Increase speed or increase distance? (Read 1289 times)

Splish


    [Disclaimer: I am a beginner runner (started in June) but I have some distance running experience (two years of HS track, three of XC, twenty-five years ago). So I may or may not know what I'm talking about.]

     

    As a beginner I think a big part of becoming a runner is getting your fitness, habits, and self-image up-to-date. Runners continue to run because they are in the habit of running, and they are fit--so it doesn't feel *that* bad--and it's part of their self-image.For those attributes I'd stick to easy runs and work towards consistency.

     

    At the beginner level, it's not so much what you're running, it's whether you are running at all. Just getting your shoes on and getting out the door takes a not-insignificant mental effort at this stage of the game. Repeated easy runs builds confidence and habits while keeping the intimidation level at a flat curve. Also, some days it's going to rain, it's going to be cold. These are the things that make beginners skip workouts. Getting out there despite challenging conditions is easier if you're used to doing it everyday and you're comfortable in what's on the menu for today's workout. Further, consistent easy running builds your fitness level while developing your ligament, tendon and skeletal strength, all of which can lag behind cardiovascular fitness.

     

    I'm doing a lot of easy runs and little to no speedwork because my slowness isn't due to lack of 400m intervals, it's because I'm too fat. Many people who are starting to run have at least one foot in my boat.. It makes little sense to emphasize speedwork over longer easy runs when you're overweight.

     

    Good thread Smile  enjoying this ongoing discussion


    Consistently Slow

      The other problem with interval workouts, like some that have been suggested, is recovery.  The OP does not yet have the type of base that will allow rapid recovery.  Any significant high intensity work will therefore likely lead to a period of decreased volume to recover.  So, in the long term, doing speed can make you slower.  Or, slow down how quickly you get faster.

       

      Running faster and "speed" are two different things.  Running more will help you run faster.  A new runner needs very little speed work as they have so much to gain simply from running more.

       

      Some occasional strides, picking it up to somewhat tempo if you feel good the last mile or two of a run....an occasional well-controlled tempo of 15-20min...that is all I would recommend at this point.

       +1

      Run until the trail runs out.

      2014***1500 miles

      50 miler 13:26:18

      Race Less Train More

       

      Ana Trason  "Living Her Life"

      "The Marble in The Groove"

       

      unsolicited chatter

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      MrNamtor


      DON'T TREAD ON ME

        I like the back and forth here as well. fwiw, (and it may not be worth much) like LTH, I was "doing speed work" right from the start. I will not make the claim that I'm some amazing runner, but I did run my first 5k with a finish in the overall top 10% after 6 months of running and I was 51 years old. Like lth, i attribute that to the fact that I ran 100 yard sprints and fartleks(without actually knowing i was running fartleks) in my training early on.

         

        Then again, as was pointed out, how do i know this? And the answer is I don't know this, I just believe it. But I do know that in my first 5k I passed up a BUNCH of people in the last 1/4 mile because I was able to kick it out and finish strong.

         

        I don't think it hurt me. Like I said, anecdotal and fwiw.


        HobbyJogger & HobbyRacer

          I get the impression that most beginning runners get faster if they don't get injured, no matter what they do (slow, fast, walk/run, whatever) -- as long as they continue to get out and run.

           

          So when I hear or see relatively new runners claiming that their system is great because of how much faster they've gotten, I don't know how to evaluate that against their unknown result if they had followed any other system -- so I just congratulate them on continuing to run and on getting faster.

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


          HobbyJogger & HobbyRacer

            I like the back and forth here as well. fwiw, (and it may not be worth much) like LTH, I was "doing speed work" right from the start. I will not make the claim that I'm some amazing runner, but I did run my first 5k with a finish in the overall top 10% after 6 months of running and I was 51 years old. Like lth, i attribute that to the fact that I ran 100 yard sprints and fartleks(without actually knowing i was running fartleks) in my training early on.

             

            Then again, as was pointed out, how do i know this? And the answer is I don't know this, I just believe it. But I do know that in my first 5k I passed up a BUNCH of people in the last 1/4 mile because I was able to kick it out and finish strong.

             

            I don't think it hurt me. Like I said, anecdotal and fwiw.

             

            My first run (of my current running career) was a 5K. I kicked it in at the end, and passed people.

             

            But that probably doesn't prove that my training system of "no running at all" was a good training system.

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


            No more marathons

              I like the back and forth here as well. fwiw, (and it may not be worth much) like LTH, I was "doing speed work" right from the start. I will not make the claim that I'm some amazing runner, but I did run my first 5k with a finish in the overall top 10% after 6 months of running and I was 51 years old. Like lth, i attribute that to the fact that I ran 100 yard sprints and fartleks(without actually knowing i was running fartleks) in my training early on.

               

              Then again, as was pointed out, how do i know this? And the answer is I don't know this, I just believe it. But I do know that in my first 5k I passed up a BUNCH of people in the last 1/4 mile because I was able to kick it out and finish strong.

               

              I don't think it hurt me. Like I said, anecdotal and fwiw.

               

              +1 to what AmoresPerros said.

               

              I'm sure the speedwork you do will contirubute to your overall fitness and ability to run faster times, but your speedy finish at the end is simply a matter of poor pacing.

               

              Your overall best time in a race will be achieved with even pacing (and for the purists out there - even effort over a hiller/trail/whatever course).

              We all see runners who charge out at the start and fade over the length of the race.  Their pacing error is no different than those that do the opposite - start much slower than their "ideal" pace and dash to the finish line.  A general rule of thumb is that for every second faster than your "best" pace you run in the first half of a race, you will give back 2 in the second half.  Well, turn that around and you get, for every 2 seconds slower you run in the first half, you will only gain back 1.  So, yes, you passed a bunch of people in the last 1/4 mile, but there was still a bunch ahead of you you could have been in front of with even pacing. 

               

              Of course, theres the rub - until you have run more, and raced at several distances, it is difficult to know what that "ideal" pace is.  That is the challenge we all face on race day.


              Sasquatch in Public

                If your looking at doing a HM,I'd go for distance. Speed will come with time/milage.

                 

                I would definitely agree with this. I think it all depends on what your goal is. Being able to run a fast mile and then be unable to go any further isn't that useful if you want to run a half marathon. Get the distance you want then work on the speed. If you really want to, throw a speed workout in there once or twice a week.

                http://www.runpals.com/speed-workouts.html

                Longboat


                Letting off steam

                  +1 to all of Nobby's comments.

                  Neil

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

                  Nearly back to 100% 6 months after Achilles surgery. Now at 35 50 mpw.

                  Base building time!

                  MrNamtor


                  DON'T TREAD ON ME

                    +1 to what AmoresPerros said.

                     

                    I'm sure the speedwork you do will contirubute to your overall fitness and ability to run faster times, but your speedy finish at the end is simply a matter of poor pacing.

                     

                    Your overall best time in a race will be achieved with even pacing (and for the purists out there - even effort over a hiller/trail/whatever course).

                    We all see runners who charge out at the start and fade over the length of the race.  Their pacing error is no different than those that do the opposite - start much slower than their "ideal" pace and dash to the finish line.  A general rule of thumb is that for every second faster than your "best" pace you run in the first half of a race, you will give back 2 in the second half.  Well, turn that around and you get, for every 2 seconds slower you run in the first half, you will only gain back 1.  So, yes, you passed a bunch of people in the last 1/4 mile, but there was still a bunch ahead of you you could have been in front of with even pacing. 

                     

                    Of course, theres the rub - until you have run more, and raced at several distances, it is difficult to know what that "ideal" pace is.  That is the challenge we all face on race day.

                     

                    i don't disagree with what you said here, or AmoresPerros point either.

                    MrNamtor


                    DON'T TREAD ON ME

                      The point is that i don't have a proper control to show that my training made a difference or not.

                       

                      The other thing is that what i took to heart was the warning to not start out too fast  in my first race, that the number one reason for tanking on your first race is starting too fast. So my strong finish might have been due at least in part to poor pacing.

                       

                      The only thing i would say is that doing the speed work i did didn't hurt or injure me. If i were coaching someone in running, then yeah, I would err on the side of caution and maybe advise them not to do excessive speedwork at first.  But in all likelihood, sprinting or tempos or fartleks will probably not do most people very much harm, even if they are beginners.


                      HobbyJogger & HobbyRacer

                        To be contrarian, I think that being able to sprint at the end does not necessarily mean the race was poorly paced. I'm not a physiology expert by any means, just another hobby jogger going on feel... but I tend to believe that there is some sprint energy available that is slightly different.. that if I can just push up a gear, I can feel myself kick into sprint mode, which will power me for a short time. I tend to believe there really is some physiological difference there, in energy production, that goes much more rapidly into anaerobic debt -- based both on my readings, and how it feels to me.

                         

                        Now, I can't all-out sprint the last quarter mile of anything (ever, not even a 400m race), but I can usually pick up my pace noticeably before the 3mi mark in a 5K - maybe even the last half mile of a 5-miler.

                         

                        The last half-mile of a 5-miler is maybe too long to be attributed to anaerobic mumbo-jumbo?, and maybe in that case it does indicate I had too much left in the tank -- but I don't really know.

                         

                         

                        PS: I'd say they both sprinted at the end of this, the 1999 Rome mile: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVmqJ3k4NSo

                        and yet it looks well paced (I recorded the splits they gave, and subtracted, to get 55.1, 56.5, 56.3, 55.2)

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


                        HobbyJogger & HobbyRacer

                          I admit I've wandered onto spouting off on some general topics, rather than focusing on the OP's (original poster's) question.

                           

                          But it's hard not to get into discussing generalities in these threads.

                           

                          One that I think someone mentioned earlier, which may not be relevant to the OP in particular, is one I personally believe in - that is, the value of enjoying running.

                           

                          Joining group runs for enjoyment is something that I think is valuable even if it means not being able to train the planned paces.

                           

                          In a similar vein, running fast some of the time, does make running more fun, at least for some of us (perhaps for all of us), so that is a benefit as well.

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

                          MrNamtor


                          DON'T TREAD ON ME

                            There is some sprint energy available that is slightly different.. that if I can just push up a gear, I can feel myself kick into sprint mode, which will power me for a short time. I tend to believe there really is some physiological difference there, in energy production, that goes much more rapidly into anaerobic debt -- based both on my readings, and how it feels to me.

                             

                             

                            This sounds right. Though in my case, bluesky was probably right about the poor pacing. At least partly.

                             

                            But yeah, that ability to sprint even when aerobically spent is a specific type of fitness to be developed.

                            MrNamtor


                            DON'T TREAD ON ME


                              One that I think someone mentioned earlier, which may not be relevant to the OP in particular, is one I personally believe in - that is, the value of enjoying running.

                               

                              Joining group runs for enjoyment is something that I think is valuable even if it means not being able to train the planned paces.

                               

                              In a similar vein, running fast some of the time, does make running more fun, at least for some of us (perhaps for all of us), so that is a benefit as well.

                               

                              +1000

                               

                              Take dogs for example. No animal enjoys running more than dogs. They will run in circles, stop, run full out, turn around, trot back, and do it all again.

                               

                              But as soon as you put them on a leash and force them to run along side you or you on a bike at a steady pace they quickly become miserable.

                               

                              This is probably why so many people "hate" running. They loved running as children. But then, they ran more like dogs and less like adults in training.

                               

                              I'm not saying that you can become a successful racer by running around at random. But there probably should be a lot of fun thrown into the mix for runners, especially beginners.

                                +1000

                                 

                                Take dogs for example. No animal enjoys running more than dogs. They will run in circles, stop, run full out, turn around, trot back, and do it all again.

                                 

                                But as soon as you put them on a leash and force them to run along side you or you on a bike at a steady pace they quickly become miserable.

                                 

                                This is probably why so many people "hate" running. They loved running as children. But then, they ran more like dogs and less like adults in training.

                                 

                                I'm not saying that you can become a successful racer by running around at random. But there probably should be a lot of fun thrown into the mix for runners, especially beginners.

                                EXCUSE ME?  I think you'd better stop before you dig deeper and deeper.  You do realize human is probably the ONLY animal who can run the distance.  Do you ever remotely realize what you're saying to someone who runs ultras (I don't ran ultras)?  I think you are the kind of people who use running as a penalty or punishment in the gym class.  You, mister, are TOTALLY WRONG with all your assumptions.  If you want, take a vote.  Ask how many people here "hate" running far at the same nice easy pace and "love" intervals--better yet, "random" running, which I take it as just go out and run fast and slow down randomly with NO plan whatsoever.  Yeah, sounds "kids-like" and fun, doesn't it?  No plan, no goal, no specificity...  We, human, has got a brain for a reason.  I suggest you start using it.