Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Wednesday Leadville training thoughts.

Am) 10 miles in 1:07 with the last 6 miles in 36:23 (6:04 pace). Elevation gain 750 feet over the 10 miles, so a flat road route in Golden. Felt quite relaxed and comfortable and ran only by feel.

 I've been asked by every one of my friends how I will approach Leadville training. So I told the guy that I will probably be reverting back to straight up marathon training and do what I know works. I will use a marathon training outline but modify it only slightly. The races that I have on my schedule are all shorter than Leadville so I'll use them as tests along the way. The basic structure of a solid marathon training plan is a ton of mileage (2 years ago I was holding 100-140 miles very consistently; if I can do this same mileage at high altitude then I don't need more) while developing the body's ability to utilize fat at a fast pace for a long period of time. I'm not interested in 400's or 800's or even mile reps on a track... but I will try to do most of my hard work uphill and also try to split time with high altitude (my house at 8300ft), higher altitude (Rogers Pass at 12,000ft), and low altitude (Boulder). The lower altitude simply for more muscle fiber recruitment and lactate production which are both limited at high altitude. Long tempo sessions like I ran this morning are a major part of building strength. They don't need to be run at a very high intensity, I was in Zone 3 for all this, but the length of the effort is the main stimulus. There's nothing better than running somewhat hard for 10-15 miles! Long miles at MAF to build metabolic (fat) economy. Back to back long run days are preferred over a single very long run. The thinking here (for me) is that if you can't back it up with another long run then the first one was too long, repeatability is key. So if on Saturday I go out and run 30 miles and am too trashed to run 30 again the next day... then I cut the length, to maybe 25/ 25. I want to do this mostly to keep the long runs in perspective in regards to recovery. I could maybe do 30/ 20 but pushing the first run distance is too risky. Staying healthy and getting to the Leadville starting line at 100% health is rule #1. The second rule would be to get there at 99%-99.9% percent at the top of my fitness. Being 100% healthy and 100% fit is possibly impossible. 
 Another goal for me will be to retain some semblance of speed. I might want to go back and give another crack at a sub 2:30 marathon when I'm 40.  
 I also want to have a more fluid approach to the training. Rather than plan everything in meticulous detail weeks in advance, which is what I have always done, I want to just have my basic mileage goals and key workouts in mind and then just do them when I feel like it. I want to have fun and not care if what I'm doing is 100% correct in terms of physiological specificity. This is where I had a major disconnect with Chicago last year. I doubt it can happen with the races I have on my schedule this year, which are all tentative by the way. I'm not focusing on any of them and will sign up the day before the races... if I feel like it.
 So there you go my friend.


Trev said...

In my eight years of training and reading about training few things have hit me as hard as your statement:

"The thinking here (for me) is that if you can't back it up with another long run then the first one was too long..."

Pure gold!

My limiter is injuries when I up the distance in marathon training; I definitely would never be able to back up my long runs in my previous marathon training, and I never thought was a factor until now. Reading today's entry was a joining of the dots for me in regards to my understanding of marathon training. Thanks!

Lucho said...

Trev- For a marathon I would say that you wouldn't need to feel like you could do back to back long runs, but you should be able to do a ~30:00-1:00 recovery run the next day and feel OK. If you're flat on the floor the day following then it was too long. This idea is a little more specific to Leadville where I won't be able to train at a high percentage of the race distance. For the marathon, since it is possible to train at a high percentage of the race distance, then I think it's OK to push the single run a little more, but in the interest of health, the idea is still sound.
For someone interested in building volume more safely this strategy could be used for anyone! If your longest run ever is say 13 miles, then you could do something like back to back 9/9 mile runs. If you did one in the evening then one early the next morning your body will not have recovered or replenished glycogen fully so the training effect is still there.

Justin Mock said...

"I want to just have my basic mileage goals and key workouts in mind and then just do them when I feel like it. I want to have fun and not care if what I'm doing is 100% correct in terms of physiological specificity."

I get ripped on occassionally for doing stupid training and told that I need a coach so that I don't run treadmill marathons, but your lines above summarize perfectly my training plans and what I try to do, and why I don't think I could have a coach.

Lucho said...

Ya, but the lines before that one talk about not doing training that pushes my limits (like a treadmill marathon) and also staying healthy.
A coach does far more than you might realize. I have athletes that want to have fun and do what they feel like from time to time. A good coach doesn't keep athletes in line with strict schedules, rather they make the training that the athlete thinks is fun, work for their goals. They also prevent the athlete from wrecking themselves.
But ya, being coached isn't for everyone! I think I would thrive with a coach.

Brandon Fuller said...

Be sure to practice puking, crying, whining, wanting to die, wanting to sleep, not being afraid of your shadow, and your crossing the finish line move too!

Lucho said...

Ha! That's funny. Definitely will be working some of that in to the training.

GZ said...

Having watched your blog for sometime, I sort of knew how you were going to train for this event. But I am not as clear on what you will do come race day. Go out at 8 minute pace? Slower? A known PE? That is the part that sort of boggles me about the 100 ...

Lucho said...

Me too! I honestly have no idea how to run the first 1/4 of the race. Most likely I'll hang close to Bob and other more experienced runners. Hell I don't know. Hopefully as the training progresses I'll have a better idea.

Brett said...

Beautiful post. Sums up why so many ultra folks are older of age. How is it that at nearly 40 years of age and 30 years of running we are still able to learn so many new things about training and our own inner selves?

kerrie said...

i have a fantastic race training plan for you but it is a secret that i can't tell you yet.

but i will reveal that it involves cake.

Lucho said...

Brett- I learn and relearn things every day it seems. especially with 2 kids!

Kerrie- Does it involve Glenn and a thong?

Mary IronMatron said...

I would love if you wrote a post on junk miles... I think I just don't get it.
How do you know when you are doing them--I guess that's my question. For something as long as Leadville it seems you could never train too many miles. As long as you were able to stay healthy--the more the better given the duration of the event, right? But when does a mile become a junk mile? Is it just measured in terms of what your body can and can't handle--so a junk mile becomes a mile that you are pretty sure will set you back instead of move you forward? And if that's true, how do you know when you are going to be set back or moved forward?

Lucho said...

'But when does a mile become a junk mile?'
Junk mileage can be interpreted a hundred different ways! I tend to lean towards the idea that there are no junk miles, just wrong miles.
Here's a few.
You have two kinds of runs. Recovery and not recovery. Recovery workouts have to be short and very easy. A workout to make you fit has to be run at an effort or duration that stimulates fitness. Anything in between could be considered junk mileage because it doesn't move you forward on the fitness curve.
So if you use a HR monitor then a 1:10 run at HR Z1 is junk (it's too long for recovery and too easy and short to stimulate fitness).
A 1:10 run at HR Z2 is both long enough and hard enough to stimulate fitness.
A 3:00 run at HR Z1 could be useful because of duration.
A 30:00 run at HR Z1 (recovery) is useful.
A 30:00 run in Z2 could be useful depending on your race goal (5k) and fitness level (low).

If a workout has a specific purpose then it probably isn't junk. But if the workout's purpose isn't useful then it's just wrong... not junk.

It also depends very much on the period the runner is in. If you are in the early base phase then there probably isn't such a thing as junk miles. But if you're in a specific period then a workout that affects a key session is either junk or wrong depending on how you look at it.

In training for Leadville a 45:00 Z2 run is maybe junk because it isn't really going to stimulate a higher level of endurance specific to the race but if that's all the time I have then it has a purpose and isn't junk. BUT- a 45:00 Z2 run later in the day after a 30 mile morning run maybe be useful.

You also have to take in to consideration the level of fitness of the runner. A 2:05 marathoner isn't going to benefit much from a bunch of 45:00 runs, but a beginner marathon runner will. An athlete that runs 130 miles per week has different needs than a 20 mile per week runner. Any run will benefit a 20 mile per week runner.

The subject of junk mileage is quite vague and I could list tons more exceptions to everything I just said. You have to look at the individual and what their abilities and goals are and then decide.

"How do you know when you are going to be set back or moved forward?" Experience. If you pay attention to the signs and then learn from the experience then you learn what an oncoming setback feels and looks like. Your training logs and workout results tell a story. If you feel like total crap during a key workout then look back a few days and see what may have caused it. Did you run too hard on an easy day? Did you not eat enough? Did you run too long on a recovery run? The training log tells you everything you need to know but it's a learning process that requires attention to detail. Or a muscle biopsy and resting blood lactate levels :)

GZ said...

I had a conversation with Dieter Hogan a few years ago and asked him about junk miles. He said, "there are no such thing."

Lucho said...

I tend to lean that way myself. I think there are right and wrong miles (like running a recovery run too hard), but over-all any running that is done with the correct purpose in mind is good. Most of the research that has shown results against high mileage have been done on 'well trained runners doing 50-60 miles per week' or something like that. If the study was done over a period of a years where they brought the runner slowly up to 90-100 miles safely, then the results would be different. In order to run 100 miles there has to be 'junk mileage'.
Every athlete is different too. In how they handle more mileage or not. But once again, I think you can classify the mileage as either right or wrong... not junk or quality. In that regard, junk mileage is a myth.

Mary IronMatron said...

That was very helpful. Thanks!