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Training plans: Easy runs? (Read 3287 times)


Interval Junkie --Nobby

    So I'm on day 60 of a first Marathon training plan.  I started the plan 60 days ago, but the plan ends about 2 months before the race.  I plan to work backward from the race date and marry up with what I've already done.  If anything I should just be over-prepared.

     

    I had a question though about "easy" runs.  A bunch of the runs on TH or SA are marked "easy" or "slow".  And even the LSD is marked "steady".  My question is, what's the purpose of the "easy" run?  Obviously, it's "to help your body recover/rest."  But if I'm not feeling fatigue from over-training, do I need to slow down those runs?

     

    My LSD is usually run a bit below 8:30 pace (only up to 14mi in the plan).  The day before I do an "easy" run.  The theory of this plan is that the first run gives you some fatigue going into your LSD to simulate a longer LSD without mucking up your glycogen processing with very long LSDs.  However, if I'm having no problem running the easy at 8:30 and the LSD at the same pace, is there something I'm doing wrong?

     

    Should I be stepping up the LSD?  Should I pull back on the "easy" even if I don't appear to be suffering ill effects?

    2014 Goals:  sub-3 Marathon ("Congrats! It's tough to race with poop in the mind" --Wing)

    Current Status 03/17: Drinking beer and eating crap -- all the things I couldn't do before the marathon


    Fat butt on couch

      The LSD says "steady" because it is a "Long Run", not LSD.  I hate the term LSD; long runs are not meant to be super-slow plod-fests.  If you are prepping to race 26.2 miles, the long run should be at a steady effort, roughly as fast as your easy runs is a good place to start.  People only run them as LSD if they are doing long runs too long for their mileage base to support and they are in survival mode just trying to finish the distance.

       

      Yes, easy runs can serve as recovery.  They also provide a number of other beneficial things that help your overall strength and aerobic development.  You won't gain a lot by running them incrementally faster, but you could stand to lose a lot if you over-do it.  That's why it's better to err on the slow side.

       

      A lot of people THINK they aren't hurting themselves going faster but they don't know themselves well enough as a runner yet to realize when they are over-reaching.  But yes, over time, you can experiment with the speed of your easy runs and find your sweet spot.

      "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 normal wisdom is that if you're doing your hard sessions properly then you won't want to do your easy sessions harder!

         

        Many people don't have enough differentiation amongst their runs - everything blends into some kind of moderate effort.

         

        What plan exactly are you following? Your log doesn't show any running for the last few weeks. It's possible that the plan you're following isn't sufficiently challenging to improve from your current level.

          I don't think anyone can be over prepared for the marathon.  Good luck with your training and the race.

            So I'm on day 60 of a first Marathon training plan.  I started the plan 60 days ago, but the plan ends about 2 months before the race.  I plan to work backward from the race date and marry up with what I've already done.  If anything I should just be over-prepared.

             

            I had a question though about "easy" runs.  A bunch of the runs on TH or SA are marked "easy" or "slow".  And even the LSD is marked "steady".  My question is, what's the purpose of the "easy" run?  Obviously, it's "to help your body recover/rest."  But if I'm not feeling fatigue from over-training, do I need to slow down those runs?

             

            My LSD is usually run a bit below 8:30 pace (only up to 14mi in the plan).  The day before I do an "easy" run.  The theory of this plan is that the first run gives you some fatigue going into your LSD to simulate a longer LSD without mucking up your glycogen processing with very long LSDs.  However, if I'm having no problem running the easy at 8:30 and the LSD at the same pace, is there something I'm doing wrong?

             

            Should I be stepping up the LSD?  Should I pull back on the "easy" even if I don't appear to be suffering ill effects?

            All due respect, 14 weeks is hardly "over-prepared" in my book especially when your top-end is about 1:45 run in half way.  I'm not sure what kind of marathon training you're following, what pace you're expecting to run the marathon and what you consider as "easy pace" (you seem to go all over the place with workout pacing, from 6:30 to 11:00).  You can probably "run" a marathon at 10:00~11:00 pace if you want and there shouldn't be any problem. But if you're thinking 8:30 is "easy pace" for you and questioning the value of 8:30 pace runs, you may want to rethink your focus.  You've done one 8-miler at 8:40 pace but all the other long run (10~11) seem to be done at 9:30~10:30 pace.  For someone like this, the VALUE of slowing down, or going easy, would be so you can run further.  I'm usually not the one to advocate too much longer than 3-hour run to prepare for the marathon but you are still nowhere near that level to even talk about 8:30 being "easy".  

             

            By the way, the purpose of training is not to feel "exhausted" or "suffer ill effects".  The whole idea of training that you can do it within yourself, do it well, and feel good about it.  If you push yourself to the point where you feel "ill effects", you may feel good that you had pushed yourself that hard but you may be kissing your opportunity to do well in the actual race good-bye.  You'll be one of many people who would tell his/her friends afterward; "But look at my training log to see what I did!!  Weren't these impressive workouts?"

              he hasn't updated the last 3 weeks of running.  But yeah... if his 5k race pace is in the 7:20's I would sure think the easy pace would be around 9:00-9:20 on most days. 

              In an infinite universe, the one thing sentient life cannot afford to have is a sense of proportion

              http://htwins.net/scale2/scale2.swf?bordercolor=white&fb_source=message

               

               

               






              Interval Junkie --Nobby

                Forgot I hadn't updated in a while.  (Too many places to log runs these days).  I just backfilled the data.

                 

                Thanks for the sanity check, Nobby.  You're certainly right; my runs have been all over the board.  I've had trouble keeping any kind of a consistent pace due to lack of info feedback (different routes, no mile markers, plain old watch).  I just got a Garmin 610, and now know the pace I'm keeping.  I've also had a stiff knee that I've been trying not to over stress.

                 

                Now that I have some split information, I can give you an example of where I am:

                Recent "step-back" long run (11miles): 1) 8:20 2) 8:28 3) 8:37 4) 8:27 5) 8:07 6) 8:19 7) 8:25 8) 8:18 9) 8:45 10) 8:25 11) 7:45

                Yesterday's tempo (8miles): 1) 8:19 2) 8:02 3) 7:53 4) 7:44 5) 7:18 6) 7:53 7) 7:49 8) 8:20

                Both with moderate hills.

                 

                My 11mi pace was what I think of as "steady".  I forgot to take Gu on the run, so stopped after I started getting run down.  But otherwise, i think I could have easily extended it.  The 14mi (my longest run to date) was at 9:26 pace, but felt slow; I was just ensuring I could make the miles.

                My (8mi) HR: 156avg, 170 max on the hill (which is over where I should be).  The tempo run was certainly not 'conversational' but I felt find and could keep it up without issue.

                 

                I think Spaniel is right, I just don't know myself very well. 

                 

                The training plan I'm using is from RunKeeper's "Sub 4:00 Marathon".  I got off the couch in Sept and just started on the plan w/o real expectation of running a Marathon.  But now I think I'll run the Shamrock on March 18th.  So it's more like a 6month training plan once I extend the normal plan.  And by "over prepared" I meant I was doing a 4month plan in 6months -- so I'm 'over prepared' from the original plan; I don't expect my first marathon to anything but a wonderful hardship.

                 

                Again, thanks for the sanity check, guys.

                2014 Goals:  sub-3 Marathon ("Congrats! It's tough to race with poop in the mind" --Wing)

                Current Status 03/17: Drinking beer and eating crap -- all the things I couldn't do before the marathon


                Interval Junkie --Nobby

                  Well, I may have just proven to myself the sanity of easy runs:

                   

                  Because of my work schedule last week, I needed to cram my Thursday Easy, Saturday Easy and Sunday Long into F, Sa, Su.  7mi, 5mi, and 18mi.   Averaged the 7 and 5 at 8:30 pace.  My legs still feeling good on Sunday I took off at 8:20 pace.  My log shows what happened from there.  At about mile 13 I hit major leg fatigue.  The hills didn't help.  After 13 I couldn't get it under 9:15.  Mile 17 I basically hit 10min pace and I really just couldn't make my legs go any faster. 

                   

                  "Faster, legs!"

                  "Capt'n, we're giving her all she's got!"

                   

                  Very different experience from my long run last week (17miles) where I kept the whole thing under 9:00 and averaged 8:45.

                   

                  Oh, well, I'm learning.

                   

                  Would it be reasonable for me to switch to the under 3:45 plan (transitioning into week 4 of that 16 week plan)?  Keeping a 8:30 pace on a flat-26.2 route seems do-able to me 12 weeks from now.

                  2014 Goals:  sub-3 Marathon ("Congrats! It's tough to race with poop in the mind" --Wing)

                  Current Status 03/17: Drinking beer and eating crap -- all the things I couldn't do before the marathon

                    On your miles per week, those long runs have the same effect as hard race. You can't do them weekly. You weren't recovered from last week which is why you failed this week. Also, don't feel like you have to push to hold a pace on the long runs. Just let the comfortable pace come to you. You need to run easy for a while and no long runs for at least 2 weeks minimum. As mentioned previous, you need more mid week miles to support those longer runs.

                    Those who try, fail! Those who do what it takes to succeed, succeed!!

                      On your miles per week, those long runs have the same effect as hard race. You can't do them weekly. You weren't recovered from last week which is why you failed this week. Also, don't feel like you have to push to hold a pace on the long runs. Just let the comfortable pace come to you. You need to run easy for a while and no long runs for at least 2 weeks minimum. As mentioned previous, you need more mid week miles to support those longer runs.

                      As usual, Tchuck is wise... 

                        Well, I may have just proven to myself the sanity of easy runs:

                         

                        Because of my work schedule last week, I needed to cram my Thursday Easy, Saturday Easy and Sunday Long into F, Sa, Su.  7mi, 5mi, and 18mi.   Averaged the 7 and 5 at 8:30 pace.  My legs still feeling good on Sunday I took off at 8:20 pace.  My log shows what happened from there.  At about mile 13 I hit major leg fatigue.  The hills didn't help.  After 13 I couldn't get it under 9:15.  Mile 17 I basically hit 10min pace and I really just couldn't make my legs go any faster. 

                         

                        "Faster, legs!"

                        "Capt'n, we're giving her all she's got!"

                         

                        Very different experience from my long run last week (17miles) where I kept the whole thing under 9:00 and averaged 8:45.

                         

                        Oh, well, I'm learning.

                         

                        Would it be reasonable for me to switch to the under 3:45 plan (transitioning into week 4 of that 16 week plan)?  Keeping a 8:30 pace on a flat-26.2 route seems do-able to me 12 weeks from now.

                        I'll give you a practical example; a few years back, I was coaching this young lady (30yo).  I would do my "long run" with her at about 8:45 pace.   Three weeks before her target marathon, we did an 18-mile run at about 9:15 pace; very comfortable.  I was pressing a bit at the end.  I didn't run a marathon but she went on and ran 3:30.  My "projected" marathon time, based on my 20:06 - 5k was 3:12.  She went on the following year and ran 3:24.  Her 5k time was 20:50.


                        A Saucy Wench

                          Jeebers...you are running your training runs fast.  I had no idea that was supposed to be a sub -4 plan.  What kind of 4 hr plan has you doing your long runs faster than goal pace? 

                           

                          My marathon PR is 3:44 so....in that training cycle.

                           

                          Average long run pace: 9:50-9:55  The last month it dropped down to right around 9:30 on it's own.  I'm a slow started so maybe subtract 10 seconds because my first couple miles were probably something closer to 11 minute miles.

                           

                          Easy runs had more variation 9:20-10:15 whatever I felt that day, but usually in that 9:45-10 range. 

                           

                          Now granted I know my easy and long tend to be on the slow end of the range, but certainly nowhere near target race pace. 

                           

                          I did race pace work at 8:25-8:30 maybe every other week , and intervals maybe 7:15-7:20ish .  Some other quality work at some other paces.  Usually it was intervals OR hill repeats OR tempo run (low 8's)  once a week. 

                          I have become Death, the destroyer of electronic gadgets

                           

                          "When I got too tired to run anymore I just pretended I wasnt tired and kept running anyway" - dd, age 7


                          HobbyJogger & HobbyRacer

                            ...

                            My 11mi pace was what I think of as "steady".  I forgot to take Gu on the run, so stopped after I started getting run down.  But otherwise, i think I could have easily extended it.  The 14mi (my longest run to date) was at 9:26 pace, but felt slow; I was just ensuring I could make the miles.

                             

                            I'm no expert, but I'm not sure if it is necessary to take Gu on every medium to long run.

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

                              I'm no expert, but I'm not sure if it is necessary to take Gu on every medium to long run.

                              Good catch, Amores!

                               

                              ...I forgot to take Gu on the run, so stopped after I started getting run down.  But otherwise, i think I could have easily extended it.  The 14mi (my longest run to date) was at 9:26 pace, but felt slow; I was just ensuring I could make the miles.

                              My (8mi) HR: 156avg, 170 max on the hill (which is over where I should be).  The tempo run was certainly not 'conversational' but I felt find and could keep it up without issue.

                               

                              Stadjak:

                               

                              If you look at the purpose of long runs, you are probably missing a half of that by doing it this way.  

                               

                              One of the biggest gains from long runs is to switch your energy source from glycogen to fat.  Fat burns and produce a hell of a lot more energy from the same number of molecule and this has given some people a wrong illusion that fat is a better fuel; of course, it burns more but it requires a lot of oxygen to burn at the same time.  In other words, it burns well (better) but it's harder to burn it as well.  This phenomena is also known as "hitting the wall" in the marathon.  So many people today misunderstand "the wall" because the term was established during the days when most people finish the marathon in about 4 hours.  Generally they ran faster (or I should say, slower people weren't running marathons those days) and they used up glycogen somewhere around 20-mile mark; hence, infamous "wall" in the marathon.  This is not quite what may experience in the marathon any more.  Many won't even get to the point where they'd use up glycogen because the pace (effort level) is not fast enough but the duration of muscle trauma is so long that their legs give in before they even get to deplete glycogen.  It usually happens when your legs are too dead at the start (over-trained) or not used to the pounding (under-trained).  That's pretty much the name of the game--to find the best balance.

                               

                              Now I'd have to be very careful how I put this...  I'm not the one to say "push the envelope!"  The whole idea of "training" is to do what you CAN, not what you CAN'T.  But that does NOT mean you do everything within your comfort zone.   But, well, the first mistake you'd made is: if you take GU or any energy gel or energy drink as you start to feel "run down", that means you are constantly replacing used-up glycogen so you'll never tap into fat metabolism.  Comes race day, most likely you expect to run THE race a bit faster so that means you'll be burning up glycogen faster and, once it happens and your body not used to switching to fat metabolism "smoothly", bang!!  You'll be in trouble.  Second; once your glycogen runs out, or gets very low and you start to feel "run down", that's the perfect time to teach your body to switch the energy source to fat (my "coach" used to tell me, during our long run, when we get to 2-hour, he'd turn to me and say; "Now warm-up is over!!") but instead you decided to actually end the workout...

                               

                              There are sooooooooooooooo many people out there who's got what it takes to do what they are set out to do.  But they get lots of information (too much, if you ask me...) all mixed up and get lost in this pool of information/misinformation and lose focus of what they're really supposed to do.  If you really look into what you need to achieve what you want to achieve and what is needed to achieve it, beyond what you see in the advertisement or bogus blog written by, well, who-knows who or random posting at some internet message board; then you shall see what you really need to do and how to do it.  Takes some "thinking" but it ain't that difficult.

                               

                               

                              * Modified to change the bold sentence above.  Amores had pointed out and, yeah, I probably shouldn't have said "fat burns more efficiently".  Maybe "effectively"???  Basically, it creates lots more energy from one molecule of fat but it's not "efficient" or "effective" in a sense that it requires so much more oxygen to do the same work.  That's what I was trying to say...  Thanks, Amores, for pointing it out.

                              vegefrog



                                  But, well, the first mistake you'd made is: if you take GU or any energy gel or energy drink as you start to feel "run down", that means you are constantly replacing used-up glycogen so you'll never tap into fat metabolism.  

                                 

                                 

                                 

                                So far my longest run has been 12 miles. I haven't taken or needed to eat any Gu or other gel, but I did stash a water bottle at mile 7 (it was water with some frozen blueberries to keep it cold and a squirt of lime juice for taste).

                                 

                                Is that counterproductive also? Or am I doing the right thing? I  didn't really plan on consuming any sort of gel on any of my long runs...I figured then I would be good to go on race day and the GU and Gatorade will be something I can take if I want, not NEED to.

                                 

                                How do you know if you need to eat a gel?? So far on my long runs, I keep a steady pace (about the same as my easy runs) and my legs start to feel a little tired towards the end, but nothing awful and I have plenty of energy.

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