Long Slow Distance, not the drug! I've always disliked LSD, and I've avoided it during all of my training. As most of you know, LSD is the concept of doing long slow training walks (or runs) that are about 2 minutes below your goal race pace (depending on the race you are training for). I've always felt that doing too much training at a slow pace trains your legs to adjust to slower paces, making it harder for them to pick up the pace during races. I'm not saying I always train at race pace, but I do try to stay close to race pace when possible. Usually I use the pace in my most recent race to set the training pace for the next race (this worked very well for me in my half marathon training). I think the main reason this has worked well for me is that racewalking is not as physically demanding on your joints and muscles (less impact) so I can recover more quickly from "close to race pace" training. Also, until recently I was training for distances shorter than the marathon, so again there was less recovery time needed.
Now that I'm training for marathon distances, the faster training does take it's toll and makes me more tired. However, what's bothering me is that all of my training paces have slowed down, and I think that is because my legs are used to "holding back" at slower speeds (like you would do at the beginning of a marathon). Today my first miles were 12:13, 12:00, 11:24, 11:39, 11:22, 11:25. I finally told myself I was going too slow and kicked it up to faster paces (10:57, 11:17 [a little refueling here], 11:00, 10:42, 10:37, 10:51, 10:49, 10:53, 9:23 [half mile], 10:30, 10:47). It took a conscious effort on my part to make myself go fast. I feel like I was getting lazy, letting the longer distance dictate that I should "hold back" and keep something in reserve. This is a necessary strategy for a marathon, but I think one can rely on it and make it an excuse for not training harder.
I'd be interested in anyone else's comments on LSD and long training. How do you establish pace goals?