Saturday, February 7, 2009

Saturday Track workout

Warmed up for ~2 miles then ran 4 X 100m diagonals on 50m walk.
5 X (200-200-400) each on equal distance, full recoveries. The point of this session is to accumulate more volume at a faster pace by increasing the rest. 5 X 800 would have been slower.
My splits started out at ~38" for the 200's and descended to 29" on the fastest. 400's started at 76" and descended to ~69" on the last several..

I told BJ to run his 400's in 1:24 and he got a funny look on his face and laughed, clearly intimidated by the pace. I had him run a 200 with out looking at his watch or thinking about the numbers... just run by feel. He ran a 38" and it felt easy. His 400, the same.. no watch, no thought except for staying relaxed and just running.. I think he came in at 1:22 if I remember correctly. The point of the exercise was to show the difference between letting your watch dictate your perceived effort VS. actually listening to your body. I learned this during a mile repeat workout last year where I ran by feel only and tried to hit 5:20 pace.. never looking at splits. I ended up averaging about 5:04 pace per mile. This is an exercise that I taught myself, that I would not have learned were I not training myself. All the books I've read explain very little about what goes through the mind of an athlete when they are failing. Even the sports psychology books fall short in explaining the specifics of teaching your brain to not hold you back. This specific exercise is one I hope to explore further and experiment (on myself) with more often. When BJ faltered at the thought of the pace I knew exactly what he was feeling. When he stopped thinking so much about what he thought he should be feeling (what he has learned to feel) based on a number and effortlessly ran faster than he thought he could, I know that feeling.. I think there is huge potential for improvement simply by tapping more in to this.
I have a theory that part of the reason the Kenyans are so good is that they can't afford watches when they start running. They simply run and they happen to not place limits on their perception of pace. All they know is that they are running next to a 2:06 marathoner..


jameson said...

that makes so much sense to me... about the kenyans. I think I am kind of the same way but I have the gadgets and will never run that fast!

it's funny because I never know my pace when I am running. I will look at the mile splits post run only. I never have pace displayed on my garmin just time so I know when to turn around. most of my runs are off road and include quite a bit of climbing so pace to me is kind of irrelevant. I know what "hard" is and how my body feels but I don't know what pace the equates too... at all. If you asked me to run a 5:30 mile on a track I would be clueless.

Pace scares and intimidates me. When I ran the vegas half mary in 1:13:50 (5:38/mile pace) back in december I decided the night before what my goal would be (sub1:15) but figured out what pace I needed to run to hit that and just went out there and did it. I never trained at that pace just ran "hard" during my hard workouts and intervals.

I am just kind of thinking out loud... all this just to say I think you are on to something.

Lucho said...

J- I think the best place to test the idea is on a track during a challenging set of intervals or repetitions, I think splits are useful in triggering the fear response. The key is to try to trigger the fear response then learn how to over ride it or to not even allow it to happen. On a trail run with no particular pace goals it's difficult to get the same effect. You may not have the exact same issues- but you say that you do feel intimidated by certain paces. In order to get over that fear you have to confront it and stepping on the track with some intimidating paces as goals is a great way to do it. I would tell you to do a set of 4-5 X 1000s and use a pace that is ~2"-3" faster per 400 than your 5k best.. do the first one or two hitting and checking each 200 split. Then on the last few ignore your watch and simply stop thinking about numbers. Maybe listen to some good music (Celine Dion or the Bee Gees is ideal)and focus entirely on staying relaxed and smooth and pushing with an effort that is sustainable for the length of the interval- keep yourself "on the edge" of needing to slow down and simply wanting to slow down (there's a big difference and the choice between the two is the difference between not running well and running your best). When you start to suffer focus on thinking strong and positive thoughts, like "relax and move". No negative words when it hurts, that is counter productive!
This exercise may or may not work for you, you have a unique mind like we all do, so what works for one doesn't for another. But the point is to be aware of the problem and then try to find the path to solving it.
ps- I was serious about your hair cut. I want something similar like a fade.

GZ said...

Yes! And when listening to Celine on those reps, break through the tape and shout with arms overhead, "I'm the KING OF THE WORLD."

jameson said...

hmmm... 5k best? I have never run a stand alone road 5k so I don't have a clue. I will be running my first on 4/5 - the Carlsbad 5000. When I do running races I just try to go with the guys that look fast and see if I can hang. I am still pretty new to all of this (my first "endurance" race of any kind was in January 2006 and it was a half marathon) so I am still learning... and that's why I get some much out blogs like yours and GZ's.

I will give the track workout a go. Maybe next Friday and see what happens.

the haircuit... i don't know. I was over my long hair and made an appt to get it cut. I walked into the place and saw a guy working in the place with a good cut and that's what I told the girl cutting my hair to do. She used a 3 guard on the sides and then cut the top with scissors. Don't know if that helps... just print photo of me of my blog and tell them you want to look like me... hahaha...

thanks for the reply!

Lucho said...

J- I've been carrying a picture of you in my wallet for months anyway. ha
15:58 (5:09 pace) is your 5k potential based on your 1/2 marathon.
Do the 1000's in 3:05-3:10.. Full recovery between these of ~3:00-4:00.

GZ said...

Hair is over rated. I have had long hair, I have had no hair ... and generally it is over rated. Actually - it is the maintenance of the stuff that I can't stand.

Related to pace ... I run with my dog a good amount. When I am in the mountains, I also run with my in-laws dogs. If I run 10 miles up there, they easily run 15 with all their side excursions, sprints, etc in the NF.

Someone asked me, "how does the altitude effect them?"

Umm ... I don't know. I don't think they know shit about altitude and so it does not effect them.

They run free of such burdens.

That said, that is why I can beat them over the LONG haul. They don't think of pace, and so they will blow up. Eventually. I hope.

Our thinking is our curse and our blessing. "Father gave these creatures free will ... and now they're so confused."

Missed ya today Timmy ... I would have been looking at those city camo skins from the ASS KITCHEN.