The Thursday Runs: Steady

photo (37)

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As shown in my marathon training plan there are numerous types of runs used to prepare for a race. In this series I’m breaking down the types of runs, what they mean and their purpose, and also talking about other important such running things.

Full disclosure: I struggle with steady runs. If I’m going to skip a run, it’s going to be a steady run. Bad, I know, but hear me out. As stated in my LSD post, all of my runs have the following hierarchy:

  1. LSD
  2. Tempo/Hills
  3. Speed
  4. Steady

And so, if I’m dropping my runs from 5 to 4 (which I usually do) this means dropping off a steady run.

Before I get into why I’ll drop a steady run, let’s see what our friend John Stanton and the Running Room have to say (Toronto Waterfront Training Program):

Steady run is a run below targeted race pace.

Run at a comfortable speed; if in doubt, go slow. The run is broken down into components of running and walking. Based upon the clinic, the ratio of running to walking will change.

In the 5km and 10km clinics the Running Room now use the run/walk formula (10 — 1) on all runs, which includes regular steady weekday runs. We do not encourage participants to run continuous at these levels but prefer the walk/run approach. In the Marathon and Half Marathon programs walk breaks are optional during the week but not optional on the long run (Sunday), they must be part of the program. They are a great way to keep you consistent in your training.

  • To develop stamina, build strength and pace judgment

  • Improves your confidence

Steady runs build on the pyramid from the LSD post:

runninghouse

steady

(All images from John Stanton’s marathon training program)

Since I’m talking about skipping my steady runs, I want to clarify that it’s not because I think base training in unimportant, it’s actually just the opposite, I’ll skip a steady run in order to rest my body and to prevent injuries.

Everyone has a point at which they’ll start to get injured – some runners struggle with mileage over 20 miles per week, some can run up to 50 miles per week, it really depends on the individual. I’m lucky in that I haven’t felt much in the way of niggles since starting my marathon training, but I have felt tired, so I will always sacrifice a steady run for rest (usually on a Saturday because 10 hours of sleep > 8km run).

For this training program, I really haven’t fussed over pace, I run what’s comfortable and, like John Stanton says, if in doubt, go slow. If my legs feel tired or sluggish, I’ll just run slower. One slow run isn’t going to make or break my marathon.

After writing all this, I skipped hills this week. I ran on Tuesday and I felt good and ran at a good pace, but my stomach just wasn’t feeling it at all. Not even a little bit. I felt off until I went to bed. I had hoped I’d feel better in the morning, but spent all day Wednesday feeling off and debating if I should head home (I stuck it out at work) and knew there was no way I’d be running hills. Not the best, but I also know running when I’m feeling off is only going to set me back.

This week I found an awesome article from Runner’s World that discusses training fatigue and really talks about pace times and how they are not the be-all end-all when it comes to training:

If you’re training by a calculated pace based on a formula or a race you did four weeks ago, you’re likely to over- or under-train, as your body is never in the same place daily. It’s like guessing the winning lottery numbers. The body knows effort not pace. For example, a common mistake I see runners make with long runs is to base them on planned finish time or just bump them up faster than last year’s training pace because the goal is to improve. That’s fine until you start running in your anaerobic zone because of the heat, lack of sleep, or the fact that it’s early in the season, and your fitness doesn’t support the planned pace. You end up struggling to finish or completely wiped out when you do. If you continue on this trend you can accumulate too much stress and end up in a continual state of fatigue, unable to recover from the greater demands of training along the way. One sign that you’ve overdone it is if the fatigue doesn’t subside after a few weeks.

I really, really needed to hear this this week. I’ve been worried about whether my tempo runs were too quick and my long runs too slow, but according to the above, nope! I still fully plan on using my pace chart below as a guide, but knowing that it’s okay for me to listen to my body is awesome.

Last week I did my steady run in 30C (86F) and that is hot for this Canadian! My pace was pretty slow on this one, but based on the above, my pace is good so long as I’m not wiped after. (You’ll note I almost always start out too quickly on my runs, I’m really trying to work on this!)

steady 2

steady 1

Last, but certainly not least – PACE TIMES!

Half Marathon

  1:45 2:00 2:15 2:30 To complete
Tempo/Hills (min/km) 5:00 6:15 6:36 7:17 8:37
Tempo/Hills (min/mile) 8:00 10:00 10:30 11:13 13:52
LSD* (min/km) 5:33-6:16 6:56-7:47 7:19-8:12 8:03-9:00 9:29-10:53
LSD* (min/mile) 8:53-10:02 11:06-12:27 11:42-13:07 12:53-14:24 15:10-17:25
Steady (min/km) 5:33 6:56 7:19 8:03 9:29
Steady (min/mile) 8:53 11:06 11:42 12:53 15:10

*note all LSD times are adjusted for a 10 minute run/1 minute walk interval, so if you’re not doing 10:1 you can adjust your times accordingly

Marathon

  3:45 4:00 4:15 4:30 4:45 5:00
Tempo/Hills (min/km) 5:24 5:44 6:05 6:26 6:47 7:07
Tempo/Hills (min/mile) 8:38 9:10 9:45 10:18 10:51 11:24
LSD* (min/km) 6:00-6:45 6:22-7:11 6:45-7:45 7:08-8:00 7:30-8:25 7:52-8:49
LSD* (min/mile) 9:36-10:48 10:11-11:30 10:48-12:24 11:25-12:48 12:00-13:28 12:35-14:06
Steady (min/km) 6:00 6:22 6:45 7:08 7:30 7:52
Steady (min/mile) 9:36 10:11 10:48 11:25 12:00 12:35

*note all LSD times are adjusted for a 10 minute run/1 minute walk interval, so if you’re not doing 10:1 you can adjust your times accordingly

Intro

Tempo

Hills

LSD

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The Thursday Runs: Long Slow Distance

photo (37)

As shown in my marathon training plan there are numerous types of runs used to prepare for a race. In this series I’m breaking down the types of runs, what they mean and their purpose, and also talking about other important such running things.

Long slow distance shall now be refered to as LSD, and unfortunately, it is not some fun drug us runners do; we’re crazy enough without the drugs. True story.

I both love and loathe tempo and LSD runs equally. I love tempo runs because they’re over quickly and but they’re haaaard (TWSS); I love LSD runs because I can go out and take my time and run slowly, but they take freaking forever to complete.

From John Stanton and the Running Room (Toronto Waterfront Training Program):

Long Slow Distance runs are the corner-stone of any distance training program

  • Take a full minute to walk for every 10 minutes of running
  • These runs are meant to be done much slower than race pace so don’t be overly concerned with your pace
  • To increase capillary network in your body and raise anaerobic threshold
  • Mentally prepares you for long races

The Pace shown on the LSD Run/Walk day includes the walk time. It is walk adjusted!

  • This program provides an upper end (slow) and bottom end (fast) pace to use as a guideline
  • The upper end pace is preferable as it will keep you injury free. Running at the bottom end pace is a common mistake many runners make. They try to run at the maximum pace which is an open invitation to injury.
  • I know of very few runners who have been injured from running too slow but loads of runners who incurred injuries by running too fast
  • In the early stages of the program it is very easy to run the long runs too fast, but like the marathon or half marathon, the long runs require discipline and patience

“Practice your sense of pace by slowing the long runs down. You will recover faster and remain injury free.”
John Stanton

Contrary to what one might think, the vast majority of runs should be done at a slower pace, with only a few runs truly stressing the body.

runninghouse

I also should have included these types of runs in my intro post, but I didn’t, so I’m showing them now.

running actions

running actions 02

(All images from John Stanton’s marathon training program)

My personal running hierarchy (that determines if I will skip a run) is as follows:

  1. LSD
  2. Tempo/Hills
  3. Speed
  4. Steady

So, if I’m skipping a run, I do my very best to make sure it is not an LSD run. Where I am in my training, this means I’m up early on a Sunday to run for 3-4 hours before I plant my arse on the couch for the remainder of the day. Hey, no one said training for a marathon was going to be easy!

LSD’s also take the most amount of preparation when it comes to fueling and hydrating. I very rarely bring water on my weekday runs (I will for hills because I’m out there for over an hour) and I never bring gels for any run an hour or under; however, water and gels come along with me for my long runs. My personal rule is one gel for every hour or so of exercise, so once I hit 30km training runs, this means 3 gels are coming along for the ride, and for the marathon? Probably four. I’m gonna need some more pockets for all these gels.

For the past two weekends I’ve aimed to complete a 30km run, the first weekend I only ran 15km (ha! “only”) and this past weekend I ran 19km. It appears there’s a section of trail where the camber is such that my left ankle gets pretty cranky. It happened twice on the same section of trail, so next weekend I’ll be turning around before that section and I’ll be taping my ankle in advance.

LSD 2 LSD 1

Seeing as I’m a bit behind on my long runs, I’ll be modifying my marathon training plan as follows:

  • September 7/8 (it’s supposed to rain on Sunday, so I might move my run to Saturday): 30km
  • September 14: 32km
  • September 21: 25km
  • September 30: 32km
  • October 6: 6km (taper LOL!)
  • October 13: 42.2km. YIKES!

And? PACE TIMES 🙂

Half Marathon

  1:45 2:00 2:15 2:30 To complete
Tempo/Hills (min/km) 5:00 6:15 6:36 7:17 8:37
Tempo/Hills (min/mile) 8:00 10:00 10:30 11:13 13:52
LSD* (min/km) 5:33-6:16 6:56-7:47 7:19-8:12 8:03-9:00 9:29-10:53
LSD* (min/mile) 8:53-10:02 11:06-12:27 11:42-13:07 12:53-14:24 15:10-17:25

*note all LSD times are adjusted for a 10 minute run/1 minute walk interval, so if you’re not doing 10:1 you can adjust your times accordingly

Marathon

  3:45 4:00 4:15 4:30 4:45 5:00
Tempo/Hills (min/km) 5:24 5:44 6:05 6:26 6:47 7:07
Tempo/Hills (min/mile) 8:38 9:10 9:45 10:18 10:51 11:24
LSD* (min/km) 6:00-6:45 6:22-7:11 6:45-7:45 7:08-8:00 7:30-8:25 7:52-8:49
LSD* (min/mile) 9:36-10:48 10:11-11:30 10:48-12:24 11:25-12:48 12:00-13:28 12:35-14:06

*note all LSD times are adjusted for a 10 minute run/1 minute walk interval, so if you’re not doing 10:1 you can adjust your times accordingly

Intro

Tempo

Hills

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