I started the 16 week Jack Daniel's Blue training programme today - and while I have been waiting to start it, I have been doing a lot of reading of his training philosophy, and also that of other trainers. They all seem to say much the same thing -- and that is that AMATEUR RUNNERS ALL TRAIN TOO HARD ON THEIR EASY DAYS AND TOO EASY ON THEIR HARD DAYS. They further say that we (amateur runners) all fall into our own personal "comfort zones" when we run/train/practice running - and this is not where benefits of training are to be found. Apparently maximum benefits are to be found in the very easy, conversational zone of running ( which is not that easy to do) and in the hard, definitely not conversational zones above a certain threshold.
I did a 5K Parkrun on Saturday - it was hot, I hadn't run a Parkrun for a while and I ran it 2 minutes slower than my best -- So, I put that time into the Good Run Guide training pace calculator goodrunguide.co.uk/Training... , the McMillan calculator and the Jack Daniels calculator - and they all came up with basically the same thing - that (during training ) I should be running easy/long runs at around 9 minutes per K, longer tempo style runs at around 7:15 per K and intervals at around 6 minutes per K . Tempos running at 7:15 represents about an 85% effort for me , while intervals at 6 minute represents efforts up to 95% ( both of these latter paces are HARD for me and therefore I can only do 2 days of them during the weeks training, all other runs should be easy including one long run.)
BUT - easy running at 9 minutes per K is also "hard" for me -- it is easy on my lungs and general energy levels , but I find it to be quite hard on my leg muscles and feet. This morning's first run was a 30 minute easy run, ending in 6 "strides" . I managed to hold myself down to that slow pace and still run ( bearing in mind that my walking pace is 9:30, running at 9:00 seems very painful indeed) - but having forced myself to do the full 30 minutes at that pace, in spite of the feet pain and after doing the strides at the end, I feel quite good about it now ( which is supposedly the purpose of doing strides at the end of easy runs)