March 16, 2004 at 10:24 pm #1304
It has to do with the glycogen stores right?
If my long easy run time is 8:20/minute and I’m feeling particularly good during a long easy run, am I actually hurting myself by running 7:30s?
March 16, 2004 at 10:49 pm #13807
The main benefit is not killing yourself for the rest of your workouts. You may feel good today but if you run 20 miles at 7:30 pace today, how are you going to feel tomorrow and the next day? This could cut into the rest of your week’s training and any potential benefit gained by running slightly faster will be negated by the loss of training benefit from the other days.
That said, there are specific purposes for the long run and the fact is you aren’t helping and could potentially be hurting these benefits if you run too fast. Your body goes through certain physiological processes, such as building capillaries and mitochondria into your muscles. The capillaries allow you to get more oxygen to your muscles and the mitochondria give you more places to burn fat to create energy. Put them together and you are creating a fat burning machine. Since our goal should be to burn as much of our abundant energy supply that comes from fat as possible in order to spare our limited energy supply that comes from glycogen, these are important adaptions and these adaptions are the primary goal of long runs. There is some evidence that running at faster paces, even if they are still relatively easy, lessens these physiological adaptions and hence lessens the primary purpose of the long run.
Whenever I see a topic like this come up, people usually ask why they should not do long runs near marathon pace when they are training for a marathon. They figure if they are training to run 26.2 miles at 7:30 pace, what’s the use of running 20 miles at 8:30 pace? Well, it’s the whole idea of building your fitness through multiple training components. You do your long runs and log your weekly mileage to build endurance. You do speed workouts to build your leg speed. You do hill workouts to build your strength. You put all of that, as well as other components, together on race day and you have a complete product. If you start working multiple components in one workout without a well thought out plan of doing so (a long run on a hilly route or a long run with the last few miles at marathon pace as the marathon nears, for example), you start racing on your training runs, which is counterproductive.
March 16, 2004 at 10:51 pm #13808
I think it’s because slow-twitch muscle fibers are built up better and stronger with a slower pace. Also capillaries become more abundant in these slow-twitch muscles which makes oxygen transfer more efficient.
March 17, 2004 at 8:57 pm #13809
as Arch Jelley (coach of NZ great milers in the 70’s) told Steve Scott…just run for 2 hrs…I don’t care if it’s at 8min mile pace..run 2 hrs…..
The reason behind Jelley’s ideas, of course, came from Lydiard, but the physiological aspects (as found by research from Lydiard’s most famous pupil Peter Snell), is that FT muscles come into play about an hr and 50mins into a run. Hence (besides the concept of getting the other physiological benefits of capillary density, increased mito, etc…) one gets FT muscles to become more ‘aerobic’ or more aptly explained as teaching your FT to provide u with more endurance by training them to ‘kick in’ and act more effieciently……and this ‘kicking in’ occurs whether your running fast or slow…it’s a time thing….(but of course one doesn’t get the same stimulus if they’ve running too slow..ie training load)….
To mkae a long story short…….yeah pick it up if you feel good, but don’t expect to feel great the next day or for your next workout……but this isn’t a bad thing…all it means is that you provided a training stimulus for your overall training load, which will eventually pay off (eventually those long runs and your overall training will probably feel better assuming you haven’t overdone it over the long haul)…feeling dead tired is part of that process before one feels better…..or try going out slow and picking it up the last half or 1/4 of your long run
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