Decision Tree: What is Long Run Pace?

Andrew @cubagallery

It kind of bugs me to see one-size-fits-all answers for running questions.  A pretty common running question is “What pace should I be running for long runs?”  Particularly as people train for their first (or even tenth) marathon, they want to know how to approach the long run (which, by the way, tends to be the major focus of the training block for a lot of good reasons).

So here’s what bothers me: The outdated misnomer that says “Long run pace is goal race pace + 1:00″ Sometimes…not always.  Each run should mean something specific, and there are a lot of important situations in a marathon (or any race that is “long” to the person training for it) to be ready for.  How to pick it up when tired, how to eat and drink when running race pace, or just how to get to a new distance PR. Different days, different runs, different approaches.

Rather than try to talk my way around how to figure out your long run pace, I put together a more simple decision tree.  It’s pretty obvious from this little image just what the different types of long runs are, what they’re for, and how to approach them.  So, as you’re thinking about your next long run, take 30 seconds and go through this process to make sure you’re getting the most from the run and doing the most good for your training.

Happy long running!

About Caleb M.

Caleb Masland is the founder and head coach of Team Wicked Bonkproof, a group of regular people who like getting after it one mile at a time. Caleb has enjoyed some moderate local running scene successes in his own right, but his number 1 mission is to get other dailymilers running faster and smarter by sharing what he has learned along the way. When he's not traveling for his career as a Technology Consultant or spending time with wife and son, you can find Caleb on the roads and trails around Boone, NC. Caleb has an unreasonable longer-than-longshot dream of running in the 2020 Olympic marathon trials, and all he has to do is turn his 5k pace into his marathon pace to achieve it!
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