Monday, March 30, 2009


I am considering running this morning, my legs feel awesome and my energy is very good.
I've been trying to plan my training for the rest of the year and I have a rough plan in mind that involves simply running at HR 135-145 until I plateau in pace, then race a few short races including some tempo workouts... then step back and repeat the HR 135-145 focus. The main goal of this is to get truly fit aerobically and also to keep the effort moderate enough to build to consistent high mileage at altitude and still be able to adapt. I have 42 weeks until the Phoenix Marathon on January 17th which is a tentative goal race. By giving myself 42 weeks to adapt, the increase can be gradual and intelligent. With no races planned this year I will not be tempted to push too hard and I will be more apt to take rest weeks regularly.
Running at HR 135-145 and not by perceived effort will allow me to more accurately judge any plateaus in my fitness. I've gravitated away from the HR monitor in the last year, and although I believe it eventually will be the correct thing to do again, I want to get back to using it simply so I can monitor progress with out racing. Also by using the HR monitor I will build my pace faster and faster, where simply running by perceived effort doesn't as much. In the past it has worked well for me to simply focus on this HR range which eventually becomes more and more difficult as the pace drops. In theory- the faster I can run while remaining very aerobic, the higher my fitness will peak. It will be hard to focus solely on a race that is 2.5 years away but if I can do it, it will prove to be the correct path.


GZ said...


Increasingly I believe this: athletes that are "educated" need to subscribe to a training model that they believe will work. I heard an interview with Jack Daniels who said, "if a guy gets better by watching workouts, then let's do that." He was laughing when he said it, but it makes a point.

You believe based on your experience that this approach will work. Certainly it has grounding in science as well. The only thing I think I would challenge is this ... I'd suggest that you allow yourself the days where you can throw HR caution to the wind, and run like the wind. Let the heart race every once in a while, taste the blood in your throat ... something like once every 7-10 days, when the spirit moves you.

Or not.

Lucho said...

I have to agree with you on the letting it fly once in a while. The most important thing for me is consistency. 20:00 of hard efforts every 10 days is just a blip on the screen really. I may also include Hudson's short hill repeats in to the schedule to hold on to some strength. We'll see, this schedule is still tentative. What I do see though- is that I need more time to adapt to my environment and I need more base before I can get the most out of higher intensity training. Patience and consistency over 2.5 years.

ace said...

I like this approach as well. I've found some interesting things when moving down from higher intensities for a bit. Namely the oportunity to focus on form and overall muscular use/relaxation to eek every bit of speed out of a lower HR. But I think that is the beauty of thoughtful training -- the ability to look at the data and our response to the training load and make both intelligent and intuitive decisions to create positive change. Good post as usual.

Lucho said...

Thanks Ace- You too have had a couple of good posts lately. I'm a lurker..
I think this approach, which is nothing new nor can I call it my idea, is extremely difficult to stick to but it is also (I believe)the most sound and effective thing for someone with a very long range goal like mine. If you look at the statistical data collected on the runners at the last Olympic Trials, the outstanding data points that differentiate the top runners from the not-top runners is consistent high mileage and lower intensity. The top guys ran less intensity then the slower athletes. They also held their mileage more steady year round. There's no way to argue that aerobic fitness is the foundation for performance in endurance sport. I think very few athletes take the long range approach. We'll see if I have the discipline!

by7 said...

I go in opposite direction: maybe you should really let the HR dictate your effort. Obviously you shall adjust your "standard" values for the altitude effect and then run slowly enough to build up a good base, sprinkled with some tempo runs, etc, etc (as already said by others, maybe is unuseful to make the training too complicated).
In the high-end Polar HRM models, there is a great function called "running index": monitored over time, gives you an almost perfect feed-back on the effect of the training on the aerobic capability (I would be less sure for the real "race ready" fitness)