Newbie running speed gains

Need more advice- thanks in advance.
I signed up to run the Philadelphia Marathon November 21. I’m new to running and began a training program about two weeks ago. I had been running approx 10-20 miles per week for the six months or so before starting the program.
I’m told that planning to run in 6 hours is foolhardy because it will be too much of a slog and that I should train to break 5 hours- actually train to go 4:48 because I might need to stop for bathroom/water etc. That’s roughly an 11/mile pace.
Before I signed up, I tried a couple or calculators to see if this is possible. But my longest “race” was a 5k. So my mile time (about 8:29 and 5k time 29:29 are spot on. For the past few weeks I’m starting to go longer on long days. But I’m wayyyyy slower. 10 miles took me 2:03 (>12:30 pace).
I’m told I will get way faster as I go, but I don’t seem to be getting faster. I just seem able to go further at the same snail’s pace.
My brother tells me that because I’m still pretty new at this I’ll get faster quickly- but I don’t feel like I will. Hoping I’m wrong but just wanted to see if anyone else has thoughts

Replies

  • ninerbuff
    ninerbuff Posts: 48,481 Member
    Run intervals to increase your speed.
    IE find your jogging speed, then run 8 intervals of 2 miles faster than you jog for 30 seconds with 1 minute and a half recovery in between.



    A.C.E. Certified Personal and Group Fitness Trainer
    IDEA Fitness member
    Kickboxing Certified Instructor
    Been in fitness for 30 years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition

    9285851.png
  • DoubleG2
    DoubleG2 Posts: 121 Member
    I would not focus on speed. Personally, I would have you get at least one half-marathon under your belt before attempting a full. You're still building a base of fitness and the old adage you have to go slow to go fast is true. Quality long slow distance runs will help your base, but you should be following a plan. I like Higdon's: https://www.halhigdon.com/training-programs/marathon-training/novice-1-marathon/
    The biggest challenge for me was getting used to running the distances needed to properly acclimate to the stress on the body. Pushing the pace on some of the shorter runs may help increase speed over time, but there is no substitute for the weekly long run. Good luck!
  • rheddmobile
    rheddmobile Posts: 6,840 Member
    edited August 2021
    The race pace predictor assumes a high level of fitness for long distance racing, and falls apart if you don’t have that level of fitness. For example, in my case I can do a mile in 8 minutes, 5k in 27, and 10k in 58 - which is about what’s predicted - but my current half is something like 2:35 because I haven’t trained for it. My marathon, were I to attempt one right now, would be probably seven hours or something because I would be walking a lot. The race pace predictor simply doesn’t take into account people who can’t yet run the distance comfortably.

    Don’t stress over speed. You will be able to sustain a tempo pace for longer and longer stretches of time as you train at a slower pace. You’re not SUPPOSED to be training speedwork as a marathon newbie! Follow your training plan and trust it. The people who came up with the plan have shepherded a lot of newbs to their first marathon.

    Incidentally, you won’t actually die if you run 6 hrs. And running five is pretty boring already. The difference between running five and running six hours isn’t that big a difference in terms of how much of a slog it is. In my experience running the single ultra I’ve run, once you get past a certain point you just zone out and it all becomes a blur anyway.
  • heybales
    heybales Posts: 18,842 Member
    Not sure if it's a slog if you make it, and beat the time limit. Shoot - even then people have finished to cheers!

    Base miles for sure help, so ditto to that.

    I have seen several cases where someone was going slow enough to be missing out on some efficiency and energy return from poor form when going slower.
    So that's good you've seen that faster pace on shorter distance.

    Did it feel better?
    Perhaps there is even an inbetween speed that feels better yet.

    If there is such a pace, doing the fartlek type approach of just hitting that pace amidst a longer run, every once in awhile, can be useful. I was never one for doing official programs that use it, just getting my pace up when it felt good for a few minutes.

    It is pretty hard to test paces that feel better while for the moment trying to remove breathing like you are dying from the effect.
    I actually found mine on the treadmill, while testing what seemed to be best turn-over for me.
    Once that was found, messed with pace and found one where the HR indicated it was actually tad easier.

    Are you purposely going slower, or just out of necessity for breathing or the feeling of pounding going on?
  • Onedaywriter
    Onedaywriter Posts: 324 Member
    Thanks all.
    My goal is really just to finish (not walking but running) in the 7 hour limit. I guess I’m thinking about speed because one time I bicycled a century with a very slow buddy. It took over 8 1/2 hours and I felt aweful at the end of it. I did one by myself a few months before in about 6 hours and felt just so much better. I had no time goals for these but the slow one made my butt and lower back really sore.
    I have a few plans and I’m sort of doing a hybrid. One is from runners world for a 5 hour marathon, but I can’t quite get the miles in the suggested time- so I’m getting the miles more slowly.
    I go slower simply because after about 6-7 miles my legs are just dead. So my pace just drops. I’m hoping it’s because I’m sort of used to running the 10k distance from my lead up runs to the training program and that as I get more used to the long ones, the pace won’t drop as much.
  • rheddmobile
    rheddmobile Posts: 6,840 Member
    Thanks all.
    My goal is really just to finish (not walking but running) in the 7 hour limit. I guess I’m thinking about speed because one time I bicycled a century with a very slow buddy. It took over 8 1/2 hours and I felt aweful at the end of it. I did one by myself a few months before in about 6 hours and felt just so much better. I had no time goals for these but the slow one made my butt and lower back really sore.
    I have a few plans and I’m sort of doing a hybrid. One is from runners world for a 5 hour marathon, but I can’t quite get the miles in the suggested time- so I’m getting the miles more slowly.
    I go slower simply because after about 6-7 miles my legs are just dead. So my pace just drops. I’m hoping it’s because I’m sort of used to running the 10k distance from my lead up runs to the training program and that as I get more used to the long ones, the pace won’t drop as much.
    Are you fueling okay? For a lot of people fueling a longer run is completely different from one shorter than an hour, most people need to start adding carbs at about 90 minutes of running but it varies.
  • Onedaywriter
    Onedaywriter Posts: 324 Member
    Are you fueling okay? For a lot of people fueling a longer run is completely different from one shorter than an hour, most people need to start adding carbs at about 90 minutes of running but it varies.

    Ohhh. Great thought. On the longer runs maybe I go too far before my break for Gatorade. I usually have a bowl of oatmeal about an hour before and then a banana like 15 minutes before. Then Gatorade during the run but maybe I go too far before the Gatorade (usually about an hour in). I ordered a belt with small bottles and will try to use that and drink smaller amounts sooner and more often.
  • Djproulx
    Djproulx Posts: 3,084 Member
    &1 for the idea of looking at fueling. As you increase your long runs, this becomes more important. A combination of calories(usually from carbs) electrolytes(sodium/magnesium/potassium, etc) and water. Both of the running coaches I used suggested fueling based on time, as opposed to mileage. So, if you're running for greater than XX ( 90 minutes) start taking in fuel earlier, say at the 45 minute mark. Then continue to fuel at regular intervals, whatever that interval is for you. The idea is to stay ahead on your fueling to avoid the feeling of "depletion".
  • heybales
    heybales Posts: 18,842 Member
    edited August 2021
    Djproulx wrote: »
    &1 for the idea of looking at fueling. As you increase your long runs, this becomes more important. A combination of calories(usually from carbs) electrolytes(sodium/magnesium/potassium, etc) and water. Both of the running coaches I used suggested fueling based on time, as opposed to mileage. So, if you're running for greater than XX ( 90 minutes) start taking in fuel earlier, say at the 45 minute mark. Then continue to fuel at regular intervals, whatever that interval is for you. The idea is to stay ahead on your fueling to avoid the feeling of "depletion".

    Ditto this.

    Even on the bike this is about my timing. I can make it to 2 hrs without mid-fuel but cramps will be a coming in the latter stages unless I just held back. Which I don't do so good on.

    If I'm purposely keeping the run slow merely to get miles on the legs - like active-recovery HRzone, I can make it 2.5 hrs. But at a pace that feels better, I better fuel.

    @Onedaywriter -
    I'll suggest too - test those fuels - a drink like Gatorade is usually safe, they've made the ratio right - but confirm what the pace is for drinking it, like 20 oz/hr (spread out of course) along with water, 24 oz. And what you can take.

    If you go for dense fuel gels or such, confirm they rest well on stomach and amount of water to be taken with them.
    And I'd say test those even on shorter runs where you may not be going over 90 min, merely to test when you won't be out so long.
    Nothing like a long training run being interrupted or cut short by gastro issues because ratio or product was not good at all.

    https://www.mysportscience.com/post/2015/05/27/recommendations-for-carb-intake-during-exercise

    ETA:
    This is actually a good article explaining it nicely too.
    https://www.trainerroad.com/blog/how-to-use-carbs-for-maximum-performance/
  • Duck_Puddle
    Duck_Puddle Posts: 3,224 Member
    In addition to the fueling, you may want to plug your info into this calculator (which gives ranges for training paces as well as race prediction):

    https://www.mcmillanrunning.com/

    FWIW, your long runs are going to be slower than your race pace. They should be. You will be tapered and rested for the race-not logging continual weeks of increasing mileage. So you’ll have more energy and be fresher. And you don’t have to run another week of training runs after the race (so you can push during the race without worrying about recovering time for your next runs). Also, your miles in the summer heat will be slower than miles in late November (when it’s not hot and humid) even at the exact same level of effort.

    12:30 is the upper end of the pace range for long runs for a 5 hour marathon. That makes sense given that it’s summed (hot) and you’re coming in with a little bit of a low base.

    Check your fueling, but also don’t expect to run your long runs at marathon pace. Run them comfortably.
  • MikeRunsDaily2021
    MikeRunsDaily2021 Posts: 68 Member
    If you are signed up for a marathon in the fall I would recommend that you work mainly on building up your mileage. Pace will come only once your comfortable running longer distance and when training for your first marathon your mile time isn’t really something you should use to gage expected results because the race is so long. Work on long runs and getting used to fueling during long runs.
  • nbuuifx
    nbuuifx Posts: 23 Member
    I agree with working on distance. I've never ran a marathon and never really fancied it as a half marathon leaves me wrecked!

    But I would be working on just managing to do long distance, not worrying about speed or time, just miles. Don't forget time for recovery though. I also found that squats helped to improve the feeling in my legs when running.

    I'm not a fast runner by any means but I do ok. My pb is about 1h48m on a half. Training for that, we used to run a half marathon after work every Thursday. I did that for 6 weeks in a row running around a 2 hour time just to get used to running that far.