Friday, July 14, 2006

What is up with these shorts?

The last couple of mornings have been nasty, leaving me standing on my sidewalk at the end of my run with sticky, wet, dripping shorts, but I put some good running in anyway. Even at four in the morning it has been in the high 60s, which matches up well with the dewpoint. Everybody has mentioned the weather lately, from Tucson to NYC. It seems to be sticky everywhere.

In spite of the weather, yesterday I felt surprisingly good, with the exception of some odd motility issues. Nothing more to say there (although if you insist on being grossed out completely, read Mike's latest post. Guh.), other than 10 miles worked better for me than the planned 15. Since it was supposed to be a recovery day, I didn't get too bent out of shape about the extra miles. 10.25 in 1:10:01.

Today I spent my efforts on a 10 mile progression run. Feeling good from the start, I rolled from 6:35 to 6:14, then 6:03, 5:58, 6:03, 5:46, 5:52, 5:49, 5:31, and 5:27. The last half mile was about 2:35, and it had me sucking air pretty good. 59:21 for 10 miles. Good quality, and with the exception of the last half mile, it was pleasantly hard running. No tightness, soreness, or anything feeling odd. I actually feel pretty springy.

The last half mile got me wondering about my VO2, though. It is definitely a weak spot right now. I've never felt that flick of the switch from aerobic to anaerobic like I did today. It was like within meters of going below 5:20 pace, I started an oxygen debt. Not sure what is happening there, but I don't think it's helpful. Sure, I won't be doing any sub-5:20 miles in the marathon, but I imagine that at 20 miles, every mile will start to feel like a 5:20. It's something I'll need to start working on.

Time to wrap up and get back to work. Have a great weekend, everyone. Stay cool!


Anonymous Fatboy

What happened? You found your lactate threshold, that's what happened. 10 miles in 59:30 (2:35 pace) is a decent run, but it won't lower this threshold. Last couple miles in 5:30? Pretty good, but probably not a lot of training impact.

If you're shooting for a sub-2:30 (sub-5:43s), you're going to have to increase the delta between your lactate threshold and your goal pace. You're correct, with fatigue, your lactate threshold will decrease. It's essentially an efficiency thing.

It's time to live in VO2max land. Systematic, extended, repeated efforts at sub VO2max pace, with your extensive base, should really start to yield some results.

I experienced this effect firsthand a few years ago. I was training for cross country, and doing a weekly 20 miler and a weekly 8k AT run. After a few months of really good base, I started getting aggressive with the VO2max pace stuff (20x300m hills, 12x5 minutes, 6x10 minutes, etc.). Within about 6 weeks, I dropped my 20 miler by about 20 minutes, and it was still not a race effort. The AT dropped from 25:45 to 24:15, on wood chips (Eugene days).

I'm sure someone will say that you don't need speedwork or intervals for the marathon, but I'm like to meet someone who's run 2:25 without doing those things.

7/14/2006 04:15:00 PM  
Blogger Mike

"Six weeks" are the two words that stand out to me in fatboy's comment. I'm into the V02max stuff, but just like in comedy, timing is everything. I think you will probably maximize your anaerobic capacity (at least to the extent that it will help you in the marathon) in 4-6 weeks. Just add a taper to that and count back. You know where I get this stuff from, dogmatic as it may be. If your race was in 6-8 weeks, I'd say start now. But it's not.

How many 20+ milers have you done in the past month? I say you continue to build your aerobic capacity more before diving into the fast stuff. Get comfortable for longer periods at 5:25-5:30 pace, I do think this will help bump up the threshold without wrecking you for the rest of the week though Fatboy might think it's too wimpy. But I bombed my last race so what the hell do I know.

At some point too much of the shorter, fast stuff can start to erode your aerobic conditioning, at least I think it did in my case.

7/14/2006 04:56:00 PM  
Blogger Mark

good points by both replies...
my experience shows the faster training and lower miles can get you a fairly good marathon that allot of runners will respect...
but, to maximize your potential I would lean on the side of increasing mileage for a very solid condition then work hills, and already know this
my experience is if you run too fast and try to build miles at the same time injuries happen and years go by ...your choice my friend

7/15/2006 07:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Evan

Or, to split the difference you could start the VO2max work now, and do them every couple of weeks. You can find a warrant for this in Pfitzinger or Daniels' elite and high mileage plans.

No disrespect to Lydiard, but I think that for the marathon, because you're running slower than your lactate threshold, the traditional approach to peaking--doing the VO2max work last--is a little off.

Another way to think about this, is that if you do a VO2 max workout every 10-14 days, with aerobic workouts in between, there will be two benefits
(1) The risk of toasting your legs by packing all the VO2max work close together will be minimized.
(2) You'll be able to progressively take advantage of improved VO2max in your aerobic workouts.

Just my 0.02 worth

7/16/2006 11:46:00 AM  
Blogger Eric

That's what I am seeing in the Pfitzinger plan. He starts in on VO2 at eleven weeks out in the plan I am looking at.

I think when it all shakes out, I am going to end up splitting the difference. I'm probably going to do something with repeat 800s next week, about ten days out from a 5k that I am planning to run, which is effectively another VO2 workout, and then on August 12 I am probably doing a 10k, which will stress LT and VO2. That puts me just over six weeks out, probably enough time for two to three more VO2 workouts and a second or third longer MP run before the taper starts in.

So, I think I will probably be riding the middle of the road. The 20-22 mile steady long runs will continue as well as the longer tempos, so I think there is a good balance among all the systems here.

Thanks for all the feedback. Lots of things to think about here...

7/16/2006 12:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Fatboy

There seems to be a co-mingling of the concept of lactate threshold and anaerobic tolerance. There is very little need for any anaerobic training in the marathon world. The 6-week window that Lydiard first discussed and several others have validated (more or less) many times over refers to one's ability to improve their ability to perform in an anaerobic state. This type of fitness is not sustainable over a long period of time and is used in a peaking phase to achieve optimum performance in events where there are significant anaerobic demands (400m - 5000m, 10k at the elite level).

The training I'm suggesting is far from anaerobic (most workouts take over an hour - it's impossible - for anybody - to train anaerobically for an hour), and serve to stimulate VO2max improvements. In other words, aerobic capacity improvements using this type of intensity will serve to push the anaerobic threshold further out on the horizon, letting Eric run a faster pace at the same degree of comfort. This is something he cannot do at 2:30 pace now, but clearly shows the ability to get there with some more intensity.

7/17/2006 04:50:00 PM  
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