I've had a pretty easy week - it was intentional to ensure I'd recovered from my Achilles problem - and I've only done 20 miles, finishing with just under 7 miles for my "long run". It was a great run though - one of those really enjoyable ones, that make you remember why you enjoy being a runner, and that you're not just in it for the medals ;)
However...the long run of the week is meant to be slow, and easy! I keep making the mistake that apparently many runners make, and run all of my runs at pretty much the same pace. I do try and make sure that when I'm doing intervals I run a big faster on the fast sections, but it's all a bit hit and miss...and I think it's probably holding me back, and stopping me from improving.
On the Runner's World website there's a really cool training pace calculator. I've used it loads of times before but have never paid a huge amount of attention, and while I've read lots of articles about training pace, I still keep ignoring the advice which always seems to be the same - run long and slow for the majority of your training, always include very fast interval/speed training, and run your tempo run at your expected race pace. Everyone says that without varying the pace of your runs, quite simply you will never push your body, and improve your times. I know that running the long runs at easy pace helps build skeletal and muscle strength, but more importantly (especially bearing in mind I'm trying to lose weight) it also encourages your body to efficiently burn fat as fuel, rather than carbs...which is also really important in the marathon as when you've run out of carbs at about mile 20 your body needs to be used to burning fat and be able to quickly switch! You'd think this would be enough to slow me down on those Sunday outings!
Anyway, after completing the training pace calculator, apparently my easy runs should be at least 10.40 mins/mile, I should be hitting 9.02 mins/mile for my tempo run, and an incredible 7.33 mins/mile for my fast runs, which is much much faster than I ever train, and bearing in mind I ran my easy run today at 9.20 pace, I'm clearly not doing it right...I really must start training a bit more scientifically!