How hard should you run ?

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09/03/2005 at 08:57
I'm relatively new to running and training for my first half marathon currently, doing about 30 miles a week with my long run about 12 miles. I ran a 10k race on Sunday in 46 mins which I was very pleased with.

My question is ... should I feel totally drained at the end of a race as if I cannot run another step ? I didn't feel this way, and now I'm wondering if I should have run harder (and faster)?

Does everyone else race at flat out speed ?

Thanks for any advice x
09/03/2005 at 08:59
That's a great time - you have lots of potential. Well Done.

Unless I feel sick or am actually sick at the end of a race I have not run hard enough. The race is for a set distance and no longer.

But, most training session sshould be easy.

mellifera    pirate
09/03/2005 at 10:10
I would say the goal is to pace it so you are knackered at the end of the race. trouble is, that's a lot harder than it sounds and takes quite a lot of experience to judge. You probably could have run harder and faster but it's a fine line between that and going off too quick and dying before the end (which tends to give a slower finishing time)! At the end of a 10k I would expect to feel or be sick and have to spend several minutes recovering my breath, not wanting or being able to talk. After 5minutes though I could set off for a jog.
09/03/2005 at 10:22
It's sprint finishes which make you sick at the end of races, guys, because the liver can't cope with the sudden extra demand or some such.

Alison, there's no 'must' about it, you don't have to push yourself to the limit; however, if you want to aim for the best time/position you can achieve, you should be pretty tired at the end. But it will inevitably take time to learn how to pace yourself to achieve that without blowing up, and I would err on the conservative side to begin with. Also, how quickly you recover inevitably reflects your fitness.

Well done on your 10K debut.
09/03/2005 at 10:32
Thanks for your advice !

I guess the key is that practice makes perfect ? Whilst I was pleased with my run on Sunday now that I am dissecting the race I'm feeling a little disappointed.

Crazy thing is if someone had said I would have run 46 mins I would have bitten their hand off so to speak !
09/03/2005 at 10:37
It also depends on the distance.

IIRC, 10km is optimally run at your aerobic/anaerobic threshold, so probably you'd want to spend the last mile feeling like you were going to die (assuming you want to go as fast as possible).

With 5km you want to feel like you're going to die all the way through.

With a marathon, you're in trouble if you feel like you want to die at any time before 20 miles!

Sensible runners, of course, slow down when the going gets tough...
09/03/2005 at 12:45
For your first 10K I would say you did everything right. You were very pleased with your time, not knackered or distressed and motivated to do another race in a quicker time. As you run more races you'll become accustomend to race pace and will target specific races when you will run really hard (and it will hurt and you won't like it) as you try for a PB. But not all races will be like that
09/03/2005 at 13:21
themoabird makes a good point about the distance.

deffo on a 10K you should feel like your about to cough up a lung come the finish, Anything left in reserve should be used in the last mile. Then when youve got nothing left try and sprint the last 100m.

If all has gone well when you initially stop at the finish line you should feel dreadfull for a bit :-)

congrats on the time by the way impressive.

09/03/2005 at 19:29
Really impressive time. I think it was probably close to perfect in that you know you ran hard, but finished wanting to do another and still motivated. I tend to agree with JFB.

It sounds like you will have plenty of races, and each will have their different goals and outcomes. Some races will disappoint if you dont go all out to the point of total exhaustion and others will have different purposes. I'd say, just keep going! Enjoy!
09/03/2005 at 20:37
It basically depends on what you want out of it. If you want to run close to the limits of your absolute best possible performance, be prepared to feel like sh@t immediately after finishing. I used to feel like I could not carry on if the finish straight was any longer, even by 20m, and my usual finish was to hit the line, carry on running rapidly decelerating, then find somewhere to lie down!

However, racing to your limits each time can become quite draining and also lead to you dreading the pain that is associated with racing, and really detract from your enjoyment, so I agree with Tony - you don't want to do this every race, only do it when you're trying for a PB.
09/03/2005 at 21:31
No pain no gain:-)
09/03/2005 at 21:50
There's some races where no pain, no gain is essential, but there's others where I'm quite happy for the no gain!:o)

Well done on your first 10k Alison. I'm sure with more experience you'll know exactly how to judge your pace to achieve what you want. It seems you didn't do a bad job on your first race. Keep up the good work!

Happy running:o)
09/03/2005 at 21:52
So yer sposed to feel uncomfortable at the end?
09/03/2005 at 22:22
'So yer sposed to feel uncomfortable at the end?'

Only if you're daft enough to be chasing PBs.

The thing is that after a while extra training, etc., ceases to have an effect; we hit our physiological limits. ( People on here may tell you otherwise; they're wrong! :) ) At that point, the only way you can get faster is to try harder. It then gets very ugly.
09/03/2005 at 22:58
Thermoabird, I'm sorry but I totally disagree with what you are saying. With an attitude like that, you should settle for recreational running, and leave the serious stuff for those who believe that training and racing hard really do work.

In saying this, I'm sure I speak for the many "People on here who may tell you otherwise; but they're wrong!"
09/03/2005 at 23:04
Sorry Thermoabird, just read your profile - I see you are a recreational runner (oops!)
09/03/2005 at 23:06
When after a while your training ceases to have an effect, then you alter your training routine.

Sorry, that would be `daft', trying to be the best you can.
09/03/2005 at 23:07
Yeah I just read it - if you get those times as a recreational runner you could really kick ass if you gave running a serious go for a year or so. I'd be curious to know how could I could be with times like those off 4-6 runs per week.
09/03/2005 at 23:09
"and leave the serious stuff for those who believe that training and racing hard really do work."

Yeah, you gotta love that serious stuff...

Totally disagree? Hmmm. So you reckon we don't hit physiological limits, eh?

What a strange world you must inhabit...
09/03/2005 at 23:15

The serious answer to your question about being daft is that I think there can be something almost pathological about the obsession which *some* people have with PBs.

So tell me, when you're cold and bored running your 70th mile of the week, don't you ever wonder why you're doing it all?

Also, I just don't buy the idea that changing one's training is always going to work. There are physiological limits.
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