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Question about Tuesday Night Workouts

posted Feb 09, 2012 00:47:02 by Genevieve C
Hey Coach
I know that on Tuesday nights you post paces, (5k, 1/2 marathon, etc..)for specific intervals. I have also heard you say to push it a bit, so for myself personally, I am running pretty much as fast as I can which is below my current 5k PR pace. On the other had, I haven't run a 5k since RTFTH in November, and I have been feeling stronger and faster in all my races with your coaching. My question is, is it OK to run as fast as we can to accomplish the workout and negative split, or is there a benefit from sticking to certain paces? Part of the fun on Tuesday is to have people around that are faster so we tend to really push ourselves...
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7 replies
jenhitch said Feb 10, 2012 16:39:33
Hmmmm, this is a complicated question, as what I would tell one person who is training for a specific race vs. what I'm telling the Chips group who are training for different races, paces and reasons, is a little different.

So, I'm going to be generic here.

1. I give a pace range for most intervals to give the runner some freedom to push themselves but still stay within where I think they need to be (ie 6:45-7:10 pace).

2. I try and make the recovery time short enough so that runners can recover, yet still hold the paces for the next interval. If you are running each interval faster after a recovery then the paces may be a little slow. If you go too fast and you are struggling to recover before the next interval, then you will bonk, and the workout is wasted. And if you run your paces right on after a recovery, then great! Remember, sometimes I give a little longer recovery at workouts so the group can catch up. Basically, if you run too hard, you can't always recover in the allotted amount of time.

3. If you are training for a marathon, running 1200-1600 at 5k pace doesn't really help you for running a solid marathon. Just tires you out and breaks the body down.

4. It's important to practice different running "zones" and keep workouts within that zone. Not all paces are the same! Sometimes running is about control.

5. You don't want to clock your fast times in it for race day!

This being said, if you feel that you are ready to "go for it" or negative split during your last 2 intervals in a workout..go for it. See what happens. Like a progression run. Start conservatively and build.

Much of what I'm saying is about the recovery and being able to bounce back and do it again. If a pace feels too easy, then right, it may be too easy, and it may be time to adjust. Your 5k pace from 3 years ago, may not be the pace you should be running today. And if you were running alone, we may adjust your recovery times (between intervals) as well.

Does this help?


Genevieve C said Feb 17, 2012 22:05:15
Makes a lot of sense, Coach, especially having a "range" to work in. I do have a question about "if training for a marathon, then 1200-1260 at 5k pace doesn't help." I think that is very interesting. I had the idea that if I did a lot of running outside my comfort zone (5k pace for 1200-1600) it would make marathon pace more comfortable. I appreciate finding out that it really doesn't help me that much, and that I would benefit more from keeping my workouts inside the zone. I tend to do some of my best running on Tuesday nights, and it would be great instead to do it at an actual race.
EdwardRandolph said Feb 24, 2012 01:31:12

There is some advantage to running out of your comfort zone and thus making the MP feel easy, but a key principle to marathon training (really all training) is making sure you have the ability to recover from workout to workout. If you run a bunch of 1200s or miles at 5k pace on Tuesday, you will not have a solid tempo workout on Thursday. In my opinion the tempo workout is the bread and butter of marathon training, so you don't want to blow that workout by doing your interval workout too hard.

You can also get the same effect of going at a faster than marathon pace and thus making MP feel easier by doing shorter tempo runs at 10 mile pace. I love to do 3 and 4 mile tempo runs early in the cycle and I can do these 20 plus seconds faster than MP and still be in the right effort zone for a tempo run. Later in the cycle I will do tempo intervals at this same pace. With tempo intervals you do things like 3 or 4 by 2 miles with 2 minute recoveries between each interval and keep it a that fast tempo pace (10 mile race pace).
Genevieve C said Feb 25, 2012 01:06:37
Hi Ed!

Thank you so much. To be honest, I never thought about the main key to training being the ability to recover from workout to workout. It makes so much sense and makes me think about things differently. I really like tempo workouts too, and the ones you describe sound really good. I usually do 4 miles at 10k pace so it's a new idea for me to think, during marathon training, of doing tempo intervals, 3 or 4 x 2 miles, at 10 mile race pace, which for me is about 35-40 sec faster than MP but more tolerable than 10k pace. I'm hoping that Coach will put some in our weekly workouts for us to try.
Thanks again Ed.
Best to you,
EdwardRandolph said Feb 25, 2012 23:44:49
Yea, Jenny has had tempo runs that are of a similar vain to what I am suggesting in the plans last year. Also 4 miles at 10k pace is not a tempo run. The point of most workouts is to stress a specific system in the body just beyond its comfort zone, you get virtually the same improvement to that system if you go just beyond its threshold as you do if you go way beyond its threshold. Given that, why go way beyond the threshold? All you are doing is making recovery take longer. Tempo runs are designed to increase your lactic threshold. You hit that threshold somewhere between your 10 mile and half marathon pace. You are well beyond threshold at 10k pace.

All of this assumes what you are calling your 10k and 10 mile paces are actually representative of what you could run a 10k and 10 mile at right now (and when you finished the race you could not run another 3 feet). The other way to judge pace is find out your max heart rate and wear a HR monitor. I wore one for a long time and found it to be an excellent training tool. I don't wear it much anymore because I have learned what each effort level should feel like. A tempo run should be between 85% and 92% above maxHR. 4 miles at 10k pace will have you at 95% to 100% maxHR. Another judge of pace for a tempo is that you should finish a short tempo run (4 miles or less) feeling like you have at least one more mile in you at that pace --If you feel like you cannot run anymore, you were running to fast.

Also note that as the tempo runs get longer the pace should slow down since as you go longer your lactic threshold creeps up. The classic marathon training run of warming up for a few miles than running 10 to 14 miles at goal marathon pace is a tempo run, but you have slowed the pace down from 10 mile pace to marathon pace due to the longer distance.

A final thought based on what you have said so far. Make sure you are not running to fast on your easy days. If you think that might be the case talk to Jenny about that and ways to slow it down.
Genevieve C said Feb 26, 2012 22:45:35
Hi Ed!
Thanks again for all the great advice. I definitely will recalibrate my tempo pace. The idea that you make the same improvement going just beyond the threshold as going way beyond the threshold, and with the benefit of recovering faster is key. It makes so much sense but I never thought of it that way. I'll talk to Jenny about all of this too. I always kept my tempo runs short and ran them as fast as I could so, to think of a 10-14 mile at MP as a tempo run really adds some dimension to my understanding of tempo runs and training in general. Good stuff, Ed. Thank you.
Jen Hitchings said Feb 27, 2012 06:06:31
Thanks, Ed...this is what I was talking about! You have great input.
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