Monday, January 12, 2015

Long Run Pacing

The picture above is from the McMillan Pace Calculator and is set for a runner running 4:30 for the mile. I fully understand that most people reading this can't run 4:30. The reason for the time is this topic came up in conversation with The Runner of the family. He's capable right now of throwing down quite close to 4:30.

It's rare to see a runner these days wearing a simple watch. Most are wearing some form of pace monitor. The problem with the monitors is you become slave to the pace and forget the end goal. Pace really doesn't matter until it matters. But because everyone has these things on, it really matters.

Meeting up for the Sunday run I heard the conversation between The Runner and his senior running partner. The pace would be 6:45/mile for 45 minutes. Looking at our calculator above this pace is somewhere in the middle of the long or easy run pace. I told the boys they should be stretching their run out to 90 minutes and the senior quickly shot back "I'm not ready to run 90 minutes". I said under my breath, you are not ready to run 6:45.

Jack Daniels says your #1 run to start the week is your long run. That's not too much different all the best coaches in running. Sure they will talk often of Tempo, Fartlek and track work but that's with the assumption that #1 is taken care of. The reason for the long run is to build endurance and strength. With those two you can do quality Tempo work and faster. Without it, you can't.

Which brings me back to the pace/run the boys did. It makes no sense to me. I know inside knowledge that the senior is listening to the pacing of the #1 runner in the county. Which is fine as long as you do the work around the pace. With the long run being the most important.

If you look at the paces above you will notice a range. The range is based on your current fitness. If you are The Runner entering track season after a 3 week break than your paces should be to the right of center. I gave The Runner this example.

The 90 minute long run. Run 90 minutes at 7:00 - 7:05 pace. If you look above that's faster than the far right number but that's because it's where the fitness is. Run the 90 minutes. If it feels easy or when it begins to feel easy increase the pace for the next week. Don't change the 90 minutes. Do this regularly and you will build strength and stamina. Eventually you will get to your 6:45 pace or probably much faster. Your goal should be 5-6 90 minute runs between now and the middle of the track season.

So if you are starting back to some serious running after the New Year, don't jump into pacing you ran last October. Get back into the long run and keep in in a comfortable range until the exact same run becomes easy then either increase the pace for the exact same run or increase the distance and the current pace. Because our runners are high school runners, 90 minutes is the max they need to run.

It's a good life....
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