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Friday, November 16, 2012

I'm slow

I can no longer ignore the fact that since starting my marathon training plan, I have slowed noticeably. What the heck, Brad Hudson? I thought your book was called, "Run Faster". As the weeks have passed my long runs have gotten slower, my workouts have gotten harder, and my overall quality has plummeted.
Here's what I'm seeing:
1. My "easy runs" are taking me longer and longer.
2. My regular effort (for warm-ups or easy running - or basically if I run without paying attention to pace) used to hover around 7:30 pace. Now it's 7:40 and climbing. In fact it takes concentration to get it under 7:30.
3. I used to sometimes run sub-7 min miles during a run without meaning to or noticing - it just happened. Never any more. Now it takes a lot of effort.
4. And speaking of effort, all my running seems like it requires more effort.

So what do I do?! I assume I bit off more than I can chew. Should I drop some miles? Drop the number of hard workouts? Taking a day off doesn't help.


  1. A couple of things I'd like to comment on. First, training adaptations can take up to two weeks to fully impact your pace and strength. So you have to take into account that lag time. Second I think its normal that in following a plan like this one (I have read the book and done one of the HM plans myself) your body is going to be worn down a lot more than if you were simply running when -and at whatever pace - you pleased. So everything will feel harder than it usually does, most of the time.

    Finally, I have noticed that your "easy" and long runs seems to run faster than is usually advised. Most running books Ive read advise easy runs be run at a full two minutes (or more) slower than race pace. They should be purely aerobic. I was surprised to read in Ryan Hall's book that a lot of elites run their easy runs at 8mins or so. Its because the purpose of those runs is only to maintain aerobic fitness; running any faster than the minimum needed to do that is going to start to take away from you ability to perform the really tough speed and tempo workouts. So my two cents (or $20 given how long this comment is) - keep at it, embrace the slow runs and give the key workouts your full effort.

  2. I'm all about the Don't Run, Run Faster plan. That way you are always rested :)

  3. Not an excuse, but noteworthy fact : From what I've seen, you hopped right into marathon training, coming off a lengthy period of injury. I know you weren't completely immobile during that time, but your fitness undoubtedly suffered. That's not something you can brush off. For example, running in extreme temperatures WILL impact your performance. Not a actual fact.

    In addition, I have to agree with Penny. I find Camille Herron an excellent resource. Her post on "slowing down the easy days...", among others, is an interesting read. She's a 2:38 marathoner and her easy days fall in the 8:30-8:50 range! (

    You're an amazing and dedicated runner. (much stronger and faster than most will ever be)
    I'm not judging and hope it doesn't come off that way. These are just some things to ponder...:)

  4. I've been feeling the same way... for about 1.5 years now. My average half marathon time is about 25 minutes slower than this time 2 years ago.

    So... I don't know.

    You're not slow, just slower for YOU. Hope you figure it out, and if you do, let me know :D

  5. me too! I never run 7:30's on accident anymore, but I'm not too worried because speed work days still seem to be going fine. It's weird, I have NEVER in my 10+ years of running been a 9:00 minute miler, but lately that is totally my easy pace. 8:30-9:30. Whatever.

  6. If it makes you feel any better, in my last training cycle for this marathon, I had my slowest long runs ever,I couldn't get them even close to where I was doing them fall of 2011, basically everything you just described - I would always be able to just go run a sub 7 or easily run low 7's, never close to 8. This time, I bumped up my miles a lot and my speedwork was faster. I had pretty good results with the marathon, so I would say you are doing just fine, don't worry too much about those everyday runs, mine felt harder than they ever did, and they were slower than they ever were, harder too! If anything just step the weekly mileage back a bit so you can definitely hit your speedwork pace?

  7. You are doing more miles so it is normal and advisable to go slower. I would not worry about the slow easy runs. They are supposed to be slow. Their purpose is recovery and aerobic development; look at McMillan and see what he tells you that you should run for your easy runs, I think it is 7:55 or something like that. If your speed works are solid, you will be fine. If you run too hard during easy days, you won't be fresh and ready for speed, and you will not get the maximum out of your speed work. You are working different systems for the easy/interval/tempo/long runs. You are fine and I can bet you will PR:)

  8. Yep, you're not running easy enough on your easy days! As someone pointed out, I'm a 2:37 marathoner, and I 'rarely' get below 8:00 per mile for easy runs. The reason I got to where I am today, is not because of pushing the pace every day (which is a mental trap/mistake that many make), but because I simply slowed down and started running slower. I found over time I was more rested, could handle more mileage/train more consistently, better aerobic development, and could consequently run MUCH FASTER for hard workouts and races. You can read my post as pointed out by jayloh on how to get yourself to run slower.

    Otherwise, my only other thought is-- could you be anemic/need to supplement with iron? Not replenishing glycogen stores adequately? You have to take care of all the little things too.

    Feel free to message me though if you have any specific questions!

  9. Hey!! Our blogs have so much in common! Come check out mine! Tell me what you think about it!

  10. for the past few years, I've totally noticed as my mileage goes up, my pace on easy days is slower, and I'm cool with that.

    I honestly believe you should follow the plan, as close as possible, with minor adjustments for "you", life, etc. Then evaluate the plan upon completing the full program, and race.

    I've tried many programs. For instance, I've tried "less is more" plans, 3 different times and found I run better on higher mileage. I've tried Advanced Marathoning - really liked it, but little improvement. Most recently, I did a McMillan individualized plan that focused on speed work because my weakness is speed. I lack speed! the result from working on "MY" weakness, a 6 min PR on marathon number 24.

    I totally believe in "hard days" and easy days for EVERYONE. not sure if you are running too hard on your easy days, but I do know, if you are, you are not doing yourself any favors, IMO.

    My opinion, for what it's worth (zero), is to stick with the plan and give it a fair test.

    Good Luck !