Hello all. I'm a newbie runner. I just started about 6 months ago, and I've completed two 5ks, and 8k and I'm running my first 10k in a few weeks. I've completed all of these races, but my pace is rather slow, about 11:30/mi. My question is when is a good time to transition from working on endurance to working on my pace?
It really depends on your personal training schedule and priorities. Sounds like you are doing wonderfully and participating in a lot of events, which is always a great motivating factor to improve for the next level of reaching specific goals.
There are several specific plans that are designed to slowly build endurance and increase the overall mileage with a particular training distance, but many of those are "cookie cutter" recommendations that do not allow for individual circumstances or situations.
So, the short answer is to focus on your existing strenghts and adapt your own training schedule as you continue to evolve as a runner. Specifically to your question, your pace will naturally increase with greater endurance. However, including some tempo runs, hill repeats, sprints and intervals would be of benefit. It is not really a question of transition, but moreso a sequence of consistent training (and how you balance/split up the overall miles during the week and so on).
I hope this makes sense, but basically it will all come together with a regular schedule, and you will surprise yourself with the performance, so you are already doing the best thing by entering all those races.
Wishing you all the best and many happy miles.
I agree it depends a lot on your goals as a runner. I would recommend having a base of 20 - 25 miles per week for 6 to 8 weeks before adding serious speed work, such as intervals or tempo runs. As Jasko123 said, you will see some improvement as you increase endurance. If you want to try some less formal "speed work", try hill repeats or strides (aka striders, stride-outs and a few other names).
Don't do either of these more than once a week.
Hill repeats: warm up for a mile, arriving at the bottom of a short hill (200 - 400 meters). Run up at a moderately hard pace, more for a shorter hill, less for a longer hill. Turn around and go down very slowly for recovery. Repeat as needed. Start with a couple and add one each time you do the workout. Your legs will let you know when you've had enough.
Strides: usually done at the end of a routine run. Accelerate over a few strides to a fast, controlled pace, but not an all-out sprint. Maintain for 50 to 100 steps. Turn around and go at an easy pace (walking is OK) back to the start. Repeat. Again, start with a couple and increase over time. Work on stride and turnover.
I can add some perspective to this as someone who started running only 3-4 years ago at 52 y-o, ... I also started out woefully slow. I agree with Lenzlaw and Jasko123 that it takes a "base" of miles - I found that once my legs figured out how to carry me forward for a period of time that I could begin working on other things. Hill repeats and speed intervals are definite gotta-do's. They really help. I'm still not "fast", but I'm slowly moving up the pack... (you can tell from my events below that I'm not taking home any medals... but I'm having fun)
One of the biggest things I've learned from being around other runners is that each runner has their own comfortable groove where it all just works, and this groove adapts as the runner trains for different things. This also means that some runners can adopt to a faster pace easier than others simply due to their genetics.
I've also learned that my form dictates how efficiently I can run, which also translates into how much faster I can run. And I'm sure that it is different for everybody, but for me it's pretty simple:
- make sure that my hips are square and forward (i.e. not dragging behind me, no slouching);
- my head is up (makes it easier for me to breathe);
- land on my mid-foot and roll off the ball of my foot, not my toes;
- make sure that I'm leaning forward ever so slightly (which kind of make me feel like my hips are pushing me forward and I'm falling into my steps);
- keep my feet under my hips (don't want to over-stride)
- and to go faster, simply take quicker steps...
One last thing that really helps me is music - I look for music that carries a cadence that I want to run to, and I'll time the music for different points on a course. I can get into the groove of the music and just go, and if feels great.
Best of luck - let us know what you do that works for you. I'm always looking for new tricks and things to try.
6/17/2012 AnnArbor HM 2:09:01
6/3/2012 DexAA HM 2:00:31
3/11/2012 St Pat's 5K 0:25:42
11/10/2011 AnnArborTT 10K 0:52:27
10/9/2011 Chicago Marathon 4:49:55 (cramps @23m, but finished upright and running!)
9/3/2011 Milford 30K DNF (cramped out at 14m)
6/25/2011 Solstice 10M 1:27:15
6/5/2011 DexAA HM 1:58:53
5/1/2011 BurnsPark10K 0:51:58
10/17/2010 Detroit HM 2:06:19
6/6/2010 Dex-AA HM 2:09:30
I would recommend no speed work for a year, or until you have a very good base. Speed work often results in overuse injuries! Keep it sinple for the 1st year, "RUN Often, at different paces, mostly easy"! How often? As often as possible you'll be a much better runner if you run 5 times a week instead of 3, 7 instead of 5. From Running times, watch adding to much to soon.