Fat Burning Zone


I recently got some advice from a fellow runner after a recent half marathon and i was hoping you could confirm this.

After completing the race in what was a PB of 1hr 33mins I felt like I was going to pass out from lack of energy. I mentioned to him that i had no energy left and really start to lag at mile 8 after what would be quite a conservative pace over the first few miles and after taking an energy gel at mile 5. Now this guy has seen me run 10ks with ease and thought that my 10k times were not translating correctly across to my half marathon pace, and then mentioned that I need to increase the pace at which i get into fat burning zone. His view was that I was running in the aerobic zone while doing the longer distances race, I was depleting all of my energy and this was causing the drop in pace later stages of the race. I would have to agree with him here, i cant remember a time where running longer distance i havn't had the lag in energy towards the end of the run. I can handle runs around an hour at around 7min/mile but after that i start to bleed time to around 7:20min/mile. 

His suggestion to me was to run at 10k pace + 1.30min for long distances to train my body to burn fat and gradually over time increase the pace eventually working up towards race pace. I was wondering if this sounds correct and if so does any one have any plans or workouts i could follow to get my fat burning zone pace higher so i dont get this lag in energy i keep experiencing during long runs?



  • How long are the long runs you are doing at the moment? And how fast are you running them?

  • Longest run this season is 16 miles 1:59, my comfortable pace at the minutes is around 7min/mile but as i mentioned i get really light headed after about and hour of running at this pace, so i usally drop pace at around this point and if i dont have an energy gel its realy hard to keep going.

  • OK, well 16 miles is not a bad long run for a half marathon. But it sounds like you have only done one of them? You could increase your long runs to 18 miles and slow down a fair bit while you are doing them. If you got into the habit of doing an 18 miler every other week say and did a few before your next half marathon I think you would see a big improvement.

    I don't think the advice to do your long runs at 10K + 1.30min and gradually over time increase the pace eventually working up towards race pace is a good idea - save the faster pace running for mid-week shorter runs.

    I'm not sure about the 'fat burning zone' but to my simple minded way of looking at it, you are saying you have the pace but you don't yet have the  endurance so you need to train to improve your endurance and that means long and slow.

    That's my 2 cents anyway.


  • No i should have mentioned this is my 6th one this year. This happens to be my most recent one, and one where i felt like i couldnt have went any faster it almost felt like i hit the wall. Each week i have seen a decrease in my 10k and 5k pace but the half marathon is a mystery to me.

    Thanks the long slow run to me sounds awful im naturally quite competitve and push myself while running so this will be tricky for me to do. But its nice to know that it works.

  • JoolskaJoolska ✭✭✭

    Have faith in the long slow run - I'm a bit faster than you over the half-marathon distance (pb of 1.26/1.27) but my general training pace is no faster than 7.45-8m/m.  I would expect to do about 15M in 2 hours, not 16.  It sounds like you need to do some base training where you spend a couple of months doing not much other than steady running.  It should all pass the 'talk test' i.e. you should be able to talk in short sentences while running.

  • Also-ranAlso-ran ✭✭✭
    John, I woud say you definitely want to be running in the aerobic zone, contrary to what was said. Save any anaerobic running to the end of the race. 10k and HM are different beasts and need specific training.

    As Jools says, the long run is key (overrun the HM distance), supported by more easy running midweek. Get that nailed. Look to increase your lactate threshold with a tempo run once a Week - this will help you to run faster for longer

    Its unlikely you will exhaust your energy at HM distance. I raced one yesterday, with an extra 10 miles steady running on top. Apart from breakfast, the whole run was powered by 1 banana, and of course a lot of steady training miles.
  • +1 on what Joolska said image

    Sounds like you haven't got a great aerobic base. Google "base training". 2 to 3 months of base training should solve the problem. At times you do need to run slower to run faster. Also Google "HADD running" and download the pdf document and give that a read.

  • There's actually no such thing as 'fat burning zone'. We use a combination of fat and glycogen when we run at any speed, it's just that the faster you run the higher the percentage of glycogen you use and over longer periods the percentage gradually shifts to more fat than glycogen.

    You're just running too fast early on for that distance.

    from my own experience I did notice that after i'd completed my first marathon that I could maintain the faster pace for longer in a half marathon - which i suspect was due to better endurance from all the long runs in marathon training.

  • another +1 for Joolska's comment

    You def need to be doing more long slow runs using a HRM

  • Dr.DanDr.Dan ✭✭✭

    SLOW DOWN ! 

    Try something more like "10KP + 2-2:30" for your LSRs.

    Or, if you have a heart rate monitor, try the Hadd approach ... http://www.runnersworld.co.uk/forum/training/hadd-training-plan/181933.html

  • I'd not worry about the fat burning thing if I were you. Just concentrate on running in a relaxed easy pace for a high portion of your mileage. Whatever pace that is. In my case I do about 90%+ at 7:40-8:00mm pace to not get burntout, the other 10% is intervals/races and any other type of quality efforts. But 90 of the weekly miles will be at a relaxed pace every week. Hope this helps but I dont think you need to run your long runs that fast..in my opinion.
  • Shoes smell like horse piss  you hit the nail on the head !!!!!. There no such thing as a fat burning zone.

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