Advice with training paces - am I going too fast or slow?


I've produced a half marathon traing plan using the smartcoach. This has given me a long run pace of 8:55 min/km (converted from miles as I'm used to kms). I know this is really slow, but is based on my previous races.

I'm using a garmin forerunner 110 to track my pace, and know it only gives the average over a lap.

My question is about what measurement I should be using as my pace over a run - average pace, moving pace or the pace run for most of the time?

For example, last week I ran an undulating 12k run.

  • My overall average pace was 9:05 (suggesting I was a bit slow).
  • My moving average pace was 8:45 (suggesting I was a bit fast)
  • For 9 of the 12 km I was running at 8:30 pace, which felt good. But was this too fast? My overall pace was brought down by 2 big hills where my pace slowed to about 11 min/km.

I'm possibly overthinking, but keep reading about the issues with running your long run too fast. Are there any problems with running it too slow?




  • Hi, As you say I would say you are overthinking it. I think your goals should be extending the time on your feet and increasing your aerobic capacity. I wouldn't worry about running repitions at this stage, just go out and run easily for 70mins and try and increase the regularity of your runs. A longer run of up to 2 hours would also benefit but I don't think the pace is important, as long as you can keep going at a steady pace.

  • What time do you want to do the half marathon in ? And i find its best to work in mins per mile as most half marathons have mile markers. 

  • Thanks for the replies.I'm possibly overthinking as I'm stuck inside with the lurgy and so can't actually do any running image

    I have managed to get my long runs up to about 2 hours now, and it feels fairly comfortable. That's about 9-10 miles at my pace though, so still a way to go. I'll keep working on the time on my feet.

    Cougie - the time I'd like to run it in and the time I'm capable of doing it in are two different questions image

    I'd like to do it in less than 2 hours 30 mins, but 2:45 is a more achieveable target I think.

    I appreciate your point about the mile markers, but I'm so used to using the km paces on my garmin that I think I'd get very confused if I switched to miles now. I'm used to looking down and knowing what that pace means in terms of too fast to finish vs too slow for target.

  • I saw your 8:55 pace and thought - that's not bad, easy 2 h Half there.  The I realised you are working in min/km after reading your latest post.  I understand your confusion as I can't get my head around it your way image

    Have you run a 5K race (Parkrun?) to see your "race pace" then you can adjust your training accordingly?  It's hard to know what is too fast or too slow - but working backward form a known race time would help people on here advise you I imagine.

  • Thanks Daeve, I'm glad I'm not the only one who can't do the mental maths!

    I confess that Saturday morning is my time to curl up under the duvet and catch up on missing sleep. I love the idea of parkrun, just not the timing.

    The 8:55 min/km pace was generated by the Smart coach tool, based on the time from a 10k race last May. My race times so far are:

    10k in Aug 2011 - 82 mins

    10k in May 2012 - 77 mins

    5k in Sept 2012- 37 mins

    10 mile in Dec 2012 - 2 hours and 8 mins

  • I'm a hypocrite - I've been signed up for 12 months and not made a single one yet - due to that 9am start and with a warm up I'd have to leave around 8am - I too like my duvet! this is quite useful, it indicates your long runs should be a bit quicker based on your 5K time (though to me the site does seem to lean on the quick side for most).  I'd imagine your 5K time has come down a bit since Sept as well as you're running more distance.

  • That's useful thanks.

    I was just returning from injury when I ran the 5k, so expect I could run quicker now. It does suggest the 2:45 target for a half marathon is about right.

  • I appreciate the comments that pace doesn't matter too much at my stage,and keep trying to increase the time I spend running.

    I have been running for 18 months now, however slowly, and do like to have a structured plan to follow. Just the way my mind works I guess.

    Assuming I have the target paces about right, should I be comparing this target to the average pace or moving pace data from the garmin. Sometime there can be a minute or more difference between them.

    What do other people use?

  • I tend to use my "moving" pace, the average includes time spent *not* moving, like if you stop at a junction or have a rest, or the bit where you start your watch then set off.  I have my watch set up to give half mile laps and I try to keep them ± 10s.  I think you are supposed to try to keep at the training pace (or thereabouts) as much as possible rather than doing some a minute under and some a minute over pace so it averages.  Obviously hills are an issue.

  • Hills are always an issue for me image

    Something I plan to work on this year.

    Useful advice above, thanks

  • Hang on - if youre running 10 miles in 2 hours - then why do you think 2.5 for a half ?

    That pace would put you under 2.40 anyway - but why would you be running your long runs at race pace ? Why would you do that ? How can you hope to recover and train properly if you race everywhere ?

    Your long run pace is 12 mins per mile.

    I typically run about 6 miles an hour - so that's 10 minute miles.

    My half time is about 1.25.

    Do most of your training at a nice steady aerobic pace. A pace you can chat at. Then your body can recover from its efforts and leave you fresh to do some speed work. I like to do mile intervals at faster than my 5k pace.

    If that's too much - do half mile reps and build the speed and or distance up.

    Find a pal to run with. Thats better than a garmin.
  • Ok I'm confused now. Your first post said you run 10 miles in 2 hours and your later post had a race time of 10 miles in 2hr 8.

    Either way - ditch the garmin and run with a pal at a pace you can chat at. The miles will go quicker and you won't run too fast.
  • Good advice cougie - though it is not always easy to find someone else to run with at convenient times for you at the distances you want to go (garmin has to be my "friend" most days - how sad).  I've managed it maybe 5 times in the last year training for a marathon - work just gets on the way!  A running club is a great idea for most I imagine.

  • GPS isn't always that accurate.  When I look at my speed plots, they are all over the place.  I also usually get a few seconds stationary per km even when I haven't stopped.  They can also underestiamte distance and elevation.  I tend to look at avg pace /km and overall.  Found this site the other day - useful for plotting routes 

  • Gmap-pedometer is great - I used to use it a lot before I got my garmin watch.

    I wonder if it depends on the hardware you use for a GPS watch? - my FR610 (always latest firmware) has been great over the last year months (better than 99% accurate on measured courses I run) - the only drops to stationary are where I know I did stop, at road junctions, shoelaces, breaks - other than that the pace is consistant throughout the run to what I was doing - surprisingly, the current pace showing on the watch is fairly consistant too, not jumping around by more than 5-10 s pace.  I do use 1 second recording mode though.  Elevation, however, by GPS in my experience is pretty poor I totally agree - but I use the corrected elevation from garmon connect to mitigate this somewhat.

  • Cougie - sorry if I confused you. The about 2 hours for about 9-10 miles statement was was not meant to be especially accurate, just a guide of the kind of times or distances I cover in a long run.Sometimes I run by time, other times I focus on distance.

    The 2:08 race time for 10 miles is accurate. I don't run my long runs at race pace - at least a minute per km slower. But part of the point of this thread is to make sure I'm not doing them too quickly, as I appreciate your thoughts about not overtraining.

    I do run many long runs with my husband, and try to keep to a conversational pace, but he's naturally faster than me. At my running group most people are also considerably faster than me, and don't want to run as far, so I use this time for tempo runs. I don't know anyone who wants to run 2-3 hours at a pace as slow as I do.

    Thanks for the advice. I'm reassured I'm basically thinking on the right lines. Now I just need to get rid of the flu and get back out there!

  • Daeve, you're right - I've checked and the distance is about 99% accurate - which makes the speed discrepancies even stranger.  I'm being told that my fastest pace in any given km is between 3-4 mins but my average is about 5mins+ (and the 3min/km pace was uphill!).  Interestingly I also use the corrected elevation data, but it still comes out consistently lower than gmap, which is odd seeing as they use the same data set.

    I don't think there is a recording mode setting on the 410 (or at least I haven't found it).


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