I have a confession to make. I have been running for 3 years and 9 months, I have completed ten 10-15km races, 6 half marathons and 1 marathon, yet until a few days ago I did not know what my easy run / tempo run / threshold run / etc. pace was supposed to be.
I’ve always just kind of ran. And if less than 10km was on the menu then I’d run fast(er), if more than 20 was on the menu I’d run slow(er).
Last week I fretted over my slowest of slow runs with the average pace of 5.57min/km but it made me think about speed and I got curious as to what are the speeds that the experts say I could/should be aiming for when doing a specific distance.
I have to say I’m not at all hung up on speed or how fast I SHOULD be running – as I mentioned before, I’ve been running very happily for almost 4 years just at the speeds that I can / are challenging / feel right. However, with marathon training approaching, I just got curious about what’s recommended, so I entered my fastest 10k race time into this little training pace calculator on the Runner’s World website and out came the following:
Interesting, right? Looks like it’s totally ok for me to do a long run as slow as 5:50-something and looks like it’s not bad at all that I can do a 6-8km run with a pace of 4:55 min/km. Looks like my legs have sort of found the right training pace on their own. The only adjustment I’ll be making is making sure my long runs are in fact slow (I tend to run them at about 5:40 or a bit less) and I won’t be scared to push the speed on the short runs.
And finally, here are little summaries of each of these run types described above (from the same Runner’s World link):
Aim do 80 to 90 per cent of weekly training at the easy run pace (this includes your long runs, done at approximately the same pace). Easy runs build your aerobic fitness, and your muscular and skeletal strength.
– For me this will mean just my long run as I don’t have time for more than 3 runs a week.
Tempo runs (also known as Threshold runs)
Tempo runs will help you prepare for races of 10K to the marathon. Tempo sessions generally fall into one of two categories: steady runs of 2 to 6 miles; or long intervals with short recoveries.
Do a tempo runs once a week and make sure it doesn’t make up no more than 10 to 15 per cent of your total training.
– For me this will mean my weekly 10k run.
VO2-max runs (also known as Intervals; similar to Speed-form runs)
Example of VOx-max session: 6 x 800 metres at VO2-max pace with 4 to 6 minutes of recovery jogging between efforts.
Example of Speed-form session: 8 x 400 metres at speed-form pace with 3 to 4 minutes of recovery jogging between efforts.
Do either one no more than once a week, VO2-max runs should make up no more than 6 to 10 per cent of your total training, speed-form runs should make up no more than 4 to 8 per cent of your total training.
– For me this will mean I’ll try to alternate my tempo runs with some kind of interval training every other week.
Long runs form the foundation of all marathon training programs. long runs build everything from your confidence to your discipline to your fat-burning. So, even when you’re not training for a specific marathon, it’s a good idea to do at least one semi-long run a week. Because long runs are done at a relaxed pace, there’s great latitude in how fast you actually run. In general, we believe that slower is better than faster. Let your long runs be your slow runs, and save your legs for other days of the week when you might do tempo runs or maximum-oxygen runs. But there are a thousand theories about how to do long runs, none of which have yet been proven superior to the others. The important thing is building up the distance and training your body to keep going for 3, 4, 5 or however many hours it’s going to take you.
– For me this means no more fretting over doing my long runs reaaaalllly slowly.
Yasso 800s is complicated, read about them from the link above 😉
And that’s that! I have a much better overview of training speeds and types now. One of these days I’ll write up my marathon training plan and once I’m back from Australia on 1st of January – let the fun begin!