Friday, September 2, 2011

Friday rambling + Leadman training

 I almost made it to 3am today... at 2:58 a sleep cycle ended and I was wide awake. I went on a dietary hiatus last week and allowed myself to eat like a normal person which meant my energy dipped. I've been back on a Paleo-esque diet this week (although I had a Twizzler last night but I think I read somewhere that the first thing cavemen did when they discovered fire was to invent licorice) and my sleep has been reduced by an equal ratio to the caloric drop.
 I went in to Boulder yesterday to redeem a gift certificate to the Boulder Running Company that I had won at a race. All the shiny and fancy $100-$190 (WTF?) running shoes made me sick bored me so I bought my wife a pair of Chaco sandals instead which will last 10 times longer and cost less.
She's talked about them quite a bit and last week one of her flip flops blew out (no, she didn't step on a pop-top). Maybe the funniest thing I saw (sorry if I'll touch a few nerves here) was a pair of Five Fingers for $129.00. I know I know... I get the point of the shoes but it's ironic to spend a whole bunch of money to mimic nothing. For me, I'll wait for a good (enough for me) pair of running shoes to surface at the thrift store.  
 I also stopped by (the main reason I went to Boulder) Rocky Mountain Anglers to freshen up my supply of flies for our 10 day camping trip that starts tomorrow. Really nice shop with excellent staff. I ended up hanging out for a while chatting with another customer and the guy working. I learned a ton. I've been needing a fly case but they all cost too much so I made my own. I finally found a use for my old college track All-American medals... or the cases really. I threw the medals back in to the shoe box.

 This week I hit my goal of saving $700 for the Leadman entry by selling bike parts on e-bay. November 12th marks roughly (they don't have the 2012 race calendar up yet) 24 weeks to the Leadville marathon so I have a ridiculous amount of time (too much really) before I need to even start thinking about exercising again... but I've started thinking already and have been doing some super easy squats. The real risk for me is burning out before the Leadman begins and going in to the marathon cooked. Part of why I ran so "well" (for 90 miles) at the Leadville 100 last year was that I was very rested going in. These are things that I look at when I start planning for 2012. Not so much how big the numbers "should" be but more how well rested I am going in to each race. The hardest training I do needs to happen in March and April far out from my races which, if I remember correctly, was when I did my 40,000ft vertical bike/ run weeks this year.
  I learned a ton from training simultaneously for the Mt Evans Ascent run and the Silver Rush bike/ run (where I DNF'd which according to some people on the interwebs makes me a pussy and is unacceptable. I'm sure a "real" mountain runner would have finished the bike and then finished the run) and the Leadville 100 bike. I placed 4th at Evans only a minute or three behind 2 Olympians and I had averaged maybe 40 miles a week of running in the months leading up to that race. Very sparse on the long runs. I may have placed better had I run more but the focus was on the 100 bike and it showed me that running mileage, for ME at this point in my too long running 'career' (see previous comment regarding my homemade fly cases) has a point of diminishing returns. ~50 mile weeks seem to be my sweet spot in terms of adaptation. I always liken mileage to weight lifting. The best power lifters in the world only do squat sessions 1-2 times per week. A lot of endurance athletes tend to believe that rest is bad and that pushing constantly is how you get fit... but that's incorrect to a point. Rest is what allows for adaptation. Try this- put ~60 pounds on a squat bar and start doing squats, don't stop. Just keep doing squats with out rest. Do you get stronger as you go? Nope. You go to failure. Now come back the next day and do it again. And the next day. And the next. Count the number of reps you can do each day and I'll bet that number very steadily declines as fatigue increases. That's a silly comparison but more definitive in regards to measuring performance than just flogging oneself with miles. With running, when you get super fatigued, you can still step out the door and do more but it may not actually make you more fit. Its the Law of Diminishing Returns... it's a law. And too often I've been sucked in to the numbers game and my performance declined... and notice I said performance? Performance is rarely measured in just sheer volume and most often is associated with the speed of that volume. At the end of your squat week yes you did more squats than the power lifter... but he's squatting a half ton more than you. It's important to look at the numbers that matter. The 100 mile week number is the worst ever too. I think runners tend to look at what elites are doing and think that's what they should be doing. Elites usually don't work full time plus they were probably running 100 mile weeks in high school and they most likely picked the right parents. High mileage is of course one key to running success but once you've done months of it in a given year or over the years then adaptation has occurred. Doing the same thing over and over and over, once again, diminishes the returns... move on and work your weakness. It's the change in stress that brings about new adaptation. Now I'm just digressing.
 Anyway... with Leadman I have to run a (sub 4:00:)) marathon while preparing to mountain bike 50 miles soon after. The build up to the marathon and bike will be planned out 100% Canova style with a liquid transition between training intensities based only on how quickly I adapt. For the 100 bike and 100 run; that will be a mix of what I have done for both before. Long runs of ~30 miles on Wednesday and/or Thursday followed by a long bike (with moderate intensity) on Saturday. Monday will be a hard tempo run followed by a hard tempo bike. All other days will be zeros or very easy and short recovery efforts. Looking back at the past Leadman results the 100 run is where you win it. I think I can go under 19:00. If the next fastest guy runs 24:00 (the Leadman record holder ran 24:10) then that's 5+ hours he'll need on me going in to that race. For sure the focus for Leadman will be the 100 run. I also get to start the 100 bike in the first corral which will allow me to ride reasonably fast but not pressured and I plan to take the bike quite easy, of course if I ride a single speed there is no such thing, and if I lose an hour or even two to someone then that's fine.
 And of course anything can happen, this years Silver Rush for me proved that. UTMB for Team America (f**k yeah!!!) last week proved that. The first goal of course has to be to finish. It's a long ways off to be thinking so much about this (though I realize it's too late)... time to camp and fish with my boys!


Brett said...

I love this post in many ways.

Lucho said...

I think I'm the most complex simple man ever...

Wassdoc said...

Definitely not a ramble. I really appreciate the rest comments, something we all need to keep hearing. I'm excited to follow this journey over the next year. Wish I could think about the MTB races, but after watching the videos and knowing my MTB handling skills, or lack thereof, I'd just as soon avoid my own injuries, I'm not as indestructible as you are:). Enjoy the fishing, my soon to be son-in-law loves to fish, I may have to bring him up and join you one day, he's a Kiwi, and lots of fun (also likes to ride my MTB!)

GZ said...

Love love love this post. It is this sort of stuff that had me coming here in the first place.
First - we all know why you are doing this clayman thing or whatever that silliness is in Leadville: YOU ARE DUCKING MASTERS COMPETITION AT PIKES.


Seriously, I am looking forward to watching that journey. For what it is worth, some folks thing the Leadville Marathon time is a good predictor of the PPM. I might do Leadville Marathon as I have never done it.

Second - flies ... for as much as you are out, you can gather a ton of stuff to make your own flies (fur from a carcass, feathers from a bird, moss). It has been years since I have done that, but it ain't that hard and right up your alley. Flies cost way too ****ing much.

(yes, coming from a guy who dropped over hundred bucks on a watch more than once).

The mileage paragraph: GUILTY right here. Right now the largest part of my training is getting my habits to change. Yes, changing my head is more important right now over changing my body.

That said, while what you say regarding rest is valid, you also have to recognize that you call on a base of training that most don't have. You put in demon monster ghoul weeks back in your tri days. Most have not done that. But I think (in part) this is what allows you to get those MAF rates so quickly and also to glean results on (relatively) lower mileage (although the occasional 30 mile run that you plan is hardly low)

Side note - I discussed this sort of concept with Matt C at Pikes. He really did not start training for Pikes this year until maybe six weeks out. This is very different than what he did in past years where he was laser focused for 9 months of the year building up, doing two hours a day. So he can win PPM off of six weeks of serious training because he has 20 plus years of base he can call on. His quote: "Base is a good thing."

The entire you suck because you DNF'd conversation is a bit mind boggling to me. For what it is worth, I have DNF'd in a mile race. I guess I blow a bad vuvazela.

I might have a pair of Sportivas if you want to give those a shot (I won a pair at Pikes last year). I like the sole on the shoe but the heel is pretty tight (and with my jacked lawnmower heel it creates an argument with the shoe).

Squats really suck.

James said...

Great Post!! It's exactly what I needed to read for myself this morning. Enjoy the family time.

Lucho said...

Mike- I could have written 10 more paragraphs regarding the different needs of Masters athletes. It's important to recognize and not deny the fact that what we can do when we're over 35 and what we could do when we were 25 is very different. Whether it's smashing our heads on a rock or smashing 400's on the track... we definitely don't heal the same. My left hand is still jacked from Silver Rush.

GZ- I'll be a Master for a while longer, Pikes will be there :) I know I don't write enough, partly because I suck at typing and partly because in my spare time I am trying to escape thoughts of training.
Tying my own flies is definitely next. I bought several elk hair caddis yesterday. Now I'll have to kill an elk to catch more fish.

The mileage paragraph: we are ALL guilty of that. Me worse than ANYONE. The base I built from Ironman, and yes I am still riding that wave, came from thinking more is better. My biggest RUN week when I was doing Ironman was 120 miles and my longest single run was 40 miles... stupid but it made me less stupid now. I admit that I am different than most but that also comes not only from doing big training in the past but also the correct training year to year. EVERY year I go back, as I will in a few weeks, and rebuild my metabolic economy or "MAF" for a lack of a better term. I'll hit the weights hard (squats: embrace the suck)to prevent injury, not so much to get stronger which I see is a common misconception among many (injured)runners.

The DNF thing... whatever. It's boring.

Thanks on the shoes but trail shoes never work for me... I never run trails!

James- The old, overused, adage that it's better to race 10% undertrained than 1% overtrained (or whatever it is)rings very true.

Jeff Valliere said...

Wow, great post Lucho! This really strikes a nerve on many fronts. I certainly know a thing or two about rest days, especially now when family/life gets in the way of running up mountains.

It is somewhat of a poor excuse I realize, as there are many days that I could go get in some miles from the house with or without the jogger, but I am a firm disbeliever in just getting in junk miles to chase numbers or just for the sake of saying that I ran. In the past, I have been somewhat guilty of chasing vertical numbers, but I can hardly ever remember a run or vertical foot gained where I felt like I was just there to gain a number.

Re Leadman: I am confident that you can win this thing without a problem. Win or lose though, you are one of the athletes out there that I respect the most.

Would love to get out there with you for a run or ride sometime soon. Jeff.

Dax said...

Great post Lucho. What size shoe do you wear? I have a couple of once worn shoes that I can send you. One is a Zoot ultra, the other is Mizuno Wave cross country flat. Neither worked for me.

Lucho said...

Jeff- Stress is stress regardless of where it comes from or in what form. Your body and particularly your adrenal glands don't recognize a difference between two daughters and two trips up Green when you're fried. I actually think taking a day off after a full day with the kids can be smart! And I agree on the 'junk' miles thing. Every mile should serve a purpose in reaching your goal and often times even a short easy jog will only increase your fatigue. I've found the bike to be huge in the recovery department as the non-weight bearing movement speeds recovery far faster and keeps you healthier. An 'elite' runner maybe not so much... but probably a little bit. Canova has his athletes bike and lift weights. And I'm like you on the vertical thing.. if I chase any numbers it's vertical.
Thanks for the good word on Leadman, I appreciate that! And I would love to meet up for a bike or run once I get going again.

Thanks Dax! I sent you an e-mail.

Brett said...

I meant to comment on one of your earlier posts where you mentioned you've never really made a lot of money. It kind of came up again in this one via some frugality/savings parts.

I try to make a 'decent living' whatever that means. But I try to live way beneath my means. The loan on my house is 80% of one year's pay. We probably save 30% of what I make (just a guess). My 2 cars are 8 years old and 4 years old (with no car payments). I can't help but think 'I told you so' to all the neighbors who struggle by while living beyond their means, although I wish no ill on anyone. I think we lost a generation on what the value of a dollar is, hard work, do it yourself, and living life simply. (Simply can mean a lot more than just in money terms.)

I could go on all day (which would be very boring for your readers) just on that topic.

Then there is the volume/chasing miles piece. I am not the expert, but from what I have learned from you and others, I see quite a few people that could be in much better shape, getting much better race results, by spending less time running each week if they just did it better. Even on my pittance of miles I see that in myself.

I'll leave the definition of 'it' and 'better' and 'simple' to the pros and the future beautiful posts on this blog.

Lucho said...

Thanks for the thoughtful comment Brett. I posted my Social Security statement a couple years ago on here. Lots of years I made much less than 10k... but in those years I was traveling through out or living in the Caribbean or trying to make it as a professional triathlete. Lots of really great years in there! I've never been able to do anything but be frugal and save money and it's just the way it is. No car payments, no credit cards and I distinguish between what I need and what I want. I mention also that I feel like I have lived 60 years in my 40 and that ties in with the yearly income and I wouldn't trade it for anything.
I also say that I can get more out of 50 miles than most guys can get out of 100. There are ways to "trim the fat" from a schedule and lose nothing... in fact you actually gain from it by feeling more rested and hitting key sessions more effectively!
Thanks again.

Footfeathers said...

I'm going for runs on trails this weekend.

I love lamp.

Lucho said...

Huh? Have you been hitting the peyote out there in the desert?

ej said...

ok so going on the trim the fat theme. what would be the result of someone who ran ONLY 1 short interval (meaning 100m sprints-400m repeats with long rest) workout, 1 long interval (meaning 800m-1mile repeats with shorter rest) workout and then one long tempo say 15k up to 15 mile or maybe say 4x5k with 5-10 minute rest type workout/week. add some really tough strength and conditioning workouts in there and call it a week. say maybe a total of 20-30 mpw but at different intensities hitting different pathways and building strength. taken the trim the fat to the extreme, but what do you think? sorry had a few cervesa's tonight and just throwin it out there.

Lucho said...

Eric- It's 3:20am and I've only had one cup of coffee... I'll give it a shot.
That reminds me of a Jack Daniels type layout where you work multiple systems in a week and I like that to a point but (IMO) you wouldn't want to do this for an entire macrocycle unless you were an 'elite' runner. Although this will keep your body 'guessing' which is good in order to stimulate growth, you'll be doing specific training too early and non-specific training too close to your race.
Assuming this is for a marathon build... I would have you do what you described only in the 'fundamental period' (ala Canova) which comes 9-16 weeks prior to your race and is the period where the hardest work is done. The goal of the fundamental period is to slowly build the number of miles you are doing both above and below race effort... so that repetition session of 100-400's would need to actually devolve in to just 100's. You would want to reduce the distance of the reps because they are very non-specific, but I would say to keep them around for neuromuscular coordination benefits or I would do them as hill repeats. The 800m-1 mile intervals would start off as just 800's done at 105-110% of goal race pace, and then they would gradually increase in duration and also slow at an equal rate. At the end of the period you would want to end up doing something like 3 X 2 miles at 102% of goal pace.
Now the long tempo is "the shit that kills" and should be the backbone of any marathon schedule. This run should be done through out the year with slight modifications in intensities starting out much slower and shorter and then flowing in to a very marathon specific effort. The goal with this run is to simply do as much as you can with out compromising recovery. The 4 X 5k is brilliant, and here's where it gets tricky to describe... You would want to start this off with maybe 45:00 steady at just ~85% of goal pace and you would slowly increase the duration until you hit maybe ~1:30... and then you would start to increase the intensity and also start to break this up in to maybe 2 X 30:00. Now, at this time you are also doing 1-2-3 mile reps at ~102% which are starting to MERGE with this same session. If you continue to evolve these two sessions they will meet up as the same session. Eventually the 800's at 110% will evolve in to 3 X 2 miles at 102%... and the long tempo will evolve in to 4 X 5k at 100% of goal pace, very similar. Ideally they would intersect at the beginning of the Specific Period and at this time I (and this isn't my invention, this is classic Canova) would have you maintain the intensities and do this session twice weekly all the while continuing to push the volume of one of them. So the 4 X 5k is done first at maybe 90% of goal pace... then turns in to maybe 4 X 5k at 95% which then leads to 3 X 4 miles at 98% and then 3 X 5 miles... and so on. Until eventually this session evolves in to a very long goal pace effort.

Lucho said...

Apparently my comment is too long for Google to handle...
Now for a little digression... MANY training programs call for a long 'marathon pace' run but what I see often times is that the introduction of this session is very abrupt, they just spring it on you, and I feel that this can only work if the athlete chooses a 'safe' goal. The months leading up to my 2:30 at Denver I couldn't even run 5 miles at 5:40 pace, it was impossible. I had to very slowly build up to doing this yet many programs would have me walk out and just bang out "10 miles at goal pace". My endurance was fantastic and I could click off 20 mile runs in 2 hours but I lacked specific strength (speaking muscularly not metabolic). Canova employs something called the 'special block' where he breaks a VERY long goal pace run up in to two runs. I feel that at the 'pointy end of the stick' very well trained runners can hold a very high effort for the marathon (up to 4.0mmol of lactate which is mind boggling!) but they must be rested and peaked in order to pull this off. To walk out in training and run goal pace for a VERY long time however can often times be too difficult. And this is where REST comes in to play. What you can run when you are truly rested can far exceed anything you can do in training. In the last 8 weeks of marathon training I feel it is KEY to REDUCE volume while focusing SOLELY on building the volume of goal pace running. I see very often athletes trying run their highest mileage in this period and to me it makes absolutely no sense at all! I could go on and on about this aspect of training but I'll let it rest...

Lucho said...

And finally...
With that said (in regards to rest), I would also say to cut back on the hard leg work in the gym as the hardest training approaches. Doing hard leg work with that much volume of high intensity running may not (will not) work. If you did try that I would suggest doing the hard leg work very soon AFTER a hard run and avoid trying to lift on what should be a rest day.
So, yes I like that 'trim the fat' plan but only in a small time frame far out from the goal race.
Time for more coffee.

Alex said...

These comments of yours are gold. Thanks for sharing, just brilliant!

Lucho said...

Thanks Alex. Renato Canova gets most of the credit. I have learned far more though by applying his ideas on myself than I have from his book which only lays out the concepts, science and structure. Until you go out and actually do the training yourself and feel what he's talking about can you fully understand. His 'special block' looks hard (almost impossible) on paper... but at mile 28 of the workout trying to hold 5:40 pace has no written description that allows someone to understand it fully. A few expletives get close though.

GZ said...

I agree with everything Lucho says ... but if we were all on a run, I'd add the following.

So an important thing here is: it depends on what you are training for. Tim's comments above are all about marathon training. In those comments are suggested effective workouts that nearly add up to the 20-30 mpw that EJ suggested.

In other words IF it is about a marathon - you being eating a lot more "lean steak" miles anyway.

I say this because we (folks like me) can tend to get a bit over focused on one aspect of training - like miles over specific training.

Having heard the quantity versus quality conversation thousands of times I have concluded this: you need some elements of both. Typically when you have a lot of miles going, you probably need more quality. When you are ripping the speed, you probably could use more miles. It is balancing appropriately that can get you to peak performance or the "the pointy end of the stick."

Canova's workouts are all about specficity of the race effort you have planned. IN THE EXAMPLE ABOVE - it is a marathon. IF you are training for a marathon, those workouts make a lot more sense - and the more miles they require make a lot more sense than if you were prepping for a 5k.

Tim is able to "trim the fat" and maybe even appear to cheat on some miles work because he has a huge bank he can call on to do that. Most folks I know don't.

Lucho said...

Good points GZ. I could counter that the need for balance between quantity VS quality can be described as a spectrum.
New runner: More quantity.
Seasoned runner: 50/50 balance.
Elite: More quality/ less quantity.

Canova talks about the benefit in reducing mileage for an athlete that has trained high mileage for ~5 years. And I allude to (agree with) this in my post. Once you have fully adapted to a stimulus (IE: high mileage) then your returns on the effort are diminished and can even go backwards. I think the determination of % of quality/ quantity is very specific to the individual... which circles back to your comments.
The balance should also shift through out a training cycle or season. Start with high volume/ low intensity... then balance the two in the middle... and then the last period is low volume/ high % of quality.
Either way there are MANY ways to approach training and we need to simply avoid getting caught up in what we see others doing and find what truly works for us as individuals. Alan Culpepper comes to mind with this. He basically followed the exact same training plan he used for the 10,000 but simply tweaked the long run. He would run 80-90 miles a week. He tried the 120 mile thing and it didn't work so he did his own thing. Brilliant.
And although my comment above is pointed at the marathon, the periodization and concepts are applicable across the racing spectrum. The basis is sound even for a 5k, you just tweak the duration of intervals. Hudson's book does a great job in showing this in his training plans.
Thanks G

ej said...

wheeew! awesome and very deep! but that is why we hire YOU to write the workouts and we just go do them! thanks man!

Lucho said...

No no no... thank YOU for giving me a job!

Darren said...

Fantastic Post Tim! Many concepts to digest in that post (and comments). I need to get back in the gym this winter for some good injury prevention workouts! Did it every winter when I raced bikes (and it worked!) but stopped when I started running...not sure why; probably some lame "no time" excuse. Over mileage is rarely a problem for me!

Nice to meet and talk with you at Leadville with FF. I will go back and set things right with myself there next year or the year after.

BTW, My daughter calls you "cowboy" Tim after meeting you (with BIG buckle and hat) to differentiate between you and FF.

Lucho said...

Darren- Great to meet you and the family. 'Cowboy'... I like it!