Aerobic base training alongside speed work?

Hope someone knowledgeable in this area can help image I've found various articles discussing how great 12-16 weeks of aerobic base training is pre-season, so very slow runs, gradually building pace a bit through the 12 weeks.

My question is: is this supposed to be exclusive, so no fast runs or intervals at all?

My 2nd question is: mid-season when the intervals and long fast runs are in full effect, is there any real benefit in doing these very slow runs alongside (not to be confused with the LSR which are just e.g. 30s per mile slower than marathon pace).

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Comments

  • what is 'season'? What sort of races are you training for and when are they?

  • Maybe I should rephrase. If I spend 12 weeks doing aerobic base (90s slower than racepace), do I have to avoid doing any fast running?

    And once that's done, let's say I'm training for a marathon, do I bother with any more very slow runs (e.g. 90s slower than racepace) alongside the normal LSRs (30-45s slower than racepace) and fast work?

  • Opinions vary. Some approaches seem to focus on easy running for a long while and gradually introduce running well shy of even threshold pace. They don't talk about speed work at all

    others will use hills or speed work sooner. 

    you've been running for a while I think so it's more about knowing whether you are focussing on running economy, lactate threshold, velocity at vo2max or what. akso if you are running a spring and autumn marathon then those involve a lot of aerobic work. Maybe the off season is a time to work on other aspects and cross train? im tending towards that view myself. 

     

     

  • You'll need to do some easy stuff between your long runs & fast stuff, surely?

    Hard stuff v hard, easy stuff v easy. image

  • If your 'normal LSRs' are only 30s slower than marathon pace then it sounds to me like you're doing those too fast. Slow those down to at least 60s slower than marathon pace and then the problem is solved isn't it?
  • Charles R wrote (see)

    Maybe I should rephrase. If I spend 12 weeks doing aerobic base (90s slower than racepace), do I have to avoid doing any fast running?

    And once that's done, let's say I'm training for a marathon, do I bother with any more very slow runs (e.g. 90s slower than racepace) alongside the normal LSRs (30-45s slower than racepace) and fast work?

    Hi Charles,

    no you do not bother with the very slower work later in your training programme, except for mid week recovery runs.

    You should have by that point already built up your endurance so later in the programme you are building your race pace endurance without fatiguing yourself hence why it is 30s slower than what you would run on race day.

     

    However, some plans will have you running at the slower pace and the quicker pace within the same run, for instance the 22miler, again so as not to over fatigue the runner in the final stages of the training.

    image

     

     

     

  • Thanks for all the replies - great food for thought. I think I'm leaning towards Pete's idea. Now just need to figure out when I can fit in the base training - it sounds terminally boring!! It will build willpower too I guess.

  • You don't say much about your "season" goals, which makes it hard to give advice.  But like Ballesteros said, if you are training for a marathon, your long runs should be about race pace + 10-20%.  Which, unless you are super fast, is more likely to be in the range of + 45-90 secs than + 30 secs.   A number of plans include marathon pace miles in the LRs, but they won't be the majority of your LR miles.     

    That said, in ref to the original question, I don't see any reason why you shouldn't do a bit of quality (intervals or whatever) while you are base building, especially if you are used to it already.  Just don't be doing loads of quality work while simultaneously building up base mileage, because that will increase your risk of injury.

  • Genghis Khan wrote (see)

    You don't say much about your "season" goals, which makes it hard to give advice.  But like Ballesteros said, if you are training for a marathon, your long runs should be about race pace + 10-20%.  Which, unless you are super fast, is more likely to be in the range of + 45-90 secs than + 30 secs.   A number of plans include marathon pace miles in the LRs, but they won't be the majority of your LR miles.     

    That said, in ref to the original question, I don't see any reason why you shouldn't do a bit of quality (intervals or whatever) while you are base building, especially if you are used to it already.  Just don't be doing loads of quality work while simultaneously building up base mileage, because that will increase your risk of injury.

    you need to read the OPs posts again mate. the +30s is in the later stage of training, which most plans have the runner doing.  This stage is building up speed endurance in the final third of the plan only.

    the long runs at plus 1mm to 1:30mm pace is built up in the weeks before then.

  • Charles R wrote (see)

    Thanks for all the replies - great food for thought. I think I'm leaning towards Pete's idea. Now just need to figure out when I can fit in the base training - it sounds terminally boring!! It will build willpower too I guess.

    If you have not done too much running (20 miles + a week) try to get in at least 3 months of base training then commence the 16 week marathon plan. Incorporating tempo runs, long runs, interval sessions, and progression runs, with each hard session split with a day off running or a easy run. 

     

    If you are tired hard runs can be changed for fartlek sessions or an easy run ended with a session of strides.  Make your long run your main focus for your first marathon not the speed sessions.

     

    image

  • Pete Holt wrote (see)
    Genghis Khan wrote (see)
    You don't say much about your "season" goals, which makes it hard to give advice.  But like Ballesteros said, if you are training for a marathon, your long runs should be about race pace + 10-20%.  Which, unless you are super fast, is more likely to be in the range of + 45-90 secs than + 30 secs.   A number of plans include marathon pace miles in the LRs, but they won't be the majority of your LR miles.      That said, in ref to the original question, I don't see any reason why you shouldn't do a bit of quality (intervals or whatever) while you are base building, especially if you are used to it already.  Just don't be doing loads of quality work while simultaneously building up base mileage, because that will increase your risk of injury.

    you need to read the OPs posts again mate. the +30s is in the later stage of training, which most plans have the runner doing.  This stage is building up speed endurance in the final third of the plan only.

    the long runs at plus 1mm to 1:30mm pace is built up in the weeks before then.

    The OP asks in his second post whether to bother with any more "very slow" runs "once he's training for a marathon".  

    Most marathon training plans last 12-18 weeks.  So my original answer stands - yes, during this period he should still be doing his long runs at race pace + 10-20%.  

    If you're suggesting that during this 12-18 week period he should be doing his long runs at race pace + 30 seconds, then we will have to agree to disagree.  In my view that's just plain wrong; it's too fast (unless his race pace is 5 min miles) and doesn't allow enough recovery.  You will find similar advice all over this forum, and in most of the reputable plans that I'm aware of.

     

  • +1 What GK kindly explained is where I was leading.
  • Genghis Khan wrote (see)
    Pete Holt wrote (see)
    Genghis Khan wrote (see)

    You don't say much about your "season" goals, which makes it hard to give advice.  But like Ballesteros said, if you are training for a marathon, your long runs should be about race pace + 10-20%.  Which, unless you are super fast, is more likely to be in the range of + 45-90 secs than + 30 secs.   A number of plans include marathon pace miles in the LRs, but they won't be the majority of your LR miles.     

    That said, in ref to the original question, I don't see any reason why you shouldn't do a bit of quality (intervals or whatever) while you are base building, especially if you are used to it already.  Just don't be doing loads of quality work while simultaneously building up base mileage, because that will increase your risk of injury.

    you need to read the OPs posts again mate. the +30s is in the later stage of training, which most plans have the runner doing.  This stage is building up speed endurance in the final third of the plan only.

    the long runs at plus 1mm to 1:30mm pace is built up in the weeks before then.

    The OP asks in his second post whether to bother with any more "very slow" runs "once he's training for a marathon".  

    Most marathon training plans last 12-18 weeks.  So my original answer stands - yes, during this period he should still be doing his long runs at race pace + 10-20%.  

    If you're suggesting that during this 12-18 week period he should be doing his long runs at race pace + 30 seconds, then we will have to agree to disagree.  In my view that's just plain wrong; it's too fast (unless his race pace is 5 min miles) and doesn't allow enough recovery.  You will find similar advice all over this forum, and in most of the reputable plans that I'm aware of.

     

    no - in  the final third of the 12 to 18 week plan he would introduce quicker pace into his long runs.  either as steady runs or as intervals i.e. half at the normal easy pace the second half at MP.

    have a look on the Asics 26.2 section of this website and check under the training plans for an example as to what I mean (go to home asics 26.2 train like a pro tab he open a pdf plan). It would only be the 3 or 4 long runs leading up to taper.  The months of training leading up to this period is adequate enough for the endurance to be sufficiently built up.  As my physio once said to me about long runs (he's an elite class runner) "if you only train to run slow you will only run slow."

     

  • Well, as I said, most plans do advocate doing a % of LR miles a bit faster.  For example, the P&D plans (which a lot of folk on these forums have used with great success) have one out of every four LRs as a marathon pace run - where the majority (not all) of the distance is done at goal race pace.  

    That said, doing all of your LR miles in the month before the taper (let's say 80 miles worth) at race pace + 30s (per mile) still strikes me as too much work too close to race pace.  I don't dispute that some plans may recommend this.  But for every one that does, I'll bet you I can find another equally reputable one that argues the opposite.  So, horses for courses, but there is certainly more than one side.

    As for "train to run slow, run slow" - sure, but it's a bit of a strawman.  Nobody's arguing that all marathon training should be done at easy pace.  That's what the tempo runs etc during the week are for.

  • The goal would be a sub3. I've done a 3:20 in pre-breakfast training run (I got to 20 and wondered what the next 6.2 miles would be like), but I'm trying to decide if I should concentrate on speed (by doing 5k race training) or endurance (by doing 12-16 week aerobic base training). Or perhaps the former and then the latter if I'm patient enough. So just trying to plan the logistics.

  • What are your strengths and weaknesses at the moment?

    That will help point you in the right direction.
  • Thanks. My heartrate is good at 3:20 pace - nice and easy, but as soon as I try and run quicker e.g. 3:05, it goes up too quickly and I know I won't be able to sustain it. However, the long distances (half to full) are my strengths - I find the short distances (1mile-5k) very tough. 10k is somewhere in limbo.

  • Genghis Khan wrote (see)

    Well, as I said, most plans do advocate doing a % of LR miles a bit faster.  For example, the P&D plans (which a lot of folk on these forums have used with great success) have one out of every four LRs as a marathon pace run - where the majority (not all) of the distance is done at goal race pace.  

    That said, doing all of your LR miles in the month before the taper (let's say 80 miles worth) at race pace + 30s (per mile) still strikes me as too much work too close to race pace.  I don't dispute that some plans may recommend this.  But for every one that does, I'll bet you I can find another equally reputable one that argues the opposite.  So, horses for courses, but there is certainly more than one side. As for "train to run slow, run slow" - sure, but it's a bit of a strawman.  Nobody's arguing that all marathon training should be done at easy pace.  That's what the tempo runs etc during the week are for.

    this is why I suggested that you e-read the OP, as he acknowledges that the majority of his work LRs will be 90s slower!!

    "Train to run slow" is a direct reference to LRs, LRs run at the quicker pace are about speed endurance, therefore different to intervals and shorter distance tempo runs.

     

  • Pete, I have no interest in arguing with you (or anyone else) on the internet, but you keep moving the goalposts.  

    The OP's question was: does he need to do ANY more LSRs at easy pace, once he has built his base and is at the business end of "the season"/marathon training.  He then implies that he thinks the "normal" pace for LRs during this period is race pace + 30s.  (I grant you this is not completely clear but that's how both Ballesteros and I interpreted it.)  

    My answer: yes, there will still be a place for LRs at up to 90s slower than race pace, and + 30s is too fast to be the default speed for LRs, even in the last couple of months of marathon training.  

    eg - last 3 LRs, 5, 4 and 3 weeks out from the marathon respectively.  Probably 60 miles or so.  Should he run all, or most, of those 60 miles at mgp +30s?  No, that would be mental.

     It may be we are both saying the same thing in a different way, i.e. once you've built a good base, do some of your LR miles at closer to race pace.  Not all; not none; but some.  In which case fine, nothing to see here etc etc.

     

  • Genghis Khan wrote (see)

    Pete, I have no interest in arguing with you (or anyone else) on the internet, but you keep moving the goalposts.  

    The OP's question was: does he need to do ANY more LSRs at easy pace, once he has built his base and is at the business end of "the season"/marathon training.  He then implies that he thinks the "normal" pace for LRs during this period is race pace + 30s.  (I grant you this is not completely clear but that's how both Ballesteros and I interpreted it.)   My answer: yes, there will still be a place for LRs at up to 90s slower than race pace, and + 30s is too fast to be the default speed for LRs, even in the last couple of months of marathon training.   eg - last 3 LRs, 5, 4 and 3 weeks out from the marathon respectively.  Probably 60 miles or so.  Should he run all, or most, of those 60 miles at mgp +30s?  No, that would be mental.  It may be we are both saying the same thing in a different way, i.e. once you've built a good base, do some of your LR miles at closer to race pace.  Not all; not none; but some.  In which case fine, nothing to see here etc etc.  Ghengis,   I will remind you of your answer:   if you are training for a marathon, your long runs should be about race pace + 10-20%.  Which, unless you are super fast, is more likely to be in the range of + 45-90 secs than + 30 secs.

    You have now acknowledged that we are talking about the business end. So why would the LSRs be 45 to 90s. rhetorical question.

    I have not moved the goal posts pal you have.

  • You might think your question is rhetorical.  It isn't.  Slow paced long runs remain important - in fact, essential - right up to the end of the period before the taper.  They build endurance while avoiding compromising the quality of the rest of your week's work.

    Since you clearly don't want to take my word for it, try Hal Higdon - from his Advanced Plan, not his Novice or Intermediate - on the pace for long runs.  

    Normally I recommend that runners do their long runs anywhere from 30 to 90 or more seconds per mile slower than their marathon pace. This is very important, particularly for advanced runners who do speedwork during the week. The physiological benefits kick in around 90-120 minutes, no matter how fast you run. You'll burn a few calories and trigger glycogen regenesis, teaching your muscles to conserve fuel. Running too fast defeats this purpose and may unnecessarily tear down your muscles, compromising not only your midweek workouts, but the following week's long run. Save your fast running for the marathon itself.

    Don't like Higdon?  OK, try P&D in Advanced Marathoning.  In their 70-85 mile plan (i.e., for serious runners) the last 4 LRs pre-taper total 78 miles.  Of which just 14 miles are at race pace.  The other 64 are at standard LR pace, which P&D specify is race pace + 10-20%.  For a 2.50 marathoner, this would be race pace + 40-80 seconds.

    Long story short: you are telling the OP to run his LRs too fast.  I couldn't care less about whether you agree with me, I've only persisted this far because the OP deserves better advice than "train slow, run slow".  Which is rubbish, as Higdon, Pfitzinger et al make clear.  But hey, don't reply to me, write to them.  I'm sure they will be delighted to hear from you.  Pal.

     

     

  • this was your answer to the ops post re the final stages:

     

    if you are training for a marathon, your long runs should be about race pace + 10-20%.  Which, unless you are super fast, is more likely to be in the range of + 45-90 secs than + 30 secs.

    Please note: no mention of faster LSRs you totally dismissed them. Which is wrong at the later stages. 

    i told you to re-read the op, because we were discussing the final stages.

    I also added

    However, some plans will have you running at the slower pace and the quicker pace within the same run, for instance the 22miler, again so as not to over fatigue the runner in the final stages of the training.

    Stop trying to tell me what I already know after your original incorrect advice.  Because your original advice is not what you are saying now. FACT

     

    end of discussion.

     

     

  • lol, chill. Thanks to both of you for persisting. Definitely some good advice there to pick through.

  • I decided to take the guesswork out so have been doing exclusive low HR runs (max 140bpm) and cycle rides. What the articles about base training don't talk about is how daftly bored you'll get! So a warning to others: just because you are doing really slow miles, don't be fooled into thinking you can suddenly add an extra 50% miles on top of your normal weekly quota just because your legs don't ache after runs. This way leads to injury. I thought I'd pulled a calf muscle but my masseur says it's just tight. Phew. Take care all!

  • Thought I'd report back. Between the end of June and 11th Sept, I did ALL my runs at 140bpm. Soooo boring, but I learnt to enjoy it somehow.

    On 11th Sept, I did the same 34k run that I had done 3 months earlier (end of June). Conditions/temperature were the same, course was the same, time of day and food were the same. I was 11 minutes quicker and I felt so much better in the latter stages of the run. Since then I've been including a few of these very slow runs in with racing and threshold and intervals etc. and yesterday I was a little quicker again by 5s/km (although it was quite a bit colder yesterday so not comparable).

    Overall, I'm very happy and now working on building the speed up again.

  • Nicely done. What is your Max HR if I might ask?

  • I haven't really checked but I've seen it at 185 in fartlek sessions. I tried to keep it between 138 and 141 for all the runs during those months, based on a fairly unscientific 180 minus age = 140.... (found it on a website somewhere).

    Why do you ask?

  • Reason being theres a chunk of literature on heart rate based training. I have a similar max HR and opinins vary as to whether base training down at 125bpm or closer to 140bpm would give the best results.

    Having experimented a bit I'm leaning towards the latter maybe not quite 140 but towards the upper end of that little scale anyway

     

  • From what I've read it depends on the person (probably more to do with % of VO2maxHR than maxHR), but it would be better to head out the door for a 5 mile run than to spend time worrying about the exact HR image If you wait for the perfect plan, you'll never start. You said you've been experimenting though. Must be tough figuring out if changes are making any comparative difference

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