How do I drop my pace more (Read 277 times)


    This past Wednesday was my 1 year anniversary for running. Completed just over 1100 miles in my first year. But still wondering how I become a faster runner. Over the past year my speed has increased dramatically, but would like to get to a point where I can hold a 7:00/mile pace comfortably. Is the answer just to increase my weekly mileage, start doing more intervals? and not run as fast. Did three 10 mile runs last weekend at Race Pace..Thought I was doing really well, only to pay for it the rest of the week..





    Mr R

      The short answer is to increase you mileage and to lose body fat. (Almost everyone--even D1 runners--could lose body fat and get faster. A rule of thumb that has proven fairly accurate is that each pound lost is worth 2 seconds per mile).


      Don't worry about intervals at all. Your comfortable running pace is significantly below your lactate threshold, and most interval training is significantly above it. Intervals are useful if you're running 3ks and 5ks flat out, and if you've already got a good deal of aerobic strength.


      There are two reasons that you may not find a pace "comfortable." The first is that the pace is beyond your lactate threshold. Lots of easy mileage will help your LT, but specific runs at that pace are also helpful. Essentially, you want to get 15-20 minutes of running at a pace that's just below when you start breathing really hard and loud. Once or twice a week is sufficient, though it's also useful to touch on this pace for a few minutes towards the end of your easy runs. This pace is sometimes described as "comfortably hard." It should never feel like you're straining, but conversation should be impractical.


      The other reason you might not find a pace comfortable is that you lack the endurance to hold it, i.e. it is comfortable for a limited amount of time, but before you can finish your run you find yourself slowing. Your breathing will be more or less under control. This is a classic sign that you need more mileage. Essentially what's happening is that you have a small group of muscle fibers that have been fairly well trained. You call on those fibers when you start running, and you're able to move at a decent clip, but when they're exhausted, the next group of muscle fibers that your brain recruits won't be as well trained. Running longer, past the point when you're forced to slow down, will start training those "second string" muscle fibers so they'll be as well developed as your first string fibers. A great bonus to this kind of training is that even though you don't have to run that fast, it actually will help you run fast when you choose to. You train these fibers in small groups as they get exhausted, but when you want to go fast, you can recruit lots of them at once and go pretty fast. This is why coaches often say "strength=speed."


      For a while, it's okay to start your runs faster and get slower as you're forced to. This will still train all of your slow twitch fibers, which are the most important thing by far. Eventually, however, you will want to also start training your fast oxidative fibers. These are sort of in between a sprinter's pure fast twitch fibers and the distance runner's slow twitch fibers. They're not quite as fast as pure fast twitch, but they actually respond to distance training, which makes them very, very valuable. The problem is they only respond to certain kinds of training. Basically, you need to exhaust your slow twitch fibers with a medium-long or long run, then you need to pick up the speed at the end of your run in order to recruit the fast oxidative fibers. If you stay slow, those fibers won't be recruited.

      What was the secret, they wanted to know; in a thousand different ways they wanted to know The Secret. And not one of them was prepared, truly prepared to believe that it had not so much to do with chemicals and zippy mental tricks as with that most unprofound and sometimes heart-rending process of removing, molecule by molecule, the very tough rubber that comprised the bottoms of his training shoes. The Trial of Miles, Miles of Trials. How could they be expected to understand that? -John Parker

        Stay with it !! I will hit my 1 year mark next month and my pace is now in the mid 7's.  I made a big drop after my second marathon which I wanted to stay around 8 min pace. I think all the long runs helped my lungs and that seems to be the main thing making me run quicker.


        Anyways , You must be able to RECOVER and catch your breath at 7:30ish pace then be able to drop back down to 7flat and even burst at sub 7 paces.


        Keep running long distances

        Run shorter distances at the track etc... at paces below 7. You need to hang out in the 6:30ish zones to be able to stay comfortable at 7

        Work on your breathing


        I didn't really do a lot of intervals or complicated things to keep dropping my pace. The runs just feel easier to breathe one and that is why the pace drops.  Keep grinding !!!

          5k  = 19.48 10/1/13

        10k  = 45.28 4/16/13

        Half Marathon = 1:38.53  Summer Sizzle 7/13/14

        Operation Jack Marathon 12/26/12  4:39.11

        Solo O Marathon 06/02/13  3:52:10

        Operation Jack Marathon 12/26/13 3:40.34

        Feeling the growl again

          #1 is simply to run more, irrelevant of pace.  #2 is to run smart.  No offense but doing 3 10-mile runs in a weekend at "race pace" is going to beat you down, not make you faster.  For now, try 2 truly easy days between faster workout days.  And workouts are supposed to be at appropriate effort....NOT racing every one.  Nice, comfortable tempos (20-25min at a pace you could race for an hour) is your bread-and-butter.

          "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


          I am spaniel - Crusher of Treadmills


            I wish I knew the answer to that question.


            Part of it is that I think you may have unrealistic expectations.  There are some folks that can make huge leaps in their first year of running and can run a 7:00/mile pace comfortably within a year, but they are few and far between.


            I'm coming up on about 2 years of running and 3,000 miles and I'm not even close to the point where I can hold a 7:00/mile pace comfortably.  I'm still hoping that I might have a chance to run a 7:15/mile pace in a 10K race coming up in a little over a month butI think it is going to be iffy.


            Age is going to come into play as well as just your physical genetics.


            I made the most dramatic progress my first year of running, then the next year took me down about 1:00/mile across the board on my easy run pace and in most of my races of similar distance.  Now I'm finding it a lot harder to knock that much time off my paces.  I still run around a 10:00/mile easy pace and my last 10K race was a 7:34 avg pace.  I'm running a 5 mile race tomorrow and hoping for something in the 7:20 - 7:25/mile pace.  Once you start to get where you have built up your endurance to where you can run 12 or 13 miles without too much effort, the gains seem to start coming in 5 seconds per mile here, 10 seconds per mile there.


            Who knows, maybe by the end of year 3 of running I'll be able to run a 7:00/mile 10K.

            Age: 49 Weight: 202 Height: 6'3" (Goal weight 195)

            Current PR's:  Mara 3:14:36* (2017); HM 1:36:13 (2017); 10K 43:59 (2014); 5K 21:12 (2016)


              Thanks everyone for the feedback..