Now that you all are experienced runners and have a few weeks of training under your belt, it’s time to talk about pacing. Over the past few weeks you have been introduced to a variety of workouts, such as easy runs, long runs, recovery runs and speed or hill repeats. These workouts have hopefully taught you that there is more to running then just lacing up your shoes and running as hard or as long as you can every time you run. Each workout has a purpose, and it’s critical that you understand the variety of paces (efforts) sooner rather than later to ensure a healthy and productive training season.
Let’s start with a brief description of each workout that you will encounter throughout the season:
1- Easy: This is a conversational-pace effort in which you should literally be able to carry on a conversation with your running buddy (or yourself) from start to finish. The primary purpose of an easy run is to build a base for more intense workouts and to assist with recovery between hard workouts. Most of your training runs this season will be completed at this effort. These type of workouts typically utilize a 3:3 breathing pattern.
2- Long: The focus of these workouts is to get your legs used to running for a prolonged period of time. The effort is similar to an EASY run and also utilizes a 3:3 breathing pattern.
3: Recovery: The sole purpose of this workout is to do exactly what the title of the workout says: RECOVER. It gives your body a chance to run on tired and fatigued legs (very useful for endurance athletes). The recommended breathing pattern for this workout is a 4:4.
4: Threshold (Tempo): The purpose of these workouts is to raise your lactate threshold, which is the ability to cope with, and minimize, lactic acid in the blood. These workouts are typically described as “comfortably hard” (slightly faster than your half-marathon pace) and utilize a 2:2 breathing pattern.
5: Repeats: The purpose of these workouts is aimed at improving speed, strength (hills) and running economy (efficiency). These workouts are completed at HARD efforts and utilize a 1:1 breathing pattern.
To provide you with a little more assistance in learning and understanding your individual pacing, here’s a great calculator you can utilize from legendary coach Jack Daniels and The Run Smart Project; https://runsmartproject.com/calculator/
For those visual learners, here’s a quick example of a runner who wants to complete the Airbnb Brooklyn Half in 2 hours:
1- Click here: https://runsmartproject.com/calculator/
2- Enter distance: Half Marathon
3- Enter your half marathon time (goal): 2:00 (9:09 pace/mile)
4- Record (and observe) the following training paces:
a- Easy: 10:35-11:11
b- Threshold (Tempo): 8:51
c- Repetition: 200m (58 seconds), 400m (1:55) and 800m (3:50)
In this example, one key thing to note is just how “easy” the easy pace is compared to the half marathon pace. The easy pace is approximately 1.5 to 2 minutes slower than the goal half-marathon pace. How fast is your easy pace? On average, most runners complete their easy and long runs TOO fast, which leads to increased stress and overuse injuries. Remember, there is a purpose for every workout so when instructed to run easy, slow down, and well, run easy.
Please let your coaches know if you have any questions or need further assistance with your pacing.