Be sure to add your blog to my blog list -- Click HERE or blog list above to add your blog!

Jan 9, 2011

Long Run day

Today I did my 7 mile long run.  It was around 13 degrees and windy but the sun was out and that helped keep me warm.  My right knee was a little tight.  It has not really given me too many problems but I don't like to feel any discomfort when I'm running.  I'm sure many of you are say, "discomfort?, I have that all the time."  I guess I'm spoiled that I legs have held up pretty good.  I did have an IT Band issue on my left left but have not had problems with it in almost three months which is good.

I still have to work on my pacing.  I seem to feel comfortable around an 8:30 pace.  I know I can hold that pace for a half marathon but not so sure about the full marathon.  My preference would be to look and feel like this when I finish my marathon:
This is how I'll look(hopefully)

and NOT like this:
Hoping I don't look like this
By the way, I don't know either of these people.  These are just internet photos.  My goal is sub 4 hour so that gives me some flexibility on the time.  Everything I read says run your long run's slower than marathon pace.  I'm using the Higdon marathon training program and this is what he says also.  I can't see running a 10 minute mile.  I have never been able to slow down that much.  My brother runs about that pace and I have run that pace with him but it just seems so slow to me.  Almost more work that moving faster(although I know that's not true)  Work in progress I guess.

What are your thoughts on pacing?

Have a great day and......Keep Running!


  1. ahhh the debate....LSD (long slow distance) runs vs pace (marathon pace) running. I have debated this in my mind and conversations for years. I started out with all LSD runs, then for a couple of years I attempted to do all of my runs at MP. Now, I'm somewhere in the middle, which I think is best for me. For me, I can't do all LSD and then magically run MP for 26.2 on race day, but when I ran all of my long runs at MP, I think I was "raced out" by race day. So now I do some of both. Yes, I still debate and wonder what's best, but currently I'm liking the middle of the road best and have raced my best marathons doing it this way. Look forward to reading the other comments. This has been one of my biggest debates with marathons.

  2. Glad to hear you had a great run, even in the cold! I can't run outside when it gets that cold, today the wind chill was around 16' and that's just difficult for me. I really wish I could do it, I'm getting sick of being indoors!

    My pace is slower now than I'd like, but I'm working on that.I just noticed you have some great races on your calendar! I'm running the Detroit Half in October too, maybe we'll finally meet!

  3. Hey where did you find that photo of me??? LOL...... LSD is a drug but speed kills! I agree with the mixture of both. Remember, the first 20 miles are just a warm-up.......

  4. I always have to force myself to slow down on my long runs. I will all of a sudden find myself starting to breath hard and I look at my Garmin and realize I am going way to fast so I have to conciously slow down. It takes a lot of work but it is worth it not to get injured.

  5. While I'm far from an experienced marathoner, I've looked both ways crossing the finish line! It all depends on what you got on that particular day!

    As for pacing, I believe even-keel is the way to go. Keeping it at a simmer allows for a big finish.

  6. I agree, sometimes running slower feels a lot harder than running your natural pace. Good luck!

  7. It is hard to run slow, but here's the flip side--run easy on those long efforts and recovery runs, and then you have more to give to your speed workouts. Give it a go.

  8. I have a horrible time pacing..I am all over the place! I personally believe at training at race pace for long runs...I don't like to leave much to chance...I want to know exactly what that pace feels like and that I CAN maintain it. I did that with my half and ended up coming in 14 minutes sooner then it's worked for me. Good luck!

  9. You have to find what works best for you, but I agree with Happy Feet & Coach Zippy - what worked best for me was a mix of both.

    I usually block out about 25-50% of my long runs for MP or a little faster. Also, during some long runs I try to run the last 5 or 6 about 5-10 seconds progressively faster per mile. (e.g. mile 11-8:45, 12-8:35, 13-8:25, etc) It helped me mentally in the final stages of a race when I naturally wanted to slow down.

    The main thing for me is START SLOW!!! The first 30-45 minutes for me have to be about 1 minute slower than my MP or I crash.

    I always just found it really hard to run slow all the time on my long runs and then just FLIP A SWITCH on marathon day and run much farter and faster than ever before. But I save the real speed work for mid-week drills. That's where I grow the most.

    Obviously I'm no expert, but that's what works for me. Good luck & hope that helps! Great job ... you were great today!

  10. I truly believe in slowing the long run down, there's much evidence that this is key to obtaining a picture #1. Work on MP mid-week with a medium run to get a feel for the pace, but leave the long run a good minute/mile slower. Just my 2 cents and what I do with clients :).

  11. 7 miles at 13 degrees? I would have frozen solid at mile 2! :) Awesome job!

  12. For my first marathon, I wish I listened to all of the advice about making my goal to be to finish. I put a time on my first marathon (sub 4) and was actually disappointed in myself (as I crossed the finish line of my first marathon) at my time 4:24. Later, I realized my accomplishment, and I eventually ran sub 4, but I wish I didn't have that pang of disappointment as I crossed the line.

  13. Ha! I consider a 10 minute mile fast at least for me :o( I vow to work on speed this year so maybe I too can say a 10 minute mile is slow. Great job getting out there.

  14. i absolutely suck at pacing. like totally totally terrible. i wish i had words of wisdom here for you. and i don't think i've ever run as slow as some people advise for my long runs but i'm definitely slower. for whatever reason it works. but then again, i never actually slow down for my LRs. i just go. and my races happen to be faster.

  15. I actually thought today felt warmer than on Friday!

    It must have been that shining sun and little wind!! I feared running in this MI weather but it's not too bad!

  16. Triathlons are all about pace, so I am for it

  17. the first guy was out for a jog.
    the second guy actually ran a marathon.

    (I'm all about the second guy)

  18. I am for pacing, but it is tough sometimes. I am deadly slow so the LSD works for me and Tempo is hell. But anyway, I used Hal Higdon's plans for all 5 of my marathons. They are good plans.

    And in the 5 marathons, I have looked like the 1st guy, the 2nd guy, and everywhere in between. I bet you are going to look like the first guy for sure.

  19. honestly...i'm not sure that theres a solution to this question. everyone does something a little different and swears by whatever technique he/she uses. for a first marathon, i think its way too hard to know how you and your body is going to react to the distance. i think until you've run a full marathon you don't really know what your marathon pace would be. each race distance is a beast unto itself. i think that you should run the first one and then you can use that race to tweak your training for the next one.

  20. Oh my.

    First of all 7 miles is NOT a long run if you are training for a marathon. 15+ is a long run. 7 miles is nothing... a warmup.

    Secondly, for your first marathon do NOT have a goal that is from your own aspirations. Have a goal that is way way realistic. You can always do the PR for your *second* marathon. The downside of too fast marathon pacing is very extreme (see photo you posted).

    Thirdly, there are lots and lots of pace calculators that can tell you your marathon pace from a half marathon result. Take that result and downgrade it! In my case a 8:30 half marathon would imply an 8:50 pace marathon. No, wrongo.

    Hal says take your 10k time and multiply by 5 for your first marathon pace. If that seems slow..GOOD! Your first marathon pace should seem crazy slow for the first half! You can always speed up for the second half!

    The marathon is unlike ANY OTHER RACE. You can bull your way through other distances but if you screw up in marathon pacing its GOING TO BE PAINFUL FOR A LONG TIME.

    For your long runs start slow. You are trying to build fat burning endurance so you need to run slow so you don't trigger glycogen burning. Each long run you do can be a bit faster, with the final one at 20-30 sec off MP. You can also do progressive speedups with the last 6 miles at MP. (but keep average low so you recover quickly and don't lose training!)

    If you can do a 20-23 mile long run at MP + 45sec average and the last 6 miles at MP you are pretty darn good to go at your MP. else SLOW DOWN.

    In conclusion: For your first marathon, DONT shoot for an agressive pace. There are more races to come! Hubris is required and needed..but NOT ENOUGH.

    Go slow, finish strong! You are a fast guy, so eventually you'll KICK BUTT in the marathon, but don't be in a hurry. Each time you run one you get smarter and more used to what's going to happen.


    PS: Ok. Let me say are going to feel REALLY GREAT marathon day. You will be so trained and'll think for the first 10 miles "Today is my Day!".

    No. Do NOT listen to these feelings. Stay on your pace! If you get to 18_+ miles and still feel strong then go for it!

  21. Sigh. Typed in a big comment and lost it.

    Anyway, the summary: Hal says take your 10K time X 5 for your first marathon.

    Listen to him.

    The marathon is NOT like any other race. Mistakes are punished... severely.

    There will be more marathons and you can speed up then. Don't assume because you had a great 9:00 20 mile run you are ready to do a 9:00 marathon.

    In my case I had run an 8:30 half and also had good long runs, but I did a 10:00 marathon for my first and was glad I did. I finished strong (but barely) and passed many many suffering people ..yow.

    My current PR is still only 9:24 pace for the marathon. (Calculators would say a 8:30 half -> 8:50 full..yah right)

    You need experience before you crack open the throttle. Be conservative, have fun and recognize you are going to run more than one marathon! Don't be in a hurry!

  22. Um, do you need anymore advice? :-)

    There are some great great comments here. I think you should run your long run based on Heart Rate, not pace, but that's a whole other story.

    I do highly encourage you to read this fascinating article:

    Last but not least, no goal for your first marathon except to finish. Seriously.

  23. I love all these comments, thanks for bring this issue up. I am now on my way to read Chris K.'s link.

  24. I am not against having a goal for your first marathon, but it should not be a goal that is too challenging or can break you. The best advice I can give you is to look at your three longest runs (probably around 18 and 21 miles - yes?) and use those data points as a guide.

  25. I also have a hard time slowing down but I remind myself that it will benefit me later!!

  26. My pacing is horrible. I run about the same pace....long run, short run.....although, if I keep running my long runs in the beginning or middle of a snow storm, like this weekend, keeping my pace slower isn't an issue! :-) :-)

  27. And I was a slacker because it was only 55 here on Saturday. Oh to live in Southern California.

  28. Paul - my long run is 7 miles now. I am building my miles through the Higdon plan so I will get to 20 miles(twice). I understand that 7 miles is not long - it's just long for me at this moment in my training.

    Chris - I'll look at your attachment. Thanks.

    Thanks everyone for your comments. They are all helpful. I think I will just listen to my body and go from there. I know it's not much of a plan but we'll see how it goes in May.

  29. For long runs, there's no such thing as "too slow". You get the physiological benefits of the long run without risking injury. As for having a goal time for the race, don't worry about that right now. You'll learn what you're capable of soon enough, but even that can go out the window on race day. If you're adequately trained, you'll have a good race, no matte the time.

    p.s. I've followed Hal's plans for both of my marathons--he knows what he is talking about.