Sunday, November 16, 2008

Slow Running Does Count!

I have an answer to yesterday's post...slow running does count. In fact, for an ultra marathoner, almost anything that keeps you on your feet counts! Waking, hiking, jogging, running, delivering the mail, etc. An old friend of mine (the "Fat Kid") used to work for the USPS and he had a walking route to deliver the mail. He was in great shape even though he didn't run more than a couple of times a week. I guess walking all day and then getting in a couple of good runs is a recipe for successful ultra running. So get out there and run...or walk...or hike...or all counts as training for us ultra runners.

Now, back to the real intent of yesterday's question...does moving at 13:00 pace really count as running? Sure it helps to go slow in training for an ultra race since you'll be walking and jogging for most of that 50 or 100 miles anyway, but is it really running? I think the answer lies in the individual's conditioning. For me, it isn't running. My body feels awkward at that slow of a pace and my heart rate is too low to count it as a running. If I was coming back from an injury, then maybe that pace would be "running." For a beginner, anything faster than 12:00 pace might seem like a sprint. For an Olympian, 7:00 pace is pedestrian. It's all relative. What counts as a "real" run or a "real" workout will vary by an individual's training goals and fitness level.

My gerbils always run on their wheels very fast. But they stop a LOT. Sprint. Stop. Look around. Sprint...stop...look. Repeat. I suppose that's their interval workout. My hamster tends to go for a stroll. He'll trot at an easy pace...and keep on going forever. I swear he just runs ALL night. If they were entered into a race, the gerbils would be the 100 meter specialists and the hamster would be the 100 mile guy. So, are you a gerbil or a hamster style runner?


704Studio said...


Your last two posts made me reflect on what I want to accomplish during the winter months.

Since Farmdale I have cut out all "speed" running, which for me is pacing in the 6:15-6:45 range. I have discovered that the time off from speed has allowed my body to feel pretty good on all my runs. Consequently I have been running some medium distance routes lately. Last week I ran 13.75 miles around the South Farms and MBK loop on Tues-Thur, then on Friday ran 17 miles. I ran these distances making sure my heart rate remained steady and somewhat calm, so I was running around 8:30-9:30 pace. This is the kind of pace I would like to run at your ultra in Clinton in March, but I am not sure I can hold it for 30 miles.

I guess I am hoping that the slow, medium distance running I am doing in the winter months will increase my stamina/endurance level, which will hopefully translate to running longer and faster in the spring.

That is the plan anyways.

James W

Chris Ⓥ said...


Get in as many moderate paced medium to long trail runs as you can. That's the best thing for ultra training. Build up that stamina and endurance. Best if you can run the Clinton Lake trail or Forest Glen as much as possible--they are perfect trails to prep you for the Clinton Lake race...or any trail ultra marathon. We'll have a few official training runs leading up to the actual race. Plus, any time you want to run the Clinton trail, I'm game.

PS: Keep you eye on this blog...registration will open soon (this week?) for Clinton Lake 2009!

704Studio said...

Thanks for the training info, Chris, I will keep up with the medium/long distance runs (ran the 13.75 mile loop yesterday).

Last year my focus was on short trail races, but after running Farmdale I realize the longer distances are more suited to my running temperament (although I don’t know if my body can tolerate it, I will find out in 2009).

Running the Clinton Lake trail sounds like a good idea, since that race will be my focus for winter training. I will check your blog for when you are planning the training runs there, and hopefully I can attend some of those. I don't have access to a car very often, so I am usually confined to the Champaign/Urbana area for my training. If you are heading out there this winter and want to carpool, I will gladly help pay the cost of gas.

Good luck with your winter training!


Chris Ⓥ said...

Even when we don't have an official training run as part of race prep, we run the Clinton trail fairly often all winter. I live in Mahomet, but others carpool out from Champaign/Urbana. I'm sure someone would be happy to stop by and pick you up.