Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Slow Down!

Every run isn't a race. Every run as a purpose. And that purpose isn't to run as fast as you can for as long as you can. I usually break up my runs into different categories:

1. Recovery Runs: These should be run anywhere from MP + 20-30%. So basically slow. When you are finished you should feel better than when you started.

2. General Aerobic Runs: This should be run anywhere from MP + 15-25%. I like to start these runs out on the slow end and finish them off with the faster miles. These runs should still feel easy, but faster than Recovery runs.

3. Medium-Long/Long Runs: These are runs that are longer than 10 miles (11 miles and over). You can run these runs even faster (MP + 10-20%). Again starting out on the slow end of the range and picking it up towards the end is the best way I think. Usually do 1-2 MLR's and 1 LR a week.

4. Marathon Paced runs: These are typically done in the middle/end of a long run. This what you think your current marathon pace should be. Some people like to run these at goal marathon pace, but I think it is safer on the body to run what your current fitness describes. Runs like this could be 18 miles with last 10 at MP, 20 with 12 @ MP, etc.

5. Lactate Threshold runs: Usually done for segments of 3-7 miles, these segments should be runs at between 15k-half marathon pace. For the longer runs (6-7 miles), best to stick to HMP, shorter runs can go towards 15k pace. Do a couple mile warm-up/cool-down to get in 10 or so miles.

6. Vo2Max intervals: These are run at 5k pace and usually are in distance from 600-1200m. I usually jog half the distance of the interval as rest. You should do 4-6 reps of these along with a warm-up and cool-down to get 10+ miles on the day.

So for my marathon pace of 6:26, my paces should be:

Recovery: 7:43-8:22
General Aerobic: 7:24-8:03
MLR/Long Run: 7:05-7:23
Marathon Pace: 6:26
LT pace: 6:02-6:10
Vo2Max: 5:40

(I wish I could hit those paces now :) )

Another great way to determine if you are running too fast is to use a Heart Rate monitor. This can benefit beginners greatly. You'd be surprised how many people run too fast. The key to this is to finding you max heart rate. This could be found by either doing some all-out track repeats, all-out hill repeats or at the end of a 5k race. The age formulas thrown around are usually not that accurate.

So for HR training:
Recovery: < 76% Max
General Aerobic: 70-81% Max
MLR/LR: 72-84% Max
MP: 80-88% Max
LT: 82-91% Max
Vo2: 92-95%

Most of these values above come from Pete Pfitzinger's Advanced Marathoning, 2nd Edition, one of the best resources for marathon training around.

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