Friday, September 26, 2008

Friday 13 miles

Today was a race simulation run with Bob. To set up this run a bit let me tell you that I have run 172 miles in the last 9 days (average 19 miles per day). Tons of quality in those 9 days. We ran this workout on Davidson Mesa (the course profile is above), the first 1.5 miles was uphill and there was easily a 1/2 inch of sand on the the trail, deeper at times. To say the least the workout was setting me up to "fail". The goal today was to run at my marathon effort which I felt (pre-determined stupidly) would be 5:50 pace (here was my downfall). Here are my mile splits:
8 miles in 46:46 or 5:50 pace exactly. I learned more about myself in 45:00 of running today than I have learned in 2 years. I learned that the brain training that I have been working on is just about spot on in terms of perception. Because I was trying to force 5:50 pace and because I pre-determined that this should be my race effort... I became very discouraged in the last 2 miles and I gave up. The interesting thing is that once I did give up, and stopped caring about pace, I felt much better and the effort was much easier, but as you can see in the last mile (which was a shut-down jog).. I was still not far off the pace of the forced miles. I only realized this after I recalled my Garmin splits. Bob ran most of this with me and said that 5:50 pace in the sand was very close to 5:30 pace on the track. The most telling thing about this run is that I have the tendency to give up. I saw it at Phoenix, Denver and Austin. A moment in the race where I felt things weren't going my way and pulled up. At Phoenix is was going through 13.1 miles in 1:11 and I thought I was going to too fast. At Denver it was when I realized I was in 10th place at 13 miles, I finished in 5th after giving up. At Austin it was a porta-john stop and my hips locking up. Today- it was my feeling that the pace on my watch was harder than it should be. Bob saw it at mile 6 when I told him I was done- he told me to keep going and to toughen up... that I wasn't done. Once I stopped, Bob had much to say that really made me see where my shortcomings are with my racing. When the day is going well for me- in my mind- then my confidence comes out and I can run 14:30 for 5k. One little thing doesn't go my way and I crumble. Today it was SEEING my pace per mile and my thinking that it SHOULD FEEL EASIER.. negative thoughts followed and I wilted. I'm a delicate and weak athlete.. but I know this and it's ON! I'm armed with knowledge in the most important subject.. my brain. My body is bullet proof, I can do the work. Now it's time to work on my head.
Today really fired me up to discover how to teach myself to suffer and to toughen up. I'm pissed. I've already had a talk with my legs and have apologized in advance.


GZ said...

Interesting. Hugely. Thank you for sharing this lens in and allowing us to share in via this blog. Some random thoughts connected to the topic but not to each other ...

I heard a talk by Frank Shorter once where he said ... "when you are having a day where the watch is not reading what you want it to read ... throw it away and just go for it. That way come race day, you won't have any excuses." In a sense, this is what I hear you say Bob was telling you today and what Uli has recently said here.

On a run with you sometime ago, we were talking about an athlete we know of. We were commenting how tough that person was as athlete.
... until of course ... that athlete was "put on the ropes." Gives a change in perspective, doesn't it?

Would your perspective have been different if (either way) if you reached those last miles and say someone you thought you could trounce was running there ... easy? Would that have furthered your drive to beat that person (I am better than damn it) or weaken you more?

Ultimately what you are writing about here is the very thing I find beautiful in endurance sport. It forces us to face deamons of weakness ... the edge and reveal to us who we are. Tough times don't make character. They reveal it.

j.p. patrick said...

It seems like you're self-imposed 'Fight Club' ass kickings are leading you to one major revelation... you've always known what you're capable of you're just gonna go out and do it... fun to watch, man and I believe!

GZ said...

Okay the tool tune and that little animation of the guy running is quite hypnotic ...

Another thought ... 8 miles in 46:12 ... (yeah, I know ... different course) ...

Matt said...

I was thinking, reading that little debate on GZ's blog, the resurrection of MAF, etc. You're articulation and demonstration of MAF has been exemplary; but are there any athletes you can point to that practice MAF training? You do, perhaps JK and Kerrie and Angela do, but who else? Aside from Mark Allen, who else has used MAF successfully; indeed, it's very specific, very much a philosophical/physiological approach. I thought this might be an interesting point, perhaps very illustrative.

Cheers, Homey!

BRFOOT said...

Quite timely for me. I'm thinking that I too must be a mental pussy. Mentally tough and just plain tough must be different. I better get that book.

Lucho said...

ok... first of all. I never said I was a "pussy" Brfoot. ;)

Matt- Tim DeBoom, Gordo Byrn, and Peter Reid have all worked with Mark Allen and used MAF training. Mike Pigg also worked with Maffetone. And at Kona this year- if you follow the race online- watch 35-39 age-grouper, #59 Jeff Keil. If he executes his race well he will put most of the pro field to shame... he's a MAF guy.
This is exactly how I would sum up the MAF idea for a runner. If you can get diagnostic blood testing on a treadmill then do that instead. If not, and you want a solid starting point to develop your metabolism and structure that will allow a safe and gradual increase in mileage, then the MAF principles will work for most. I worked with a guy a couple of years ago- Paul Kindzia- who's aerobic profile was such that the MAF training would have had him working too intensely. If a 30 year old guy has an LT of 165 then it might not work for a safe base building intensity.. Runners however- tend to see higher HR's for their LT's than a triathlete does due to specificity of training. If you know your LT on the run then forget MAF and simply train your base at ~20 beats below LT.

GZ- Excellent insight.. The 8 mile run that I did last week is quite telling. Davidson Mesa has a ton of loose sand on it. Plus last week I was more rested. The most telling thing though is that yesterday I didn't LET my run happen, I tried to MAKE my run happen. I will be repeating yesterday's run next Friday but I will be giving up my watch. No watch at all. Bob is going to wear his and time me. I'll go 100% on feel and I guarantee that I'll crush it (but just saying that means that once again, I'm not letting the run happen!). Frank Shorter's quote is great!
I really don't think that beating people is what drives me. I've fallen so far short of my potential all through out my Ironman career, and now am continuing the same mistakes with the marathon... the only person I am racing is myself. I never had MY day at Ironman. When I placed 13th at Kona I should have easily been top 5. When I was 16th I was only ~5:00 out of the top 10 after making significant mistakes all through out the race (stopping 7 times to pee).. This may sound off subject but I've never been so in tune with myself as I am now. In all aspects of my life! I think my son has really made me deconstruct who I am as a person and try to rebuild as the man I want him to be. It started with my attempt to see my flaws as a person and to bring them in to an honest light for myself to see. It has opened my eyes on all aspects of my life and I am now able to better see the flaws in everything that I do.. sport included. I didn't have this kind of honesty with myself when I was racing Ironman. I didn't keep my eye on the ball. At one point I had 9 endorsement contracts and thought I was hot shit. I was "triathlete of the year" in 2000 and in 2001 was picked by Triathlete Magazine as one of 5 guys that could win the Hawaii Ironman. I thought that I had to force it to happen when all along, all I ever needed to do is LET it happen.
My race strategy at the KC Marathon will be an experiment for me. I won't trying to beat anyone or place anywhere or run a certain time. I may run 2:50... I may run 2:25. All that I will be doing is to run within myself and let the race happen. I'll pace myself through 13 miles, then I'll turn off my watch and just be honest with myself. I need to stop thinking and analyzing so much about what I'm doing and just go and do it.

Lucho said...

One more thing on the MAF idea.. I think that one limiting factor for most runners in regards to their ability to run higher mileages is that they run too hard. Even Hudson says that one of the most common mistakes is that people run too hard on their easy days. MAF is an exercise in moderation. If a runner were to use MAF HR's in their base building they would be able to run more miles because they would never be running too hard. As their body (structure) adapts to the high mileage, so too would their paces. If you run all the time at HR 140-150, you would get faster and faster at this intensity yet it would always be the SAME intensity. Eventually you would be running higher mileage at a faster pace because the adaptation process was safe and gradual. Injury happens from immediate increases in volume... AND from immediate increases in intensity when the body is not yet ready.
One final point-
If you have one runner that can run 6:00 miles at MAF HR.

And another runner that can only run 7:00 miles at MAF HR.

Who is working harder at 5:30 pace?

BRFOOT said...

I don't know dude, sounds like your on to something good with that attitude. Rather than telling yourself you have to run a certain pace or whatever, allowing yourself to run however you run regardless the result. Probably healthier from a mental standpoint if you can really let go of your expectations or better yet not start with any. Doing it just to be doing it......kind of goes with your personality, from what I can tell. You dig the training for the sake of training and perform better when training.

Matt said...

"I will be repeating yesterday's run next Friday but I will be giving up my watch. No watch at all. Bob is going to wear his and time me. I'll go 100% on feel and I guarantee that I'll crush it (but just saying that means that once again, I'm not letting the run happen!)."

I don't know if your "watch" includes HRM, but the point you're making suggests running by feel will be more "quality," faster/harder/etc. Like I said a couple of days ago, you don't really need a monitor. You're PE is probably very accurate. Consequently, the monitor over-thinks the praxis.

All of those MAF athletes are ironman trained. Like you said before, MAF is for really big mileage. However, I think the LT - ~20bpm is, like you said, a pretty good measurement

Lucho said...

Matt- I haven't worn my HR monitor for a hard run in quite a while.And I won't wear it for the next race sim..
MAF is certainly an Ironman thing.. it has use for certain runners though. If aerobic endurance is your weakness then it could be perfect. It's still going to be my main focus in January.

Brett said...

"One final point-
If you have one runner that can run 6:00 miles at MAF HR.

And another runner that can only run 7:00 miles at MAF HR.

Who is working harder at 5:30 pace?"

Isn't work Force * Distance? So wouldn't they be doing the same amount of work, since they would be going at the same rate? Or would it depend on how much they each weigh (mass) - so wheover weighs the most does the most work...I think force accounts for mass, but I have to admit you've got me thinking about this one.

Because for sure it seems logical that the person with the higher heart rate would be stressing a lot harder to keep the 5:30 pace...burning more calories, etc.

So now I don't know what to think.

Lucho said...

Who would be working relatively harder? Are you and I working the same at 5:30 pace? I understand your definition of work (similar to watts on the bike or a 10# weight).. but work in this sense is relative to fitness. Gebreselassie running 5:30 pace is working much less intensely than I am.