It says that there's a long-term benefit of running slower than usual:
- Capillary development
- Increase myoglobin content of muscle fibers
- Increasing Glycogen storage in the muscles
- Mitochondria development
While I won't go into the details of these physiological benefits, I'll just plot a copy of the summary below on what pace these benefits can be maximized:
But I would share with you the summary of the paper:
That's a lot of research, percentages and numbers. If you're not as analytically inclined as I pretend to be, I've attached a neat chart to sum up the research.
The body of evidence is clear, your optimal long run pace is between 55 and 75 percent of your 5k pace, with the average pace being about 65 percent.
It's also evident from this research that running faster than 75% of your 5k pace on your long run doesn't provide a lot of additional physiological benefit. Therefore, pushing the pace beyond 75% of 5k pace only serves to make you more tired and hamper recovery.
In fact, the research indicates that it would be just as advantageous to run slower as it would be to run faster. 50-55 percent of 5k pace is pretty easy, but the research clearly demonstrates that it still provides near optimal physiological benefits.
If you're feeling tired and the long run isn't scheduled to be a hard day, don't be afraid to slow your long run down. My suggestion is to start on the slower side of the pace recommendations (50% of 5k pace) and slowly pick it up through the run if you feel good.Consider this research when debating the pace of your next long run and make it count!
I have tried this on yesterday's run, started at a comfortable 6:0x pace. Upon reaching KM3, I didn't feel tired! I got to try a different route as I felt the ease, and felt confident that I can make it back just fine. (I go through a route that has direct access to commute should there be any problems I encounter while running).
So there I was at KM6, with good breathing and constant pace. My tummy ached for a while, didn't matter though as I kept going. So i ended up with 1:01:xx after a 10.1KM run.
I also didn't have any of those colds or body pains that I used to have which is a good indication that I may be doing it right.