What exactly is this about training at various different paces? What does it mean? Is it really beneficial for me?
All of this and the associated jargon can be extremely confusing to most runners, especially new runners. Add to this mix the various schools of thought on training for a road race 10km to 42.195 km (Lets leave racing 800m to 5000m and ultra races out of this mix for now. Those are two other totally different aspects). Then over and above that there is each individual coaches interpretation of those schools of thought. Further add a virtual mountain of information and different names for the same type of training, Interval training being a prime example, to the mix and you have a perfect recipe for total disaster and confusion.
The stark reality though is that if you want to improve your fitness and your racing times you need to work at different paces in your training. It is of absolutely no use going and running 8km at 5 minutes per km every day with a 20km at a slower pace on a sunday and then trying to do a 40 minute 10km. You have to teach your body to run and cope with that speed.
Okay, So, Now you are saying to yourself, “Thank you so much for Confusing me even Further!!!!!!!” Fear not. We are going to walk through this together Step by Step. For simplicity sake and for the danger involved in training at the wrong paces i urge you not to use the numbers involved in my descriptions. They are purely Generic in Nature.
As a road runner there are 5 paces that concern you.
Bear the following in mind: A. you need a current race time to calculate training paces. B. For Heart Rate Maximum purposes You need to do an HR max test to establish HR max. Both of these will be covered in a separate article.
1. Easy run pace.
2. Marathon Pace.
3. Lactate Threshold pace ( A little slower than 10km race pace, although using 10k pace will suffice).
4. Vo2 Max Pace. (a little slower than 5km race pace, although 5k pace will suffice)
5. Repetition pace training.
Today, for starters we are going to look at the Easy run pace.
This is the pace that the majority of your running will be done at. This pace is your body’s recovery time, it helps you recover from the previous sessions hard work. Your Easy runs, which are between Quality days, and your Long runs are all done in this range.
You must be able to hold a conversation with someone at this pace without getting out of breath. So in short if you are able to yackity yack for the full-time it takes you to run a 25km long run then you are probably in the right zone.
The reason we need to train at this pace.
Is to recover from hard workouts.
To build aerobic capacity.
If you run faster than easy pace. you are not recovering like you should. Your body must now allocate resources to building aerobic capacity. Needs to try to find other ways of repairing micro-tears that occur from the stress your body has had to endure during the previous quality session.
If you run a little slower than your designated easy pace, you build aerobic capacity and you recover from hard sessions.
Lets Put some science to this (Who thought you would need science after school ;) )
Easy pace is the following.
time based on a recent race performance
It can be based on your HR max. This is not crucial, race performance is.
Perceived exertion, can you talk easily while running at it?
65% to 79% of HR Max.
So, for example. Jim can run a 10km in 50 Minutes and his HR Max is 190.
Therefore his easy run pace is 6min19 to 6min30 per kilometer.
His heart rate can be between 123 to 150, it must not exceed this.
in an ideal world you will have your time and an HR max to work with as well as perceived exertion.
It is an oft overlooked pace. Easy pace is however just as important as the other paces, if not more so. If it is overdone or not managed correctly it WILL eventually lead to a body breakdown. Rest and recovery is vital to running your best.