From a newbie/slow person. Please bear with me as I try to word this.
I have read that there is a certain speed you run at at which your body is most effective. So, since I can't sustain that speed for very long is it better to:
Run what I can at my pace and go farther?
Run a shorter distance at the more "effective" speed?
Run less distance alternating between the "effective" and slower pace?
Alternate walking and effective pace and go the same distance?
(We're talking maybe 5k distance)
I have felt this effective speed and know that I am not capable of sustaining it for very long, but I know that it is good because my body feels "right" when I run at that speed.
Did this make sense? Forgive me if it is stupid, I am just curious.
I'm not sure if I understand the question, but maybe I can give you my own personal insights and maybe that will help. My feel good pace is about 6 min./mi. By feel good, I mean that my stride feels right and my form feels 'on'. I can't maintain that pace for too long though, because my lungs and heart don't feel so hot at that pace. So, to condition my lungs/heart to get down to that pace, I do a mix of intervals @ a sub 6 min./mi. pace and some tempo runs at a slightly greater than 6 min./mi. pace. Every now and then, I'll do a run that's longer than an interval, but shorter than tempo run right around the 6 min./mi. pace just to get used to it. Did that answer your question?
I think that's what I'll try. Makes sense, at any rate!!!
If I go out everyday a run what feels good everyday.....it'd be about 7 minute pace. However, I never run that pace....except after a marathon when I'm not training for anything.
1-2 days a week I go faster than 7 minute pace (for a least a portion of the run) and all the other days I go much slower. The great Jack Daniels calls that 6:45-7:30 (with exception to MP paced runs): No man's land.
No man's land= not fast enough to be considered fast (slower than you'r run a race at) and not slow enough for you to recover for important training runs.
So if you are going to run 3 miles 4-5 days a week: I'd suggest one time a week going out a little faster than your last 5k race pace for 3-4 minutes....walk two minutes.........hard 3-4 minutes......walk....hard...... Eventually you will want to work at getting that walk part to a slow jog. After that try stretching the hard part to 5 minutes.
One time a week go slower----but try to add a little distance each week.
everything else keep, easy.
If you plan to remain a 5k runner, you will probably want to add another speed day eventually. But if you're like many of us wimpy people, you'll find that the day that you are adding on to every week is pretty easy and you'd rather run long and easy that this fast, hard cra&. :)