Pace During None Speed Short Runs?

I've been following several marathon training programs. Some 26 week programs and even a 52 week plan. My question is this. What pace should I be running on runs that aren't speed runs but aren't my long runs either?? Almost all of the training I've read relates training pace to marathon + pace or at pace.

What should I run when there is nothing specific? Usually I run -30 to 1 min slower than marathon pace.... is this correct??

Thanks for your help!

Gotta love running!! :)

Answer by Dominique:

Hi there,
Thanks for your excellent running training question. Many running programs out there do not specify clearly what your speed should be for your workouts.

The best way to go about your training is to have a purpose for every little piece of your training, so I'll do a short recap on why you do certain runs:

You do your long runs to build up your aerobic capacity, to burn fat more efficiently and to get used to the length of the marathon.

You do your tempo runs to increase your lactate threshold.

You do your intervals to increase your VO2Max.
You cannot maintain an optimal VO2Max for months and months, reason why this type of training is usually left until a later stage, closer to race day.

You cross-train to get a stronger overall physique while giving your running muscles a rest.

Your none-speed short runs in marathon training are your recovery runs and your easy runs. You do a recovery run to help the lactic acid leave your body. You do your easy runs to increase your aerobic capacity.
Both of these types of runs should be done at easy pace, i.e. conversational pace, the pace at which you'd be able to maintain a conversation with a running partner.
They are not meant to exhaust you.

The speed you describe (30 sec to 1 min slower than marathon pace) seems about right so you have been doing them well all along.

Also check out my page on base running for some more info and my running training section which describes some other workouts as well.

Best of luck with your running!

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