Confused, which approach is right (1/2 marathon training)

101 to 119 of 119 messages
09/06/2011 at 10:37
Ratzer, thanks. Makes sense! And what about whether to add repeats with each week or fortnight (so starting with 3 *10 mins, then 4 * , then 5*?)

Edited: 09/06/2011 at 10:42
09/06/2011 at 11:01

Add repeats when you are ready.  On the basis of doing time repeats, you will either find that you cover more ground in the 10mins, or that you cover the same ground but it feels easier.  Either shows that you are benefitting.  If you are holding your present HMP (so in fact you've fixed the distance you'll do in the 10 mins), only the latter should happen.  In this case you can add another repeat.  It doesn't matter whether this is weekly, fortnightly or monthly, just ending the session thinking you could probably do another one means that you probably can do another one.  Ending the session thinking you can't do another one means you've definitely done enough - as you've got plenty more training to fit into the week!

On that particular session, if I was HM training, I'd go with adding repeats.  If I was 10k training I might consider not adding repeats but trying to maintain the effort (fitting more distance into the time - raising the pace slightly).  This does depend also on the rest of your week's training!

09/06/2011 at 12:35

lost arrow wrote (see)
Clearly, a question, please? This may be showing my ignorance, but do I base the HM pace on my target time for the HM, or the current pace calculator estimate based on a recent race time?

Ratzer is 100% correct. I would also advise a training run/race every 10-14 days whereby you test yourself (I  currently use a 3.25 mile course and a 6.04 mile course). This is to make sure you are adjusting your training paces accordingly.  It's ok to have a time in mind but don't work backwards having inputted that time. It is a time you are training towards.

Just to give you a working example of the point I am trying to illustrate. I have a slightly ambitious, but not overly ambitious, target of 1hr 35 min in circa 3 months time. If I input this into McMillan this is what I get.

Endurance Workouts Pace/Mile Pace/K Recovery Jogs 9:14 to 9:44 5:44 to 6:03 Long Runs 8:14 to 9:14 5:07 to 5:44 Easy Runs 8:14 to 8:44 5:07 to 5:26 Stamina Workouts Pace/Mile Pace/K Steady-State Runs   7:20 to 7:33 4:33 to 4:41 Tempo Runs   7:02 to 7:20 4:22 to 4:33 Tempo Intervals   6:56 to 7:10 4:18 to 4:27

However, if I input a current time done yesterday on my circa 6.04 mile tester course (43 mins 55sec), this is what I get.

Endurance Workouts Pace/Mile Pace/K Recovery Jogs 9:37 to 10:07 5:58 to 6:17 Long Runs 8:37 to 9:37 5:21 to 5:58 Easy Runs 8:37 to 9:07 5:21 to 5:40 Stamina Workouts Pace/Mile Pace/K Steady-State Runs   7:41 to 7:55 4:47 to 4:55 Tempo Runs   7:22 to 7:41 4:35 to 4:47 Tempo Intervals   7:16 to 7:31 4:31 to 4:40

 And 13.1M 1:40:41 (funnily enough more conservative than all the "Race Predictors")....CONTINUED BELOW...

09/06/2011 at 12:36

....CONTINUED....The 2nd example is how to use the calculator correctly. Now I am sure I could run the times for the 1st one but I would not be using the right energy systems to achieve them and therefore defeating the point of training. Progression and let the adaptations occur.

On this point I would also add that you need to input times that are more relevant to the distance and energy systems you will need to be using. For example, it is generally recognised that a 10k has most relevance to your half marathon time because of this. I hate (sorry Lost Arrow!!) people inputting 5k times for half-marathon/marathons because they are completely different energy systems you are using and you are really stretching the accuracy of the calculators because of this.In the end you don't really need a Race Predictor if you have done the training and know what you are capable of.

Moral of the story. Pace Predictor not Race Predictor.

Edited: 09/06/2011 at 12:39
09/06/2011 at 13:14

I agree on current fitness being king but don't agree on some of the methodology.

Personally I wouldn't use an in-training time trial as an absolute time on which to base your paces as they rarely reflect your current race fitness (which is my preferred method and which will be quicker).

Also, I'm happy using a 5k time to project other training paces because the point of doing this isn't to come up with a series of race practice workouts or target paces the objective is to establish a series of training zones - this is an important distinction.  I'm not 100% clear whether Andrew and I are in disagreement because his penultimate paragraph seems unclear as to the its use as race predictor or training pace predictor.

As a side note if you are in the region of 40 minutes for 10k and doing decent / challenging mileage I think the McMillan easy pace is too fast for a truly easy run.

09/06/2011 at 14:05
Moraghan wrote (see)

I agree on current fitness being king but don't agree on some of the methodology.

Personally I wouldn't use an in-training time trial as an absolute time on which to base your paces as they rarely reflect your current race fitness (which is my preferred method and which will be quicker).

Also, I'm happy using a 5k time to project other training paces because the point of doing this isn't to come up with a series of race practice workouts or target paces the objective is to establish a series of training zones - this is an important distinction.  I'm not 100% clear whether Andrew and I are in disagreement because his penultimate paragraph seems unclear as to the its use as race predictor or training pace predictor.

As a side note if you are in the region of 40 minutes for 10k and doing decent / challenging mileage I think the McMillan easy pace is too fast for a truly easy run.


I think we sort of agree on some things and disagree on others!! I think I may have made it a bit confusing because I didn't fully tease out what I meant Race Predictor v Pace Predictor.

The Race Predictor in my mind is inputting say 5k...and telling you what you could possibly do a half-marathon in. To me this serves little purpose. It doesn't tell you your possible training zones or workouts needed to achieve this. It is jumping from A (current race time) to C (Possible race time) without including B (the training zone times!!). 

The Pace Predictor, and I don't know of many other than MacMillans, inputs a current race time (A) and comes up with training paces accordingly (B). It has a function for doing the (A) to (C) , but as I said, and McMillan concurs, that is not the purpose of the calculator. It doesn't tell you what to do with those training zones once produced, which is why I believe people need to understand more of the science behind what they are doing on each workout and how to tailor these to your race distance e.g More tempo runs for the half and more steady state and longer runs for a full for example. To clarify therefore....I HATE RACE PREDICTORS and only use PACE/TRAINING PREDICTORS.

On the point of current fitness, I do agree that there is indeed a Lag affect with training and that maybe I adjust too often. For me I want a psychological reassurance of where my fitness is at more often than many probably. So if I don't have a race I will go and do one over my local course that is used as one. I just know it boosts my confidence. But in the strictest sense this is a time trial not a race.

I therefore place less emphasis on it needing to be a race in assessing current fitness.  Obviously, I acknowledge that are some other variables to consider on the day itself that may distort this. I just see the distance as the distance. I am therefore curious as to how you assess current fitness during a training cycle and how often you do this? Do you readjust everytime you race...because for some this would be more often than my 10-14 days!!? I wouldn't want to leave it longer than a month or two because this could lead me not to be pushing myself hard enough because I am still operating in training zones that are too easy.

Edited: 09/06/2011 at 14:06
09/06/2011 at 15:25

I think we agree then.

You can't rely on McMillan as a race pace predictor - particularly the marathon - as it depends on a myriad of factors (physiology / training emphasis).  But you can use it to establish training paces - which aren't used for racing but to establish the correct workout intensities.

If I used a training run to predict fitness it would be useless intially.  

E.g.  Last year I could manage about 9:20 at best in training for 3k but have raced a week later in 8:50 (I have quite a large training / racing gap).  Therefore if I had used the time trial in training it would have been useless for setting my zones.

Based on this I have two options.  To race again in a few weeks or try another time trial and if I ran 9:10 I could assume I was a little fitter and in 8:40 pace.

My main problem with this is that races are a 100% affair so it's easy to compare efforts between races.  Using time trials it isn't so easy to compare submaximal efforts.  This leaves you doing 100% effort time trials to make them comparable so you may as well be racing.  I do not agree with going 100% in training very often and only at some times of the year because of the repercussions on recovery.

For me and the people I coach it's never in real terms much of a problem assessing fitness once you have your baseline race done.  By keeping detailed training diaries it's possible to track improvements quite closely.  Some may use a HR to asses run efficiency but I've found that I get a good handle on fitness by the workouts - if training paces are very wrong people are usually bouncing off the page!

I would usually readjust with every race (i.e. current fitness FACT) but common sense must prevail with terrain / conditions etc.

09/06/2011 at 18:02
bloody hell when did running get so complicated !!
09/06/2011 at 18:32
sorry, ignore this. Somehow a message got posted twice and I've had to clear it.

Keep the debate going, it's brilliant stuff
Edited: 09/06/2011 at 18:37
09/06/2011 at 23:36

LA - HM pace for the long intervals should be based on your current level of fitness. Despite all that I've said I personally wouldn't take this approach.  I'd stick with the longer tempo run because you'll get more out of it mentally particularly when training for a long race like a half.

With 8 weeks left to go you should have time to make one reasonable step up in performance.   I'd much sooner base your fitness level for a half on your 5k rather than your mile time though.  A 7min difference in prediction times indicates that you're weak on endurance so if the 1mile and 5k were both all out you may struggle to hit 1:48.  As Andrew and Moraghan have pointed out a 5k isn't a great predictor of a half - it's better than a mile race though and given both you can make the leap that I have about your endurance.

In terms of increasing the amount of this type of training you do - I'd raise it in conjunction with increases in the rest of your training.  You can add time to each rep before adding another rep (when you can reduce the time of the reps. Probably the best approach though is to reduce the rest in between the intervals.

I disagree with Andrew about a training run/race test every 10-14 days.  Every 6 weeks is plenty and when you get a bit more experienced I wouldn't even do it that often.  If you want to track your progress you could get a heart rate monitor, measure your beats per mile and compare runs.  As many others have said "Train to race, do not race in training".

Edited: 09/06/2011 at 23:38
10/06/2011 at 10:15
I agree with 6 weeks. You won't see any "noticable" difference in two weeks.
10/06/2011 at 19:08
Andrew, Clearly and TimR, this 6-weekly training run/race - how does it fit into a training programme? I mean, which run should it replace? Long run? Tempo run?

It may seem trivial as it's only once in the remaining time before my race but wanted to know what to kick out to make room for it.

Thanks.
10/06/2011 at 20:51

I suspect you would work your whole schedule around it just like a race. Do a taper for a couple of weeks before it and recover for a week or two after it. Really it's just going to replace a race if you haven't got one planned, As Clearly says "Train to race don't race to train."

I think you are really trying to run before you can walk.

Just do your race in 8 weeks. You really only learn what you can acheive by doing lots of races.

You'll need around a two week taper period beforehand and no training you do in those two weeks will improve you. I would stick to a basic training regeme of long runs, recovery runs and tempo runs for the remaining time.

Edited: 10/06/2011 at 20:58
10/06/2011 at 22:35

LA - Actually I wouldn't do it at all .  I was only responding to the suggestion that somebody else made that you do one every 10-14 days by pointing out that you'd only expect to see real improvement at most every 6 weeks.  If I were to do it I'd guess I'd replace a tempo run.  I certainly wouldn't taper.  Tapering every 6 weeks to assess your fitness levels sounds like a definition of madness to me!  Tim's advice about just doing races is sound. 

A way of tracking your fitness over time that I find useful is to get a HRM and measure your beats per mile.  You can't compare it with other people's numbers but you can track your own progress over time (don't compare hilly off-road runs with pancake flat ones on concrete though - they're not a valid comparison)

11/06/2011 at 10:39
Hi Clearly, that's a great idea for tracking my fitness - the HRM beats per milem, as it sounds more empirical and less subjective than other methods.


Clearly and TimR, I won't be doing the six-weekly time trial.

Thanks
Edited: 11/06/2011 at 10:41
12/06/2011 at 10:43
Just to say I finished week one of an RW smartcoach programme for the HM, in light of the excellent advice I've been given on this thread.

It's based on 3 x weekly easy runs (Mon, Tues, Thurs), one mid-week tempo run or speeedwork, plus long run on Sat. Mileage in week 1 =26, increasing by 1 or two miles weekly until week 5 when it drops back a little to allow recovery, before climbing up again. By race week minus 1 I will be doing 35 miles, mostly easy and long run miles.

Rest days are marked as either rest or XT, so I am doing my core stability and strength work once a week on one of these two days.

I feel great at the end of my first week of following this programme, and it feels right in line with what you guys have been saying on this thread - volume first, then speed. So I've taken out a whole speed session and the volume is obviously there, building up and moving on from my previous weekly average.

Thanks again for everyone who has chipped in with great advice. It's very motivating.

Oh, and I'm joining our local harriers this week. Or at least, doing the easy run with the club and maybe a speed session next week before deciding!
Edited: 12/06/2011 at 10:45
14/06/2011 at 10:34
Hi guys, I ran a very hilly 5 miler with 1,000 metres of ascent and descent yesterday. Completely recovered today and ran another easy 5 miler. I didn't look at my watch during the run except when I got a mile split. I just ran at the pace that came to me.

My mile splits from the Garmin afterwards were between 9:07 and 9:15, which is faster than indicated in the RW pace calculator.

Presumably this is okay? I wasn't pushing too hard or at all out of breath and I think it's just that I've gained some aerobic fitness so my easy run pace is naturally getting faster.

Tomorrow is speed work with 2 x miles at 7:38 pace (a minute slower than my time for a single mile) after a 2 mile warm up, then a mile cool down

Cheers guys and gals
Edited: 14/06/2011 at 10:35
15/06/2011 at 12:41
Hey Kittenkat, the doughnut thing - love it. I can't eat any doughnuts per mile, although I know a couple of people that can remain skinny eating as many as they wish.


'whispers, consider stretching for cadence and core strength, the Kenyans are in the gym...'

Ah, very helpful advice. Today I ran 2 x mile intervals on a treadmill in the gym for a change (I know, I know, treadmills aren't highly rated around here) and then did some quarter squats, full squats, and core stability work with a medicine ball as well as sideways plank, whatever that's called. I also stretched all the main running muscles and fascia.

This is day 3 on a run of 4 consecutive days of training. I can now see that the cumulative effect is what it's all about! I'm still feeling good and really looking forward to ticking the 4th day of the 4 day block tomorrow. Then I get a day's rest until my long run on Sat.

I now realise that gains are made slowly and gradually, week by week and month by month - and especially by avoiding injury when training 5 or more days a week. I've completely adjusted my way of thinking and am psyched for this approach now.
19/06/2011 at 15:14
Lost Arrow - just to let you know my time as promised.  Over 4 minutes knocked off my half pb which is now low 1.42s.  I'm very pleased with that and feel that sub 1.40 is in the legs somewhere!

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