Increase speed or increase distance? (Read 1287 times)

    +1 for Mileage! 

     

    It may take awhile to see the results, but as I am finding out right now as well, increasing mileage will eventually translate over to increased speed as well.  In the beginning, time on feet does more for getting your body/muscles tuned and used to the Running lifestyle.    

    The Plan (big parts)→  /// April:  Hampton, VA 24 Hour Run for Cancer (PR 80 Miles) ///  Nov:  New York Marathon  ///  Dec:  Seashore State Park 50K  ///  ∞

      There is no reason you can't work on both.  Done right, new runners can begin incorporating speed work almost from the day they start running.    Finish the last 1/4 mile of a couple of runs each week hard.  That is very little additional stress on your body but you start learning that you have more than one gear.  If you can run three miles, run the first mile easy, the second mile sort of hard, and the third mile easy.  Congratulations, you just did a version of a tempo run.  Do some strides.  Congratulations.  You just did a version of intervals.  Over the last half mile of a run, start picking up the pace.  Keep gradually picking up the pace until you finish the last 200 yards or so nearly all out.  Congratulations.  You are learning how to finish strong in a race.  

       

      You can do all of these things while continuing to gradually build your mileage.  By the time you can run five miles, you're ready for more formal stuff.

      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).


      Pura Vida

        I'm going to vote for mileage.  I was a 12-minute-miler during C25K last spring, and even when I finished it I kept my same pace but gradually increased the distance I ran.  I mostly just went out and ran what felt like easy.  Right now "easy" is about 9:30 and hopefully it keeps dropping!

        PRs: 5K: 25:35 / 10K: 53:03 / 10mi: 1:26:15 / HM: 1:55:02

        Upcoming: Beat the Blerch 10K 9/21, Portland Marathon (debut) 10/5

           This.

           

          Do it once a week to see how you feel but at your stage you're probably better off not ever trying to hit what you think is your 100% max effort. Let that be a mystery for now.

           

           

          There is no reason you can't work on both.  Done right, new runners can begin incorporating speed work almost from the day they start running.    Finish the last 1/4 mile of a couple of runs each week hard.  That is very little additional stress on your body but you start learning that you have more than one gear.  If you can run three miles, run the first mile easy, the second mile sort of hard, and the third mile easy.  Congratulations, you just did a version of a tempo run.  Do some strides.  Congratulations.  You just did a version of intervals.  Over the last half mile of a run, start picking up the pace.  Keep gradually picking up the pace until you finish the last 200 yards or so nearly all out.  Congratulations.  You are learning how to finish strong in a race.  

           

          You can do all of these things while continuing to gradually build your mileage.  By the time you can run five miles, you're ready for more formal stuff.

           

          Also, if you have a 1/4 mile track you can work on running 1/4 mile intervals at a targeted faster speed. Not crazy fast and not race pace, just from your current 10:00 pace run a couple laps at a 9:00 pace with a walk break in between each one. Such as: Easy mile, speed up to a 9:00 pace lap (2:15 lap), 100 meter walk break, 2:15 lap, easy mile or two. This will allow you to see what a little faster pace feels like. Break the lap down into 1/2s and divide up the time so you can assess your pace twice each lap. So at the 1/2 way point you'd be at 1:08 on a 1/4 mile track. You can do the same on a 400M track and it will be close enough for now.

           

          Beware the source of all new runner injury: Too much, too fast, too soon. Violate any one and you're at great risk. You feel good right now. Keep doing what you're doing for another month and if you have to add in speed work do something light as described above.


          Muddling through

            ... I only run a 11:30-12:00m/m, no matter the distance.  On a good day, I'll run my first mile in 10min, but then mile 2 is back to 12 min, and I'm cooked before I even hit mile 3.

             

            You also need to learn to regulate your pace better. That faster first mile is holding you back. Just slowing down that first mile to your average pace of 11;30-12:00 will help you run farther.

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

              There is no reason you can't work on both.  Done right, new runners can begin incorporating speed work almost from the day they start running.    Finish the last 1/4 mile of a couple of runs each week hard.  That is very little additional stress on your body but you start learning that you have more than one gear.  If you can run three miles, run the first mile easy, the second mile sort of hard, and the third mile easy.  Congratulations, you just did a version of a tempo run.  Do some strides.  Congratulations.  You just did a version of intervals.  Over the last half mile of a run, start picking up the pace.  Keep gradually picking up the pace until you finish the last 200 yards or so nearly all out.  Congratulations.  You are learning how to finish strong in a race.  

               

              You can do all of these things while continuing to gradually build your mileage.  By the time you can run five miles, you're ready for more formal stuff.

               

              Also, if you have a 1/4 mile track you can work on running 1/4 mile intervals at a targeted faster speed. Not crazy fast and not race pace, just from your current 10:00 pace run a couple laps at a 9:00 pace with a walk break in between each one. Such as: Easy mile, speed up to a 9:00 pace lap (2:15 lap), 100 meter walk break, 2:15 lap, easy mile or two. This will allow you to see what a little faster pace feels like. Break the lap down into 1/2s and divide up the time so you can assess your pace twice each lap. So at the 1/2 way point you'd be at 1:08 on a 1/4 mile track. You can do the same on a 400M track and it will be close enough for now.

               

              Beware the source of all new runner injuryToo much, too fast, too soon. Violate any one and you're at great risk. You feel good right now. Keep doing what you're doing for another month and if you have to add in speed work do something light as described above.

              All due respect, these are a kind of workout I would totally suggest AGAINST for runners like OP.  These might be okay for someone who's already running 60+MPW (then I'd hope they won't be running at 10-13 minute pace...) but not for someone who's finishing up C25K program and wondering whether or not going for increasing mileage or speed.  Even for an experienced runner, this type of workout would introduce totally different kind of energy system--not a neuromuscular type of workout runners like OP would need in order to work on his "speed".  This kind of workout would "hurt so good" and goes nicely with a philosophy of "no pain, no gain", but to suggest that and include the disclaimer of "beware of too much, too fast, too soon"...it's oxymoron (jumbo shrimp?).  It WILL BE too much too fast too soon.  Again, I'm sure you guys have every good intention and this may work fine for someone trying to crack 3-hour marathon.  But not for C25K graduate; not practical.

                You also need to learn to regulate your pace better. That faster first mile is holding you back. Just slowing down that first mile to your average pace of 11;30-12:00 will help you run farther.

                Bingo to this.  When I go to the club with my wife and we both hop on a treadmill (not the same one!!); she cranks it up to 5.5-6.0MPH.  I start out at 4.5MPH and see how I feel.  45 minutes later, she's still there and I may get it up to 8.0 (or may even stay at 4.7!! ;o)).  I do about 20-minutes for 5k.  I think her PR is 23 or 22.  I'd rather go faster on a race day than semi-fast everyday.

                  I'm with Nobby on this one. (not a big surprise)

                   

                  If you're not very fast yet, running  ¼ mile repeats is more like running 800m or km for the competitive runners that build training plans, and you're not worried about a lot of the things that those structured "speed" workouts develop at this point. When we did strides with a training group in the past, we'd start out at 20m and gradually stretch it out to 50-60m. Just accellerating gradually, not trying to smoke it off the line or anything.

                   

                   

                  The 3-5 strides once a week will be enough to improve your running stride. Doing this while running consistently will increase your speed. Trying to gut out hard ¼'s will make you run poorly as you fatigue, exactly the opposite of what the workout is supposed to develop. Wait until you have the strength to maintain it, and those workouts will eventually let you maintain your running form at a fairly high level of fatigue.

                  2013 Goal: Make 3:00:16 go away - FAIL.

                  2014 Goal: Make 3:00:16 go away.


                  Feeling the growl again

                    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.

                    "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

                     

                    DanB


                      My $0.02 is to try speeding up a little at the end of your runs.  Less chance of injury if you are totally warmed up.  When you get to the 1/2 mile to go point just try increasing your speed a little.  You can gradually increase this to 1 mile and increase speed.  I believe in the adage that to run fast you have to run fast.  The trick is to do it ONLY when your body is warm and in moderation.

                      2013 Goals.......

                      AlexaCT


                        Thanks for all the advice.

                         

                        I'll work on increasing my base and once I'm more settled, add in some of the intervals that have been suggested.

                        I can and I will!

                          Good lord.  60+ miles per week before doing structured speed work?  I have never seen anything remotely that conservative.  60+ miles per week would exclude the vast majority of recreational runners.  It is always hazardous to use yourself as an example but I started doing speed work almost from the day I started running because no one told me I shouldn't.  I started in March, 2008 as a 45 year old obese chain smoker.  Four months later, I managed a 23:37 5K and four months after that I managed a 1:54 half marathon.  There isn't a chance in the world I could have done either of those things if all I had been doing was jogging every day.  Beyond that, I think a bit of speed work actually reduces your chances of injury for any number of reasons.

                           

                          1.  It builds strength.  Stronger muscles offer more support for the rest of your support structure.

                          2.  It adds variety.  Variety is good.  More variety is more better.  Repetitive motion injuries come from, shock of shocks, repetitive motion.  Repetitive motion involves doing the same thing in the same way over and over and over and over.  Speed work forces you to use different muscles in different ways.

                          3.  It keeps things interesting.  The worst thing that happens to newer runners is not that they get hurt.  Most don't.  The worst thing that happens is that they quit running.  Most do.  Doing different workouts can keep you interested.  Being creative enough to do something a little bit different every other time you head out the door may increase your chances of sticking with it.

                          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).

                            Good lord.  60+ miles per week before doing structured speed work?  I have never seen anything remotely that conservative.  60+ miles per week would exclude the vast majority of recreational runners.  It is always hazardous to use yourself as an example but I started doing speed work almost from the day I started running because no one told me I shouldn't.  I started in March, 2008 as a 45 year old obese chain smoker.  Four months later, I managed a 23:37 5K and four months after that I managed a 1:54 half marathon.  There isn't a chance in the world I could have done either of those things if all I had been doing was jogging every day.  Beyond that, I think a bit of speed work actually reduces your chances of injury for any number of reasons.

                             

                            1.  It builds strength.  Stronger muscles offer more support for the rest of your support structure.

                            2.  It adds variety.  Variety is good.  More variety is more better.  Repetitive motion injuries come from, shock of shocks, repetitive motion.  Repetitive motion involves doing the same thing in the same way over and over and over and over.  Speed work forces you to use different muscles in different ways.

                            3.  It keeps things interesting.  The worst thing that happens to newer runners is not that they get hurt.  Most don't.  The worst thing that happens is that they quit running.  Most do.  Doing different workouts can keep you interested.  Being creative enough to do something a little bit different every other time you head out the door may increase your chances of sticking with it.

                            Okay, I thought I explained enough but obviously you didn't quite get what I meant; so I'll explain it a bit more closely.

                             

                            Just in case if you missed it, if you go back and read the whole thread, you'll notice that in fact I was the first one to suggest BOTH mileage increase AS WELL AS some level of speed training (my suggestion may not have been "structured" enough to your preference).  And, if you saw beyond this "60+MPW" number, I did say that I agreed with everything you had said earlier philosophy-wise but I don't agree with anything you said in a practical sense.  Same thing with your new post (quoted).  I agree 100% of all the reasoning you had pointed out.  It's just that I don't agree with anything you actually said with the actual workout.  Hopefully, my below explanation would give you a crew.

                             

                            We all have a certain amount of oxygen our body can assimilate, transport and utilize in order to fulfill the task (=exercise mostly with certain level of intensity).  The more intense the workload, the more oxygen we require.  This means, in running, the faster you run, the more you experience huffing and puffing.  Then you get a certain level of this (intensity) and all of a sudden our body goes into the overdrive and our breathing would max out.  Some people call it LT (Lactate Threshold), some people call it "Deflection Point".  This means the oxygen requirement (in order to fulfill that task) surpassed our maximum level of oxygen our body can assimilate, transport and utilize.  Now we create what we call Oxygen Debt (we prefer to call this "Oxygen Deficit" per Dr. Goodwin's suggestion).  There's a whole different thread about this lactic acid and lactate discussion and I don't want to go too deeply into that.  Basically, lactate, not lactic acid, is produced in our body when Oxygen Deficit is being produced and this leads to production of Hydrogen ion that brings pH level down.  When our body's pH level stays low for too long, many of body's metabolisms would lose the efficiency of its function.  If it stays too low for too long (days and weeks), we get edgy and nervous and can't eat, can't sleep...  Basically our whole "recovery" process will be upset.  What you'll see when this happens is that, while you're training very hard, your improvement goes backward (south).  When you see many high school kids training their butt off yet their performance gets worse and worse is in variably in this situation.  When their times get worse, most people would try to give him more speed training (because he is getting slower) and that in fact will upset his metabolism even further and, consequently, his time actually gets even worse.  Those who train hard day in and day out but their performance is disappointing, invariably you'll find they are actually training TOO HARD.  Often by lightening up their workload and they all of a sudden start to perform better.

                             

                            Now, let's look at this in a PRACTICAL sense.  To get to this Oxygen Deficit state, there's duration (time) and intensity (speed) involved.  In other words, you can run flat-out but if it's short enough, the damage is not that bad--the production of Hydrogen ion is low enough, and particularly IF your aerobic fitness level is very good, meaning you had been doing enough base work (this is why many here suggest to do more mileage because it would raise this fitness level), then the recovery rate is so great that it (your circulatory system) will remove all the waste products quickly enough that you won't feel it much at all.  You watch the final of 100m in the Olympics, those guys run so fast (very high intensity) that, even though it takes less than 10-seconds, those guys, by the time they get interviewed, they are still breathing hard.  This is because their body is paying back that (oxygen) debt.  The debt would have to be paid off.  Otherwise, your system would stay acidic (lower pH).  Now, you go slower, and you can go further.  The fitter you are, the further you can go without maxing out.  Usually, in general, if you're running at the effort of, say, a mile to 5k race pace (effort), if you go too much further beyond 30-seconds (and repeat), you'll start getting into this oxygen deficit level.  In other words, if you're training to develop ANAEROBIC (it IS incorrect to call this "anaerobic" in a true scientific sense but for the purpose of, well, convenience to call different energy systems, we'll call this physiological state where you are creating oxygen deficit "anaerobic") capacity, if you're doing too short (i.e.; 100m repeats or even 200m repeats) you won't do it effectively.  You want a bit longer duration...or, say, quarters or longer.  In order to stimulate this system, you need VOLUME of fast runs.  Even if you do them very fast, if it's short (less than 30-seconds) and less in volume (total of, say, 20 minutes or shorter) with plenty of recovery, you won't really get this lowering of pH--this is called "alactic".  

                             

                            So hopefully you now see that, simply running fast does not mean the same thing--if you do it long and hard, it's more of the anaerobic development training; if it's fast but short and quick, it's not quite "anaerobic" and, therefore, you're not going to get this lowering of pH.  Both usually considered "speed training" but, in reality, two VERY different workouts.  Some people suggest that, by running fast, you're working on faster running range of motion; some may even be a bit more scientific and say that you'll be stimulating different muscle fibers.  That is also true.  In fact, if you do short and quick, you can do more good because you can actually run them faster because you're not getting as tired as quickly.  In fact, far too many people wrongly interpret such "tough" intervals, thinking that would "break the pain barrier".  The truth is; workout like Yasso 800s, while it DOES have a proper place in a training program, is not really speed training.  I've even talked to Bart about this--if some slower runners, say, someone shooting to run 4:30 marathon, and that's about 10-11 minute per mile pace, to do those 800s in 5 minutes, well, that's not really "speed" any more.  A tough workout, yes.  But you're not stimulating FAST twitch fibers.  Instead, you are getting further and further into anaerobic state; you'll be struggling and pushing and gritting your teeth...  In fact, you're now working AGAINST speed development.  THAT, to me (if I'm wrong, I apologize) is what you're suggesting--to break the mental barrier; be tough; conquer the pain barrier...  Running, and human physiology, won't really work in sync with "no pain, no gain" philosophy.

                             

                            When someone who is very fit, with a very good solid aerobic distance base already done and they can run far and fast and still stay AEROBIC (have you seen those elite marathon runners running at sub-5 pace and still chatting and laughing?  That's because that pace is totally AEROBIC to them that they are not creating oxygen deficit) and also that they are fast enough that they can EASILY handle, say, 6-minute mile pace (90 seconds for a quarter), sure, they can handle 400m repeats (although, again, I would still not recommend it too often because the above reason).  Now let's take someone who just graduated C25K program and can run 2 miles non-stop at 14-minute mile pace.  He may be able to barely run 30-minutes and that would be about 2 miles.  And you are suggesting this person to do REPEAT 400m, say, 3 times (3/4 of a mile, or approximately 1/3 of his total running duration) at, let's see, if it's a bit faster than his "usual" running pace and, earlier you said for someone racing at 11-minute pace to run 13:30 is too slow, so let's say his prospective racing pace is, according to you, let's say 12:30 pace.  So his 400 repeat pace is about 3:10 (race pace).  As Viich had pointed out, for a faster person, that's almost equivalent of 800m to 1km repeats.  Remember what I said about physiology?  Irrespective of the actual distance, what do you think is going on in this person's body?  Getting acidic; or lactate being removed very quickly and there's no waste product residue?  

                             

                            Now if anybody actually read my first post where I actually suggested for someone like OP to do something like 20-40m strides (repeats); I had been coaching this group of ladies in the spring for the class called Beginning Women's Running Class for MDRA (Minnesota Distance Running Association) for the past 7 years.  We get anywhere from 40 to 60 people.  Sometimes we get younger ladies in their 20s (there was ONE person in the past who did 6:20 for a mile) but mostly in their 30-40s or older.  We do a mile time test in the beginning and at the end of a 8-week course.  Most of them run ONE MILE in about 10-13 minutes.  Some may take 15-17 minutes...just for ONE MILE. (by the way, we had proud ourselves that 100% of our "students" improved in 8 weeks...until this year!!)  Each week, we introduce different types of workouts (just as you had suggested for the variety purpose).  A few years back, when we were doing "strides", I was doing it with this "slightly" overweight lady (I usually run with the slowest person because, I figure, people in the back need more encouragement than the ones in the front--besides, we have 3 "coaches").  As we roll into "strides", she would get into this huffing-and-puffing state, in other words, oxygen deficit state, after about 20m.  TWENTY METERS!!!  We weren't sprinting; we were just picking up the pace.  And you expect these people to run 400m fast?  Sure, you did great.  You were tough and you survived and you improved dramatically.  I applaud that.  Great job.  But, as a coach, I would NEVER suggest the type of workout you had suggested for beginners.  Speed training, sure!  Again, if you missed it, go back and read my first post.  I believe EVERYBODY should do some sort of (structured or not) SPEED training.  NOT ANAEROBIC TRAINING, but speed training.  If you want their metabolism to be totally screwed up so they would get edgy and nervous and can't eat and can't sleep and eventually give up on the sport, go ahead and preach your way of speed training.  Many US high school coaches ruined great teenage potentials that way.  Maybe I don't understand "recreational runners" enough and C25K graduates might survived that, just as you had, and move on to become a sub-2hour half marathoner by doing tons of fast quarters.


                            HobbyJogger & HobbyRacer

                              Good lord.  60+ miles per week before doing structured speed work?  I have never seen anything remotely that conservative.  60+ miles per week would exclude the vast majority of recreational runners.  It is always hazardous to use yourself as an example but I started doing speed work almost from the day I started running because no one told me I shouldn't.  I started in March, 2008 as a 45 year old obese chain smoker.  Four months later, I managed a 23:37 5K and four months after that I managed a 1:54 half marathon.  There isn't a chance in the world I could have done either of those things if all I had been doing was jogging every day.

                               

                              Why do you say that there no chance in the world for that?

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

                                Good lord.  60+ miles per week before doing structured speed work?  I have never seen anything remotely that conservative. 

                                Also, for the record, I NEVER said I would not recommend ANY structured speed work unless you get up to 60+MPW.  I said, the type of "speed training" that you recommend might be fine for someone who's doing 60+MPW training.  In fact, I happen to believe EVERYBODY needs to do some sort of speed training--and this should be apparent if you ever seen our Running Wizard training program.  It's just a matter of HOW you do it.