Sunday, 21 November 2010

The long run confusion

Long runs are something which most runners do, I guess all of them, and its universally considered they are very beneficial. I enjoy long runs, just getting out, running as far as I think I can go before returning home several hours later.

The problem is this. Am I running them too quickly?

Based upon my 5k, 10k times etc a long run is something I'm supposed to do slowly, around 10.15-12 minute miles. The problem is, my 10k time was set 2 months ago when I could barely run 6.1 miles. Also, I physically couldn't run less than 10 minutes 30 without walking. It's just not something my body would let me do.

All my hills/speed work is now done on 5 mile routes generally, so I'm more used to running around the 10k mark now, where as when the 10k time was set, I'd only run the distance twice and never beyond it.

I am yet to run a 10k race since, and would estimate I'd probably be around 55 minutes now, which is around 5 minutes quicker than my previous best.

For an established runner, someone who has reacher their peak and isn't getting quicker, the formula is simple. But for someone who is new to running, getting PBs each time they run as they improve, it is difficult to know what the long run pace should be. At present, I run each distance as if it were a race. During my long run today, I would have set a 10k PB by 3 and a half minutes, and this was off road covered in mud.

How I do it? Based on how I feel.

If I feel good, I'll run it as fast as I can with a strong finish at the end in the last 0.5 mile. If I don't feel so good, I'll try to negative split speeding up in the second half of the run after trying to evenly match the first few miles.

With time, and as I lose more weight and reach my peak in a few years, I guess the pace would become clear, but for now, I really have no clue what my long run pace is.

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