Way do my legs object to my 'easy' runs

17 messages
09/09/2011 at 07:50
Hi Folks,

First post, so hello RW.

Been running since mid May and signed up for a half in a month. Been following a plan on Smart Coach, but I find the pace for my easy runs 11:30m/m makes my legs ache.

If I speed up to 10:30 it gets easier and did 10 miles at the weekend without checking pace and just how it felt and covered this on average at 9:46.

I'm really confused... and very inexperienced. Any advice, please?
09/09/2011 at 10:09

It is strange how running slowly is harder than you'd think.

It's quite normal though.  It's supposed to increase stamina, allow to run further without exhausting yourself, or something.

I never have managed to run quite a slowly as the Smartcoach slow pace, but I try not to knock too much off it.

09/09/2011 at 10:38

I don't think there's any benefit in running so slowly that it actually makes it harder.

I think when this happens, you're using different muscles, or a different gait, or something.

If you can run 10 miles at a sub 10 /m/m average, then i don't think running 11:30 pace is doing you any good, Just my opinion.

For someone else less fit than you, I would suggest run/walking on their easy run, rather than trying to run at a pace so slow it feels unnatural and causes aches from using an unnatural gait.

ENJOY YOUR HALF! You will

09/09/2011 at 11:31

It's something to do with building more of a particular type of muscle cell, MF.  JB explained it all to me once, but I can't remember it all now!

This particular kind of muscle fibre carries a lot of oxygen to the muscles, so having more of them is good, and the way to build them is to run very slowly.

Or something.

09/09/2011 at 11:38
If you say so...
09/09/2011 at 12:50

http://coachjoeenglish.wordpress.com/2010/05/18/training-how-slow-should-the-pace-of-long-slow-runs-be/

As Wilke says, slow runs are typically done at an easy pace, 1–3 minutes per mile slower than a runner's 10k pace. The objectives of these runs are to build blood volume and to increase muscle strength, endurance, and aerobic fitness.

Sorry I copied that from a page on my pc - it's not my words-  my training plan.

09/09/2011 at 12:54

There's this great big thick book called The Lore of Running by Tim Noakes. 

It's full of long words and diagrams, but it tells you all about it in there.  If you can stay awake long enough....

09/09/2011 at 13:14

Be careful religiously following top class running coaches.  I imagine they do most of their research on people significantly faster than you (no offence), slowing down from 5 minute miling could be very different from slowing down from 10 minute miling.  I know regardless of my aerobic shape I wouldnt like to teach my body the mechanics of 11.30 minute miling, I also know a 6 mile walk is far more tiring than a 6 mile run.

Imo you should listen to your body and run at the pace that feels comfortable. 

09/09/2011 at 14:05
Blue legs forever wrote (see)

Be careful religiously following top class running coaches.  I imagine they do most of their research on people significantly faster than you (no offence), slowing down from 5 minute miling could be very different from slowing down from 10 minute miling. 


This is true.  I think a related point which sometimes gets overlooked is that (again, no offence!) the further away you get from elite level, the closer your training pace gets to your (say) marathon pace.  So maybe you're better off running at a slightly faster pace than that suggested by a plug-in-and-see calculator.  Assuming your HR isn't rising to dramatic levels and you finish within yourself, probably best to go with a pace that feels comfortable to you.
09/09/2011 at 14:43
Thanks folks, no offence taken, really new to this running lark and know that I'm quite slow. A winter of training should deal with that though (brrrrrrrr).

I'll try and keep the pace down on the easy ones and go with what feels comfortable on the longer ones. They are the runs I really enjoy and want to work on (hoping on a full marathon next year). Heart rates not going silly, breathings ok and feeling ok afterwards (ish) so I'm gonna keep going.

Can't wait for the race. Be well happy finishing and anything under 2:15 is a bonus.

Got to do more reading too.

Once again thanks.
09/09/2011 at 15:16

It's all a matter of one coach says one thing and another says another.

There's some guy that trains hundreds of people to run a particular marathon all based on 3 - 5 slow runs a week, non over 15 miles but the time you take for the runs increases. He has an amazing success rate based on this. I guess this is for marathon wannabes rather than elite runners. You just have to tailor the advice to the audience.

I don't think the 1-3 m/m below 10k pace is aimed at elites - more you avarage club runner.

Me - I just run.

09/09/2011 at 15:20
PhilPub wrote (see)
Blue legs forever wrote (see)

Be careful religiously following top class running coaches.  I imagine they do most of their research on people significantly faster than you (no offence), slowing down from 5 minute miling could be very different from slowing down from 10 minute miling. 


This is true.  I think a related point which sometimes gets overlooked is that (again, no offence!) the further away you get from elite level, the closer your training pace gets to your (say) marathon pace.  So maybe you're better off running at a slightly faster pace than that suggested by a plug-in-and-see calculator.  Assuming your HR isn't rising to dramatic levels and you finish within yourself, probably best to go with a pace that feels comfortable to you.

I shouldn't think the Smartcoach schedules are aimed at elite athletes, though?  And that's where the OP is getting his pacing from.
Edited: 09/09/2011 at 15:21
09/09/2011 at 15:45
I don't honestly know how smartcoach works out pacing, but even away from elite standard I think there's a significant difference between say a 3 hour and a 4.5/5 hour marathon runner in terms of relationship between target pace and training pace.  For a 3 hour runner (6:53/m) it's clearly in the runner's interest to be following some sort of rule like "MP + 60-90 secs" for their easy pace runs, whereas a 5 hour runner is more likely to be aiming to get fit enough to simply extend their "running at the most comfortable pace" for a continuous 26.2 miles, or in the OP's case, 13.1.
30/11/2011 at 08:20
Quick, if late update: completed in 2:02:38 and now bought a copy of The Lore of Running.
30/11/2011 at 08:44

BoDuke
Congratulations!
Lore if Running is a great reference book if you've got the time for it, but there are good reads which are a lot easier...
I know you mentioned trying a marathon earlier, but how about going in the other direction with some shorter, quicker races?  10K is a good distance, and very easy to recover from.

30/11/2011 at 09:10
Hi 40 Minutes,

Thanks. Love the book, mostly because I'm a TOTAL geek...

I've signed up for MK in the spring, but going to be doing a number of shorter races over the winter. A load of local clubs have a league going on. First is next weekend and they are all between 5-6 miles.

Hoping that these will improve my short pace too.
WFB
30/11/2011 at 11:18
I'm not familiar with the SmartCoach but I have also found easy runs too slow on other plans generated from a previous race time. I think the slower you are the less realistic these easy paces can become.

To quote the SmartCoach blurb:

"Slow runs are slow because that's the best pace for you to follow to build endurance without overtaxing your body."

You can use a heart rate monitor instead of pace as a way to ensure you are running sufficiently easy. If you run below 70% of your WHR that's easy. I found it to be faster than the 'easy' paces in my recent plan but did have to walk up some of the hills in the beginning to keep the heart rate down. I found that over a 12 week program, my pace became significantly faster as I got fitter and I was able to go up many of the hills whilst keeping below the 70% ceiling.

So deep into your current plan, this suggestion might not be of any use but maybe worth considering in the future.

Incidentally you can also use the HRM to make sure you are working hard enough in the hard sessions too. As you get fitter you find you have to work much harder (run faster) to get your heart rate up to the hard level.

Proponents of pace based training are right in saying that pace is really the only reliable indicator of race performance so that is what your training should be based on.

Proponents of HRM based training say that slavishly adhering to pace can mean that you can over train running too fast when your body needs more recovery on some days. Similarly you can miss the opportunity to run faster when your body can work much harder in a particular session.

I blend the two. I get a plan based on pace to get the distances and mix of workouts but I use the HRM to ensure I'm working easy or hard enough. This mostly means I ran faster than the paces in the plan but there are days when I go slower because my body hadn't recovered enough from previous sessions.

But hey, what do I know. I'm just an old plodder that has only ever run two races. Thought it might contribute to the discussion though.

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