Tuesday, March 31, 2009

What to do.... ?

I just had a 45:00 phone conversation, regarding my training and racing, with a 2:13 marathoner who is living and training at 8000 ft.. I e-mailed him a detailed review of all of my training before the phone call.
Once again I'm hearing that I'm not necessarily doing anything wrong. The one thing he did say is that a HR monitor at this altitude is not too effective (he actually said to, and I quote: "get rid of the gadgets"... Uli- did you talk to this guy too?). He thinks I need to race much more and certainly focus on building my speed back, but to use caution and listen to my body closely. I don't need a coach but I do need someone who I can consult with often and use as a sounding board and he is willing to help me. He said e-mail anytime.
Communication was the thing lacking most (completely) in my "coach". I think if I had been able to communicate with him and have him modify the training in response to my fatigue- it may have worked. Instead I followed the program regardless of my fatigue and the warning signs.
So... what to do? Do I start looking to build my speed cautiously? Do I keep a focus on base work? He thinks my base is not my problem, it's my speed. Next month he is doing a 5 week training block just down the road from me and we'll be running together a bit.
He also said I can run under 2:20 this year.


RunColo said...

I agree, start racing more.

You should run the Cherry Creek Sneak, some good talent shows up.

Claus Bech said...

Hi Tim, hooking up with that guy sounds just right. If motivation consists of, at least, intensity and direction, it seems You've got plenty of intensity, but lack a little long term direction, in terms of constructing a training program that You'll believe in. Watching your training numbers, both volume and paces, during the last year, plenty exceeds some of the numbers that I've seen from sub 2.20 runners, so You've definitely got the skills. Why not hook up with this guy for a while, follow his regimen for a while and squeeze whatever knowledge he might possess out the experience - it might be beneficial for both of you. Regarding race frequency I agree that especially a guy like You should toe the line more often, forget about pre race goals and split times and try out different race strategies, like just following the front guys and learn from there. Stay healthy, Claus

Ward said...

"He also said I can run under 2:20 this year."

Stay away from those deep tissue massages and I have no doubt!

cdnhollywood said...

You're obviously more skilled and knowledgeable in this than I am, but I can't resist commenting.

For the number of times you run, wouldn't you be able to inject some speedwork around all your base training? If you ran 6x a week, why not make 2 of those hill or interval sets?

I'd say go for it. If you've been told by a *good* source that you can hit 2:20 this year, then aim for it. If you're hesitant, aim for 2:30. I've been following your blog for a while, and I do agree - you'd make 2:20 this year.

And when you do, lend me your legs after. I'd be happy just to hit sub-4. :)

Git 'er done, buddy!

Alex said...

Hi Tim, I have been reading your blog for quite some time now and I have found it of great help, especially the article that you had written some time ago on how to prepare for an Ironman was of great help to me.
Can I ask what do you mean when you say that "speed is your problem"? I was reading an article here: http://www.lydiardfoundation.org/blog/EntryDisplay.aspx?EntryID=34

where I quote from: "He says he possessed basic speed of 23-second for 200m. Snell has a chart that he calculated from his own experience and statistics of other runners. “With 23-seconds 200m basic speed,” he claims, “you should be able to run 1:46~48 for 800m with good aerobic foundation.”

Maybe you are overthinking it? Wouldn't it be more prudent to let your body adapt to altitude while sticking with what you can do really well (building mileage slowly as you have done for so many years now) and when time has arrived you can start the marathon specific stuff. That way you can see how your body adapts to altitude while doing the same sort of training that you did back at sea level and progress from there.

Justin Mock said...

It must be JY? I've talked to him a few times back when he was training with Jones's group and he always seemed very nice.

Lucho said...

Wow- thanks guys..

Runcolo- You were right about my last "coach".. Cherry Creek is pretty soon and I won't do any type of 'speed' work for another 4 weeks probably.

Claus- Good advice as always. I agree that my lack of direction is what's holding me back. I can't seem to point all of my energy towards one 'system' and just stick to it! I change my mind too often and am all over the place. I seem to have created expectations of myself that keep me from racing unless I'm guaranteed to do well. I need to race and just have fun.

Ward- I am getting great results from "The Stick" and being able to control the pressure of the massage. No more "professional" massage for me.

Hollywood- My "Basic Week" has 10 runs per week totaling 90 miles. My "consulteur" wants me to spend ~4 weeks simply getting my aerobic fitness/ mileage back up before doing anything hard. His approach is very laid back and the foundation for the system is high mileage and wide range of stimulation while simply enjoying what I'm doing. Rest is priority #1.

Alex- The term "speed" is too often used when it isn't appropriate. I believe speed needs to strictly defined. "speed work" is not mile repeats or tempo runs. You have to define it with perspective. A 100 meter sprint at max effort is speed. When I use the term speed I'm talking about the extreme end of the spectrum: strides, 200's, 400's and possibly 800's or 1k's. The reason to focus on this is simply based on the idea that in order to run 26 miles in 2:19 it is imperative that 5:20 pace feels easy. If my "top end" only allows me to run an all out mile at 5:00, then the disparity between the two paces is too small. My relative speed needs to appropriate to holding 5:20 pace for 26 miles. Snell's example can be expanded.. In order for me to run a marathon in 2:19 then I need to be able to run a 1/2 marathon in ~1:06. In order to run a 1/2 marathon in 1:06 I need to run a 10k in 31:00. In order to run a 10k in 31:00 I need to run a 5k in 15:00.... an so on all the way down to the 200. This is a basic idea and is not a rule, it is just a rough guide. This doesn't mean that Ussain Bolts can run a 1:59 marathon. Specific fitness is still the key to the marathon but you do need to start off with some basic speed. Brian Sell and Paula Radcliffe both show that raw speed is not required. So, what I might want to do (with a 3 year plan ahead of me) is focus on developing my speed so that 5:20 pace is relatively easy for me. I would start with strides of 10"-20", then 200's and 400's and work towards marathon specific pace. Cheers!

Justin- I don't know who JY is.. I'm not going to say who it is yet.

GZ said...

JY = Justin Young ... http://www.runblogrun.com/2009/02/justin_young_chasing_berth_on.html

Justin Mock said...

GZ, yeah I was thinking Justin Young.

I think I know who it is now though. I hate mysteries.

Lucho said...

Ya- I apologize for being secretive.. He asked that I not give details. That's his prerogative.

GZ said...

I think, and I am probably totally wrong, you are grappling with what investment you make in your running for the future (sacrificing the short term) versus what you could do now (potentially sacrificing the long term).

That is a classic struggle for all of us, though usually on the monetary front more than running (I think these parallels is why Gordo B gets into that so much on his blog).

So we change our minds all the time. I should do a 100 mile week for the next two years because that will make me a kick ass marathoner when I am 40. I should not buy that new tricked out 3k bike now because I should put that in my retirement savings or against my mortgage. I should buy that IPOD now because it will make my runs more enjoyable. Whatever ... you get the picture.

so I think, and again, I might be wrong, your debate with yourself and your changing of your mind is the what energy system to make the investment in ... and what that balance ought to be.

I think the feedback you hear is that make an investment for the future, but be sure to enjoy the trip along the way ... you never know what is around that corner that can screw the whole journey up.

At least this is how I see it. But again, it is probably just my problem I am imposing on you.

Lucho said...

GZ- You nailed it on the head... sort of. I want to sacrifice the immediate future to run well in 2011, but I have to define "sacrifice". That's the part I am struggling with most. AM I sacrificing the long term goal by running too hard now? I am dead set on running well when I turn 40 and simply don't want to (can't) screw up now... but what is "screwing up"? I might be screwing up by NOT running hard now.
A $3k bike?... the company that sponsored me from 2002-2004 used to send me 2 bikes per year and each one had a $4000 FRAME. With the parts (minus the wheels) they were $7000+ each. My wheel sponsor gave me wheels, each pair retailed for $2000. My race bike for Kona one year was worth over $10,000. I was using a pair of wheels from Lew Composites that were one off customs (the hubs had been CNC'd from billet 6/4 titanium)and the wheel set weighed just over 900 grams.. they were worth $5000 alone. I'm still a cyclist at heart:) I see your point though!
Thanks for the insight. The plan should be to enjoy myself first. My "sounding board" also said I need to put myself in similar situations as I will be in when I try to qualify for the trials.. which means racing a big marathon later this year with some pressure. He suggested NY which is (I think) the US national championships. NY is ridiculously expensive though. I am looking at San Antonio also.
Cheers.. It's cold up here today! I think I would be a treadmill if I had one ;)

Anonymous said...

"Sub 2:20 in twenty oh nine!"

Matt said...

Lucho, you are a complicated dude.
which is cool.

I think the approach you're on now, under your own guise, is best. You believe in that (there is no best approach; the best one is the one that makes us truly feel the best/healthiest/fulfilled, etc. -- see religion).

However, like others have said, you need to race more. At this point, 2+ years out, pick fun races that you can enjoy, compete, after which you can toss back a few beers.

Racing is speedwork.

Don't go changing. . . too much.

RunColo said...

Tyler Durden: "All right, if the applicant is young, tell him he's too young. Old, too old. Fat, too fat. If the applicant then waits for three days without food, shelter, or encouragement he may then enter and begin his training."

Tim, you're too old and you don't race enough... wait three days... then start racing, who cares if the Sneak is in Four Weeks, you may surprise yourself and you're not getting any younger!

dude said...

All the cool doodes listen to me.

(Was running with some Kenyans in the Bronx today and seem to have lost any sense for moderation. I apologize.)

Lucho said...

Damn Simon.. that's harsh, and I love it. I guess I truly am "not special... not a beautiful or unique snowflake. Just the same decaying organic matter as everything else."
I'll look at it (the sneak). I am in the "A" wave for Bolder Boulder with my Kansas City marathon time, so there's no pressure.

Dude- "Running with Kenyans in the Bronx". I've never heard that said before. Moderation is for moderate goals. Don't be moderate.

Matt- I am complicated and have yet to figure me out. Really the plan I received from my "guider" is quite simplistic and not far at all from what I did all last year. It's just a lot shorter in duration. It requires just 12 weeks to peak for the marathon and I was focusing on 24 weeks. The changes will be small.

Eric said...

I've read your last few posts but I'm also to lazy to read all the responses here. I'm sure there are some very good ones and forgive me if this is redundant. You have been racing for a very long time and I believe you have built up quite an aerobic or cumulative base. I agree with your mentor who suggests you need more "speed" rather than "base". I think that if you spend a great amount of time training at a HR of less than 145 at that altitude, you will enter some races down the line and run them slow. In terms of enjoying the training and process, that's more about searching for satisfaction than happiness. It seems you will be more satisfied and enjoy the process more if you are seeing results Tim. Listen, just my opinion but that's what the comment section of a blog is for, right? In any case, I also agree with your mentor that you could run sub 2:20 this year.



Lucho said...

Awesome.. thanks Eric. I appreciate it.

dude said...

ah, forgot, uli is now dude. google is tainting all my accounts.
i apologize...

Wassdoc said...

Coach, I've read all of the comments and feel the need to chime in. You've often told me that you're able to tell your athletes things that you don't necessarily say or do for yourself. I think now is that time. Granted, I started from a much lower starting point four years ago when you started coaching me. However, I have raced frequently. I have tried different approaches. You have pushed me to test my limits and I have. Yes, I have had some "bad" races. But, I've also PR'd 70% of the time. As a young (remember, you're not even 40 yet) "newbie" to marathoning, you've got it in you. Take the pressure off, start racing and let go of overthinking what you're doing. There's actually no such thing as a bad race. Every experience is something to learn from. Start hard sometimes, start easy others. Race when you feel bad or good, what the heck! Listen to the advice you give to your athletes:)

Lucho said...

Great advice Mike.. as always. Thank you!