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On Increasing Distance (Read 1253 times)

    My problem with the calculators has always been that they are accurate for anyone within say 1 - 1.5 standard deviations from the mean.  They become less accurate when you start talking about runners who are significantly slower than average.  My usual example is that brand new person heading out the door for his first run.  I fit that profile less than five years ago.  He essentially has two gears - all out sprint and jog.  But, he has very little endurance.  He can't run more than half a mile to a mile.  Personally, I lasted half a mile and it took me a bit over six minutes to get there.  Unless I started walking, I couldn't have moved much slower and walking is the only way I could have gone further that night.  My easy pace and my 800 meter race pace were exactly the same.  I couldn't have run 5K if my life depended on it.  (Well, that's probably a bit of an exaggeration.  We can do a lot of things if it's a matter of life or death).

     

    At any rate, I gradually built endurance and one night, I ran more than three miles.  It probably took me 4-6 weeks to reach that point although I don't know for sure as I wasn't keeping a log back then.  Importantly though, by the time I had enough endurance to run three miles, my easy run pace and my 800 meter race pace were no longer the same.  Now, I could run 800 meters at a faster pace than I could run three miles.  Still, my easy pace and my 5K race pace were the same as three miles was at the outside of my limit of endurance.  A marathon was unthinkable.

     

    We all have some distance at which our easy pace and our race pace are equal.  In my case, it's probably about 50K.  I'm not sure I could run 50K faster than my easy pace.  My point is that for newer runners, the line where easy pace and race pace cross is far less than 50K and it may be as short as half a mile.

     

    I think this probably applies as we age and slow down.  Currently, my marathon pace is faster than my easy pace.  As I age, I think there will come a point when my marathon pace and my easy pace are the same.  Then I think there will come a time when my half marathon pace and my easy pace are equivalent.  I think that pattern is likely to repeat itself until I am back where I began with two paces.  All out sprint and jog.  I may still be able to jog for hours but I may not be able to run much faster than that at all.

    Short term goal: 17:59 5K

    Mid term goal:  2:54:59 marathon

    Long term goal: To say I've been a runner half my life.  (I started running at age 45).

      Count me among those increasingly believing that total volume is FAR more important than the long run.  It makes sense if you think about it.  I was at my best (never that good) when I was running high volume with a bunch of 14-18 mile runs, often back to back.  The 20-24 mile long run (for marathon training, which isn't what you are talking about) is something that would take too much recovery.  I think you can apply the same concept to your question.  More weekly miles, don't worry about the long run distance other than to make sure you are running 1 1/2 -2 hours once/week. 

       

      MrNamtor


      DON'T TREAD ON ME

        A short and quick answer would be YES.  

         

        I was, for a split second, tempted to just stop there but then it would give some people here a pleasure of giving me crap that I ended my answer with whopping one line!!  So I'll go on with my usual lecture....

         

        I always wondered why people would say that to run fast you needed to run long slow distance. And then they would talk about "speed work" and I would think "wait, if lsd is what makes you fast, then isn't THAT the "speed work"? Your post clarified some things for me.

         

        And i think LTH's post supports the idea you talk about as well (one of the ideas anyway) - that a good level of endurance is necessary for good speed work to take place  Before that is true, one can either sprint or jog, with very little in between possible.

         

        And this also makes me understand why you are opposed to hard speed work by beginners.

           con·cise

            [kuh n-sahys]

          adjective

          expressing or covering much in few words; brief in form but comprehensive in scope; succinct; terse: a concise explanation of the company's retirement plan.

           

          A short and quick answer would be YES.  

           

          I was, for a split second, tempted to just stop there but then it would give some people here a pleasure of giving me crap that I ended my answer with whopping one line!!  So I'll go on with my usual lecture.

           

          Short term goal: 17:59 5K

          Mid term goal:  2:54:59 marathon

          Long term goal: To say I've been a runner half my life.  (I started running at age 45).

          MrNamtor


          DON'T TREAD ON ME

             con·cise

              [kuh n-sahys]

            adjective

            expressing or covering much in few words; brief in form but comprehensive in scope; succinct; terse: a concise explanation of the company's retirement plan.

             

             Ironic though that the definition for "concise" is so verbose.


            HobbyJogger & HobbyRacer

              In contrast to:

               

              verbose

                adjective

                 given to wordiness

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

              yweuiuyywe


                spam
                fourouta5


                Healed Hammy

                  Shocked

                   

                  Just a note of thanks to all of the above.  It is from posts like this that beginning runners learn and see the light.

                   

                  *Sits back down in class and waits for teacher to resume the lesson*

                  Sharz96


                    My thanks, too, to everyone contributing to this thread.  I’m still newish to running (I started over at the beginning again 14 months ago) I’m horribly slow, but over the past six months I've stretched my long run to 1:45 to 2:20, maxing the distance at 10 miles and half my weekly mileage.  I was already coming to the conclusion that extending the LR farther was not a good strategy for increasing my speed, overall, and this discussion has been most helpful.


                    [Competitive] Jerk

                      I'm also in the group that feels that total volume is what counts not just the individual long run on the weekend. I would also be in the group that thinks it's time on your feet, not necessarily the miles that we should concentrate on. For someone who runs their easy runs at 11:00-11:30 pace a 100 mile week would mean 18-19 hour training week. For someone who runs 7 minute miles on their easy days the same distance would only be 11-12 hours. That is a HUGE difference.

                       

                      My personal experience is that I do have to slow down and I do have to give up on some quality when I'm trying to increase my training volume in terms of mileage to avoid injury. I simply can't run 100 mile weeks at paces that are easy and doable on 50 mile weeks. My body just can't tolerate the high intensity and high volume. My recovery runs slow down significantly, I gave up on speedwork all together and I seldom run tempo runs or anything faster than marathon pace.

                       

                      In 2011 my average pace for all my runs was 2 seconds slower than in 2012 so far and I suspect they will even out by the end of the year as I'm in a high mileage low intensity phase in December and running slower than my 2011 average. Yet I improved my marathon PR by almost 15 minutes from a year ago. You could say that it's because my training was slow and high mileage and marathon specific. Well I also improved my 5K time by over 40 seconds in the same period and I haven't done but one track workout all year (6x1000).

                       

                      So if my training pace is essentially the same this year as last year but my times have improved then what changed? This year I ran over 150% of the volume of last year's. My long runs haven't changed. But I'm running a lot more volume during the week, a lot more double digit runs and a lot more doubles.

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