The crossroad of speed and volume

My overall time at last May’s LI Half Marathon was 2:08, which translated to a 9:49 pace. As race paces go, that was fairly slow (even for me). But my 2012 finish time improved almost 14 minutes over the year before. I would have liked to break two hours on the half, but my stretch goal for that race was to break 2:10, and I did that.

To prepare for this year’s race, I’d looked at the challenge of running the half marathon as one of stamina, not speed. Interval training can be an effective way to prepare for a 5K, but I knew that the only way I could achieve a credible time for the half would be to train for distance. A lot of distance. Between mid-March and and May, I spent almost every Saturday morning at Bethpage State Park, doing progressively longer runs until I was satisfied with my conditioning.

This volume training was the key to managing my effort across more than two hours of continuous running. There’s obviously a big difference in training for a 5K versus a half, but what about a 10K? A 6.2 mile race is double a 5K, but not quite half of a half. There’s speed involved, but also enough distance so that endurance can become an issue.

For my upcoming 10K, I’ve decided to focus on pace during my shorter runs, but work primarily on volume and hills during my longer weekend runs. Hopefully, both strategies will meet somewhere in the middle to allow me to run my best at Cow Harbor.

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