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Proper Marathon Training

11 watchers
Nov 2013
1:12pm, 21 Nov 2013
2946 posts
  • 0
Autumnleaves
I am not training for a marathon but have dipped in and out of this thread because I think the debate about pacing and time on feet is an interesting one. When I first started running and training for the first 10k I had ever done, I had no idea what to do - I just started running/jogging/walking for a mile and gradually built up the distance until I could run 6 miles without stopping. The first time I was just happy to get round. For years after that I would hope to break an hour - but looking back I can see now that my attempts were never likely to succeed. I convinced myself that I had a natural pace - the one you mention Rev - where you 'switch off' - but having run further last year and this year in training for half marathons, my 'comfortable' pace has tumbled along with the others - I don't really understand why the slowing down works but I know it does because it absolutely worked for me. I know that a marathon is a very different kettle of fish to the half, but I can appreciate the logic is the same. I went into my first Half back in March on the back of a plan which included one 14 mile long run 2 weeks before and a couple of 10 mile ones - all paced slowly. I did the Half in 2.02 something - and no-one was as surprised as me that it felt so comfortable to run 13.1 miles at the pace I did.
Nov 2013
1:41pm, 21 Nov 2013
10573 posts
  • 0
Ultracat
Rev. You are not alone with slowing down at the end of a long run, hopefully the stage at which this happens will come later and later in your long run as you slowly build up endurance. There is something called cardiac drift which also affects your comfortable pace, don't really know how it works.
Nov 2013
1:42pm, 21 Nov 2013
945 posts
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Revbarbarag
I think the reason the slowing down works, AL, is that it improves aerobic efficiency and endurance - see the Heart Rate thread for (exhaustive!) detail. What I'm calling my natural pace is too fast for that..... but also not fast enough to improve my anaerobic efficiency very much.

It's an easy pace for me to run at for distances up to about 5-6 miles, and I don't feel whacked out afterwards, whereas I did feel pretty whacked after running 5K at 2 mins/mile quicker than that earlier in the year. But if I slow down, I can do 10+ miles and not feel massively more tired than I do after 5-6 at my natural pace.

Doing most of your running at a slower pace will result in improvements in your pace at all effort levels, including I believe your natural pace. I trained to heart rate pretty strictly from the beginning of September until I lost my HRM two weeks ago. It must be round here somewhere....

Without it to nag at me, I'm running faster. It would probably be better for me to run slower, unless I'm actually doing a speed session. I'll have to have another hunt...
Nov 2013
1:52pm, 21 Nov 2013
52844 posts
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Gobi
No reason ever to slow down on a long run, if you are fatiguing you are running too hard. Yes you should get tired but the early part of training for a marathon and building volume is about easy running

someone on the other page mentioned doing general runs at 80 % plus, I believe mine when I was in marathon training were sub 60 %

Marathon training is about being smart
Nov 2013
1:52pm, 21 Nov 2013
52845 posts
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Gobi
Don't get me wrong my hard sessions were often VERY hard
Nov 2013
2:33pm, 21 Nov 2013
4092 posts
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paul the builder
Gobi: """No reason ever to slow down on a long run, if you are fatiguing you are running too hard"""

True but could be usefully added to... because if someone has been in the habit, for a long time, of running their long runs (what a general concensus would agree is) too fast - then they will feel only a 'normal' level of fatigue (for them). So they can't really be the judge of their own fatigue level, in order to tell themselves to slow down. So some external input is useful.

It's a little like the perception of folk who talk about their "normal pace" for everyday runs - it doesn't mean anything, other than the pace they've run most often and so it *feels* normal to them. If their (recent, relevant) Marathon PB isn't at least a min/mile quicker than it, and their (recent, relevant) HM PB isn't at least 90 sec/mile quicker than it - then they are training too fast (or the other side of the same coin - they are racing too slow ;-)).

Some of these guidelines are tricky to apply to the beginner runner, where completing the marathon is the goal. And as paces get slower then the gap between LR training pace and Marathon day goal pace might get a little smaller. But the HR guidance still applies perfectly well.
Nov 2013
3:12pm, 21 Nov 2013
947 posts
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Revbarbarag
I found my HRM :) I shall pay close attention to it on my next long run.
Nov 2013
3:24pm, 21 Nov 2013
52846 posts
  • 0
Gobi
Sorry I didn't write a book there Paul :¬)

Nice expansion
Nov 2013
5:39pm, 21 Nov 2013
948 posts
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Revbarbarag
If I've understood correctly, then if you run for long enough at a given heart rate, then you will eventually fatigue, and at that stage you either a) maintain pace, but it's harder work, so your HR will rise (cardiac drift) or b) maintain the same HR, and of necessity you will slow down. That's assuming that terrain, weather, dehydration etc don't come into it. Which in the real world, they will. The basic point is, if you keep running for long enough, it becomes harder to maintain the same pace.

If you are running to perceived effort rather than an external indicator such as HR, your choice is either work a bit harder, or slow down a little. I think what I was trying to say when I talked about my natural pace is that it's the pace which feels really comfortable, as if I could do it for ever - breathing is easy, I can chat to people etc - but if I keep at it for long enough, it does eventually slow.

As I get fitter, I can go for longer at that pace before I feel like slowing down. And, that pace itself increases.

PtB mentioned either training too fast, or racing too slow. Assuming, of course, that they are racing. For my first marathon, I won't be racing - I will be running. Big difference. Most Saturdays at Parkrun, I'm not attempting to race - I'm either just running, or I'm training.

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About This Thread

Maintained by RevBarbaraG
Over the various threads and blogs I've visited in the past couple of months, there've been severa...

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