Longer easy runs at “very” easy pace...

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dilluh
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Longer easy runs at “very” easy pace...

Post by dilluh » Mon Jan 12, 2015 4:59 pm

I have a friend who is training for the 2015 Boston Marathon. He has run one previous marathon in 2:55 to qualify for Boston. We were discussing his training last week and he told me that his coach wants him to run very easy for all his non-workout days but to be getting in 9-10 miles on those easy days. I plugged in his previous marathon time to the Tinman calculator and it spit out 8:48 for “very easy” pace. That’s about what he’s running on these filler mileage days - 10 miles at a crack. Maybe the first mile or two, sure that’s fine but for a whole 10 mile outing? That’s a minimum of a ~90 min run every day. To me that almost seems mind-numbingly slow. I know that his workouts right now are not anything too demanding yet so it’s not like he needs a ton of recovery. But what do I know - he's got my marathon PR beat by about 8 minutes (although I'm faster than him at anything HM and shorter).

I’m not saying his coach is wrong but I wonder how this compares to doing a bit less mileage but speeding it up to “easy” pace (or around 5k pace plus 2 min). Is the very easy higher mileage filler days good for a marathoner? More time on feet in preparation for the marathon? Just philosophical questions as I have no intention/desire to run a marathon any time soon. It just got me thinking about Tinman’s comments regarding long tempos vs. short tempos and how the benefit is similar but you have to deal with more wear and tear with the long tempo. Does the same idea apply for easy run days? What benefit can be gained from a super slow 10 miler compared to a regular easy pace 7-8 miler?

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Re: Longer easy runs at “very” easy pace...

Post by Tinman » Mon Jan 12, 2015 10:44 pm

It may seems odd that running slowly for the strong majority of your mileage will make you run fast for a marathon, but it's true. Many years ago there were a few good distance runners who ran "slowly" in training almost all the time, yet in races they are fast. I call your attention Joe Henderson's book" Long Slow Distance: The Humane Way to Train. I did an internet search a minute ago and found a weblink to Joe's information. Read about Bob Deines, who literally run about 20 miles most days, years ago, and run 2:20 in the marathon. How slowly? 8:00 per mile nearly all the time on trails. As I recall, it was in the Oakland area.

http://www.joehenderson.com/longslowdis ... ticle=2208
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Re: Longer easy runs at “very” easy pace...

Post by dilluh » Tue Jan 13, 2015 3:14 pm

Good lord - he was doing 2 hour runs daily and getting in 100-120 mile per week. All in singles. For him at least, long slow distance not only helped out his marathon but every other race distance as well. I think what might get lost in translation when looking at Deines’ training is that he didn’t only run slow - he used racing as his speedwork. That probably works fine for someone who’s racing more than twice per month. Also, muscle fiber type must play a role in this. I would guess that Deines was at the far end of the slow-twitch fiber spectrum and to maximize his times at ANY race distance, he needed to load up on lots of easy/moderate aerobic running. Finally, there weren't many specifics about the type of "fast" training he was doing beyond mentioning "hard quarters," which I take to mean anaerobic intervals. Anaerobic intervals would be a death blow for someone who is genetically very heavily endurance-based.

I think this partly gets back to a point made in another thread regarding how Salazar trains his marathoners and how it’s possible that his athletes are running their easy mileage way too fast. It almost seems like, for the marathon at least, it almost doesn’t matter what the pace is on non-workout days. Just get a ton of volume of the long-slow stuff in.

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Re: Longer easy runs at “very” easy pace...

Post by Tinman » Tue Jan 13, 2015 8:48 pm

The thing is Salazar forgets that he ran his best marathons by using 6:30 per mile training between his "hard" workouts prescribed by Bill Dellinger. I used to have a copy of his training schedule, which showed how he trained before his first marathon. He ran his first marathon in 2:09:41 and won it - New York City Marathon. He minimally got better after that. His 2:08:13 best was on a short course. His 2:08:53 at Boston was probably just as fast. I think Salazar bombed after that because he ran too fast on easy days and upped his mileage. He commented later, after not racing well at the LA Olympic Games that he over-trained.
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Re: Longer easy runs at “very” easy pace...

Post by Spider Man » Wed Jan 14, 2015 7:39 am

Joe Henderson is one of the wisest men who writes on running ... though his wisdom did come from the experiences of pushing his body too hard, too often ... the full text of "Long Slow Run" (with other examples) can be found here ...

http://www.joehenderson.com/longslowdis ... p?article=

In a similar fashion ... elite Japanese marathon runners are renowned for running lots of mileage at a very easy pace

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Re: Longer easy runs at “very” easy pace...

Post by Clell » Wed Jan 14, 2015 9:21 am

Would Ed Whitlock, the Canadian Marathoner, be an example of this type of training also? I think he said that he ran 3 hours almost every day at an easy pace. He was the first person over age 70 to run under 3 hours in the Marathon I believe.

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Re: Longer easy runs at “very” easy pace...

Post by dkggpeters » Wed Jan 14, 2015 12:07 pm

What benefit can be gained from a super slow 10 miler compared to a regular easy pace 7-8 miler?
I would say the following:

1.) You are getting in more volume without additional stress and recovery is really fast
2.) You are burning more fat as fuel so you will gain efficiencies by a lower glycogen utilization at MP.
3.) If you run your easy runs to fast, you are utilizing some of FT muscle fibers therefore not working your ST fibers as much. Running really slow will ensure that you are getting full utilization of your ST fibers.

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Re: Longer easy runs at “very” easy pace...

Post by dkggpeters » Wed Jan 14, 2015 12:15 pm

I find this to be an interesting topic as I am always curious as to how slow you can go and still reap the benefits you are after.

Obviously if you are failing on your quality sessions then this may be an indication that you are running your easy runs to fast (this is assuming that you are running quality sessions at your current fitness level). You also don't want your form to break down so badly that may cause unintended consequences.

I know a couple of people that run marathons in 2;35 to 2:37 range currently and they do their easy runs really slow. One at 8:30 pace or so and the other will do 10+ minute pace for a lot of his miles. The first one uses races a lot to get in quality and the other one does do really hard quality sessions with a lot of volume on those days.

One of the problems is everyone is a little different so 10 minute miles may not work for me but they could be fine for you.

I guess the million dollar question is, how slow can you go and still accomplish your objectives?

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Re: Longer easy runs at “very” easy pace...

Post by dilluh » Wed Jan 14, 2015 1:23 pm

While I appreciate reading about these athletes and long-slow distance in general, I feel like the concept is presented in a relatively black-and-white manner. Any talk of “speed” work seems to always refer to what I imagine are sets of hard anaerobic quarter mile reps. In that case, yes, I’d agree on all accounts that repeatedly doing that kind of speed work is going to kill just about anyone. But, there is no mention of the intermediate paces that Tinman and others espouse to be so important to stamina or high-end aerobic endurance. The talk is all of long-slow distance which will primarily work the low/intermediate aerobic endurance component. Is the idea that they are running so much of this long-slow distance that it is eventually providing high-end aerobic stimulus?

Clearly their methods worked relative to the “speed” way of going about distance running but would they have been even better (or perhaps used their time more efficiently) if they would’ve taken one or two days per week to do even a small amount of stamina training in order to complement all the long-slow distance they were doing on the other days of the week? Besides the races many of these runners were using as workouts, this seems to fly in the face of the idea of multi-paced training.

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Re: Longer easy runs at “very” easy pace...

Post by dilluh » Wed Jan 14, 2015 1:51 pm

dkggpeters wrote: You also don't want your form to break down so badly that may cause unintended consequences.

I guess the million dollar question is, how slow can you go and still accomplish your objectives?
The form part is important I think. When I first started with Tinman, he told me very specifically that the day after a workout "very easy" or "jog" session needed to be run with good cadence - not plodding.

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Re: Longer easy runs at “very” easy pace...

Post by dilluh » Wed Jan 14, 2015 2:29 pm

The new introduction (2003) does much to clarify some things about Henderson's approach and I take back a bit of what I said about how much better the runners could've been or how they could've more efficiently used their time. That was not the point. Nor was the point high mileage, nor was it necessarily going "slow." Henderson's rephrasing to "gentle running" strikes a more accurate descriptor for me than "long-slow distance running" and dovetails nicely into Lydiard's adage of "train, don't strain."

I've found that relaxed running leads to fast running and sometimes a very lengthy warm up is needed before I feel ready for a workout. That or just holding back significantly on the first few reps of a session to ease my way in. This is also espoused in the whole idea surrounding progression runs which I am very fond of.

Maybe "gentle running" will become my new mantra for easy runs. =]

http://www.joehenderson.com/longslowdis ... ticle=2203

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Re: Longer easy runs at “very” easy pace...

Post by Gabe1 » Wed Jan 14, 2015 4:36 pm

I agree that this is a very fascinating topic!

In Scandinavia, the "Lydiardism" was the rule in the 60-70-80´s and we produced a lot of world class runners, like for example Lasse Virén and Anders Gärderud - both olympic gold medalists in distance running. I know the training of Gärderud very well, since he lives only a few kilometers away from my home, and I see him often at the track were I train. His training was basically this: 2x20 km EASY running per day, monday-friday. Saturday 10km fast (treshold). Sunday 35 km easy. Very simple. A lot of easy running + 10 km fast running per week. Before important races he would go to the track and do some speed work, but not too much.

But the one who took it farther than anyone was the norwegian runner Jan Fjaerestad. He was experimenting with enormous amounts of easy running, over 400 km per week sometimes, and almost no faster running except for races (he did around 70 races per year). He said that he always went running were nobody could see him, because he was running so slow that he felt ashamed! And other runners that tried to go with him always gave up, because they couldn't run that slow! He ran 13:37 for 5k and 28:25 for 10 k. He could probably have done a bit better with more balanced training, but it is still amazing how far some people can go with basically just loads of easy running and racing....
dkggpeters wrote:I find this to be an interesting topic as I am always curious as to how slow you can go and still reap the benefits you are after.

Obviously if you are failing on your quality sessions then this may be an indication that you are running your easy runs to fast (this is assuming that you are running quality sessions at your current fitness level). You also don't want your form to break down so badly that may cause unintended consequences.

I know a couple of people that run marathons in 2;35 to 2:37 range currently and they do their easy runs really slow. One at 8:30 pace or so and the other will do 10+ minute pace for a lot of his miles. The first one uses races a lot to get in quality and the other one does do really hard quality sessions with a lot of volume on those days.

One of the problems is everyone is a little different so 10 minute miles may not work for me but they could be fine for you.

I guess the million dollar question is, how slow can you go and still accomplish your objectives?

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Re: Longer easy runs at “very” easy pace...

Post by Spider Man » Fri Jan 16, 2015 10:42 am

Thanks Gabe!

It's always good to learn how different countries have developed their running culture ...
Any thoughts on why the Scandinavian countries no longer appear to produce world-class distance runners?

cheers,
Alan.

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Re: Longer easy runs at “very” easy pace...

Post by Gabe1 » Fri Jan 16, 2015 11:00 am

Alan,

This is the ever ongoing topic in the Scandinavian running community. Of course there is never just one explanation, but a myriad of different reasons to why we don't produce good runners anymore.

If you take a look at Lidingöloppet 30k, the worlds largest cross country race here in Sweden, you'll see that in the 80's there were around 8.000 participants and over 300 managed to run under 2 hours, which is very fast on that hard course. Today there are 20.000 participants and less than 100 people manage sub 2 hours. So alot more people are running, but very few are training hard. There are so many other interests these days that attracts kids. Computers, video games, social media etc. And of course other sports that pay really well if you have talent and want to succeed, like hockey or soccer.

Then we have the issue with the "smart" training that started to take hold in the 90's. Train less-train harder etc. That training probably destroyed many many talents.

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Re: Longer easy runs at “very” easy pace...

Post by Spider Man » Fri Jan 16, 2015 11:22 am

Gabe,

Sounds very familiar ... same here in the UK ...
e.g. London Marathon (40,000 "participants" but few "racers") ...

Plenty of young kids (9-15) taking part in XC & track, but too many are turned off by too hard (i.e. speed) training they are subjected to ... lots of great talent going to waste!

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