specific paces for other work, and the principle that you can do speed work too hard, that is beat yourself up more without getting more benefit.  The principle is tooling at the plan in total not one workout.  The sum can be greater than the parts.

             

            It worked for me when I was following it.  I am absolutely going to return to it when I seek those goals again.   so, just another, it works, here.

            Current Weight: 160 lb

            Goal Weight: 130 lb

             

            Nov9 -- Peachtree City 50K/25K!   http://ultrasignup.com/register.aspx?did=27700

              I really think one of the reasons paces don't line up for beginners is that their races either don't reflect their real fitness--either because they simply haven't learned yet how to execute a max effort, or because they are in their newbie improvement curve and their fitness is such a moving target. As a result we waste a lot of energy trying to convince people to slow down who probably don't need to.

              Runners run.


              And in the end...

                I really think one of the reasons paces don't line up for beginners is that their races either don't reflect their real fitness--either because they simply haven't learned yet how to execute a max effort, or because they are in their newbie improvement curve and their fitness is such a moving target. As a result we waste a lot of energy trying to convince people to slow down who probably don't need to.

                 

                I agree.  That's why I like to remind runners that 'easy' isn't a pace.  For newer runners in particular, what's easy one day may not be the next.

                ------------------------

                The GITM is moot.


                Not dead. Yet.

                  I really think one of the reasons paces don't line up for beginners is that their races either don't reflect their real fitness--either because they simply haven't learned yet how to execute a max effort, or because they are in their newbie improvement curve and their fitness is such a moving target. As a result we waste a lot of energy trying to convince people to slow down who probably don't need to.

                   

                  I am in that phase, and I think you are exactly right on both counts.  I believe all the advice you guys give about running easy slow, but its been hard for me to apply it to what I have been doing.  I would even go so far to say it could be detrimental to slow down for somebody still just trying to find their paces.  (I'm sure you will correct my thinking here)

                   

                  I had a huge wake up when I ran a hard 10k time trial a few days ago.  I kept it at a level so hard, it almost scared me.  I didn't even realize running at that level for an extended period of time was possible, and that's probably the kind of effort that most calculator paces are built on.  Running true easy on paces derived from a 80% effort are going to be too slow.  Now I know what my 10K pace is, but I still need to run a half marathon effort like that to find out what my true HM pace is.  I have that scheduled for next weekend, and now that I know what I need to do, I'm a bit scared.

                  How can we know our limits if we don't test them?

                    I think no matter the speed that doing your fast runs fast should be done in moderation.  If you are racing a 5K in 17:00 then you should not be doing that long run at 6:10 pace, the "easy" day in 6:25, and your quarters in 65.  Trust me, that's how you end up on a plateau or hurt.  One day a week, sure, for maybe 10% or so of your weekly mileage throw in the fast runs.  But back off the others.  The long and easy runs for the 17 minute guy should be closer to 7 or so to allow for recovery and mileage to build.

                     

                    Every runner is different.  Those with more speed compared to others on their pace level can get away with doing more slower runs in training.  Those with "no natural speed" may not.  Some runners respond to 2 speed workouts and low mileage in a week, others can do no speed at all and high mileage and improve drastically.  It takes experimenting.

                     

                    Going TOO slow can hurt as much as going too fast though...I can't run with my one friend because he's at 9:30-10/mile and I run low 8's, its too jarring and throws my form off too much.  I'm much more sore after running with him than on my own.

                     

                    I'd still say that when in doubt, slow it down...but that's just me.

                    DoppleBock


                      2 things

                       

                      1)  In any muscle building sport - You do not build muscle by the stress (Workout), but by the recovery from the stress - Receovery is when you take torn down muscles and build them bigger (or better)

                       

                      2)  Every run has a purpose

                      *  Say a vo2 max run and you hit near max heart rate at 9 minute miles.  You get no more benefit running 8 minute miles ... in fact if you cannot hold the pace for the desired amount of time you get less benefit.

                      *  LAT (Lactic Acid Threshhold runs) - Same thing

                      *  Long runs ~ If the purpose of the long run is General Aerobic, then running too fast just gets you tired too quickly and limits the miles or amount of time in the workout ... limiting the benefit.

                       

                      Plus variety - Training monotany will lead to slow improvement.  Muscles respond best to a variety of stresses.

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

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

                       

                        Nobby, I'm not entirely sure what you are suggesting - you seem to say slowing down is best, but slowing down alone isn't enough - but I'm not sure what else I should do - slow down And run more? 

                        I'm not sure what you're asking here either...  Surely, you wouldn't expect to run the same amount and just by slowing down, that you'll be faster???  Well, actually THAT could happen if you've been over-training.  But, in most cases, if that is the case, the way to go is to keep on doing what you've been doing, and then take it easy for a few weeks before the race and that would get you in the right frame of mind and physical condition.

                         

                        But, seriously, what I was trying to say is; IF you're just running, say, 3 miles day after day after day, trying to run them all hard, trying to get faster each time you run, that's not the way to actually get faster.  Instead, slow down, bring those 3-mile runs further like 6 or 7 or 8 miles--and slowing down would enable you to do so.  But, of course, you're already up to 10-mile range for your long run, which should probably be getting upward of 2-hours; I wouldn't suggest you go much further than that.  I mean, I'm a firm believer that far too many people today, thinking the longer the better, go way too far.

                         

                        If your goal is to be faster, and you have time-constraints and you can't really go much further than what you do already; the way to go would probably be; you keep your 10-miler as is; but bring one run during the week up to, say, 6 or 7 miles.  Again, slowing down is the way to allow you to do so without risking over-training or injury.  Now instead of keeping everything else the same, take one day a week to do something different.  At your level, though you may have read others suggest somewhere else, doing hard intervals or tempo runs is NOT the way to go about.  They are hard workouts but it would only push you further down; not up.  But instead, do some short but fast run with PLENTY of recovery in between.  Something like run 4~7 X 500~100m.  Get up on your toes, lift your knees, swing your arms straight and get your back straight...  Don't rush this. The idea is to work on a good running technique and strengthen your legs.  Alternate this each week with some hill exercises.  I would suggest Hill Springing (or I should call this Steep Hill Running) with slow forward momentum.  Here's a good visual: http://www.lydiardfoundation.org/training/hilltrainingdvd.aspx  Do only the first exercise, not the second or third one.  Make sure other days you even go slower.  There is a thread taht talks about an article in Running TImes--something about "12 deadly sins in running" or something.  It's a good read.  One of them, it talks, is fluctuate the effort instead of going hard-hard-hard...  it would be so much better if you go hard-easy-hard-easy...  Long runs are hard, even though you slow down the pace; this strides/hills is a hard workout also.  So, in between, just go nice and easily and go even easier than before.  Remember, you become stronger during the recovery, exercise is a breaking down process.


                        HobbyJogger & HobbyRacer

                          .. .  There is a thread that talks about an article in Running TImes--something about "12 deadly sins in running" or something.  It's a good read.  One of them, it talks, is fluctuate the effort instead of going hard-hard-hard...  it would be so much better if you go hard-easy-hard-easy... 

                           

                          Maybe this recent runnersworld article by Pete Magill entitled "Dirty Dozen" (12 mistakes that even experienced runners make):

                           

                          http://www.runnersworld.com/race-training/dirty-dozen?page=single

                          It's a 5k. It hurt like hell...then I tried to pick it up. The end.

                          ilanarama


                          DREAMCRUSHER

                            If your current half time is 2:23, that's 10:55 pace.  Yet most of your runs are faster than that!  This means that you don't have the endurance to put forth a true race effort for 13.1, so comparing them is kind of apples and oranges.  (Let me put it this way: even were I to drop back my mileage to 25mpw, there is no way I could run most of my runs at faster than my half pace!)

                             

                            So maybe you're not running 'too fast'.  Maybe you're just not running your races fast enough, and you can't do that because you don't have enough endurance.

                             

                            Run more miles.  In order to do so, you might find your comfortable pace getting slower.  Run most of your miles easy (by perceived effort).  Occasionally run hard, a tempo run or intervals.  I don't try to hit paces on these, just perceived effort also.

                             

                            I agree with those who don't like smartcoach.  I like Hudson's principles for building a plan.  There are also other plans out there; pick one that has more miles than you're running now, but not so many that you can't safely build to it.

                             

                            As another point of anecdotal evidence: my most recent half marathon time was 1:38 and some seconds, about 7:30 pace.  My easy pace, and most of my miles ahead of that race, was typically 8:45-9:15.  I ran basically 10% of my miles faster than 7:30 (tempos and intervals).  Everything else?  Sloooow.

                            PRs: 10 1:12:59 (4/2014) 13.1 1:35:55 (10/2013) 26.2 3:23:31 (12/2013)

                            Last: Dead Horse 50K 10/18: 5:58 | Next: Turkey Trot?

                            bloggy stuff at http://ilanarama.dreamwidth.org

                            Nuinta


                              Hi everyone, again, I wanted to say a big thank you for all your help.  I thought I had read a lot about running, but I still feel like I'm learning a newlanguage just to understand everything, and then put it together!  For my 2:23 half, I wasn't sure what I could do, so heeding the "don't go out too fast or you'll blow up" my goal was to do the first 10K around 11m/m, and then see what I could do after that.  And while it worked, you're right, I could have run harder, I finished strong, and felt like I could have either pushed harder or kept going (a title bit further, not a ton).

                               

                              If I understand the general consensus, my plan is going to be to run around 25-30 mpw, mostly easy (making sure it's easy!) and throw in some occasional "go ahead and run faster", either fartleks or intervals.  I"m also going to try to work in easy hills maybe once a week or every other week. I will probably pop back over in a month or so to give you an update .... Thanks for your advice again!


                              A Saucy Wench

                                Hi everyone, again, I wanted to say a big thank you for all your help.  I thought I had read a lot about running, but I still feel like I'm learning a newlanguage just to understand everything, and then put it together!  For my 2:23 half, I wasn't sure what I could do, so heeding the "don't go out too fast or you'll blow up" my goal was to do the first 10K around 11m/m, and then see what I could do after that.  And while it worked, you're right, I could have run harder, I finished strong, and felt like I could have either pushed harder or kept going (a title bit further, not a ton).

                                 

                                If I understand the general consensus, my plan is going to be to run around 25-30 mpw, mostly easy (making sure it's easy!) and throw in some occasional "go ahead and run faster", either fartleks or intervals.  I"m also going to try to work in easy hills maybe once a week or every other week. I will probably pop back over in a month or so to give you an update .... Thanks for your advice again!

                                 

                                Sounds like an excellent plan!

                                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

                                123