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"Easy" run pacing question (Read 2402 times)

    I've been reading the forum for a few months now and love the insight.  Some of the training logs and times I see on here are insane .

     

    I had a question on pacing.  I am training for my first marathon in October.  I'm just finishing week 3 of Hal Higdon's advanced marathon program.  I am not really a distance runner, but I pick it up here and there.  I ran middle-distance in track about 12 years ago.  My only recent race experience was a 1/2 in 2008, which I didn't train as diligently for - I didn't use a program or anything.  I ran a 1:35.  Now I think I'll do better in the marathon, since I"m really taking it seriously and training hard.  I'm loving getting out and running, especially the long runs.  My  legs feel great, I've never had issues with injuries, and have felt great since starting my marathon training.

     

    The one issue I have is that I'm having trouble determing the time I should be shooting for.  When I put my race info into running calculators based on the 1/2 I ran, it says 3:20, which is a 7:40 pace.  However when I'm out on my runs, even my long runs, 7:40 seems pretty easy.  I'm having a really hard time slowing myself down on my runs, as you can probably see from my logs.  I've read in several places that slower is better, particularly for long runs, in order to build up an aerobic base.  Does anybody have any tips on slowing themselves down on their runs, or any thoughts on pacing in training? 

      If it were me, I'd see about running another 15k, half, or 25k (somewhere in that neighborhood) soonish to get a current picture of my fitness. Then I'd proceed from there with the training and the questions.

      When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?

        Thanks for the reply Bonkin.  I'm thinking of doing a "mock" half in the next few weeks to assess my current fitness level.  It's likely that I'll be in 3:20-3:30 range I imagine after that.  Because I haven't been running for a real long time, it's difficult because I feel that I get stronger each week, and I think when the marathon comes, I'll be in even better shape.

         

        About pacing.  Is there a general rule on the % of weekly mileage that should be at a slow pace - and any thoughts on if that pace should be slower for a newbie like me because I haven't logged a ton of miles?  Again, I appreciate the pointers.

          Instead of worrying what percent of your weekly mileage should be easy, I think you should focus on what your "quality" runs will be each week and build easy runs around them.  The quality runs vary greatly by training plan, but in general it includes a long run, plus either a Lactate Threshold pace run, a VO2 Max workout, or a Marathon Pace run.  Once you know what days these workout will happen, fill up the remaining days that you plan on running with easy runs.

           

          As for pace, I'd focus more on effort rather than pace, especially for a newer runner.  An easy run should feel relaxed and comfortable.  Depending on the day comfortable can be a very different pace.  An easy run should optimally last between 30 minutes and an hour.


          Feeling the growl again

            Two possibilities:

             

            1)  Your fitness has improved.  7:40 is no longer marathon pace for you.

             

            2)  Your long runs are not 26.2 miles long.  Probably not 20 miles on a weekly basis.  It's amazing what can happen in the last 10K if you got out even a little too hard earlier.

             

            MTA:  I looked at your long and most of your long runs are <10 miles long with the longest I see quickly scrolling down being 13 miles.  If anything feels hard during those runs, you are far faster than your marathon pace. My vote is for #2.

             

            I was running 2:35-2:37 pace at Boston this spring.  It felt great for 18 miles.  Then it felt OK for 4 miles but my legs started acting up.  Then I had to walk 3 of the last 4 miles stopping often to let the painful cramps racking my legs subside, adding 50 minutes to my time.  

             

            Unlike all shorter races, if you are working before 18-20 miles you are in trouble.

            "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

             

              The training program has a long run, pacing run, and usually a high-effort day (intervals or tempo).  So what I really need to do is make the other runs more easy instead of trying to push the pace (I don't know why this is hard for me).  And as far timing for the marathon goes, it sounds like I'll probably close to what the calculator says.  I'm going to use the mcmillan pace calculator times and try to stick to that timing for my runs going forward.  It's a beautiful day in MA today, I'm going to go on my long run.  Thanks again....

              promanic


                Spaniel's advice is sound. A couple things to remember about the long runs...

                1. Running them slow (use McMillan's Easy/Long run upper time for your goal pace) is critical for developing the aerobic strength as well as building new capillaries (which sustained regular aerobic running does), as well as your goal is to start training your body to burn fat instead of glycogen. If you burn only glycogen, that incredible marathon in the works up through 18 miles can get downright ugly during the last 8 miles!

                 

                2. Duration - running the long runs easier gets you comfortable being on your feet. You're going to be asking your body to keep moving smoothly and in a consistent manner for 3+ hours - if you haven't trained your body to do that, you will really pay for it.

                 

                3. Purpose: Your long runs are not for speed. You need to run them slow enough that you can perform well on your speed/tempo days. If you always push the long runs, you will not be able to run the paces and with efficiency during the faster training sessions. 

                 

                4. If you must... If you can't restrain yourself, and once you are 6 weeks or so from the marathon, run the first 2/3-3/4 of the run at the easy pace and then you can pick up the pace gradually so the last 2-3 miles are near marathon pace. This trains you to push when you are getting tired - and you will!

                 

                5. Fuel: At the distances you're running currently, there really isn't need for gels or electrolytes beyond maybe a simple sports drink (low in sugar). Practice consuming gels/ drinks/ electrolytes in your longer runs (17+) to get a sense of frequency you should take them. It varies vastly from person to person. I know people who take only one or two during a marathon, and know others that take 5 or 6! Funny thing is I know 2 women who have qualified for the Trials and their gel usage is at opposite ends of those ranges. Personally I do best with 3 at approx. 8 mile intervals and electrolytes every 25 minutes. 

                 

                Finally, when I find I am running my long runs too fast, I go run my miles on trails. I throw pace out the window and run for duration/feel. One thing marathon training does is develop very select muscles without maintaining the strength in the other (lateral control) muscles. Trail running develops/strengthens lateral control muscles. Those will be important on roads with a lot of chamber and when you're tired.

                 

                Do your long runs on terrain similar to your selected marathon, or with slightly steeper climbs/downhills. On race day, you don't want to ask your body to do anything it hasn't already done in training.

                 

                One over looked item, develop core strength - including the muscles in the lower back. Sure 6-pack abs look good, but you'll understand why the back muscles are super important when your on your feet for 2-3 hours! Once you can't run upright, you lose a tone of efficiency and are working significantly harder to cover the distance.

                 

                Spaniel - what time did you end up running at Boston? I was on 2:37 pace through 22/23, but my quads were toast from 17 on. I kept stopping at each water station and poured water over them to try to relieve the pain. It helped some, but in the process I forgot to drink and foot cramped around 25 miles. Ended up with a 2:42 (270th). We probably were running near each other at some point during the race. My first go at Boston - what a super experience (tailwind was nice too)!


                A Dance with Monkeys

                  Unlike all shorter races, if you are working before 18-20 miles you are in trouble.

                   

                  Sometimes... Big grin


                  Feeling the growl again

                    Spaniel's advice is sound. A couple things to remember about the long runs...

                    1. Running them slow (use McMillan's Easy/Long run upper time for your goal pace) is critical for developing the aerobic strength as well as building new capillaries (which sustained regular aerobic running does), as well as your goal is to start training your body to burn fat instead of glycogen. If you burn only glycogen, that incredible marathon in the works up through 18 miles can get downright ugly during the last 8 miles!

                     

                    2. Duration - running the long runs easier gets you comfortable being on your feet. You're going to be asking your body to keep moving smoothly and in a consistent manner for 3+ hours - if you haven't trained your body to do that, you will really pay for it.

                     

                    3. Purpose: Your long runs are not for speed. You need to run them slow enough that you can perform well on your speed/tempo days. If you always push the long runs, you will not be able to run the paces and with efficiency during the faster training sessions. 

                     

                     

                    Spaniel - what time did you end up running at Boston? I was on 2:37 pace through 22/23, but my quads were toast from 17 on. I kept stopping at each water station and poured water over them to try to relieve the pain. It helped some, but in the process I forgot to drink and foot cramped around 25 miles. Ended up with a 2:42 (270th). We probably were running near each other at some point during the race. My first go at Boston - what a super experience (tailwind was nice too)!

                     

                    I ended up 3:25.  I had a couple 25-minute miles in there (much of it sitting on the curb waiting for the pain to subside).  I have placed as high as 37th at Boston and signed up hoping for a PR but got 2 months of almost no training due to mono instead.  My quads just cramped up and would not go....they loosened up the final 1.2 miles and I actually ran that part decent again and passed a few hundred people.

                     

                    My philosophy on longs runs is quite different, but I must qualify that it does not apply so much to the 4-hr crowd.  Once a distance becomes comfortable, long runs are a key workout for me.  Sure I don't blow the whole thing as hard as I can go, but 10 miles easy followed my 6-10 miles fairly hard, or having long intervals (like 3X4-5 miles fast) mixed in there is standard practice.  My average pace is way faster than an easy run.  The aerobic building can happen through sheer volume or just being on your feet long enough.  There is little better preparation for the last 10K of a marathon than running 16 miles at an honest pace then challenging yourself with a serious progression through 22 miles.

                     

                    This doesn't apply to the OP because a) volume is too low, b) long runs are too short, and c) due to "a" and "b" the OP is unlikely to be fit enough to do what I'm describing....and it's not necessary for a 3:40-4-hr marathon.  Throw in d) that there are significant training need differences between the sub-3:30 crowd and the 4-hr crowd as well.

                    "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

                     

                      In addition to what's already been written, if your 4.9 mile race pace effort on 5/31/2011 was at 7:05/mile, I have my doubts that a 7:40 pace is "easy" for you. You might want to recalibrate your perception of  "easy." Easy should be easier.

                        Easy should feel easy - you should be able to hold a conversation without difficulty. I don't have a specific pace target in mind for easy runs - and the range of paces varies quite a bit depending on what kind of state my body is in. For easy runs I try not to think about running - it's a time to think about other stuff (or have a chat if I'm running with someone). Other runs, when I have specific pace (or other) targets in mind I focus on my running.

                          I've been reading the forum for a few months now and love the insight.  Some of the training logs and times I see on here are insane .

                           

                          I had a question on pacing.  I am training for my first marathon in October.  I'm just finishing week 3 of Hal Higdon's advanced marathon program.  I am not really a distance runner, but I pick it up here and there.  I ran middle-distance in track about 12 years ago.  My only recent race experience was a 1/2 in 2008, which I didn't train as diligently for - I didn't use a program or anything.  I ran a 1:35.  Now I think I'll do better in the marathon, since I"m really taking it seriously and training hard.  I'm loving getting out and running, especially the long runs.  My  legs feel great, I've never had issues with injuries, and have felt great since starting my marathon training.

                           

                          The one issue I have is that I'm having trouble determing the time I should be shooting for.  When I put my race info into running calculators based on the 1/2 I ran, it says 3:20, which is a 7:40 pace.  However when I'm out on my runs, even my long runs, 7:40 seems pretty easy.  I'm having a really hard time slowing myself down on my runs, as you can probably see from my logs.  I've read in several places that slower is better, particularly for long runs, in order to build up an aerobic base.  Does anybody have any tips on slowing themselves down on their runs, or any thoughts on pacing in training? 

                           

                          If we plug in your information to the program that we have created, your 34:39 for 4.89 miles, which I assume is just a training run, would translate to a 1:38 half marathon and 3:26 marathon, as well as 21:29 for 5k.  Frankly, first of all, I would not buy into your "race" pace of 7:08 per mile because, unless it in fact was a 4.89 mile race, it wasn't your "race" and you didn't perform up to your potential.  Second, you seem to be a typical "weekend worrier" who like to get out and blast through the street as hard as you can and take a few days off.  You had, roughtly, "trained" 17 days in the past month, so you roughly "only" train 3/5 of the time.  Out of those 17 workouts, you did 5 tempo runs, one race, 2 intervals, 4 long runs and 1 hill.  So, to me, you basically run somewhere between 7:00 and 7:40 pace and that's it.  In other words, you have one effort--for both race and workout, including easy run. 

                           

                          According to our program, and assuming your 7:08 pace is actually correct, your easy pace should be at about 9:10 which I'm sure would be excluciatingly slow for you at the moment.  We have developed another program for beginners and, according to that program, your easy pace would be 8:20.  The difference is; beginner's "race" is not quite real "race" pace--they just can't push themselves and the difference between their "race" and "workout" paces are not that big.  You're not that slow; but your "discipline" is at the level of a beginner. 

                           

                          You can continue the way you have and you still get a kick out of it I'm sure.  But if you actually want to improve and race well, you'll need some discipline and structure in training program.  I don't know how old you are; I would guess you're probably in your early 30s or so and have been relatively active enough; you can handle missing several days off, do some tempo-ish run here and there and can handle that sort of stress.  Again, you'll get a kick out of it and you feel good by "going through some pain".  But, as far as I'm concerned, that's not training.  But then again, not everybody wants to "train" to race well and that's perfectly fine too.

                            After reading the responses to my original post, and the training logs of the folks that responded, it's pretty clear that I was wrong in a few things. The reasons my weekly mileage is low and I don't have much of a history is because I recently started training at the end of April from not really running at all. I've spent the last 2 months or so getting to the point where I was 18 weeks from the marathon so I could pick up the training program. You are correct, I did run a 5 mile race at a slower pace than my 1/2 marathon, but that short race was done 3 weeks into training, while the 1/2 marathon was at the end of a summer where I was running consistently (although not as consistent as I am now). The marathon program mileage starts ramping up in the next month or so, and works up to 50 or so miles per week. I think it's going to be even more important to heed everyone's pacing advice once my weekly mileage begins to ramp. The posts have been great. I know that I am (1) training incorrectly and (2) delusional about what my pace should be for the marathon. I'm going to take the advice of the contributors and tailor my running program accordingly by pulling way back on my runs, so that I am not running all my runs at the same pace. You all are amazing runners, so I think I'd be wise to take your advice, especially considering that I asked for it. As far as my race pace, I think I was a bit delusional about the goal pace being too easy. I've never run even close to 26.2 before, so I think I need to do a better job of respecting the distance. I believe that a 3:20 is doable and is a perfect goal time for me. The course is flat, much flatter than my neighborhood, and the majority of my race times when I've been in shape point to this as being a reasonable target. With 3 more months of smarter training, I think I can do it. Thanks again for all the pointers, you guys are awesome.

                              If we plug in your information to the program that we have created, your 34:39 for 4.89 miles, which I assume is just a training run, would translate to a 1:38 half marathon and 3:26 marathon, as well as 21:29 for 5k.  Frankly, first of all, I would not buy into your "race" pace of 7:08 per mile because, unless it in fact was a 4.89 mile race, it wasn't your "race" and you didn't perform up to your potential.  Second, you seem to be a typical "weekend worrier" who like to get out and blast through the street as hard as you can and take a few days off.  You had, roughtly, "trained" 17 days in the past month, so you roughly "only" train 3/5 of the time.  Out of those 17 workouts, you did 5 tempo runs, one race, 2 intervals, 4 long runs and 1 hill.  So, to me, you basically run somewhere between 7:00 and 7:40 pace and that's it.  In other words, you have one effort--for both race and workout, including easy run. 

                               

                              According to our program, and assuming your 7:08 pace is actually correct, your easy pace should be at about 9:10 which I'm sure would be excluciatingly slow for you at the moment.  We have developed another program for beginners and, according to that program, your easy pace would be 8:20.  The difference is; beginner's "race" is not quite real "race" pace--they just can't push themselves and the difference between their "race" and "workout" paces are not that big.  You're not that slow; but your "discipline" is at the level of a beginner. 

                               

                              You can continue the way you have and you still get a kick out of it I'm sure.  But if you actually want to improve and race well, you'll need some discipline and structure in training program.  I don't know how old you are; I would guess you're probably in your early 30s or so and have been relatively active enough; you can handle missing several days off, do some tempo-ish run here and there and can handle that sort of stress.  Again, you'll get a kick out of it and you feel good by "going through some pain".  But, as far as I'm concerned, that's not training.  But then again, not everybody wants to "train" to race well and that's perfectly fine too.

                               

                              His 4.9 mile race was an actual organized race and it is a 5 mile race.......Garmin reading short or the course was short? Looks like he ran the course again a couple weeks later or they have a series.

                               

                              The pain that hurts the worse is the imagined pain. One of the most difficult arts of racing is learning to ignore the imagined pain and just live with the present pain (which is always bearable.) - Jeff

                               

                              2014 Goals:

                               

                              Stay healthy

                              Enjoy life

                               

                                The run on 5/7 was a race - the garmin or length of the course was .1 miles off. The other 4.9 mile run that I labeled "race" was a full effort run in my neighborhood 3 weeks later.
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