What pace?

Hi, I've just been reading in this months RW (pg.30), the section on Half Mara.  At this stage it is just a 'one day' possibility, and something I'd like to consider at least training for so I know I can!

the bit I'm confused on is this : "do one longer run per week, one threshold,  and a recovery run". What's the diff between doing a long, easy run, and a recovery run? The recovery run says it should be at conversation pace, and this is where my confusion sets in. I can run at 8 mins per km which is manageable for say 5k, no way can i talk sentences, just 3-4 words, or I can plod along at 9-10 km where I can talk (or sing to myself!). I don't seem to have a 'recovery pace', or know how to get one,  it's either slow slow.. or go bit quicker which results in looking like a beetroot and sounding like I'm being strangled - there ain't nothing in between!

any ideas?!


  • Hi Laine,

    The paces are all stated to help with training, and are generally set in excess of your expected race pace, i.e if you are aiming to run a 10k in 1 hour then your pace would be 6 mins per km. If you follow a plan, they will generally let you know the different times you should be running for each pace. I am just about to start a half marathon training plan provided by Shades, and the paces are as listed below (sorrey, based on mins per mile, so you would have to get your calculator to work out for kms).

    My Marathon Race Pace (MP) is 9:45 per mile

    Recovery = MP less 90 secs to 2 mins per mile, i.e 11:15 to 11:45 per mile

    Long = MP less 30 secs to 90 secs per mile, i.e 10:15 to 11:15 per mile

    Easy = MP less 30 secs to 60 secs per mile, i.e 10:15 to 10:45 per mile

    These are only guidelines and are different for other people and plans. Based on waht you have said, I would have thought that your 8 mins per km is maybe closer to a long or easy run (possibly change to 8:30 or 9 mins per km so that you can converse). I am new to all this pacing but I hope it gicves you an idea. I am sure there will be other people replying who are a lot more clued up than me ! Remember that even if it feels a bit slow, you can adjust your paces as you get fitter. Good luck .

  • Laine, I think 'recovery runs' are for people who have some level of fitness; if you're fairly new to running, then a 'recovery walk' would be preferential.  My long runs and recovery runs are done at about the same pace; an easy pace that I can maintain for a long period, that I can talk while I run.

    I'm unsure what they mean about 'threshold pace'; it may mean different things to different people, but I think it would mean about race pace for your half marathon.

  • I would only worry about 'recovery runs' if you are recovering from a hard session. You should feel good after a recovery session. If I do a recovery run then I really do not bother to monitor pace; try and maintain a good running form and stay relaxed. An easy walk, an easy swim, easy bike etc can also be used. Personally I go with a run, or an easy row - it's slow slow for me (or pole-pole as the Africans would say) . If you run 3 or 4 times per week then Recovery runs are dropped for rest days

    If you are early on in your running, then easy running should form the vast majority of your runs. When starting to race distances, things like threshold pace come in to play. Threshold is a specific 'up tempo' or quicker pace, getting you to run above or just below lactate threshold. If its early days forget the technicalities and run at a 'comfortably hard pace' . As EasyDoes It says, this will be close to your half marathon time.

  • Phew! Thanks. Never realised this running lark would be so technical!  I'm also going to go along to our local runners club where I'm sure they'll be able to assess where I'm at , and what I need to do to improve. 

    thanks for the explanation though, really helps 

  • Laine Shepherd wrote (see)

    Phew! Thanks. Never realised this running lark would be so technical!  I'm also going to go along to our local runners club where I'm sure they'll be able to assess where I'm at , and what I need to do to improve. 

    thanks for the explanation though, really helps 

    It's not technical at all really unless you want to take it pretty seriously.

    Just get out there and run, use common sense.

    Do fast sessions and slow sessions depending on what your body is telling you, but most importantly just try and get miles under your belt every week.  

    Pace will come over time and then you can start to structure things more.

  • Ah, now you see therein lies my problem...

    i thought I could do just that - get miles under my belt by increasing 10% on my distance each week. BUT someone (a veteran Mara runner) told me that by doing that I'd just end up a long distance plodder!  Hence the reason I started looking at training plans. I still can't do 5km under 40 mins!

  • booktrunkbooktrunk ✭✭✭

    To speed up start maybe putting in one quick km In one of your runs and slowly build it ip so that one of your runs becomes a speed session.

  • And there's nowt wrong with being a long distance plodder!  In fact, I suspect, this would provide a great base fitness so that some serious speed work could be done later on.

    The heart, lungs and muscles adapt to exercise quickly, but the bones, tendons and ligaments take far longer because their blood supply isn't great.  So by spending a lot of time 'plodding' it'll give your bones, tendons, and ligaments time to adapt and get strong.

    I've heard or read somewhere that the Japanese Olympic distance runners go to Colerado and spend their first year hiking with a rucksack.  This year prepares them for the speed/high mileage that the following years brings.  (I can't verify this, 'cos I can't remember the source).

    Speedwork kinda increases our chances of injury.

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