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Question: if I run 200meters in 40.3 sec., 400m in 84 sec, and a comfortable mile is under 8 minutes why are my long runs so slow? I run with a group on long runs and our pace is about 10.30min/mile. Is this right? (long run is always more than 10 miles)

Should I try to go faster on the long ones?

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I wouldn't say taking a slow long run is always a bad thing, but I do think you have the legs to be keeping those long runs under a 10 minute pace. Running with a group has so many benefits, that giving it up totally isn't worthwhile, but I'd suggest trying every other or every third week putting in your long runs at a faster pace. Or else make another day of the week a "mid-distance" long run. In my own schedule I log my long runs (10+) on Sunday, but on Friday put in a mid-distance run (7-10) and keep the pace faster than the long run pace. Just a couple ideas to try.
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How many miles are you running a week?

Are you doing any tempo runs?

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megawill
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How about slipping in a couple 'minute-kicks' in those long runs? Say one every mile? I've been doing that lately and I'm loving it...
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Thank you jrjo, I agree 100%.

shelflifers, I think we do that already. Kind of a fartlek thing, run fast to the fountain or the tree etc.

megawill, I do approx. 30 to 35 mpw and tempo run of around 6 miles is on tuesdays (tempo tuesday)

I was just so suprised at how fast my short distances were when I actually timed them. I can't wait to do a 5k (always have done 10k or longer races).
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megawill, I do approx. 30 to 35 mpw and tempo run of around 6 miles is on tuesdays (tempo tuesday)


Well, you're definitely building a good mileage base. But as your finding out there is a big difference between running a fast mile or 2 and carrying that over to run your long run at a quick clip.

If you don't mind providing the following info, I may be able to come with a few suggestions for improving your long run pace.

When you say that your tempo run is 6 miles is that 6 miles at tempo pace or a couple of miles warm-up and cool-down at a slower pace? What pace are you running your tempo runs at? Is that pace consistent throughout your tempo effort?

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megawill
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Thanks megawill!

I warm up 1 mile, run 4 miles at about 9min/mile with a minute or two of jogging between each and cool down 1 mile.

I am VERY new to speedwork of any kind and I want to do it the right way. I have run many, many miles in the past 2 years but I feel I can really do more. I am 32, 5'5", 123lbs and weight train 2x per week.

I just started a few weeks ago with the following:
I do 4 or 5 easy miles mon, tempo on tues, lower body weights on wed, approx 6/400 on thurs, upper body weights on fri, long run sat and rest sun.(before, I'd just run w/o any plan)

I'm sorry for so much info but I'm eager for speed without injury.
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I'm sorry for so much info but I'm eager for speed without injury.

No need to be sorry, the more info the better. (Hopefully you'll agree once you read my long winded response)... :)

Keep in mind that the advice I'm going to give you only pertains to running your long run faster. If your goal is to run a fast 5k in the next month or two the advice I give you may be counter-productive to that goal...at least in the short run...However, I believe that this approach will give you the needed strength and endurance base to go in any direction you so desire whether that includes running 5-10Ks or Half Marathons and longer...

If your current tempo pace is truly 9 minute miles that a 10:30 pace on your long run is actually a pretty good effort. Has that pace changed either up or down since you've begun to tempo and speedwork?

Keep up with the tempo work but perhaps interchange it from week to week with a continuous tempo run. The intervals are fine but I think you'll get more bang by running quicker at a sustained and consistent tempo pace. Start out with a 20 minute sustained tempo run, with a 2 mile warmup, and concentrate on maintaining a relatively even pace throughout. Also remember to add in a couple of miles to cool down. When you can do the 20 minutes at a sustained and consistent pace then add a coulple of minutes each following week.

This is a fairly difficult workout so you need to pay close attention to your body while running these harder efforts. If you pace begins to waver dramatically, your form becomes ragged and you can't comfortably bring pace or form back on track, slow it down, do your cool down and try again next week. There is something to be said for having/developing the mental toughness to run through these things but also note that when you do, you become most prone to injury. Until you get a good feel of what it is like to run faster over longer distances be conservative.

You say that you're averaging 30-35 miles a week but I'm having a hard time making that all add up from what you've posted.

Your Schedule:

Mon -- 4-5
Tue -- 6 miles (tempo)
Wed -- x-train
Thu -- 4-5? w/6 x 400
Fri -- x-train
Sat -- 10+ long run
Sun -- rest

Total -- 25ish ??

You are currently running 4 days a week w/3 hard days. What I think is missing from your schedule that would most benefit your endurance and make your long runs easier is a mediumish long run. I'd consider trying to fit another day into your schedule of 7-8 well paced miles. Pick a reasonable pace for this run. Since you are currently running 10:30ish for your long run, maybe start out by trying to avg 10 min miles for this run and play it by ear from there. How do you fit this into your week. I'd suggest adding a light run (3-4 miles) to one of your weight training days and for now ditching the 400s. Once you build your tempo endurance to the 40-45 minute range of sustained effort, you can start alternating the 400s back into schedule every other week opposite your tempo effort. (i.e. week 1 tempo, week 2 short intervals, week 3 tempo or hills, etc).

Suggested Schedule

Mon -- 4-5 easy
Tue -- 6-8 tempo
Wed -- lower body weights
Thu -- 7-8 medium long run
Fri -- 3-4 miles easy and upper body weights
Sat -- 10-14 miles long run
Sun -- rest
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Total 30-37 mpw

Keep in mind unless you are training for a marathon there is little reason to go above the 14-15 mile range for your long run.

Consider getting a good training book. I'd highly recommend Bob Glover's 'Competitive Runners Handbook'. Glover goes over this information in detail (as well as almost any running topic you could think of) and provides you with the information you need to develop you own schedule based off you current or long term goals.

All the best...

Okay now shoot away with questions...

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megawill
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I had to read that 4 times!

I agree with everything you said, it all makes sense. My goal is faster marathon times. I've run a 5:35 and a 5:20 with no training other than long slow weekend runs and 1 or 2 midweek 5 or 6 mile runs.

I know I can do better and it makes sense that the tempo runs are better for my distances than 400meter runs. I'll do the 7 or so instead.

I already do 20 min on the treadmill on weight days and I'm printing this message so I can do the rest!

Thank you so much!!
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Excellent advice Mega. If I may just add one thing...
Since you've had a knee problem in the recent past, be VERY careful when adding in the longer mid-week runs. Don't be in a rush to get in a bunch of mileage.
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I think Mega has given you a lot of sound advice.

If you're still interested in doing interval training on Thursdays, you can do distances longer than 400s. I have been on a training schedule containing 1 and 2 mile intervals and I would be more than willing to share with you if you'd like. The catch is you can't hate my guts if you try them and puke on the track.

My 'coach' told me that your long runs should be a lot slower than your short runs. The weeks I bump up the distance, I go slow for the first miles, then try to go a little faster at the end. This supposedly simulates how you'll feel toward the end of the race. On the stepback weeks, I run the entire 10-14 mile distance at marathon pace (which is a little faster).

I haven't run a marathon with this program yet... but mine is 20 October, so I'll let you know how it works!

GL!
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