Long slow run pace

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Jul 2013
9:24pm, 2 Jul 2013
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Tim of MK
There are exceptions. However, the vast majority of informed opinion seems to recommend doing marathon long slow training runs at 10-20% slower than aspirational race-day pace. So, many people can't surely be wrong. But can anyone help me with the 'science' behind this approach?
Jul 2013
9:30pm, 2 Jul 2013
25,504 posts
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The science is pretty untested. It's hard to do large scale controlled experiments to show the effects absolutely.

However, the theory is that the lower pace will injure and tire you less so you'll be more able to recover and do more training. Added to that you are trying to increase your blood supply to your working muscles, and your glycogen stores in the workign muscles, both of which will be affected by slow running.

Also, by training slow you'll be supplying plenty of oxygen which encourages fat-burning. By burning fat you eke out your glycogen stores for longer, increasing your endurance, and you encourage development of the mytochondria in your muscles that will burn more fat, increasing the amount of fat burned at increasing levels of exercise.

Oh, and it's fun because you're not so knackered and you can enjoy the scenery.:-)
Jul 2013
9:44pm, 2 Jul 2013
458 posts
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What Nellers says. Also there is an argument for running LSRs to heart rate, rather than pace.

If you want some science try the link at the top of the Hadd thread. Goes on about dissecting rats and everything and contains interesting other stuff.
Jul 2013
11:16am, 3 Jul 2013
667 posts
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I agree with the reasons presented by Nellers. For all athletes, avoiding excessive stress during training is essential. For recreational athletes, that almost certainly means long runs should be substantially slower that marathon pace. However, not all authorative coaches recommend a focus on long slow running in preparation for a marathon. Renato Canova, probably the most successful distance coach in recent times, who coaches many elite Kenyans with years of training behind them, recommends a training plan in which long fast runs are the key runs. In the final phase of marathon preparation he recommends specific endurance long runs at 98-100% of MP for 30-35Km. Canova argues that once you have well developed capillaries etc the goal is to develop the capacity to sustain a pace near anaerobic threshold.

While Canova’s specific recommendations apply to elite athletes, I think the success of the athletes he coaches raises the question of whether recreational athletes who have many years of training behind them should introduce increasing amounts of marathon pace into the later stages of long runs if they wish to improve their PB.
Jul 2013
11:29am, 3 Jul 2013
235 posts
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Recreational athletes - I love that phrase!!!

Never going to be a contender, but still want to use the science and wisdom of those who are, and/or their coaches, to improve their running. In my case - without busting a gut or getting injured. Sounds perfect!

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Maintained by Tim of Fife
There are exceptions. However, the vast majority of informed opinion seems to recommend doing mar...

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