Long Run Pacing

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    Didn’t get a sufficient answer previously. The Level 1 pace-based 100mi plan will often say things like “this should be a pace you can hold for 30 minutes” and it is different than the “pace you can hold for 15 minutes.” But that adjustment doesn’t take place for the Endurance runs. Why? The pacei am comfortable running for 1 hour is not the pace I am comfortable running for 5 hours.

    The previous response I received was a suggestion to buy a stryd and switch to a power plan. Why doesn’t the plan I already paid for provide accurate recommendations of the pace I should maintain over the distances it recommends I run?


    Good Afternoon Samuel,

    I went back and read the previous post as well. The main reason it’s difficult for anyone to give you accurate recommendations is because of the nature of trail running in general. The terrain and course can be so varied that, without knowing the finer details, the pace can vary widely for the safe effort level. The body doesn’t really know what pace you are at, it just knows how much energy you are exerting.

    Heart Rate as a metric will lag behind. Especially with hilly and technical courses. You can run for 10-30 secs, usually, uphill before the HR will show you are exerting yourself at a zone 4 or 5.

    Pace is similar, you can’t run the same pace uphill as you would on flat or downhill. To keep the effort level at an aerobic level (levels 1 & 2) you would need to slow down going uphill and would actually speed up the pace on the downhill.

    Based on all that was why Leyla would have recommended power. Power measures how much force or energy you are producing. I understand why you wouldn’t want to switch plans.

    The other available option is Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE). On your shorter weekly runs, you learn what a zone 2 run feels like. You basically adjust your pace on the Endurance runs to match the changing terrain to that feeling.

    The plans are static and written for a wife audience. It’s very hard on trails to tell you what pace because what pace you could run on a basic, flat, trail is nowhere close to what you would run in a hilly, technical trail. The closer the trail is to a flat road, the closer you will get to your standard pace zones. However, the more elevation changes, switch backs, etc., that you have, the more that pace will change.

    The basic goal would be to hopefully have the average pace of the zone 2 portion be close to your expected zone 2. This is because you may slow down tremendously climbing that hill but will most likely run faster going back down.

    I hope that helped a little.

    David Warden

    Samuel, let me take a stab at it too. From your post:

    “The Level 1 pace-based 100mi plan will often say things like ‘this should be a pace you can hold for 30 minutes’ and it is different than the “pace you can hold for 15 minutes.” But that adjustment doesn’t take place for the Endurance runs. Why?”

    The instruction to run at a pace you can hold for 30 minutes should really read as “this should be the maximum pace you could hold for 30 minutes.”

    Those instructions are for high intensity intervals only, not endurance Zone 1-2 runs which is why we don’t give those instructions for easy runs. In other words, imagine the maximum pace you can hold for 30 minutes is 6:00 per mile. When you perform the short intervals in that workout, you’ll run at a 6:00 minutes per mile pace. Even if those intervals are far less than 30 minutes each, because of course that is the nature of intervals: running in small chunks of high intensity instead of all at once lets you consume more intensity and recover faster.

    Imagine we had said, “this should be your 10K pace,” you’d know exactly what we were talking about. 10K pace does not mean “run a 10K” it means run at an intensity you would hold for a 10K, albeit for maybe only 6 minutes at a time. BUt instead of saying “run at your 10K pace” we said “run at your maximum 30-minute pace” We could have written that instruction better.

    I didn’t read the previous post on the Power meter recommendation, but Gerald and Leyla are right on that Power is the superior method for measuring intensity, particular on trails. It may be unrelated to your main question, but the advice is sound.



    Everything I read on this thread is correct, and yet none of it makes any sense to me.

    The “average” pace for a 100 mile run is in the neighborhood of 12+ minute/mile. The Plan Samuel references never even comes close to replicating the times or paces of a 100 mile effort. So, I can only assume the objective of the plan is to achieve enough fitness to complete the distance with some degree of confidence.

    Pace, Power, and Heart Rate can only offer a guide to workout intensities. As stated each tool has its own unique value.

    I have my own reservations on endurance runs (even at shorter distance plans), there is no reduction in intensity from foundation runs. As a practical approach I monitor all three during endurance runs. Mainly power and heart rate, even though I am working a pace based plan, but I cannot rely on pace as a meaningful metric. For me, heart rate and power are more meaningful measures of training effect during an endurance workout.

    From a psychological perspective, decoupling pace from my endurance workouts is a coping mechanism for removing the temptation to “test” during a workout. It allows me to complete the workout and avoid going to the well and spoiling the plan.

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