Most of our clinic runs on Saturday are at an easy pace: marathon race pace plus 30 to 45 second per km. Long runs at an easy pace help to improve the aerobic threshold which helps you race faster. Coincidentally the aerobic threshold is very near your marathon race pace.
After a few months of consistent running the aerobic threshold plateaus. At this point to race faster you need to improve the aerobic threshold.
You have training options to help improve your aerobic fitness.
Increase your easy cross-training
Increase your weekly running mileage
Increase your running at aerobic threshold pace
Regular cross training will improve your aerobic fitness. If you are susceptible to injury cross-training can help immensely in improving fitness. The downside is that its not as event specific training as running and will not yield the greatest results. Also cross training requires some of your training time and energy. If the cross training is intense then it will take away from your running workouts which are event specific. Cross training at an easy effort is more effective for the entire running program.
More Miles per Week
There is no doubt that increasing your weekly mileage has shown to be helpful in improving race time. The downside is that you are taking more steps per week and can easily develop an injury.
Increase Quality of Training
A third option is to run more at your aerobic threshold. You have the option of doing this during your long runs. Most of our long runs are at an easy pace but we frequently add in 2km to 3km sections at marathon pace. Why repeats of 2km to 3km? Because they are the most efficient way of improving aerobic fitness. Weekly long continuous runs at aerobic threshold (12km to 15km at marathon pace) can lead to muscle fatigue and long term race performance deterioration. Repeats of 2km to 3km allow for improvement without building excessive long-term muscle fatigue.
You can over-train by constantly running at aerobic threshold which is why it’s safer to run at marathon pace workouts every second or third week.
You are invited to run with Forerunners Main Street on January 20th and our workout is: 18km including 3 x2 km pace pickups at marathon pace in the middle of the run.
All the best with your training for the First Half!