Should LSR pace be getting faster?

The pace I use for my long runs (10m miles) is the one I fall into naturally, a fairly slow one that I could keep going on and on at and from everything I read that's about right. The only thing I was wondering is should this pace get faster over time?

Its the same now as it was when I started running and given that my marathon times have improved (I've done two this year - one at 4:29 and the second at 3:58) I just wondered whether I shouldn't be running my long training runs a little bit faster - am I taking it too easy on myself?

I still feel like a bit of a beginner so if anyone has any advice I'd gladly take it on.


  • Evening

    I too still class myself as a bit of a beginner.  However, from my limited experience I know when I'm mucking about and when I'm pushing myself.  And, as you've completed longer distances then me I reckon you should know too!  When I train for a run I always treat my Sunday as a race day, no matter what.  This meaning that Sunday being my long run day, I go for it.  For example, I've just finished a 12 week programme for a HM and the Sundays went like this: -

    week 1 - 8 miles@8.25m/m, week 2 - 8 miles@8.21m/m, week 3 - 9 miles@8:19m/m, week 4 - 9 miles@8:16m/m ......right up until week 11 - 12 miles@7:39m/m

    Small steps, but very beneficial over a 12 week period.

    Are you doing any speed/tempo work?

  • A long easy run should be about building endurance and stamina, it should not be a balls out run, thats what tempo and speedwork is for.

    Matthew, that improvement is pretty impressive IMO, looks like you could easily go sub 1:30 on a half marathon.

  • Agreed Matthew, that's really good going - I hope the race goes well.

    I do a couple of speed and tempo sessions during the week plus two easier shortish runs and then my long run on a Sunday which is really all about building or maintaining distance rather than speed. I just wondered if my slow pace was too slow!
  • Evening all

    Thanks for the pointers.  Not sure where the 1:30 comes from?  I was supposed to be doing my HM today but the missus is suffering with a nasty dose of swine flu; I'm booked onto one in 2 weeks instead.  Thanks for the compliments though.

    I don't go 'balls out on the Sunday but I do push myself.  I just use it as a yardstick for how the week's gone and also as confidence booster more than anything else.  I get too tied up on times to be honest.  If I don't beat my time each week I get really fed up.  Always been like that.  Actually thinking of doing some fell runs so I don't have to worry about times.  Anyway, enough of that.

    I've never done speed or tempo work on my last two HMs but I think this time it is what has benefited me the most.  Sometimes I'll start out on my long run and I'm having to rein my legs in!

    I just reckon you know when you can go harder in the main

    Take it easy!

  • I you didn't go balls out running 7:39 over 12 miles, then going balls out on the day, combined with the "race effect" could mean that 1:30 isn't beyond the realms of doubt.
  • That's 'if' he doesn't get injured before race day...

    Long run pace for a marathon should be between 45-90secs per mile slower than race pace. Fast enough to build the right muscle for endurance, slow enough not to get injured.

    So if you ran 3.58 (helterskelter), 9.06? m/m (guess), then 10m/m is on the fast side for an LSR. Unless you can run the marathon faster, then revise your speed.

  • Thanks Lardarse, my plan now is to aim for 3:45 (or really to see if I can get close!) in Paris in April so maybe the 10m/m is about right for that then. I guess I was just looking for confirmation that I wasn't too far astray.

    Just as a point of interest though, do other peoples slow paces gradually decrease over time, ie does that comfortable pace that you would naturally fall into get faster? I'm just curious....
  • I do most of my LER (I prefer easy to slow image) to a heart rate and P.E., rather than pace, and over time my avg pace on my LER's has come down a fair bit.
  • To answer your question directly, yes your average pace should be getting quicker on your long runs as your race times come down.  If you are getting fitter but staying at the same pace as before it means your relative intensity is coming down.  The intensity should remain the same.
  • I think that was the point I was trying to make!  You made it far better than me Moraghan!

    I see what you mean about the pace of the long run, and I did seek professional advice on this.  They said that all long runs should be 20-30 secs above race pace.  I almost always listen to advice(!).  However, I'm not the strongest mentally in runs so I just need to know that I have it in the bank.  It's far more of a confidence thing for me then anything else.  It's what works for me I guess.  I know it goes against the advice of experts, which I am certainly not, but it does seem to work for me.

    Good luck to all with what you do.

  • Moraghan wrote (see)
     If you are getting fitter but staying at the same pace as before it means your relative intensity is coming down.  The intensity should remain the same.

    Yeah your intensity should remain the same, but that's assuming that your running at the right intensity in the first place. This is a long SLOW run, after all.

    My LSR pace has actually slowed as my marathon pb has got faster. I used to run all my LSR's at 9m/m, but couldn't get below 4.16 (9.75m/m) on race day. I slowed down to 9.5m/m, and then ran 8.5m/m for the marathon, you've just got to keep telling yourself that you don't get given medals in training!

  • Lardarse wrote (see)
    you've just got to keep telling yourself that you don't get given medals in training!
    Yup, bang on that.
  • Agreed - always assuming the original intensity is correct!

  • Thanks very much for all the advice and I'm glad we're all in agreement!! I think I'll keep with my current long run pace for the time being but if I do manage to hit my 3:45 marathon target then I'll look at taking a little bit off it.

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