Long Run Pace Progression

Long run Progression

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People who follow me or have followed Hansons Marathon Method know that I have a specific long-run pace zone that I give out for long runs. It includes what we use for easy runs, but then a little extra for some spice! I do love a faster long run! However, we have to have the foundation down first, before progressing to the faster paces. So let’s cover some basic progression:

Weeks 1-4: just focus on easy running, especially if just coming back from downtime. Focus on general endurance through comfortable paces. If you are new to the marathon, stay here longer. You might stay here the entire training block if you’ve never run this far before. 

Weeks 5-8: start the run easy, and progress to moderate paces. The second half of the long run would be in that moderate range. If you are newer to the marathon, I would stay here. Right now, you’re probably only ready for a lil spice. Seriously though, you’ll benefit more from staying here and getting comfortable in this range than pushing the issue. That’s what your tempo run will be for. 

Weeks 9-12: if you are tolerating the spice well, I’d say your long runs should break down something like this: 25% easy, 50% moderate, 25% long run pace range. 

Weeks 13-16: first off, be careful here. This is a dangerous place. If you are feeling the cumulative fatigue and it’s uncharted territory, keep your long run steady. If feeling decent, relative to being neck deep in marathon training, then your long run might look like 10-15% easy, 25% moderate, and the rest in long run range. If you are advanced/experienced, then the percentage of your long run in the long run pace range will start to become more and more until you only do a mile easy to warm up, a mile at moderate to bridge the gap, and the rest at long run range. 

Then close off the segment with easier long runs. 

Key Points

Even at your highest level, the entire long run won’t be at your long run pace range. 

Based on that, your long runs shouldn’t average in your long-run pace range until the last stretch. Even then, they probably shouldn’t average at the very fastest end of that range. If they do, I assume you ran faster than you were supposed to make up the average of the slower beginning miles. Tsk tsk! That’s too much spice unless individually recommended! 

Lastly, if ramping up during the spring and early summer, warm temps will impact your pacing. Even if you slow down the pace, the effort will still be elevated. Give yourself time to adapt to the heat.

Hopefully, that helps as you start those buildups! 

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