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Sunday, June 11, 2017

PMTC long runs

Since I joined the Power Milers, I've been accompanying them on their Sunday long runs. This is quite the shift for me: I've always been a Saturday long run person, and I genuinely enjoy running in this beautiful city to kick my weekend off. Something about a long, easy (or not easy!) run through the streets and park as the city wakes up is very invigorating for me. I'm already one of those annoying happy people, but I positively love life after my Saturday long runs. 

To make the switch to Sunday, I tried doing just six on Saturday, but it wasn't the same. It felt just like a weekday. Instead, I've been doing an easy ten, which leaves me fresh enough for a not-at-all-easy fourteen at 6:00 am the next day. 

Six am.
The time is an adjustment, too, but going early is the only way I'd be able to make it to church, anyway. 

The group runs the well-known "city loop", a route that takes you from St. Charles to Carollton to Esplanade to Royal to St. Charles again, starting and ending at Audubon park. I've run the route before, but it's been years, and I'm enjoying the chance to see the city again (for local readers, there is another route also called the "city loop" that goes down Canal, but that is most assuredly a knock-off city loop. #fakeroutes).

Even though these guys are fast, I've always found a few people to run with, but here's my concern - they're running much faster than my typical long run. Even though I run the 1.5 miles to and from my house very slowly, I've been averaging 7:30's for fourteen miles. That's fast for me, especially in hot weather. When I was doing Hanson's, I was running 7:40 - 8:05 for long runs of up to 16 miles, because their plan does not call for "long slow distance". I liked that, because I don't believe in long slow distance, at least not for me. I've done that before, and I get slow and I get injured. I prefer my easy pace runs to be shorter, usually eight and six milers during the week. But I digress. The point is, these long runs are too fast for me. 

However! They are also easier than I am used to! And that is because the group takes long breaks. Now, I am not one of those runners who thinks you can never pause your Garmin, or has a problem losing ten or even fifteen minutes on a long run - sometimes I stop for traffic, sometimes I stretch or do leg swings, sometimes I need a bathroom break, sometimes I see friends, and ALWAYS I stop for water (in the heat of the summer, I sometimes stop on every loop around the park, and it's less than 2 miles around!). But these long run breaks are much longer than I'm used to. At the start and stop of the run, I wait around with the group a lot - we rarely start on time, and we wait for everyone to finish at the end - so some of the breaks are just before we start and after we finish, while I still need to jog to and from my house. I don't mind that. But during the run, we break at two firehouses for water. It's cool that we have a good relationship with the firemen, and they let us use their bathrooms and drink from their hoses. Man, though, those breaks run long. So many bathroom breaks. So many conversations. Every time I've run with the group, our two scheduled breaks have stretched to five minutes apiece!

Since I'm running at a pace that's a little uncomfortable for me, I notice the breaks. I catch my breath and rest, and that means that the breaks are too long. I'm turning these runs into intervals! And that's not the goal. I kind of want to say something, but I'm a new member and the slowest one, so I would feel kind of foolish. What should I do? Bring up the break length, or put up and shut up?How do you feel about breaks during your long runs?


  1. My thinking: if the long runs are too fast for you AND the breaks are too long, then perhaps you could slow down your pace, do the long runs at your speed, and regroup at the breaks (which will be shorter for you since you'll arrive later).

    Yup, at first that will totally miss the point of the long run, which is to run with others. But my hunch is that you're not the only one that thinks the long runs are too fast, and others may eventually slow down and stick with you.

    In my group, we do our long runs as progressions, and EVERYONE starts very slowly, which means that the entire group runs the first half mile or so together, before dividing into our respective paces. It actually works well. But sounds like your long run is more of an even-paced thing.

    1. The progression start is a great idea. I might suggest that.

  2. Good points by AKA Darkwave. I think you should just slow down a little and maybe the others will slow down with you. For the breaks, maybe when they stop, you keep running (potentially back and forth) and then they join you when they join you. It's a tough situation but as Cris said, others probably feel the same way.

  3. I am also not sure i could take that long of a break in a long run. I find it takes me a few miles to find my groove, and I would be terrified to lose and have to re-find that groove. I do also like the previously mentioned idea of running a bit slower, at a pace you find more comfortable, which means you break should hopefully be less (and make the run less-interval-like).

  4. I think AKA's suggestion is perfect. Then you'd get a little bit of time to chat w/ people but wouldn't feel like you are running too fast for your long run. Some of the people in my club take long breaks when we have water breaks set up along the route, but luckily the people I run with prefer short breaks. But our group doesn't all run together - we kind of split into groups of 2 to 5+ people based on paces. Long breaks would bug me because I usually just want to get the long run done so I can get on with my day!