>Running 101>Distance or speed?
As a new runner, you will gain the most from running almost all of your runs at an easy pace. Speed will come naturally as you add easy miles. Consistency in getting out on the road is your friend, and running too fast too soon is not.
2014 goals: run a bunch....race some.....repeat...
Both, at the same time.
Run more often, make one or two of those runs a bit quicker. No need to just run easy all the time. It's boring and won't get you as fit as quickly as incorporating a bit of speed here and there. Doesn't have to be structured; maybe one day you run up all the hills at a faster clip, or you sprint to 5-6 mailboxes, or you run the last mile home fast, etc., etc.
Have fun with it and don't worry about "training" for the sake of training at this point. Just go run for the sake of running!
You're trying to create a dichotmy that shouldn't exist. The blend and balance between speed and distance may vary, but both should be included.
2014 Goals: Run first trail ultra, first 100K, and see what I can do in a 24-Hour race
Thanks for the input...my main concern is building distance at a 'learned' pace and then having issues improving that pace. Also, there are days where I appear to get into a groove and seem able to run as long as I want, then other days I struggle every step of the way. It doesn't seem to matter time of day or temperature or terrain. Is this uncommon?
Good days and bad days, we all have them.
Just go out on a trail and run easily, so you can talk. You'll find your pace will vary as you go up and down hills, avoid roots, whatever. You won't get locked into a pace.
Hey VenGotti! Welcome!
I'd probably say pace, but the most important is just making it a habit, getting out there a certain number of days every week. Good luck to you!
EDIT--- Oops, I meant distance, not pace! LOL I hate when I mean one thing and put the exact opposite. Slow easy mileage is what I'd recommend in the beginning.
"We do not become the people who this world needs simply by turning our backs on anyone we don’t like, trust, or deem healthy enough to be in our presence. " ---- Shasta Nelson
+1 to the "Good days and bad days, we all have them" comment.
My thought on "speed, or Distance?" As a new runner, the answer is Both. --As an example, I am a runner of about 2 years. I focused on speed for my 5K times, but hit a wall and stayed there, which for me was about 23:00-23:30. Then I added distance starting bigtime in December 2012. I went from 20 mpw to 40+ mpw, and now my distance is obviously improving, but so is the speed! Recent 5K times, 22:29..., 21:58..., 21:29...
The simple answer for a relatively new runner: Add as much distance as you can tolerate without developing injuries, and it will help your speed as well. :-) Also, +1 to the "habit" comment above. Consistency is important too.
The Plan (big parts)→ /// April '14: Hampton, VA 24 Hour Run for Cancer (PR 80 Miles) /// Nov '14: New York Marathon /// Dec: Seashore State Park 50K /// April 2015: VA 24 Hour Run for Cancer (Goal: >80.1+Miles) ∞
I would concentrate on a little distance and then concentrate on speed.
sub 19 5k
sub 1:30 half
3:20 marathon on second try
Consistency is the foundation of endurance sports. Concentrate on getting out the door.
The Logic of Long Distance
I agree with doing both if you can run at least 10 miles per week, Use checks and balances according to your goals, don't sprint (much)or push a hard pace for too long. Maybe a few minutes here and there at your best single mile pace. A harder effort on some up hills and strides as other people mentioned can be done. This way you are building range of motion, muscles, tendons, cardio etc. from the start. You may also need a good injury prevention program so that whenever hard training volume increases you are ready, so I would think about starting that now ....
I recommend building up your endurance first then build up the speed.