Long Slow Distance: that weekend battle ax ritual where you kiss your wife goodbye at an ungodly hour and run for hours on end at a pace akin to a turtle sprinting. This is the cornerstone upon which many, if not all, distance running training plans are built on. And yesterday, I realized I had never ever done one.

I went out with the Super Runner's Shop group yesterday (still trying to get the free shoes). After last weekend's crappy 20-miler I wanted to be really smart about this run and not outpace myself five miles into a 14 mile run. I was going to head out with the faster pack (8:30 pace) that was only doing six miles, but ended up starting the run with the slower pack (9:30 pace) who were all doing 10+ miles.

I told myself I'd stick with this pack for the first Central Park loop and then I'd push the pace of the group. Then I realized that this wasn't a pack that would respond to someone pushing the pace, so after the first loop I just said to myself "get over Harlem Hill and then you can break off." Well, that didn't happen either because I got so wrapped up in the conversation (I miss running in a group!).

Midway through the second loop of the park I mentioned to everyone that I usually don't run my long runs this slow. Then I realized, I have always run my long run--my supposed long slow distance runs--at or near race pace. I always start off the run planning to go slow and easy, I always tell myself during the run to slow down, but I either end up finishing near race pace or bonking like I did last weekend.

So I stuck with the group for the next couple of miles and then broke off at mile 13 to finish my 14. Sure enough, the second I left the group my pace plunged from 9:40 to 8:30--but I let myself have that fun because I only had one mile left to go.

The end result was that I finally got to see how a long run is supposed to be run. My knees didn't hurt much afterward (CP is so hilly!) and I wasn't all that tired afterward (I stayed out until 2:00 am last night with no nap!). This is definitely a lesson I needed to learn.

slow and easy. It felt great afterward to just


Irish Cream said...

Glad to see I'm not the only one who finds it difficult (if not impossible!) to run at a slower pace while doing "LSD" runs! But if you were significantly less sore/tired, I might really have to try this out! Keep up the great work! :)

The Laminator said...

Haha...glad you're figuring out your own strategy for your LSD (there's a reason there's an S in there!) I always employ the strategy of thinking of the first half as a warmup...after that if I feel the need, then I'll increase the speed. You should try that...it leads to an automatic negative split and makes you feel really strong in the end.

Great run!

FLYERS26 said...

I run my LSD's like you, I try and go slow, but it never works out that way.

RunToFinish said...

yup i think we all ahve to learn at some point that our runs are supposed to be at different paces for very good reason!

Jess said...

Glad the long run went well and you ended without knee pain!

Adam said...

YES! I have a hard time with the LSD has well. Of course, I'm nursing some sort of MCL issue which I think may be a result of me pushing the pace too frequently. Doh.

Maybe I could use some slow down as well....