Tendency to accelerate on easy runs | 80/20 Endurance

Tendency to accelerate on easy runs

Viewing 14 posts - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)
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  • #14560
    alancraig
    Participant

    Does anyone else tend to accelerate on easy runs that are based on RPE? It’s not intentional at all, but each mile gets a little bit faster. This morning, I did an hour long easy run. The last mile was almost a minute faster than the first. All within the zone 1-2 range, so it stayed easy the whole time.

    When it’s the day after a hard run, it seems like I start slower but accelerate more. But when the day before was easy, everything from mile 3 on is pretty consistent.

    Anyone else? Just curious.

    #14561
    Matt Fitzgerald
    Keymaster

    I did so as a matter of routine back when I was still running. It’s a very natural way to pace an easy run, especially if you’re highly fit. The East Africans do almost all of their easy runs this way.

    #14562
    Bstarr
    Participant

    I find this on all of my Zone 2 runs. I believe it’s part of the reason for the “moderate intensity rut.” Running in Zone 2 sucks for me. It’s more difficult and feels more unnatural and uncomfortable than running Zone X or even low Zone 3. If I allow myself to simply run and not pay attention to my pace I’ll consistently drift to a faster pace.

    #14565
    alancraig
    Participant

    I could see what you mentioned as being an easy trap to fall into. What helps me is paying close attention to my breathing. The rate and ease of breathing should be consistent the whole time. For me, even with some acceleration, this still keeps it within the easy range. If it’s recovery, it won’t accelerate beyond zone 1. If it’s a regular easy/long run, it won’t accelerate beyond zone 2. At least this has worked for me.

    #14566
    Matt Fitzgerald
    Keymaster

    To clarify, I remained at low intensity throughout all of my easy runs despite accelerating. The East Africans, however, often finish their easy runs at moderate or even high intensity. Nevertheless, they still maintain an 80/20 intensity balance on a weekly basis. There’s more than one way to skin a cat.

    #14571
    Charles
    Participant

    I really don’t understand RPE. I only just started paying attention to it when Garmin Connect added the data field.

    I know what it is, but being subjective it seems a learning goal and a tool once learned (for experienced runners). For example a 10K effort for a recreational runner would be RPE = 4 and for an elite runner RPE = 5, so a recreational runner just needs to endure? Sounds like a recipe for disaster.

    Doing the 80/20 Foundation Runs (easy) I use the average pace display on my Garmin watch. I minimize my checks for pace during the run, and usually decide before the run whether I want to match the mean, or go a bit above or below the mean and still stay in the range. During the runs my RPE will vary with the hills but for the easy runs I just note the average for the whole run. At the conclusion of a run I record the workout RPE; foundation runs fall into RPE 2 or 3.

    For key workouts I record RPE based on the hardest segments of the workout. For reference, I use an RPE of about 4-1/2 as equivalent to lactate threshold effort. I don’t know if that is the correct method, I just think it is a way to learn RPE and Pacing.

    With regard to speeding up during an easy RPE run, the better runners I know always get in couple of miles warming up before a workout or race. Could it be that your RPE decreases as you warm up?

    #14573
    Bstarr
    Participant

    @alan

    I definitely notice it in my breathing. Obviously you can control things but I’ve got to pay attention. I can’t simply relax and run much of the time.

    Personally, I think this has more of an effect on crappy runners like myself than folks who run a little better. It’s counterintuitive but running slower is more difficult, at least for me. Due to some heart issues, my FTP is about 40 seconds slower than it was 6 months ago. I’m now on the way to hopefully get back there.

    Not sure where you rate, but try running at an 11:30 pace. That’s my upper zone 1. I find that to simply be a very uncomfortable pace to try to run. It’s much easier for me to run say a 9:30 pace from the standpoint of just feeling comfortable running. Assuming I return to where I was, that’s around the top of what would be zone 2 and zone 2 running becomes easier.

    • This reply was modified 2 months ago by Bstarr.
    #14576
    alancraig
    Participant

    That does makes sense. Per my last test run, my threshold pace is right at 7:30/mile. That was on August 16, so it’s probably a little faster now. This morning, my first mile was at 11:07, which is well down into zone 1. However, I woke up with my legs really stiff from yesterday’s hard run. So part of the deal was probably just the process of warming up. The last mile was at 10:08. For the entire run, it felt like anything slower would have been unnatural. So I definitely understand what you’re saying.

    #14577
    alancraig
    Participant

    I know a lot of people use a numerical system when running by RPE. Personally, I don’t. I guess I tend to think more in terms of how long I could sustain the effort. Super easy is something I could do all day. Easy is something I could do for a few hours. Then there’s what I could sustain for a marathon. From here, it the sustainable time keep dropping, all the way down to a dead sprint.

    #14580
    Charles
    Participant

    We have all probably self-sabotaged a race believing we ran our best effort only afterwards discovering we were deceived by RPE. I know I have.

    Zones I & II are easy to judge based on pace and breathing. It is a different story for Zones IV & V. The faster intervals actually feel easier due to the increased running efficiency. But I cannot do them for very long, or at least I can’t tell how long I can sustain a fast pace until I actually do it. It has to be learned, and it is part of the practice of mastery Matt talks about in his most recent blog article.

    I have a theory based on thin air. The elite runners are all doing essentially the same thing to prepare for races, so what separates the elite and podium finishers isn’t some secret workout or diet plan, it’s the runner who has mastered their personal RPE. It’s worth doing the work to find out…

    #14581
    Matt Fitzgerald
    Keymaster

    There’s a growing body of research showing that relative pacing prowess is a major distinguisher between different levels of athletes. I’m not aware of any research that has looked at differences within the elite ranks, but there’s every reason to expect they do exist.

    #14586
    Charles
    Participant

    I’m glad you turned the discussion to Relative Pacing Prowess.

    When I dig down just a single layer everybody is saying something different about RPE. Training Peaks says to rate the entire workout 30 minutes after completion. I don’t see where Garmin makes that distinction explicitly, but it is implied.

    Training Peaks has the ability to design a workout using RPE. I’ll have to try that and see what it is all about. It might work but my first impression it’s for athletes working with a coach.

    I’ll stick with the pace based intervals in my 80/20 Plan and let RPE come to me (I mean Pacing Prowess).

    #14639
    dcollins25
    Participant

    @bstarr – jumping in late here, tagging onto your comments …
    “… try running at an 11:30 pace. That’s my upper zone 1. I find that to simply be a very uncomfortable pace to try to run. It’s much easier for me to run say a 9:30 pace from the standpoint of just feeling comfortable running. Assuming I return to where I was, that’s around the top of what would be zone 2 and zone 2 running becomes easier.”

    I also find running very slowly to be quite difficult. It gets easier in some ways but more difficult in others. It’s just the aches/pains are different. I went from muscle/tendon strains to knee and back-aches. It was surprising. Running slowly (and kinesiology tape) did enable me to continue training in spite of an ankle issue, but I agree that Easy runs are not always Easy.

    #14655
    alancraig
    Participant

    This morning, I tried something different just to see how it would work. I set my watch screen up to include time and lap average power. For the first almost 2 miles, I didn’t pay any attention to my watch. I just tried to keep it all easy. Then, once I was nearing the end of mile 2, I knew I was at a warmed up easy effort. So I just held this for the rest of the run.

    At the beginning of each mile, I would back off very slightly just to keep the lap average power the same. This only required dialing it back by a couple of watts, so the adjustment was almost unnoticeable. Then, for the rest of the mile, I just tried to hold the same effort. This worked really well. It was a great run. I think it was a good combination of using RPE, but then fine tuning with technology.

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