I never used to run slowly! That sounds like a bit of a brag, but having a fair bit of slow running in your training can be an important part of running fast.
A recent article on the Fast Running website quotes research by Stephen Seiler and Esoen Tønnessen, which highlights a common factor in elite level endurance sport of having an 80:20 split between easy and hard running. For Seiler and Tønnessen, the divide between easy and hard running is lactate threshold, which is pretty fast and certainly faster than the pace that can be sustained for a marathon.
I thought I would look at the last week of my training see what me split was:
- Thursday: 9 miles @ 8:30 minute miles
- Saturday: 6 miles @ 7:40-9:00 minute miles & 1 mile @ 6:10 minute miles
- Monday: 2 miles @ 8:00 minute miles & 3.5 miles @ 6:40 minute miles
- Tuesday: 5 miles @ 7:40-9:00 minute miles & 3 miles @ 6:00 minute miles
- Wednesday: 5.5 miles @ 8:00 minute miles
Its a reasonable conclusion that based on my current level of fitness, that any of those miles that start with a 6 are at lactate threshold or faster. Of my total for the last seven days of 35 miles, slightly below my current weekly average, 7.5 miles are at lactate threshold or above, which I calculate to be a split of 79:21.
This counts as fast for me ©Ian Slater
Seems simple! However, where does my favourite session fit in to this? 10 miles at target marathon pace, it’s hard, its fairly fast, it needs a bit of recovery, but it isn’t quite lactate threshold. Something to think about whilst I run!