The value of slow long runs .

can anyone explain the reasoning for slow long runs in marathon training . surely running at marathon pace would prepare you more for the big day ??? help !!!!

 

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Comments

  • Well if you run 20 miles at LSR it equates to about 26 miles of marathon pace in time.   And believe me and lots more,  the last 4 miles are very long when you are not used to it.

  • thanx . i ran 3 marathons last year 2 of which where successful and 1 i blew up in . only do couple 20 milers in preperation in hindsight its maybe not enough

  • The science behind the long slow run is that you are supposed to be running it in a heart rate zone that is of benefit to your aerobic system (an easy/converational pace at between 70-80% of max heart rate. Marathon pace....or any race pace would be in an anaerobic heart rate zone (above 80% max heart rate).

    Put in layman's terms, a better developed aerobic system is of great benefit to distance runners.

    If all training was done at anaerobic pace there would be a greater chance of burnout, injury, lack of improvement. Plus the individual would be missing out on developing a vital component of their running.

  • cheers am making the effort to go with the long runs alot slower lets hope it pays off

  • JN2 - you wouldn't get very far in a marathon running anaerobically. Marathon pace is an aerobic pace. There are plenty of good reasons to slow the runs down, but it more for saving something for midweek training, getting the body used to efficient fat utilisation, improving glycogen storage etc.



    This is not to say that no Marathon Pace should be run on the LR's. Progressive pacing on some runs is useful. Have a look for example on the McMillan site:

    http://www.mcmillanrunning.com/articlePages/article/2
  • they say it takes about 3 weeks to recover from a marathon.........so if you run 18/20 miles at marathon pace then you will take a week or two to recver.........so all the seessions inbetween aren't as good and the next long run is harder ......

    and so by the time you get to the start line you are knackered.......

    so run slower and get the time on your legs..........If your long runs feel good then personally i think it can be good to put some marathon pace miles at the end of the run.maybe twice a month.......from 5 to 10 miles depending on how you are feeling in the second half of the run.

  • david for a young man at his peak.it should be a walk in the park for you.......you need to look at the age and sex adjusted times to see if its any good thoughimage

  • no the only reason to do a flat course is to get a PB..........unless its london and then its to have a laugh and a party.....image

  • Also-ran wrote (see)
    JN2 - you wouldn't get very far in a marathon running anaerobically. Marathon pace is an aerobic pace. There are plenty of good reasons to slow the runs down, but it more for saving something for midweek training, getting the body used to efficient fat utilisation, improving glycogen storage etc.

    This is not to say that no Marathon Pace should be run on the LR's. Progressive pacing on some runs is useful. Have a look for example on the McMillan site:
    http://www.mcmillanrunning.com/articlePages/article/2

    I think you'd find that marathon race pace would be in an anaerobic heart rate zone for those wanting personal bests rather than simply completion.

    McMillan themselves predict based on my previous race times that I'd do a marathon in something like 2 hours 49 mins (6:27 per mile) .......and believe me, this pace would certainly take me into an anaerobic heartrate zone within a couple of miles. 

  • JN2, are you sure about that?  My understanding is that anaerobic means "without oxygen", i.e. you are running so fast that your respiratory system can't keep up with your oxygen demands.

    This is fine for a sprinter, but would theoretically suffocate an endurance runner.  I thought this was why the 400m is more than twice as hard as a 200m, as even a highly trained athlete can't maintain anaerobic running for the whole 400m?

  • JN2 - No idea where you are getting this from. Marathons are about 1% anaerobic, 100m sprint more in the region of 85% anaerobic. Are you sure you are training for the right distance?

    Marathon pace is generally at the extreme of your aerobic threshold, so while at the moment I am comfortable running 6:27 min/mile for 20miles, at 6:20 min/miles over 20miles I enter anaerobic territitory and will be crippled with lactic acid unless I back off. Working on increasing anaerobic threshold is therefore key.

  • stutyr wrote (see)

    JN2, are you sure about that?  My understanding is that anaerobic means "without oxygen", i.e. you are running so fast that your respiratory system can't keep up with your oxygen demands.

    This is fine for a sprinter, but would theoretically suffocate an endurance runner.  I thought this was why the 400m is more than twice as hard as a 200m, as even a highly trained athlete can't maintain anaerobic running for the whole 400m?

     

    Also-ran wrote (see)

    JN2 - No idea where you are getting this from. Marathons are about 1% anaerobic, 100m sprint more in the region of 85% anaerobic. Are you sure you are training for the right distance?

    Hi Guys,

    I'd do some research on anaerobic vs aerobic training. I used to be confused by it too:

    Check out this:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anaerobic_exercise

    Its confusing because sprinting/lifting weights etc is anaerobic. Whereas running say anything where your BPM is above 80% of max means that you are training in an 'anaerobic' training zone.

    Test your own heart rates if you like. Your LSR should be below 80% of max (therefore in an aerobic zone). Anything faster.....including marathon pace training would be in an anaerobic training zone.

    The fastest training (Intervals/time trials will bash you into VO2 training).

  • I tried.

    Shakes head, walking away.

  • Also-ran wrote (see)

    JN2 - No idea where you are getting this from. Marathons are about 1% anaerobic, 100m sprint more in the region of 85% anaerobic. Are you sure you are training for the right distance?

    Marathon pace is generally at the extreme of your aerobic threshold, so while at the moment I am comfortable running 6:27 min/mile for 20miles, at 6:20 min/miles over 20miles I enter anaerobic territitory and will be crippled with lactic acid unless I back off. Working on increasing anaerobic threshold is therefore key.

    Just a thought, but have you ever taken your heart rate when running these 6:27 miles? Obviously I have no idea of your levels of marathon competence but I'd be surprised if you weren't above 80% of MHR after running them constantly for a few miles.

    Strangely 6:27 is my predicted marathon pace and I did 10 miles at this exact pace last Saturday.....but I'd bet my heart rate would be in the region of 85-86% of max. Obviously you might well be much fitter.....and 6:27 pace wouldn't take you out of your aerobic zone. You might well be below 80% of max at this pace......but I'd be impressed if that were the case. 

  • JN - If someone is running a marathon at 6,27 - YES their heart rate is below their lactic threshold.  That is what the right kind of training does for you - it enables you to run fast at a lower heart rate.  

     

     

     

     

     

  • GymAddict wrote (see)

    JN - If someone is running a marathon at 6,27 - YES their heart rate is below their lactic threshold.  That is what the right kind of training does for you - it enables you to run fast at a lower heart rate.  

             

    Agreed.

    It doesn't mean that you'd run a marathon with your heartrate below 80% of max though. Some people may well be able to maintain a marathon pace at 85% or higher of the maximum heart rate for the full 26.2 miles. I can't really comment on the correlation/variations between lactic thresholds and an athlete's maximum heart rate. The Fox and Haskell chart is largely generic, but training zones and paces are very much supported by the Daniels VDOT system.....and there does seem to be quite a difference between ones predicted 'easy running pace/long slow run pace' and 'marathon pace'. For me it differs by around one minute per mile, which almost certainly would differentiate an aerobic training zone from an anaerobic training zone.

    Granted, everyone is different and no doubt the Fox and Haskell chart that I posted up earlier won't be an exact fit for everyone. But training to training zones based on maximum heart rates is nothing new.

    Getting back to the purpose of the thread, the benefit of the long slow run is simply to build up endurance at a slower pace with a lower heart rate so as to be of benefit to a runner's aerobic system and hence be of benefit to their running. The slower pace also is of benefit in so far as a runner is less likely to pick up an injury that they might at a higher pace. 

  • Lactic thresholds are not at 80% -you can estmate them at 85% but even then that is an estimate - the zones always are always unless you get properly tested. I have been and so I know my threshold HR for bike and run but didn't really max out - it did look like my bike threshold is at 83% max and my running threshold is 88% max.  So from that you can instantly tell that I have a lot more experience in running.  So, if I run a marathon at 85% - this is still aerobic for me - although there will be period where I go over and periods where I dip down.  However I suspect this would still be too much for me and I am more likely to race at 80 ish - have never worn a hr strap in a race because of the likelihood of major skin chaffing.

     

    This is why endurance LSR tends to be recommended at 80 - so that you are well below. I believe Maffetone is even lower than that to ensure maximum aerobic training.  

     

    So, even though someone is running a marathon at a HR that is edging on 85% (not that I am saying they are - just taking that as an example) - if they can sustain this for a marathon then this must be below their threshold. Therefore calling it anerobic is incorrect. A marathon pace has to be aerobic or it is not sustainable.

     

  • So...  I ran a half marathon yesterday.  I was kept to 8min 20s for 10 miles - this was definitely running, definitely some effort, but I guess I could have kept it going for quite a longer.   As it was, I was able to step it up for the last 3 miles.   Would it be fair to say that 8:20 represents my LT?  Which would presumably mean 9:50 would be a good pace for my long slow runs.

  • I would expect your 5k time to be closer to your threshold pace.
  • GymAddict wrote (see)

    Lactic thresholds are not at 80% -you can estmate them at 85% but even then that is an estimate - the zones always are always unless you get properly tested. I have been and so I know my threshold HR for bike and run but didn't really max out - it did look like my bike threshold is at 83% max and my running threshold is 88% max.  So from that you can instantly tell that I have a lot more experience in running.  So, if I run a marathon at 85% - this is still aerobic for me - although there will be period where I go over and periods where I dip down.  However I suspect this would still be too much for me and I am more likely to race at 80 ish - have never worn a hr strap in a race because of the likelihood of major skin chaffing.

      This is why endurance LSR tends to be recommended at 80 - so that you are well below. I believe Maffetone is even lower than that to ensure maximum aerobic training.     So, even though someone is running a marathon at a HR that is edging on 85% (not that I am saying they are - just taking that as an example) - if they can sustain this for a marathon then this must be below their threshold. Therefore calling it anerobic is incorrect. A marathon pace has to be aerobic or it is not sustainable.  

    I'd be perfectly prepared to accept this. 80% of MHR isn't a hard and fast rule......but I'd imagine that for most people, doing a LSR at under 80% MHR would be ideal rather than over.

    Interestingly, my LSR recommended pace is 7:28 per mile. This equates to roughly 78% of my own MHR.

  • Jamie Newton 2 wrote (see)

    The science behind the long slow run is that you are supposed to be running it in a heart rate zone that is of benefit to your aerobic system (an easy/converational pace at between 70-80% of max heart rate. Marathon pace....or any race pace would be in an anaerobic heart rate zone (above 80% max heart rate).

    Put in layman's terms, a better developed aerobic system is of great benefit to distance runners. If all training was done at anaerobic pace there would be a greater chance of burnout, injury, lack of improvement. Plus the individual would be missing out on developing a vital component of their running.

    So can you see where you have gone wrong in the previous statement?  

     

    Marathon pace is still Aerobic.  5k is on the cusp of threshold  - but anaerobic running is only really shorter track races - not 5k and up.

  • Fox and Haskell is very generic, and can be confusing due to the training zone Names. The anaerobic threshold can happen somewhere between 80% and 90% according to then - i.e. somewhere in that range the energy systems switch to aneerobic. For some, this threshold may be at 80%, and others at 90% - that' a big band.

    For me, about 89% is the max I go using areobic systems, creeping just above that towards the end of a HM or Marathon

    Long runs will be run at about 75% to 82%, but including some quality later in training, with some mileage around 85% - 88% (never any anaerobic pace). My marathon pace is obviously aerobic constrained for endurance sport.

    Tempo Runs will go to the top end of my cardio range, and possibly just over (I use my 10 mile pace). Here emphasis is on conditioning / improving lactate threshold (not something you would do in a long run). So save some speed for this session.

    Intervals are run in the 90+% range for me, emphasis being on improving VO2. So again, having speed here rather than a long run is important (if you do intervals)

    I think the confusing factor here was when JN stated "Marathon pace....or any race pace would be in an anaerobic heart rate zone (above 80% max heart rate)" which sounds like you would be running anaerobically - whereas this was the Fox and Haskell band - the Anaerobic Training zone does not mean you are exercising anaerobically.  Statistically, your anaerobic threshold is likely to be somewhere in that band. As a name, Anaerobic Training Zone stinks image

  • Perhaps I should have clicked on his link before starting a lecture.

     

    Sorry Jamie - okay - Anaerobic training Zone is a crap name

     

    Joe Beer calls it the 'dead zone' - so that's what we call it in our house image

  • Jamie Newton 2 wrote (see)
     

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anaerobic_exercise

    Its confusing because sprinting/lifting weights etc is anaerobic. Whereas running say anything where your BPM is above 80% of max means that you are training in an 'anaerobic' training zone.

    JN, I don't know if I'm missing something but do you really mean to equate "anaerobic training zone" with the suggestion that above 80% max HR, you are getting all your energy requirements from anaerobic pathways?  Because if you are, it's just plain wrong and contradicted by the wikipedia link you've put up: "Any activity lasting longer than about two minutes has a large aerobic metabolic component."

    If you're referring to anaerobic threshold, then fair enough (possibly... the definition still confuses me) but it's easier to infer from what you've said that there is a switch from one to the other (aerobic - anaerobic) at a certain level of HR, which is not the case.

    FWIW my marathon HR is about 82/83% max, half marathon HR ~85%, 10k ~89%. This would correspond, I'd imagine, with an estimate for LT occurring around 86/87%, but for all these distances the vast majority of energy requirements are aerobic.

  • x-post. OK, think we covered that.  Maybe there's too much terminology going on, confusing people.  I blame Noakes.

    Run a lot, mainly at an easy pace, with some quicker.  Sleep properly and don't eat too much crap.  Don't smoke fags.  You'll get quicker!  image

  • DF3s gone quiet, I think you all lost him on the 12th post, as he doesn't actually know anything about running.

  • Also-ran wrote (see)

    Fox and Haskell is very generic, and can be confusing due to the training zone Names. The anaerobic threshold can happen somewhere between 80% and 90% according to then - i.e. somewhere in that range the energy systems switch to aneerobic. For some, this threshold may be at 80%, and others at 90% - that' a big band.

    For me, about 89% is the max I go using areobic systems, creeping just above that towards the end of a HM or Marathon Long runs will be run at about 75% to 82%, but including some quality later in training, with some mileage around 85% - 88% (never any anaerobic pace). My marathon pace is obviously aerobic constrained for endurance sport. Tempo Runs will go to the top end of my cardio range, and possibly just over (I use my 10 mile pace). Here emphasis is on conditioning / improving lactate threshold (not something you would do in a long run). So save some speed for this session. Intervals are run in the 90+% range for me, emphasis being on improving VO2. So again, having speed here rather than a long run is important (if you do intervals) I think the confusing factor here was when JN stated "Marathon pace....or any race pace would be in an anaerobic heart rate zone (above 80% max heart rate)" which sounds like you would be running anaerobically - whereas this was the Fox and Haskell band - the Anaerobic Training zone does not mean you are exercising anaerobically.  Statistically, your anaerobic threshold is likely to be somewhere in that band. As a name, Anaerobic Training Zone stinks image

     

    GymAddict wrote (see)

    Perhaps I should have clicked on his link before starting a lecture.

      Sorry Jamie - okay - Anaerobic training Zone is a crap name   Joe Beer calls it the 'dead zone' - so that's what we call it in our house image

     

    PhilPub wrote (see)
    Jamie Newton 2 wrote (see)
     

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anaerobic_exercise

    Its confusing because sprinting/lifting weights etc is anaerobic. Whereas running say anything where your BPM is above 80% of max means that you are training in an 'anaerobic' training zone.

    JN, I don't know if I'm missing something but do you really mean to equate "anaerobic training zone" with the suggestion that above 80% max HR, you are getting all your energy requirements from anaerobic pathways?  Because if you are, it's just plain wrong and contradicted by the wikipedia link you've put up: "Any activity lasting longer than about two minutes has a large aerobic metabolic component."

    If you're referring to anaerobic threshold, then fair enough (possibly... the definition still confuses me) but it's easier to infer from what you've said that there is a switch from one to the other (aerobic - anaerobic) at a certain level of HR, which is not the case.

    FWIW my marathon HR is about 82/83% max, half marathon

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