1

Long and Easy Run - Training Pace (Read 1261 times)

    Hello all! First, I wanted to say what a great on-line training log and community! I've been lurking around for a while but have not posted before, so... hello! I started running again in May 2006 after an 11-year hiatus (from high school CC and track). A co-worker convinced me to pick it up again. I mainly started to get back in shape physically and to stay healthy for my wife and our newborn son! We eat well and walk frequently, so weight and diet is not really an issue... just want to be more fit and healthy. Of course, after about 1/2 a year of training, I have caught the running bug again and want to try to do everything I can to improve. My big goal now is training for a 10-miler in April. The distance shouldn't be a problem, but I of course want to impress myself with my time too. So, I am trying to get more serious about training. I have had a few problems with minor aches and pains in the beginning. Mainly bad shoes and overtraining (too many miles too fast). I've overcome that for the most part now. Right now, I run 4-5 days a week for a total of 20-25 miles. Most of my runs are "easy" wherein I run a 7:45 - 8:30/m pace, mostly on asphalt and concrete. (I live in a very hilly area, so pace greatly depends on the course I run). What has me worried now is the "research" I have been doing regarding training. I have done some 400-m interval workouts at 1:30s, some 800-m repeats at 3:20s, and some mile repeats at 6:55s on the track. Looking at these workouts and some "pace calculators" from various training programs (such as McMillan Running), I see that I "should" be running my "Easy and Long" runs at a much slower pace (recommended between 8:40-9:15). So, just for fun, I tried it out on this morning's easy 5mile run (with my handy GPS device) and found this pace to be almost uncomfortably slow!! Further, I monitored my HR and found that even at this slow pace I was exceeding my projected "aerobic threshold" , which I see being touted everywhere as "most effective" method to train on easy/long days!! I guess, my question is, what are your thoughts here? Am I running my "easy" runs too fast? How much faith would you put in such calculators and training guides? I don't want to overdo it and hurt myself, but these paces seem really slow to me. What is the benefit of running this slow? I would think that improvement would be made by pushing yourself harder. Of course, I do realize the importance of not going "all out" every time, of slow/easy runs, and of rest, but I don't feel that my "easy" pace is killing me, so why should I back off even more? Thanks for your input!


    Needs more cowbell!

      I struggle with this, too. I think partly because even my "fast" pace is still damned slow (my 5k pace is still about 9.5 minutes...half marathon is about 10:15). I'm crunched for time during my weekday AM runs, so I know that the slower I run, the fewer miles I will get in for the week. BUT, I also find that physically trying to slow down just feels awkward and clumsy (I mean even moreso than normal, LOL). So my slow, easy runs are more like medium, moderate. My true "slow" pace is hardly faster than a brisk walk. BTW, congrats on your little boy! Boys are so fun. I wanted a girl when I was pregnant, but after almost 6 years as mom to a boy I am SO glad I had my little guy. I don't know what I'd do with even more pink loads of wash! And Tonka trucks and trains are so much more fun than Barbies and My Little Pony! Big grin k

      I shoot pretty things! ~

      '14 Goals:

      • 6 duathlons (1 Olympic distance)

      • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)

        I put a lot of faith in the calculators, especially McMillan. There's a tremendous amount of research and field experience behind those recommendations. It is certainly possible that you are running your easy runs too fast. Its a common mistake (I did it too) and admittedly it does seem counter-intuitive to train yourself to run slower. However, the science says that to run faster in the long term, you need to develop your slow-twitch endurance muscle fibers. And to do that, you need to run most of your miles at slower aerobic paces. Yes, the faster running has its place too, but you really should try to build your endurance base before adding the speed work. After spending the time to build your base (maybe two month, maybe more), you will eventually find yourself back at the same training pace you are used to running now ... except your average heart rate will be 10% to 20% lower because you will be far more aerobically fit than you are now.
        How To Run a Marathon: Step 1 - start running. There is no Step 2.
          I put a lot of faith in the calculators, especially McMillan.
          Mkleiman: I've got a question for you - or anyone - re: the McMillan (or similar) calculator. (Sorry for the semi-highjack Hollansk. Maybe it will relate to your questions). What I don't understand is WHICH base run time you use for the calculations. For example, when I put in my 5-K PR, the suggested pace for the various types of runs is significantly faster than if I put in my marathon PR. (Which may simply mean I ought to be running a faster marathon, I suppose ...) Or is it like that on purpose - so that you'll use the distance you're currently training for, with the pace adjusted for that distance. If I enter my 5-K time, for example, it tells me an "easy run" ought to be between 8:40-9:15; if I put in my marathon PR, it tells me to run an "easy run" at around or over 10:00-pace. Is the point there that my easy runs SHOULD be that much faster, if my goal race is a shorter run? If not, which should I use? And what if I'm not training for a specific distance, or for a range of distance? If any of the above made sense to you, let me know. Thanks!
          E-mail: JakeKnight2002@aol.com
          -----------------------------

            I put a lot of faith in the calculators, especially McMillan. There's a tremendous amount of research and field experience behind those recommendations.
            Yes, of course, that is what I figured. Being a scientist/engineer you would think that I wouldn't be so relucant to follow something based on research. So, if that is the case, what about my mileage? After my slow run this morning, I felt I could have easily gone another 5 miles. If I "regress" to running slower, easier paces, should I (slowly, of course) plan on upping my mileage for the easy runs?
            However, the science says that to run faster in the long term, you need to develop your slow-twitch endurance muscle fibers.
            If I am indeed running too fast for my Easy days, what have I been doing for my body/running by running "too fast" the past few months? That is, if you need to run slower to develop endurance, what does running above this slow pace do for you? Or is it more like I'm only getting a little more benefit from exerting so much more, and running slower would be almost as beneficial as running at my faster pace, just with less stress on the body?
            (Sorry for the semi-highjack Hollansk. Maybe it will relate to your questions).
            No problem. I would be interested in more info as well about such pace calculators!
            I'm crunched for time during my weekday AM runs, so I know that the slower I run, the fewer miles I will get in for the week.
            I understand too. Luckily my job is somewhat flexible - but I don't want to get in too late, so I definately feel a time crunch on my morning runs as well.
            BTW, congrats on your little boy! Boys are so fun.
            Thanks! Big grin We have a great time. I can't believe how quickly the little tyke has grown in the past 4 months!
              Mkleiman: I've got a question for you - or anyone - re: the McMillan (or similar) calculator. (Sorry for the semi-highjack Hollansk. Maybe it will relate to your questions). What I don't understand is WHICH base run time you use for the calculations. For example, when I put in my 5-K PR, the suggested pace for the various types of runs is significantly faster than if I put in my marathon PR. (Which may simply mean I ought to be running a faster marathon, I suppose ...)
              Jake - consider that your marathon time was a Monkey Marathon. Probably for now you should go by your 5K time until you get a chance to run in a more... um... traditional marathon. Wink Modified for grammar correction.

              Roads were made for journeys...

                Mkleiman: I've got a question for you - or anyone - re: the McMillan (or similar) calculator. (Sorry for the semi-highjack Hollansk. Maybe it will relate to your questions). What I don't understand is WHICH base run time you use for the calculations. For example, when I put in my 5-K PR, the suggested pace for the various types of runs is significantly faster than if I put in my marathon PR.
                The calculators assume you are equally trained for all distances, which is not the case for most people. They also only tend to work if you are running pretty high mileage and/or have been running a long time, otherwise as you go up in distance your times veer away from the prediction because you are relying less on natural ability and more on aerobic conditioning built throuh YEARS of running mileage. For the purposes of training paces, use your 5k. In terms of predicting your pace for another race, use the race distance closest to the one you're training for. The longer you've been running the more your "best distance" will start to shift toward the longer distances. For example my half marathon PR pridicts a 5K time that I've never been able to run. It also predicts training paces that I find too fast--especially the the easy day pace. The best explaination of this that I've ever seen of this is this: http://mysite.verizon.net/jim2wr/id70.html

                Runners run.

                  hollansk, if you really want to know how fast you should be training, run a 5k RACE. It's hard to determine your "real" fitness from training (see Jeff's Race Magic thread.) Then use your 5k race time to determine training paces. The problem with running too hard on your easy days is you limit how much mileage you can run, how fast you can recover between runs, and you limit how hard you can work on your hard days. So you don't improve as fast. Right now I'm sort of in limbo between my last goal race in November and figuring out what my next goal will be. I'm giving myself the holiday season to just run whatever, whenever and I'll start training for something agin after Jan 1. One thing I notice is that without having to recover from any workouts and without any workouts to look forward to, my "easy" pace has drifted up quite a bit. I'm running a good 30 secs per mile faster on my easy days than I was a month ago when I was doing workouts and long runs etc. In order to do some quality work again in Jan, I'll need to slow it down and make sure the easy days truly are easy--giving me time to recover for the hard days while still building an aerobic base.

                  Runners run.

                    Thanks for all of the advice everyone.
                    hollansk, if you really want to know how fast you should be training, run a 5k RACE.
                    Yes, I have been meaning to run a 5K. There is a New Years Day 5K in my area, so I am planning on running that to see where I stand, unless, of course, the wife makes travel plans for the holidays. If I can't do that, I'll either find another one or at least try to "simulate" a 5K race on a hard training day. Based on the research and advice I've received, I probably am running my easy days a little too hard. Any advice, tips, or tricks you use to slow it down and make sure that you are not running to hard/fast? Thanks!
                      Hollansk I was always told that an easy run is to recover from a harder run/session during the week, so your easy run is not necessarily meant to improve your times - just improve your ability to recover in order train hard the next time. I would do an easy run the day after my sessions, but for a normal training run I would run to my HR monitor and keep within a training zone. Having said that, I find the slower recovery run very tough and it seems to cause my muscles to ache more than a normal training run, so I probably go too fast on my recoveries too! Confused As for tips on running slower - I find doing a recovery run with someone else can help keep the pace down, if you have two or more people concentrating on doing that. The HR monitor is also a great help - it beeps when I am below my training zone, so when it stops beeping I know I am going too fast Big grin
                      "You'll have to speak up, I'm wearing a towel" - Simpson, Homer J.
                        Lots of good advice here. The only thing that I would add is that although the pace charts are based upon a great deal of evidence and experience, the charts are always based upon a norm. You might not fall under the norm. So, listen to the experts, but also remember that you are an expert when it comes to your experience. The charts are guidelines, and if something bad were happening, like you were always tired or seeing no improvement, then you should refer to the guidelines to correct your running. But if your running is going well--if you are improving, enjoying your training, etc.--then don't let the guidelines based on a normal ideal runner mess up a good thing. It would be a shame to make your running more unpleasant by slowing down, I think. Aristotle says this in the Nicomachean Ethics: "...all laws are universal in statement but about some things it is not possible for a universal statement to be right." The science of running must state its laws universally, but as runners we are individuals, and it is not possible for the universal statements of running to be absolutely true in our experience because our bodies and capabilities are all different. This is no reason to abandon the truths of science, but it is a reason to be prudential in their application. Moral of the story: if it feels good, run fast. And like other truths, this one too must be interpreted according to the vagaries and particularities of experience. Good luck!


                        Needs more cowbell!

                          Runners run and philosophers are cool. Big grin k

                          I shoot pretty things! ~

                          '14 Goals:

                          • 6 duathlons (1 Olympic distance)

                          • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)

                            Any excuse to mention Aristotle... Wink
                              Mkleiman: What I don't understand is WHICH base run time you use for the calculations. For example, when I put in my 5-K PR, the suggested pace for the various types of runs is significantly faster than if I put in my marathon PR. (Which may simply mean I ought to be running a faster marathon, I suppose ...)
                              I think that mikeymike did a good job explaining why your shorter and longer race predictions may not be in correlation. McMillan assumes that you are equally well-trained for every race distance in making the predictions. That's not always true, especially when you look at the half-marathon and marathon which require substantially more endurance base than other distances. "Equally trained" may mean 20-25 miles/week for a 5K, but 50-60 miles/week or more for a marathon. As such, the greater the difference between the race and prediction distances, the bigger the potential discrepancy. Stated another way, a half-marathon is a better prediction of a marathon time than a 5K. Similarly, a 5K is a better prediction of a 10K time than a marathon. Also remember that pace is only one component of whether a run is hard or easy. We've all had the experience of two workouts that finished at the same pace -- but one seemed easy as pie, while the other was a struggle. Heat, humidity, wind, elevation, hydration, nutrition, fatigue, stress, etc. etc. can easily change an 8:00 pace from "easy" to "tempo" (or vice versa) on a given day. This is one of the reasons why I like using a heart rate monitor in addition to McMillan's pace guides. The HR monitor gives me a bit more data to assess whether I'm really running easy or hard, whatever the goal may be.
                              How To Run a Marathon: Step 1 - start running. There is no Step 2.
                                Just wanted to say thanks again for the input! I have been running my last few easy days at a slower pace and I must say that I have noticed that my legs recover faster and I seem less exhausted during the days. I just started a training program for the upcoming 10-miler. I have my first tempo run coming up after a day of rest and I couldn't feel more energized and ready to give it a good effort! BTW, the training program was designed with the help of a guy at the local running store that helps sponsor and organize a number of local races. The running community is fantastic! I really love that others are willing to take the time to help out a "newbie". Of course, he has a very loyal customer now too Wink. Thanks again.
                                1