Question about pacing

Patrick's Question

Hi Lee,

I used your program for the Blackmores Half Marathon and find it good as it gives me something to focus on instead of doing random runs myself.

One thing I wonder about is why most of the runs are at an easy pace?

I run at a 5 min/km pace quite easily and have to make a real effort to run slower than that.

I have tried running at my normal pace (which is below 5min/km pace now) and every time I do the target time goes down quite a lot.

However, when there is a 4x1km rep 4X1600 rep at the new target time I don’t quite get there in terms of pace.

So it seems for 1:35 target time I can do the easy runs quite easily, but can’t make the rep targets.

For the 1:45 I struggle to go slow enough in the easy runs.

What would be the best thing to do?

The Blackmores is the first half marathon I did and I feel I can still go quicker (it’s just a matter of being able to keep it up for 21k)

(I ran 1:52, because I hit the wall after 16k, but was on track for 1:45 up until then)




Lee's response

Hi Patrick,

The objective of the marathon is to be able to train at a level that is going to get you fitter and stronger but also not break you. What I mean by that is, often people train so hard that they end of not making the start line or breaking down a few weeks before and their performance is affected.

A general rule of thumb is that your easy runs and longs runs should be 45 - 60secs slower than race pace. The long run is to get the mileage into your legs and usually you fatigue due to the length of the run and the easy runs are to recover from the long runs and sessions.

Depending on your sessions, they are much faster than race pace and in some cases can be 10secs per km faster (but again it depends on the session). Running your quality sessions faster than race pace and doing your long/ easy runs slower than race pace should balance each other out.

The fact that you claim you can run 5min/km quite easily and struggle to run slower than that but then struggle to run the quality sessions faster shows that you need to get faster with your sessions.

The quality sessions are really the grading sessions and if you follow the program properly, you will find that the other training is purely to get the mileage and more running into your legs to strengthen you but the quality sessions are will what make you run faster. For eg: I do all my training runs around 4min km pace but yet I race my marathons at 3.05 km pace. When I do sessions, my focus is to run as fast as I can on tired legs and if I am doing a session of 1km efforts, then I am trying to hit them in 2.50 km pace. The combination of fast quality sessions and easy long/ recovery runs allows me to survive a 16 week training block and get fitter/ faster and onto the start line.

Next time really focus on the quality sessions and tempo runs as they will give you the best gauge as to what exactly you can run and not running the easy or longer runs quicker than prescribed.

All the best,


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