Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Wednesday 16 miles

am) 8 miles relaxed jogging. I started out feeling lethargic and ended up feeling quite good. Motivation to do better and to do things right is overwhelming me right now. I step out of bed wanting nothing more than to simply run. My drive has never been higher and I'm hoping I can hold it until October. It takes discipline to run with strict HR ranges, but I knew if I "went with the flow" today that I would compromise a more important run I have planned for tomorrow. Which would then compromise my test on Saturday and my faster run on Sunday. Errors on easy days have a cascading effect. Always look at the week's training, not just the day's training.

pm) 8 miles again- same route as the morning. Avg HR 142/ max 150.

To clarify a few thoughts from the comments on my post about Canova's marathon philosophy and my own take on it.
High intensity is a phenomenal stimulator for fitness, but I think athletes tend to over estimate their ability to absorb it or they run too intensely too often. I also think it is very incorrect for a mid level athlete to try to emulate athletes at the very top of the sport. The reasons that those athletes are at the top of their sport is due to their ability to absorb hard training, their ability to rest and recover at an 'elite' level (and there is such a thing as elite recovery and it is FAR more important than the elite training). They often times don't have full time jobs, or have to take care of kids. Their diet is disciplined. They can nap every day. They have tremendous support systems in place. They don't have stressful lives.
What I am leaning heavily towards is a very gradual progression in intensity and also the volume of that intensity. Yesterday I ran what I would call a moderate effort, or Zone 3 based off my lactate threshold. I don't consider this effort "intensity", it's just strong. If my lactate threshold is 178 (which it is) then intensity (Zone 4) would be ~170-180 HR. This area is where I want to spend very little time. One aspect of my own physiology that I have seen, as have other athletes that know me well, is that I peak very quickly off of small doses of intensity. I think this happens because I build such a massive foundation and I tend to absorb the intensity very easily. Peaking can only happen after the athlete reaches a high level of aerobic fitness (I think it also has something to do with star alignment, a lucky rabbit's foot and some kind of Native American dance ritual involving peyote). Training too intensely too often for too many months simple leads to early plateaus burn out. I do however plan to include some training at high intensity eventually, but I need to be sure that I have the fitness that will allow me to come back the following day and train again and absorb the workout. I don't want to look at my schedule and see 3 hard runs per week. I want to look at my schedule and see 18 weeks with 40 hard workouts and I am faster. Or even better- 104 weeks and a ticket to the Olympic Trials.

Training by strict HR ranges does not equate to running at an easy pace. What I see happening often is that an athlete will do an aerobic test at say, HR 140-145 and yield maybe 8:00 pace. Then they assume that they are going to be running at 8:00 miles for all of their base training. This shows an incorrect understanding of the system. The pace is determined by aerobic fitness which is monitored by the HR. If your pace is slow then you are aerobically weak. So you start out running at 8:00 pace at HR 145. Then you WILL see in a week, maybe two, that your running at maybe 7:40 pace at the same HR. Then 7:15 pace. Then 7:00 pace. The pace gets faster and faster and evolves, showing aerobic gains. To say that what I am doing is "running easy" for ~10 weeks is not true. The pace of my running is getting faster and faster yet I know that my intensity is conducive for long range consistency. I think this is in part why I have never been injured- that and a hypochondriac's reaction to twinges. I can see myself in August being able to run 6:00 pace for my aerobic runs.
Ramble... sorry.


Andy Payne said...

As a non-elite athlete (4:58 marathon) it is so insightful and encouraging to read your thoughts on training day after day. I want to be faster, fitter, stronger, etc. and just reading articles written for true athletes and about elites is discouraging. So, much of what is published is for beginners or elites so I have to glean wisdom from lots of sources, but your specificity is very helpful. Keep it up, and Thanks.

peter said...

No need for apologies. By all means, do keep rambling. Great read!

Lucho said...

Thanks guys!

bj said...

Are you speaking directly to me here? I feel like everything you said is right on, how come it's so easy to lose sight of the big picture?

Lucho said...

BJ- You're seriously the 3rd person to ask me the same question... and my response has been that this post applies to most of us. I too lost sight in January before pulling my head out and remembering what works. The foundation is what we build off of. If a year has a long period of high intensity in it, then this type of training needs to exploited in order to allow it to work.