Opposite Results from Matching Runs

800s, mile reps, tempos, long runs, long intervals are all great workouts, but always think what workout is right for you and your training, you can’t possibly fit them all in a micro training period.

My last two long runs had quite similar results… if you saw these two runs details, you’d think they were both the same,  right?

w1 detail

w2 detailJust a 10 second difference in overall pace. The same, right?

Well, not so. You can see the laps right below but on the first one, the 8/23 workout, we started easy, we picked it up and we hammered it at the end.

w1 laps

A 7:32 mile at the end of 17 miles is quite a confident booster for me. I had no idea I could sustain that pace throughout or even get faster at the end. Blaise and Patricia are faster than me so I knew what I was getting into.  When they started going at 8:20s pace in mile 8, I figured I’d hold on until I couldn’t and then drop out. Quality over Quantity is always fine with me. I just can’t handle both yet. THERE ARE NO MEDALS IN TRAINING.

The next week, feeling quite confident, things went quite different. Blaise suggested an 18 mile progression run, insert AndreA who had already run half her miles and boom: we started a bit faster, then got a lot LOT faster and I was toast by Mile 13. TOAST. I wanted to drop out but Andrea had left and Patricia was doubling back home: and Blaise really wanted to finish the 18 and he needed company: I felt like I was walking and it was a struggle to finish and then I wobbled home. I felt awful.

w2 laps

The thing is, both are great workouts. The first one is a great fast long run with a super fast mile at the end. It made me feel super strong (and I was so sore the day after, plus all the blood on my sock!), I needed that confidence booster to move my training up a bit. The second long run is ALSO a great workout. It is. It was like a long run with a tempo in the middle and then a few extra (cooldown?) miles to boost your endurance and run while tired, which will usually happen at a marathon. It’s always a great workout to be able to keep running when you feel like you can’t even breathe. You know you’re pushing your body in a way it doesn’t want to. Both were great workouts but with completely different purposes. One worked my sustained speed over distance, the second one was burn and keep going. In both I was working my endurance (speed on the first one, energy depletion on the last one) but such different psychological training! I rather feel like I did after the first one, but the second one is probably the one I’ll tap into more often in the future when I am struggling. If I had been alone (or been the pace setter), I probably would have started at 9:30s and finished with 8:40s but nothing this spectacular, I tend to go too slow on my own, so I’d never crash. I like my pace being challenged as much as that hurts.

How do your long runs usually feel? Do you start slow and speed up or do you crash and burn?


5 thoughts on “Opposite Results from Matching Runs

  1. I use the first 2 miles to warm up into my goal speed then progress faster and faster to finish faster than my goal pace. In the morning when my muscles are cold I’m slow as mud, so I start a good 2 minute per mile slower than goal pace but quickly speed up.


  2. Pingback: A Training Update. Finally. | runningandthecity

  3. Pingback: 2014 – Looking back and forward | runningandthecity

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