Monday, June 8, 2009

Monday 19 miles

am) 10 miles. Easy jogging. HR 126. Max HR 140.

pm) 9 miles HR avg. 140/ annoyingly difficult to hold HR up. I kind of wanted to just chill and go easy but I found myself feeling pretty good, so I held HR above 135 which required a solid effort through out the run.

Here is an e-mail response to a friend of mine.
I have a very solid understanding of how to guide an athlete, but I seem to get confused when it comes to my own schedule?
A new 'manifesto' I have from Renato Canova explains it this way:
Build volume first, then slowly increase the speed of the volume (90% up to 102% of marathon pace). Once you adapt to the high volume/ speed, then start to do structured interval sessions that progress in duration, speed is up to 105% of marathon speed.
IE: 4 X 2 miles.
4 X 3 miles.
4 X 4 miles.
5 X 4 miles.
In the last 8 weeks before the marathon, reduce volume and focus entirely on 2 long runs per week that are very hard and very long. IE: 18-26 miles with as much time as possible at goal speed. Recovery after these runs is critical and should be 2 full days (before and after each run) of low mileage at recovery pace.

Fairly simple really. And the intensity is never so high that acute breakdown occurs. I like the idea of simply holding high mileage until it feels easier, then very gradually increase the speed until you also adapt to that. He says to avoid structuring it too specifically and just let it come to you. If you feel good then push to goal marathon pace, if you're tired then just put in miles.

My run yesterday was solid. My 9th mile was 5:53 pace with some significant hills and HR never broke 170. I ran 10 miles this morning and felt OK. I think how I feel today is more telling in terms of the level of stress from yesterday's run. I'm not wasted showing that I can handle the higher effort. I think it's critical to space these runs out by several days to start- then try to do them more and more frequently, but not force them to happen.
The one thing I am sure of is that I respond well to what I'm doing and I don't need to go messing with it much.

I have a newer version of Renato Canova's marathon training philosophy that I am outlining in to a structured and outlined 'manifesto'. If you have read his book, this new version is a subtle departure from his older philosophy. His philosophy is extremely sound in terms of building physiology specific to the marathon. It's based entirely on fuel consumption and how to train to use predominately fat during a race. This basic concept is the very core of the marathon. I get a strong sense from studying his philosophy that your speed for a 10k doesn't mean as much as some people think it does, and I have to agree. But in order to be a weak 10k runner and still run a marathon fast, there can be little margin for error in the specifics of your marathon training. A very fast 10k runner can get away with making mistakes because they have a foundation that allows for this. A very fast 10k runner that doesn't make mistakes is essentially a <2:05 guy.
Another reason I gravitate towards Canova is that he does give specifics to HR training, but only if you are able to read what he is saying, rather than just look at the words. His foundation for training is based off lab tested lactate threshold and percentages of this pace. He also uses lab tested AeT to determine an athletes marathon readiness, then he tells you exactly how to get ready. Good stuff if you're a geek like me.


J.P. Patrick said...

Now I'm picturing you alone up in the mountains, sitting in your "man-cave," writting manifestos! The Marabomber!

Lucho said...

Ya- I kind of stole that from Dunkin Larkin with his 'caveman' essay.
'marabomber'... I like that!

Brett said...

I read that interview again. Very cool. I bookmarked your post and that interview so I will never lose it or forget it.

Lucho said...

Brett- Canova's ideas would have worked really well for me at the Ironman. He's a smart dude.

Josh said...


Alright, you brought it up...

When you mention Canova's ideas for IM is there much that is different from what you already prescribe?

Lucho said...

Josh- I'll get back on that question ASAP.

Peter said...

Looking forward to your reply on Josh's question. It might be a bit too late for me with only 4 weeks left before IM frankfurt, but there will always be a "next" race.

Lucho said...

What I prescribe now for my Ironman athletes is very much based on ideas by Canova. In terms of intensity- Canova would prescribe a ton of Zone 3 (to use Friel zones) to build strength and also to stimulate fat burning at a higher intensity. Canova says that fat use reaches it's peak at AeT, which is Zone 3 in a well trained athlete. This can be trained very easily by performing long intervals slightly faster than AeT with recoveries slightly slower than AeT. IE: If my goal marathon pace is 6:00 then I would run 4 X 3 miles in 17:30 on 1 mile recoveries in 6:20. This workout is brutal but gets very good result. Much better than say, 6 X 1 mile in 5:30 (~LT) on 1' full recovery. One is very specific to the goal, one is far removed. Another way to stimulate AeT very well, but farther out from race day, is to do intervals just below LT, then use long recoveries at AeT.
When I trained for Ironman I was either in Zones 2 or 4/5, rarely hitting Zone 3. I think this limited my speed and strength for the Ironman where most of the bike and run are Zones 2/3 at the top level. If I could go back and do it over- I would reduce volume first, then build to being able to handle most of that volume in Zone 3. All the times I rode and ran with Simon Lessing I saw him hold himself on that edge. He rode hard and ran hard all the time and the guy was a freaking machine! The studliest dude I ever trained with. I would start my year with MAF and build volume first. Then I would gradually build intensity until I could ride and run at higher intensity for much of that volume. I either went WAY hard or very moderate (MAF or Zone 2). I would have most of my volume in between the two.
What I see happening often is that a lot of the research for Ironman (and the marathon) is done on "well trained" athletes. One marathon study I read recently said the subjects were well trained runners averaging 50 miles per week. Barely any of the research points toward "If you want to run a 2:18 marathon then do this" or "if you want to go 8:30 at Kona do this". It's hard to find very good studies done on OCD performance obsessed athletes willing and ABLE to do ridiculous training. What Triathlete Mag recommends and what Macca does are very far removed from one another! The thing I like most about Canova is that all of his research and anecdotes are based off <2:08 marathon runners! It's super hard core. And I have adapted his methods to suit my own ability of course! I want to run under 2:20 so my expectations are not 2:08. But seeing what the best guys are doing allows me to see what it takes to reach my own highest level and drive me on with limited whining :)
Basically what I am saying- I would have hardened the F up and hammered hard on my 120 mile rides and hammered hard on my 25 mile long runs. Everything was so moderate because I was to tired from high easy volume to push all the time. I had bike weeks of 30-35 hours followed by 100+ mile run weeks. Way too much.
Does that make sense?
Do what Lance does... train constantly at 10 beats below LT. It's still aerobic yet it builds an engine like a Ferrari Hybrid. If there is such a thing.

Lucho said...

Josh- When I talk about "building" to be able to handle the higher intensity, I think more in terms of years. Each year doing more and more. Too often athlete over estimate their abilities, particularly with intensity. To be able to handle a high amount of Zone 3 and truly benefit from it, I would guess 2-3 years of adaptation. Which is my goal for the marathon. I want to be able to handle the training in 2011, not necessarily this year or even the next. This year (2009) is about training simply to be able to handle the training in 2010 which will allow me to handle the training in 2011. Each year hopefully will build on itself with increasing AeT work.

Josh said...

I went and read the interview Brett linked. Interesting and now understand better what you are talking about.

First, I think fat burning is going to be variable depending on the athlete. I've seen some athletes that burn fat well all the way through their profile and some that burn fat only through z1 with a huge taper. However, this is all trainable and with your manifesto, if I understand it correctly, you would be addressing this already by training to train with more z2/MAF work initially.

Something that you have mentioned previously was to do that z3 work. Alan has me doing a 10mi run at z1/z2 and then 10mi at z3. I think this really addresses the Ironman which I see as a dance between z2/z3 or steady and moderate hard ending with a solid mod hard run for the last hour or so.

I see the point of the 4x3mi workout and it seems super specific for the marthon or IM marathon versus the 6x1 which as you say would be good earlier on. Very Hudsonesque...although I'm seeing a lot of similarities between Hudson and Canova (including steep short hill sprints) and I'm guessing Hudson has gotten some ideas from Canova.

All of this makes a lot of sense. However, the only thing I would add is as you mention first build the volume, a lot of MAF work. We have all tried to do the opposite and have gotten bitten in the ass. Then I think the MAF with some z4/z5 and then closer to the IM or marathon we need to go specific, z2/z3. You might be saying this as all I added was the additional z4/z5 component before moving into specific work.

At this point I'm not worried about the 8:30 or 2:08. I'm still trying to become a 9:xx guy (which is light years away from your goals)or more importantly execute well and let the time fall where it may.

10 beats below LT I'm guessing is another way of saying Z3, the "grey zone" ;)

Well, its about 6wks from Placid so time to get specific...and not spend as much time on the computer.

dude said...

Lucho - I'd be careful when it comes to the Canova approach to Marathon performance. As much as I am in favour of his approach during the last weeks - full focus on long run FMP (Fucking Marathon Pace) -, as much do I miss some faster than 105%FMP training more than 8-10 weeks out of the race.

Remember that his guys all have track background and many still run a track season before turning to marathon. I can't give you physiological reasons but I think one risks becoming too stale if you go too long too 'easy' and too much of the same speed (Ritz pre London - cooked from four month of marathon focus).

However, on the other hand I believe that every training method can work for one to two years as long as it is different from what you have done before. Entertain your muscles and - most importantly - your brain.

IOW: if the current training turns out to work for you this year, make sure to change it next year or the year after next. For ideas, talk to Jonsey ;)

I'm in town from 27 June to 5 July. Hope to see you then. Would be great to listen to your ideas on a run while I gasp for air up there.


Lucho said...

Uli- Good points. For sure this year is a base build period. Hopefully next year I can start some higher intensity work early on and it won't crush me. Definitely come up for running and I'll be down in the Boulder are too.

Lucho said...

Josh- That article older and his new thoughts are slightly different than his newer philosophy. His current thinking is that an athlete plateaus on volume in 3-5 years and can then reduce it and not lose anything. Basically the law of diminishing returns. At that point the athlete increases intensity and reduces volume. I think advocates of high mileage discount the intensity factor and also the number of years of high mileage to reap the rewards. 100 miles in Z3 is worth more than 140 in Z1? You're simply changing the stimulus.
Yes- the point he is trying to make is that the way you use fat is dependent on how you train.
I'm thrilled I'm thinking in the same hemisphere as Alan. He's the bomb.
Hudson is very much influenced by Canova and there are a ton of similarities. Hudson's book is solid and I don't think you should judge Ritz's results in the marathon on Hudson alone. I think people compare Ritz and Hall too often and they are not very similar athletes.
I would say most athletes risk too much by doing Z5 work. The pay off is a big gamble. I think Z4 work is safer and as effective in regards to most athletes reaching their goals. For you to be a 9 guy do you really need to be running in Z5 when Z5 is extremely far removed from goal pace? Would longer tempo runs at a more moderate effort be better? Say, 10 miles at the bottom of Z4? I see marathon runners with goals of 4 hours trying to run 400's in 75"... useless. I think the focus on intensity is often times attempted prematurely. An athlete looks at what the best athletes are doing and then tries to emulate them, forgetting that that athlete has spent 10+ years in his sport ad probably started off a 5k guy. Most of us would benefit more from moderate intensity with consistent 'high' volume. I see all the time an athlete train very hard and it wrecks their consistency either with an injury or fatigue. Hudson says to not compromise neither (volume/ intensity) for the sake of the other. Balance is the key and Z5 is not balance.
"more importantly execute well and let the time fall where it may." Exactly. Give 100% of your fitness and that's all there is. The time to really hit the paces is the 4 months leading up.
The "grey zone" might be more colorful.

FatDad said...

It's been a while since I've seen you light up them comments section like this. Welcome back.

Lucho said...

Fatdad- When my running is going well I get excited and want to share what I'm doing. When it isn't I duck my head.