How important is easy run pace?

Welcome! Forums Running Forum How important is easy run pace?

This topic contains 12 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Anonymous 13 years ago.

  • Author
    Posts
  • #4549

    Anonymous

    Hi all, I usually just lurk but I have a question that might stir up some good discussion.

    I’m aiming for a 2:50 marathon this fall, am 27, been running for almost 5 years, am 5’9″ 155 pounds and have run 3 marathons with times of 3:26, 3:12, and 3:03. My last marathon was in December of 2004. During my time running I’ve slowly built my volume and since June I have done 6 100+ mile weeks, 3 90+ week, and 2 80+ weeks, as well as some lesser recovery weeks (60’s and 70’s). In the past few weeks I have transitioned to the point where I did hill work and am now doing tempo work and some Vo2max work. After the base I did a 1/2 in 1:21.

    Here is the question. I have no problem doing my tempo runs at the prescribed pace (6:08/mile according to Ryan’s calculator) and no problem doing my VO2max at 1:24/400 (I do 800’s or 1200’s), but I almost always do my easy runs between 7:50 and 8:15. Do you think this will be detrimental or is it ok? Should I be forcing myself down to the 7:30 area, even though it doesn’t feel right? In full disclosure, I do some easy runs at that pace, maybe 1 a week, but in general they are all close to that 8 minute pace.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

  • #19356

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    First, if you check the calculators FAQ, you will notice the following:

    These calculators should be considered guidelines. Obviously, some (such as the distance conversion calculator) are based on hard numbers. The others are based on research but can not be guaranteed to be perfectly accurate. If you ran 5k in 18:00, that doesn’t mean you will run 10k in exactly 37:31. However, it would be reasonable to assume you would be fairly close to that time. Also, if you ran that 18:00 5k, your ideal easy run pace may not be exactly 7:29/mile. However, that is most likely a good starting point, from which to find your ideal pace. Use these calculators to get an idea of what you may be capable of. Don’t think they are exact because no calculator can be exact. After all, we are people, not machines.

    Now, confession time. I set up the training paces calculator to give suggested training paces based on the work of a certain Mr. Jack Daniels. Personally, I have always been a little hesitant about the easy run paces Daniels suggests and I have always considered them to be “high end” paces. In other words, I consider that to be a pace that, at least most of the time, I should not be going faster than but I can go slower than.

    I believe part of this is due to my training volume, as might be the case with you. If I started running 8 miles a day right now, running at my suggested easy pace (currently about 20 seconds per mile faster than I normally do easy runs) would be a lot more reasonable and maybe even conservative. However, at 15-20 miles a day, it becomes an occasional thing at best.

    As I note in what I quoted above, consider those suggestions a starting point. It’s impossible for a computer to calculate precisely the right numbers for all of us because there are simply too many variables. My aim with that calculator is to give you a tool that you can use as a starting point to estimate where you should be. Once you are out on the road, adjust as necessary. My bet is that the most frequently needed adjustment to those suggested paces would be a slower easy pace.

  • #19357

    Ed 1
    Member

    The easy days are recovery days and they should feel that way. If the higher speed does not feel right then slow down by all means (yes everbody, I believe that now). The easy pace days are supposed to be easy. As long as you give full out effort with-in your guidlines on your other training aspects the slowdown will not harm you – but could prevent burnout and or injury.

    I have always had a hard time with keeping easy days easy – pushed too much and therefore became very INconsistent.

  • #19358

    kidtheo
    Member

    Dear “I Usually Just Lurk”:

    With the MONSTER weeks you’ve been doing, you’re gonna be fine! In fact, you’ve gotta have easy days with the number of miles you’re logging, or you’re going to crater, or get hurt.

    Easy days should be easy days. Sometimes they’re even called “rest” days, just because you’re relatively restful on an easy run.

    I used to do all my easy days at too fast a pace, until one day my friend (who was All-American 2 times at Baylor in the 10K) told me, “You ALWAYS” do your easy days way too fast.

    He said I did mine even faster than he did his… And in a race he was MUCHO faster than me!

    So, I heeded his advice, and slowed down on easy days.

    The recipe is… Log the miles on easy days for the great base, and do quality workouts on your pace days (whatever the workout is).

    Looks like to me you’re due to break under the 3 hour barrier!

  • #19359

    Ryan
    Keymaster
    kidtheo wrote:
    I used to do all my easy days at too fast a pace, until one day my friend (who was All-American 2 times at Baylor in the 10K) told me, “You ALWAYS” do your easy days way too fast.

    He said I did mine even faster than he did his… And in a race he was MUCHO faster than me!

    This is a very common theme for a lot of people. To an extent, it seems like people who race faster are willing to run slower on easy days. I am more than willing to run slower on easy days than a lot of people who race slower than me and I have run with people who race a lot faster than me but are willing to do easy runs at least as slow as I do mine. You’d think we would all learn but, in all honesty, I’m still in the process of learning this after 15+ years of running.

  • #19360

    GTF
    Member
    Anonymous wrote:
    I almost always do my easy runs between 7:50 and 8:15. Do you think this will be detrimental or is it ok? It is only detrimental if the ultimate goal is not achieved.

    Should I be forcing myself down to the 7:30 area, even though it doesn’t feel right?

    Likely not. Recovery pace is highly individual. Lydiard has noted that one can run too fast but cannot run too slowly. Run it by feel and if recovery is not achieved (if overtraining is the result) then the effort is too high on recovery runs. Perhaps it would be best to not worry about pace on recovery days, focussing only on perceived effort level. For what it is worth: from all that I have seen, most competitive runners run too hard for recovery runs.

  • #19361

    salkowskim
    Member

    This thread actually got me to register. With regard to Lydiard and recovery run pace, I have a question. I have read the latest edition of “Running to the Top”, as well as the interview and lecture Ryan posted in the Lydiard section of this fine site. I’m still in the “conditioning phase”, so I’m not as far along as the original poster (who seems ready to pop a great race). On the one hand Lydiard says to do each run at 70-99% of your aerobic capacity for maximum benefit, that running slower will still provide benefits but it will take longer to achieve and improvement will not be as great. He tempers that with what the above post states, “you cannot run too slowly, but you can run too fast”. He also says to slow down if you are sore. Then in “Running to the Top” he suggests doing your shorter runs closer to your “maximum steady-state (aerobic threshold), and your longer runs closer to the lower end (70% of threshold).

    I know this is getting long but bear with me. I’m trying to stay true to the system, but in order for me to keep my miles at 100/wk I’m running every other workout at 70% or less (if I go by Daniel’s charts), then running the others at 70%-99%. By concentrating on the hard/easy (I know even the hard is supposed to just make me “pleasantly tired”), I’ve stayed injury-free. Oh yeah, the question for the Lydiard experts-

    Should I try to do all my runs during conditioning at 70-100% of threshold until I feel like I’m about to break down, then just take one easier day and get back to it until it happens again?

    http://championseverywhere.blogspot.com/

  • #19362

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    salkowskim,

    First, it’s great to see you come out and register. To me, it sounds like you have things well under control. If things are working well for you, I’d say don’t mess with success.

    GTF wrote:
    Perhaps it would be best to not worry about pace on recovery days, focussing only on perceived effort level.

    This is a great point.

  • #19363

    GTF
    Member

    I would suggest mentally inserting the phrase “if you are able” after anything recommended — it may be something that one has to build to if one cannot handle it just yet. Another thing to note is that Lydiard had his runners do easy runs (jogs, really, in the 20-60 min. range) in the mornings which were classified as “supplementary running” and done at a very easy pace which would not be at all taxing and would merely serve to shake out the legs and did not count towards the training mileage. The corollary I would put with “you cannot run too slowly but you can run too fast” is simply to not make the run last longer than it really needs to.

  • #19364

    Run
    Member

    Just a suggestion, but I usually do my recovery runs without a watch over premeasrued courses, this is the best way for me to just run. If you must, start your watch when you leave and leave it on your steps, youll have your total time when you get back, ggod luck.

  • #19365

    Ryan
    Keymaster

    Another option, if you have the discipline, is to go ahead and wear your watch but not look at it until after you’re done. This seems to be a hard thing for a lot of people to do but it works if you can and it still allows you to track progress.

  • #19366

    GTF
    Member

    Or go with a route of uncertain length and just go by time and effort (another Lydiard tenet.)

  • #19367

    kidtheo
    Member

    There is certainly something liberating about going out for a run just to feel the wind in your face… without a watch, and without knowing how far you ran…

    Problem is, I can only make myself do this every once in a while!

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.