LSD PACE at MARATHON PACE?
I'm the same. If your target is 8 minute miling then it makes sense to run that pace in training.
This way, you have the conditioning and you know you can keep that pace up over the required distance.
I've only done 2 maras but see the sense in running your long runs at target race pace. However, I find this difficult to achieve constantly in training, and find that if I run about 30secs per mile slower, I can recover more quickly in order to do the rest of my planned training for the week. I struggle to hit race pace in training and have found that when I manage it, or do it too often, it just drains me completely and I end up missing other sessions due to tiredness and sore muscles.
I think as always, it depends on the individual.
A Frank Horwill programme I followed (very loosely) has you do two types of long runs.
One which has you on your feet for your target time (i.e 3:30) and another where you run upto 18 miles at marathon pace (8:00 m/m).
I had limited time to train but had already done plenty of the time on my feet runs (3hrs+) and plenty of races and quality work.
I only managed to do two long runs at marathon pace 14 and a 19 (6:45 m/m - actually both a little faster) and finished on the day in 2:55:55 or 6:43 m/m.
This is what I'll be doing again for my next marathon (if and when).
Another similar programme
Conventional running wisdom is that long runs should be done below marathon pace or you'll tire yourself out. Your training is a combination of different sorts of runs which together should get you in perfect shape to complete the marathon in your target time. Long runs are to build endurance. Shorter runs are used to build your speed. If you run your long runs too fast your legs will get tired and you'll find it hard to recover, which will affect your training and ultimately your race.
Conventional wisdom has you doing you LSD's at between 45 to 90 seconds a mile slower than your race pace.
This gives you a good time on your feet, relatively fast recovery time, teaches your body to burn fat as its primary fuel source etc etc.
If your an experienced marathon runner, you could probably get away with doing some of your LSDs at race pace but I would not advise it for a relative newcomer.
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