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Posts Tagged ‘Long Slow Distance’

Pace

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There are dozens, if not hundreds, of plans out there promising to help you train for a race. Whether it’s a 5K or a marathon or anything in between, there’s a plan. Before running my first marathon in November of 2009, I followed a plan that I had found on-line. If I am going to be honest, I didn’t follow it too well. Like most plans, it had a variety of runs that I was supposed to run at very specific paces. I ignored the pacing all together and simply ran at the speed my body wanted to that day. Most of the time that meant running 20 – 40 seconds slower than my expected marathon pace.

Yes, it’s true, I simply looked at the distance and ran. I would do the speed work at the recommended pace, but when it came to the Recovery Run, the Medium Long Run or the Long Slow Distance Run, I didn’t want to have anything to do with the recommended pace.

Run almost 2 minutes slower than my goal pace? No Frakking Way! What’s the use of that?

And then I promptly injured myself. And then I injured myself again.

Looking back, I’m convinced that the most probable culprit for my pre-Manchester Marathon injuries was probably pace. I also think that my lack of running LSD’s may have had an impact on my leg freeze at mile 20 of that same race. I didn’t fully understand the importance of the Long Slow Distance Run nor did I fully grasp the concept of balancing hard workouts with easy ones. In some ways, the easy workouts are just as important as the hard ones, and to a degree are much harder to master.

The slow run has a physiological benefit, however, I think that there is another benefit to having the discipline to run the Recovery, Medium-Long and Long Runs at the recommended paces. It’s the mental aspect of the marathon. When you are forced to run much slower than you are capable of, it’s easy to get bored, let the mind wander and lose focus. I know that even with short recovery runs, I sometimes have to fight to get to that 5th mile, in part because I feel like I should already have completed that distance. By learning to stay focused during the slower runs, you are more capable of keeping your head in the marathon during the latter parts of the race.

In training for the Smuttynose Marathon, I finally put my faith completely in the program. There were days when life got in the way, so I was unable to follow the schedule to a T, however, I made a huge effort to do what I was told, and that included running long runs at a pace that was much slower than I was comfortable.

The payoff? An 11 minute PR and a BQ.

A week into training for Boston 2011, I have to remind myself to slow down.  Just yesterday I took my first longish run of the cycle – 12 miles.  I should have run it at about an 8:15 – 8:20 pace based on the 3:15 I’m shooting for in April.  Instead I let my legs take over and ran it in a 7:55 pace, with the last 6 miles at 7:30 pace.

Not exactly listening to my own advice. Hopefully next week I can be a little more disciplined.

So remember to take your time and enjoy your LSD’s.

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