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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Coffee Talk: Running Easy

Housekeeping: I have started training for The Flying Pig Marathon which is in Cincinnati on May 4. (Yes, that's the race I DNFed in 2012 and LOVED in 2010). My goal is to run a 3:39:59 which would qualify me for Boston in 2015. I'm not giving up on my 3:34:59!! I'm just going to get there race by race.

Monday I sent Coach an email with all MY ideas about how I want to train this time around and in her response email she included this bit:

I think one of the things that will help with the long run this time around is really focusing on keeping your paces easier during the week. I mean on both workouts and easy runs. I have a vague memory of telling you to try and run your easy days a little faster back a training cycle or two ago, and I think that may have been a mistake. Typically, everyone runs their easy days too fast (me included), and that naturally takes a toll of the long run. I'm not totally over-the-top about charts and calculators, but a lot of plans and online coaching (including Hansons) have easy run paces WAY easier than what we often do. Hansons suggest that someone targeting a 3:40 marathon should run 9:30 to 10:10 on easy days. Workout paces fall in line with what you've been doing, but I've wondered if you've just run out of gas by the time the long run rolls around.

For example, REDACTED NAME (yes, I stalk his log) runs about a 5:20 pace in the marathon, but his easy runs are typically 6:30-7:00...Roughly the same difference for you: 8:24 MP vs. 9:30-10:00 easy.

Anyway, something to think about in this next training cycle. There may be times when you have to force yourself to slow down on easy and recovery days. I also think that this time around, there should be more workouts/miles at that 8:24 pace, perhaps fewer intervals.

My first response after reading this...
 yolo, bitches.

I thought about it for a minute after I read it and my ego was all like... W.T.F? Just seeing the pace 10:10 written was enough to send me a little over the edge. Like, 10:10? Seriously? I was running 10:10s on my easy runs 5 years ago! (Nevermind the fact that I was basically running the same pace for every distance those days).

I sent a reply email back pleading my case to negotiate a "faster" easy pace:

1. REDACTED NAME runs double the mileage I do.
2. If left to my own devices I am a slow ass bitch. And I fear too many miles at 10:00 pace will make that my default pace.
3. I don't have any sort of racing background, and I feel like I need to toughen up mentally.

The irony is that I probably run 9:30-10:10 pace a LOT. I just don't wear a watch much anymore on easy runs and I generally make up my time based on what the effort felt like. 

I sent the email off and felt good about it. That night, I ran with The KoB and talked to him about it. He OF COURSE sided with coach. And the next morning I woke up and I kinda realized that I had just had a knee-jerk reaction to seeing the pace 10:10 in writing. In reality... why should I care what my easy pace is? As Coach pointed out in a followup email, my total easy mileage for the week isn't that high.

And now, I think it's funny how my ego translated her original email to me about my easy pace WRONG.
Instead of reading... "hey, you should probably make sure to run your easy runs easy this training cycle. I think that will help you on your long runs." I read... "hey, asshat, you're slow, so you should be running slow." At the end of the day, I want to run a 3:39:59 at The Flying Pig in May. Whatever it takes to get me there, is what I'll do. (and by March/April, I'll probably be GLAD to run as slow as I possibly can).
Do you think much about your easy paces? How much difference is between your goal/PR marathon pace and your easy run pace? Let's Discuss.


Carina said...

Most appropriate gif ever, hilarious!
Your point 2 is exactly my fear.
I generally train for marathons by HR, so zone 1 for easy runs, zone 3 for pace work, zone 4-5 for tempo. So it definitely varies based on everything else in life -- weather, hydration, stress, sleep, weight, etc., all of which can impact my HR and make any zone faster or slower on any given day.
When I train by time, I'd say I'm usually about 45-75 seconds slower than goal MP on easy runs.

Amy said...

I have been assured that #2 is not likely to happen as long as I keep up with my workouts.

HR training... I've never done that. I imagine my heart rate would have me running 12:00 pace for easy runs.

Gracie said...

I've heard I run my easy days too fast, too, and I've been an injured whiny slob for a year, so I suppose my accusers are right. But I don't wear a watch for easy runs so how should I know? I guess I do around 7:40 to 8:20 for my easy days, but when I was faster two years ago I was doing 7:30s for my long run (my marathon pace was between 7:15 and 7:05 then). Should probably have been slower. I never felt too fatigued though - maybe because I only do one kind of "quality" or speed workout per week.

Amy said...

Yes... watchless easy runs! It's nice to have some runs during the week where you aren't a slave to the watch. Although, I had a hard time keeping my long run paces honest last time around... so, I might start wearing one on easy runs. Sometimes. Blarg.

Meredith said...

You know my results....I do lots and lots of running at slow slow paces. I typically do my easy runs in the 9:30-10:00 zone and I probably do part of EVERY run in that time frame. It works. Trust the plan.

Carina said...

Had to share this with you:

Point 5 made me think of you since you once used the term "quadzilla" I believe and I thought it was a perfect description of me. Number 11 made me laugh. And I'm stealing number 20.