I’m hear to tell you not being scared to run “slow” on your easy and recovery days is the way to go.
I want to highlight a specific athlete: Ashley Barnish. I’ve been coaching her on and off for three years. THREE YEARS? Wow. She was one of the first people we ever coached and is still with us today. I always brag on her and she is truly a dream to coach. The girls follows the plan and listens to her body.
Ashley came to us with a marathon PR of 4:05 and a 1:48 half marathon PR. The goal was to qualify for Boston.
Two seasons later, she was qualified by 7 minutes and crushed her goal. She ran a 3:28. Blew the expectations out of the water. Because she was prepared and trusted the process. And then got tough on race day, right? You have to be willing to hurt on race day. You let yourself go there on workouts so why wouldn’t you go there on race day. Don’t be afraid to go there. Gotta get out of your own head.
But what I want to talk about is this: the average pace for Ashley’s marathon that day was 7:56. Got that? 7:56.
The majority of her training miles were ran somewhere between 8:45-9:45 pace. And the girl was not scared (and still will!) about running 9:45 or 10:00 minute miles if she’s feeling that’s what feels “easy” or “recovery”.
Did she do big workouts? Yes. But they were once a week. She also ran a good amount of progression long runs with marathon pace work in them. Looking back at her training schedule, I’m seeing 8 long run workouts with marathon pace work in them over a 22 week training cycle. The rest were all “easy” long runs.
Often times, people freak out when they see how slow the easy pace scheduled. But listen, these easy runs should feel EASY. Like, no heavy breathing, sing happy birthday fluidly easy.
“A year of mental training, 4 months of hard work, more 5am alarms then I choose to count, and the stars aligning resulted in a 18 min PR, a sub-3:30, and a BQ! Boston bound 2016, hopefully!” – Ashley
Ashley is running Boston in April and working hard. She’s got a big two weeks going on right now that will pay off on race day. Let’s all cheer her on- go Ashley!
So go run some easy miles and enjoy them for what they are. Don’t be scared that you won’t be able to run a minute faster per mile on race day. You can. If you taper right, and you’ve been the right workouts in, you can. Enjoy the easy days. No heavy breathing on easy days!
What do you run your easy paced miles at compared to your goal marathon pace time? Or Half Marathon?