No one wants to run more than they ever have in their LIFE and find out they are getting SLOWER!!!
Well – it kinda happened to me. I’ve been training for my marathon and per Jeff Galloway’s (and a trusted runner friend’s) suggestion I’ve slowed my pace down considerably. (this goes back to the ‘magic mile’ post so if you haven’t read it – check it out) I did my 16 mile run at about a 10:50 pace – which is about 50sec-1min slower than I was trying to do them – but when I finished I DID feel better.
Anyway – I’ve been trying to go slower on training runs in general – even shorter ones. I haven’t really been doing any speed work but figured I was running so much I didn’t really need it. Well, I did a 5k on Saturday and was about 2 min slower than I thought I would be!!! I was kinda bummed :(
I thought surely I’d kick some 3mile butt since I had been running 20+ miles a week. I posted on the active.com forum and another runner chimed in that she was having the same problem. I started thinking about it and it kinda hit me… If you have to TRAIN your legs to go faster for speed work…. and the only runs you are doing are SLOW runs – seems like the same would happen – you start TRAINING your legs to go SLOWER.
I then realized it is still essential to do speed work even during marathon training. You don’t have to go all out and wreck your legs doing it – but just pick a day where you can do tempo runs or just pick up the pace for a minute or so throughout your longer runs. REMIND your legs they CAN go fast!!!
When I was having my pity party for my 5k time – I asked our local running club for help/advice. That club is composed of mostly older men that have been running for their whole life so I trust them with advice and tips! Here was a response:
While training for a marathon your 5K times will increase as compared to when you were training for 5K speed. The increase should be moderate though. I generally expect this increase to be about 1% or in your case 15 – 20 seconds slower on finish time. This assumes that you don’t race during your hardest training weeks; you could expect to be slower than that if you do. I personally always advocate doing speed work along with distance work while marathon training with the mindset that I know I can finish the marathon, it is simply a matter of how fast I can run it. In my marathon training, I only increased my weekly mileage by about 14% and still did 2 + fast workouts per week. Short term if you are worried about your 5K times, I would recommend adding additional hill repeat workouts to your routine as this is 1 workout that I find helps your speed for shorter races like the 5K, but also helps your strength for longer races like the marathon.