Slogging Miles

In my previous training I have always been an advocate of easy running as much as possible.  After my cyst almost a year and a half ago I’ve run easy for 80% of my runs (more or less some weeks) and have stayed injury free for the most part.  I have had a few two day niggles but nothing that has kept me out.

My number 1 goal for this (or any) training cycle is to stay injury free.  If I can stay injury free for 3-4 months in a row, it’s always a success.  You have to exist and enjoy yourself outside of running and if I can’t do that because I’m injured…I have failed.

This training cycle my secondary goal is to run at appropriate paces.  Often times in previous training cycles I would find myself running miles at 9-10 min pace.  Though 5 out of 7 of my runs were untimed, I have a feeling the pace fluctuated anywhere between 8:30-10 minutes.  I am positive running slower at high mileage kept me injury free.  For my first year of high mileage it was definitely the smart idea.

I now have an entire year of high mileage under my belt.  In 2013, I kept my mileage easy and high.  It worked for me and I PRed in every single event except for the mile. 

In 2014, my goal is to still run high mileage but keep my paces more honest.  When I begin training for a 7:15 paced marathon, I cannot run 9 minute miles with no speed work and hope that it all just works out.  It obviously didn’t last time.

So with that, my secondary goal is not to slog miles.


A term I heard last year that basically means slow jogging upwards of 2-3 minutes from your personal goal pace.  For some slogging might be 7 minute miles…for some slogging might be 20 minute miles.  I can honestly say I’m notorious for slogging.  If I’m training for a 5k, my goal pace is around 6 minute miles for a 5k.  Last training cycle, I easily ran several runs at 9 or more minute pace.

Since starting this training cycle and beginning base building I’ve cut a lot of my slogging out.  I have been attempting to run between 8-8:30 miles with two days of solid recovery (and honest no timed runs).  Obviously if I have a hard workout (race) I’m not going to try and run 8 minute miles the next day.   However, I’ve made an extra effort to not run 9+ min miles every day.

For the last two weeks I have definitely seen improvements in my running.  Last year or even in the fall, running 12 miles around 8-8:15 pace daily was a challenge.  It was a challenge because I didn’t do it.  Now, runs at 8:15 pace are starting to seem easier.  I don’t struggle.  That can be a combination of getting back (slowly) into running or having a stronger base, but I am starting to feel more confident in my running.

Though I’m not doing a lot of speed work (just races), I am hoping this plays a good role in my running and I’m able to PR or have a solid spring training cycle.

Please don’t forget to vote for me to win a trip to Napa!  

Questions for you:

What is your number one training goal?

What is your go to pace for daily runs?  (not racing, not recovering)

For me I have been consistently trying to keep it between 8-8:30.

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  1. Slogging…I like that term. And I am guilty of it. My number one training goal is to keep running fun – if I’m no longer enjoying running or racing, I’m doing something wrong. For my go to pace, I just try to keep it under 9. I usually feel good at 8:37… Very random, I know.

      1. Yes, that is my puppy Loki 🙂 I’m obsessed.

        Hollie – I usually just shoot for between 8:30- 9, but 8:37 just happens and feels good…its so weird.

  2. Since building my base, I’ve seen a lot of improvement in my running! I am a believer in that, too. For everyday runs (no speed, hill work, etc) I’m right around 8-8:30. I used to push hard every single run, but quickly discovered that’s not the best…it just leads to burn out. Great post and insight!

  3. I’m a slogger too sometimes! I try to keep my pace at 8:30-8:00 when I am inside on the treadmill because I don’t want to be there forever haha!

  4. I used to push to just at the edge of my comfort zone every run, which meant I was running tempo like 3x a week and a day of speedwork also. I only ran easy on my long run. HUGE mistake, I just didn’t know any better, I thought you were supposed to go as fast as you could every day. That was years ago obviously but it’s no wonder I massively stalled out. Ideally, easy pace should pace around 8-830 but I definitely find myself doing 9+ many days. I’m trying what you talked about for 2013 though, just trying to get to a higher mileage place safely, so if that means 1 or 2 runs each week is 9-930, I’m okay with that for now. I don’t have the base you do so I need to be smart 🙂

    1. I used to think that too. To get faster you must run faster, all the time. Every run must be a run that is better…then I got a stress fracture my 21st birthday and that was the end of that mentality! 🙂

  5. Never been a big fan of the slogging. If you’re going to take the time to get out and do it, do it proper. I definitely think throwing in some tempo/threshold/long-fartlek stuff helps get your average pace quicker and more comfortable in the long run.

  6. I love this. I honestly believe that it is what keeps any runner injury free. every run at race pace or faster than normal will only lead to injury. slogging… great word too

  7. I love the term slogging – it is so appropriate. I’m learning that ultra training is way slower than marathon training, and I actually think it’s harder (crazy, right?). 24 miles at a 9:45 pace is way harder than at a 8:30 pace for me. I’m not exactly sure why that it, but I actually have to force myself to stay at those lower paces so I can maintain them over 62 miles. So, slogging is my goal? 🙂

    Love this post – and we’re definitely training for two different races.

    1. I love that you can relate and you are training for ultras. From what I’ve heard and read (granted I’ve never trained for an ultra) training for an ultra is a completely different beast!

  8. I have cut out most of my slogging runs. I run way less mileage than you, but I try to run fairly speedy when I do run and I think it’s been helping. I do think different things work for different people though. I still do a few “slogging” runs (ok, they’re really more like “recovery runs”), and sometimes it’s good for group runs or just socializing, but I feel like having goals in mind helps me maximize my training more. I say do whatever works for you and what keeps you enjoy free! So far I have been injury free and am grateful, but if I got hurt I would definitely reevaluate.

  9. I think slower miles was good plan for you with the high miles but I also think throwing in some faster ones will also help you in the long run.

    We are opposites, you are making an effort to speed up and I am making an effort to slow down. Last year my go-to pace was typically between 7:30-8, this year I am trying to do a few more ‘easy runs a week’ between 8-8:30. I can tell it is helping me add more miles quicker without the stress of pace. Although once i can get outside more frequently it is going to be harder for me to tame that pace, I think 7:40-7:50 is my natural set point for going out and just going for a run.

  10. Love this post. Here are my thoughts:
    Yes, if you are going to increase mileage and not get injured, you HAVE to make a point to make yourself go slower. That’s awesome you did this, and it worked!
    Also, I agree about the slogging. You and I run pretty much the same pace, and the issue with slogging is your form breaks down and you run the risk of injury, if you are going TOO slow (10 minute pace). This happened to me a few months ago with a nagging achilles because my form had broken down.

    Just some thoughts!

  11. I do most of my running at 8:30 or so- but I am noticing that this feels a bit “draggy”…. however, I have had a hard year with injuries- so I am hoping that by keeping 80% of running easy, but adding targeted speed work/pace work that I can make some good improvements! Right now my main goal is BOSTON. I am looking at a bare minimum to re-qualify- but I would love to run something in the lower 3:20’s. We’ll see!

  12. Nice! I usually try and run about 60 to 90 seconds slower per mile than my marathon pace – but sometimes it’s closer to two minutes per mile slower.

  13. Nice plan of action Hollie aka speedsta!! My number one training goal is always … CONSISTENCY which for me is a constant work in progress. I have a habit of peaking two weeks too soon in training cycles and then flaming out on race day. I’ve gotten a better handle on this in recent times. And my go-to pace for the majority of my runs is an 8:35-8:40ish pace.

  14. Thanks for sharing some of the details behind how you train. I’m really trying to get faster this year and know that I need to do some speed work, but I’m nervous about getting hurt. I’m not sure if it’s good or bad yet, but the horrible weather this winter has forced me to run slower. Lately I’ve just been hoping to get some miles in without falling on the ice!

  15. Not get hurt haha. Seems like a good goal to me after last year and should be achievable since I have no fulls planned for the year. I try to keep my pace between 8-9:30 right now. Sometimes, like Tuesday, I feel great and can fly…other times like today, it’s a battle to get even that 9:30, so I’m just trying to play it smart without forcing anything as I keep building my base mileage. I do hope to include tempo and speed this year once I have a more solid footing, so we’ll see how that goes!

  16. Oh, I am terrible for slogging. I’ve never really gone 3 minutes too slowly when compared to goal pace, but I regularly end up almost two minutes over my half marthon goal pace (yeah, even though that goal is just a pipe dream and way beyond my mediocre abilities). I usually try to keep my runs under 8:20 pace, unless there’s a particularly crappy day in terms of the weather (we have sleet/hail storms and gales this week, for instance). I tell myself I make up for the lack of speedwork with cross training at high intensity, and I do try to throw in some tempos in the low 7s if I can…oh, the excuses…I live in a really hilly and windy area, it’s tough to do speedwork as a result, I can’t do it on the treadmill without injuring myself. I am just one big ball of excuses, and it’s clearly not working for me! I guess I’m just so scared of speedwork since the last two times I attempted it those runs ended in stress fractures :/

    Guess that no.1 training goal of the sub-1:30 half ain’t happening (as if it ever would).


  17. I am training with heart rate and often run slower than 2 min than goal pace – however I feel great at this pace! To me, slogging is when you run even if you are exhausted and your pace suffers and it’s counter productive. I am recently a big believer in slower running mixed with hard key workouts! I used to be chained to pace goals am I think ultimately I was overtrained and not really letting my body recover.

    Voted again!

  18. I’ve struggled with the slogging question/issue a lot because there are some days when the ONLY way I can get myself out the door for a run is to promise myself that as long as it gets done, it doesn’t matter what the pace is. I’ve always gone back and forth on whether running like that is better than not running at all. I don’t know my personal answer to that question, but it’s nice to know I’m not the only one struggling with this!

    PS I am now registered for NJ. The meetup is happening!!!!

    1. That is how I was too. Sometimes I was just mentally tired so promising myself it was easy was my route to get there!

      Words cannot express how excited I am for this!

  19. I am not slogging but I am not running as fast but that is because my goals are different than they have been in the past.

    I am moving myself into the ultra trail world and so that is a completely different type of running. I am running based on HR and keeping everything Z1 or low Z2 and I have seen paces drop while HR stays the same. The idea is that I am building an aerobic base and endurance base since that is what is needed versus a BQ time.

    I ran nearly all my runs for RR50 at 142bpm which translates to approximately a 9:00/mi pace. When I ran the 15k or 10 miler I was down to 7:30/mile. On the trail this translates to 10:30/mi for 50 miles.

    The short of it is that it all depends on what you are racing. I did not need tempo work or mile repeats on training for RR50 or LM100 but will when I tackle IMTN.


    1. I have always been interested in the differences between training for ultras versus marathons or half marathons. Thanks for sharing all of this Jason!

      1. I think you would love ultra trail running. It is a ton of miles on a weekly basis but they are all ‘slow’ so you can run for hours. Starting next week my weekly mileage is 84, 88, 93.

  20. Hollie, all of your posts are hitting home for me–big time! During the offseason, I definitely slogged and logged some junk miles, but now that we’re in-season and have goal races, this approach won’t cut it anymore. I’m still relatively new to this run training thing, so it helps to work out with more experience folks–specifically those who can hit and hold paces because I’m so bad at staying consistent, lol.

  21. My goal for training is to run higher mileage! I almost always run right at 8 minute pace, give or take a bit. I definitely need to work in pace variation – both faster and slower. So that’s a goal too!

  22. I’m one that used to be guilty of pushing too hard too often. I am working my current training with slower pace runs outside of my speed work, so reading this post was very encouraging to me! I have been a little worried that doing most of my runs 30-45 seconds slower than my goal pace would work against me, but I have noticed when I’m not timing myself I do naturally run faster.

  23. I like to go at a pace that I can still talk at that’s both easy and a little challenging (besides workout days) because I have found out from numerous stress fractures my body doesn’t like high mileage. So I make sure the miles I do run are quality miles.

  24. I have 2 big goals this year: A big PR in the half and a new PR in the marathon, which won’t be hard since my first one was Disney and included ~1 hour of pics with characters.

    My new training program gives me goals paces for each run, with several easy runs per week. They’re tough, because they’re at appropriate pace, which I’m not used to running. I had my run hard pace and my long run pace. That’s it. So we’ll see how this works!

  25. Being a new-ish runner still, my main goal is to stay injury free. When I started in 2012 I battled tendonitis in my knee and shin splints because I went too far, too fast. I don’t really think about my pace too much and generally hoover around a 10:00 min pace for most runs. I’m training for my second half marathon right now and generally aim for a 10:45 pace for my long runs. I know I am capable of running faster, I’ve done it before, but I’m always so nervous about getting injured. I think I’d rather run slow and be able to run all year. But I’m also new to this still so I basically just go out the door and run with my only goal being to complete the mileage for the day. I think I’m partly afraid to push myself – I don’t really know what I am capable of!

    1. I completely understand that. I was on/off injury for a while myself from (I think) running too quickly.

      I wish you the best of luck in your training. Staying injury free will always be my number 1 goal! 🙂

  26. I think that will make a huge difference with your training. A lot of my friends run their long runs about 60-90 sec. slower per mile, but they do some marathon pace miles, at the end of them. In the second half of marathon training they do a semi-long, mid week run, all miles at marathon pace, peaking at 12 miles. I’m going to try this when I start marathon training again. I have the problem of slowing down late in a marathon, and practicing the late miles at pace, when you’re tired, will definitely help on race day, in my opinion. We shall see anyway.

  27. Slow running is GREAT at the beginning of the year, after a goal race, etc. that’s how, as you’ve figured out, you build mileage staying injury free. (Unfortunately also taking more time…) My goal too is to run my hard days harder and keep my easy days easy. I’m going to go by heart rate since I’ve done so little racing so far. I’m hoping to break 17 for 5k and 3:10 for the marathon this year, but we’ll see!

  28. Love the word slogging! I can definitely slog as well. Now I have an excuse and am not worrying about paces at all. But on long runs, it was always a battle… do I push myself just a little faster? Or keep it as easy as possible? In the end, I tried to do a mix of both. Some really easy long runs, and some with pace miles thrown in there. Excited to see how this works out for you!

  29. #1 training goal: get faster and stronger (physically, mentally)

    Recovery pace is usually about 9:30-9:45. My regular runs fluctuate like Mariah Carey’s weight…
    I am very inconsistent, anywhere from 8:30-9:00ish. Something I’m definitely working on . Oh and add pacing to my training goals.

  30. There’s definitely a fine line between going slow enough to recover and slogging. I was my easy runs too fast last year because I was so anxious to post PRs. I think there is a difference between easy runs and recovery runs and it is those recovery runs that should be crazy slow. Paying attention to your body and how you feel will help let you know if you need to slow back down some. Happy training 🙂

  31. Maybe one day, I’ll have a set pace! But I’m usually between 8:15-9:30. My first two miles are almost always the slowest cause I don’t stop feeling like I’m dying and then the next few are okay and usually at the end I want to die. But it’ll be nice to be able to add some more miles finally! And I guess as long as you still have some runs where you’re relaxing a little, it’s nice to push yourself sometimes! I can’t wait to see how your running goes for the rest of the year!

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