Do lots of slower miles lead to faster races?

So I just finished up Matt Fitzgerald’s book 80/20, which emphasizes the theory that 80% of your training be low intensity and 20% be at moderate or high intensity in order to most effectively improve your fitness. Those of you reading my blog posts will already know that the vast majority of my current training block has been low intensity. Way more than 80%. Probably more like 90%. This has been stressing me out before races. I start wondering how I am going to run 13 miles at 6:30 min/mi pace if I have been doing no (or very few) miles at that pace. However, the last two races I have run (Oozlefinch 10 mile and Shamrock Half) my fitness has improved. I honestly was shocked at how good I felt crossing the Shamrock finish line, and faster than I had run the ten miler!

Shamrock Half Marathon time on 3/17/19

I am in better shape now than I was after PRing at the Richmond Marathon this past fall. My marathon training block consisted of two or three 70 mile weeks, but with lots more moderate or high intensity exercise. Probably a 70/30 split during peak weeks. Also, my training block was much shorter at about six weeks.

Having a blast at the Richmond Marathon 11/10/18 with a PR of 3:07

Whereas, this training block (for the 60k) has been much longer. I have been running 70 or 80 miles a week for more than two months, and with minimal moderate or high intensity paces. It has honestly been a little boring. I love the challenge of running hard, hitting tough paces, and feeling like I want to puke after a hard workout. Is that weird? And even though the high mileage, low intensity plan is working, I think I’m excited to focus a little more on some shorter events for a speed boost. Run a few 5k/10k races this summer, and then start building up my mileage again for the Richmond Marathon in November. That’s the plan for now anyway!


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