Getting my mileage up

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03/10/2012 at 16:42

I have spent months not listening to advice about 'easy miles'.

My current split looks like:

Intervals/Gym/Hill run/Gym/LSR/Swim/Off

Obviously much of this is glycotic and I want to increase my aerobic base.

I have started -- in addtion to the route above -- going for little 140HR runs 5-7 days a week. Starting at 2.5 miles/day and hoping to work up to 3-6 miles a day.

I really don't want to do easy runs in the evening as it will mess up my quality runs or mean I can't go to the gym etc.

Does this seem a reasonable compromise, given the circumstances?

Cheers

03/10/2012 at 16:44

BTW up until now, my LSR has basically been too fast for what you chaps normally consider a slow run... I just meant it wasn't 'shit-fast'. Typically my LSR miles are 7-7:30 miles for anythign up to half mara distances. Intervals are fairly rapid 5-6:00 miles. I can run 5km in under 20, and 10km in 40:42 quite recently.

04/10/2012 at 21:18

interesting question, I thought that base was build by running long and slow, but perhaps the shorter runs should work too?

04/10/2012 at 22:41

Yep, it looks like most of your training is anaerobic.

The best advice would be to bash in your 10K time into the McMillan calculator and it'll show you your best training paces per mile. Your long runs are too fast, probably not too far off race pace effort for you.

Building up long slow runs at aerobic pace will do more for your race times than you can possibly imagine.

Really, you should only aim for 2 good quality sessions a week, one long slow run and the rest at easy aerobic pace. Most of your weekly miles should be at easy pace. Thats the fastest way to better race times and the best way to avoid injury.

04/10/2012 at 23:24

Okay, I had to read your second post twice to understand but basically you're saying you can race a 10k at 6:35 pace and then you run up to HM distance at 7:00 sometimes, which is probably faster than you could race one.  (Calculator says 6:50ish pace on conversion but we're assuming you've got no longer aerobic capacity from your first post.)  Well, we know where you're leaving your race paces!  It really is in your best interests to have them with you come race day.

Couple of misconceptions first.  You're barely training anaerobically except perhaps in the gym.  Glycolytic refers to refreshing ATP in the muscles, and your predominant energy source is glycogen at the paces you mention.  Yes, a 5:00 mile pace is hard, judging by your race times, and if you're running more than 1km of total intervals at this pace you're doing yourself more harm than good, but 5x200 at this pace with recoveries is not particularly ATP-centric.  (If you're doing 800's at this pace I'd get yourself a new watch.)  Of course, I've got no idea what your interval program actually consists of, so I'm just guessing based on your times.

The frustrating thing is that given what you do you're reasonably fast.  I'm just imagining what you could achieve if you trained more sensibly.  Of course, you might not want to, as it seems that other things are more important, and that's fair enough.  However, you're also going about the slow runs completely incorrectly.  It takes time for your physiology to kick into endurance mode, even within a particular run.  You have to get the excess energy out of the system, go through the toxic tens (about ten minutes when your body wonders whether you want to go fast or far) and finally settle into 'fat-burning' mode (I'm just calling it that for ease).  If you've fuelled before running it could be, for argument's sake, 5 miles before your body is in endurance mode and starting to pump out the proteins that go to work on improving you aerobically.  If you go out hungry it might still be 1-2 miles.  In a 2.5 mile run that's not really going to give you a lot of aerobic benefit, is it?

Slow down the long run at least.  Don't slow it down to my 7:30 pace, slow it down to what you're intending for the mornings.  And 140bpm looks like something you took off an American Triathlete's pages ("If it works for me it'll work for anyone!").  Apologies if you figured it out properly.  When I was back doing HR base training 140 was too quick for me and led to drift around the ten mile mark.

05/10/2012 at 15:36

i don't know where that puts me. I'm trying to get miles in my legs, by running/jogging/plodding as easily as possble, but still my HR rises up to 150.

went out for 30 mins at lunchtime and despite running 11:15 min/mile pace (i could seriously not make my body go any slower without walking) I really struggled to keep the HR below 150. The idea of going out for a 140 avgHR run for me seems impossible. If I keep at this, can I expect my avg HR to drift downwards over the coming weeks and months?

05/10/2012 at 15:49

I wouldn't worry about heart rates. There is tremendous variation between even individuals with similar athletic performances. I have a fairly small window in running heartrates for example:

At the moment a constant 140BPM pace will have me hovering at around 8:19 a mile.

Most of my easy runs 7:20-7:30 mile pace have me around 150BPM.

However even my speedwork: 200m / 400m / 800m or mile intervals, I rarely go above 178BPM at the very outside.

Some individuals have a much wider window to work with. Recovery runs can sometimes be as low as 130BPM and race efforts over 200BPM. We really are all very different!

You just need to ensure that your easy runs are conversational, despite what your heart might be doing.

05/10/2012 at 16:20

that's quite reassuring Jamie, I appreciate it. I was beginning to think that I couldn't ever improve my aerobic fitness because my heart won't beat slow enough to allow me to exercise aerobically. I guess the point is, if I can go out and run 2 hours non stop at a pace slow enough so that I'm not building up a load of lactate, then that suggests I'm not exercising anaerobically and by extension that will help me to improve aerobically. Is this logic sound do you think?

05/10/2012 at 16:54

Well, you'll certainly know if you're running it too fast if your breathing rate is high. Obviously without a running companion its a touch hard to determine 'easy/conversational pace' but this is what you're looking for, not one or two word answer pace.

I've been known to test my pace by saying the odd mantra, or saying the odd line from a song if the IPOD is on. But be wary in public, you don't want to look like the runner with tourettes or inner monologue issues. Save this sort of pace testing for deserted country roads! 

You'll find that as you increase your aerobic mileage......particularly your longer runs, your resting heartrate and BPM per certain paces reduces over time.

08/10/2012 at 10:13
Ratzer wrote (see)

Okay, I had to read your second post twice to understand but basically you're saying you can race a 10k at 6:35 pace and then you run up to HM distance at 7:00 sometimes, which is probably faster than you could race one.  (Calculator says 6:50ish pace on conversion but we're assuming you've got no longer aerobic capacity from your first post.)  Well, we know where you're leaving your race paces!  It really is in your best interests to have them with you come race day.

Couple of misconceptions first.  You're barely training anaerobically except perhaps in the gym.  Glycolytic refers to refreshing ATP in the muscles, and your predominant energy source is glycogen at the paces you mention.  Yes, a 5:00 mile pace is hard, judging by your race times, and if you're running more than 1km of total intervals at this pace you're doing yourself more harm than good, but 5x200 at this pace with recoveries is not particularly ATP-centric.  (If you're doing 800's at this pace I'd get yourself a new watch.)  Of course, I've got no idea what your interval program actually consists of, so I'm just guessing based on your times.

The frustrating thing is that given what you do you're reasonably fast.  I'm just imagining what you could achieve if you trained more sensibly.  Of course, you might not want to, as it seems that other things are more important, and that's fair enough.  However, you're also going about the slow runs completely incorrectly.  It takes time for your physiology to kick into endurance mode, even within a particular run.  You have to get the excess energy out of the system, go through the toxic tens (about ten minutes when your body wonders whether you want to go fast or far) and finally settle into 'fat-burning' mode (I'm just calling it that for ease).  If you've fuelled before running it could be, for argument's sake, 5 miles before your body is in endurance mode and starting to pump out the proteins that go to work on improving you aerobically.  If you go out hungry it might still be 1-2 miles.  In a 2.5 mile run that's not really going to give you a lot of aerobic benefit, is it?

Slow down the long run at least.  Don't slow it down to my 7:30 pace, slow it down to what you're intending for the mornings.  And 140bpm looks like something you took off an American Triathlete's pages ("If it works for me it'll work for anyone!").  Apologies if you figured it out properly.  When I was back doing HR base training 140 was too quick for me and led to drift around the ten mile mark.

Maybe I am lacking understanding here, but how can you assert that I "run my training HMs faster than I could race a HM"? What is so different about a race?

That aside..

Firstly, I'd like to thank you for being generous with your time in repsonding. Though, I have a couple more questions if you don't mind:

I'm not sure I understand what you say about not training anaerobically. that said, it's probably my misconception. I have tried to assimilate as much as I can from Brian Mac's web site, and several books. My understanding is that at high heart rates, it is likely that I am using glucose as a primary fuel source, and it's oxidation is incomplete (i.e. anaerobic), whcih result in the producion of H+ ions -- the burning, acid feeling -- and lactic acid, which is recycled given sufficent time. I understood this process was referred to as glycotic.

My interval programme is normally 6-8x400s and 3-6x800s. I occasionally just warm up (2 miles min) then bash out a 'best effort 1.5miles' .. or 'Personal Fitness

08/10/2012 at 10:14

Maybe I am lacking understanding here, but how can you assert that I "run my training HMs faster than I could race a HM"? What is so different about a race?

That aside..

Firstly, I'd like to thank you for being generous with your time in repsonding. Though, I have a couple more questions if you don't mind:

I'm not sure I understand what you say about not training anaerobically. that said, it's probably my misconception. I have tried to assimilate as much as I can from Brian Mac's web site, and several books. My understanding is that at high heart rates, it is likely that I am using glucose as a primary fuel source, and it's oxidation is incomplete (i.e. anaerobic), whcih result in the producion of H+ ions -- the burning, acid feeling -- and lactic acid, which is recycled given sufficent time. I understood this process was referred to as glycotic.

My interval programme is normally 6-8x400s and 3-6x800s. I occasionally just warm up (2 miles min) then bash out a 'best effort 1.5miles' .. or 'Personal Fitness Test' in Army speak, then cool down. The pace varies a little, but is normally around 1:15 for a 400 and 2:45 for an 800. recovery is either to 145 HR or a slow jog of equal distance to the sprint.

Thank you for the head's up re time taken for body to kick into endurance mode. the idea of just doing 2.5 miles/morning slowly, was to slowly ramp up the mileage. Obviosuly 2.5m/morning is an extra 17.5 miles a week. Once this is achieved, I intended, as I allude to in my original post, to up the daily (morning) mileage. This leaves me with the evenings free to do my 3 quality runs and my two strength sessions at the gym, and a swim.

I chose 140HR, which is purely arbitrary, becuase it slows me down to about an 8:10-30 mile depending on the terrain. I figured that getting my weekly mileage exlcuding the 3 quality runs to 28 miles a week (4 miles/morning) nice and slow, would prevent injury and do me some good, aerobically, at the same time.

Are you suggesting that I should perhaps condense several days' worth of morning mileage into a couple of longer (say, 4-6 miles) runs, equally slowly?

Thanks in advance.

08/10/2012 at 12:59

What is so different about a race?  This is the basis of where your training might be going wrong, if your impression of training, as it sounds, is that you have to do the miles as quickly as possible, each time beating your last time.  A race is where you use every tool in the box to achieve your best time.  Training is where you use one tool at a time to become proficient with it.

My assertion on you racing your HMs in training comes from the times you post.  You ran a 10k race at 6:33 per mile pace.  This gives (from calculators) an estimated 6:51 mile pace for a HM.  This calculation assumes a perfect conversion, i.e. you are as fit for HMs as you are for 10k's.  You post that you run HM distance at 7-7:30 mile pace in training.  Therefore you are running the distance in training at about the same pace you would run it in a race.

I'm going to leave aside the glycolytic debate.  Your intervals are predominantly aerobic, and thanks for posting clearer sessions.  Let's have a quick surgery on them.  Based on your 10k time you could race 3k at about 6:00 mile pace.  In your 400's interval sessions you are doing between 2.4k and 3.2k at 5:00 mile pace.  In your 800's you are doing between 2.4k and 4.8k at 5:30 mile pace.  There are two possible deductions from this comparison.  Either you are running your intervals way too fast, and probably not recovering for the hills, let alone the gym; or your 10k is way too slow for your speed, as a result of little aerobic fitness and perhaps a sprinkling of fatigue when you ran it.  It may be a combination of both.  If you want to improve, you have to train smarter, not harder.

So, onto your endurance runs, which are what you need to do to improve, yes, I would advocate running longer rather than more.  The longer runs will give you that aerobic improvement that you will get much less of if you run shorter more often.  You are correct about the help with injury prevention by adding more gentle miles.  Do remember though that the addition of any miles is a risk at first.  It will help if you reduce your speed or distance in your quality.

I won't comment further on your 140HR as I think 8+ mile pace is a happy medium. You could get into HR training, but probably not necessary.

08/10/2012 at 14:52

OK cool.

Thanks very much for this.

I am usually battered from my quality sessions; though to be honest I've never known that you shouldn't be.

So, re intervals then. If my 3-5km pace is around a 6 min mile, then should I aim for 400s and 800s at 1:30 and 3:00 respectively? How do I 'progress' from this? More volume, less recovery?

I'll heed your advice re easy miles. So this week, instead of doing a 2.5 miler each morning, I'll take that 17.5 miles and divvy it up across, say, 3-4 other runs then.

So my running will look like:

M interval (6+ miles)

T easy+gym (5 miles)

W hills (6-7 miles)

T easy+gym (5 miles)

F easy+swim (5 miles)

S LSR (12-15 miles)

S Off

Gets me to 40mpw give or take..

 

Thanks again for your help.

08/10/2012 at 15:12

I'm trying to up my mileage because I need to improve my aerobic fitness. Last week I did 21 miles, and this week I'll probably do about 27 then stay on that mileage for a few weeks before upping it again. I know the oft quoted "10%" rule, but do you think, given that almost all these miles are incredibly slow (I mean any slower and I'd be walking) with the intention of keeping my HR

09/10/2012 at 08:46

That looks like a more balanced week.  Be cautious of taking your LSR too far without a supporting midweek run of about 2/3rds distance - long miles also need regularity, and not just a once-a-week effort.  W would look better at 8-10.  But again, ease up to it as extra miles are fatiguing and need getting used to.

Intervals.  Battered?  Yes, in some weeks just pre-season where you're right on competition pace.  If you're regularly performing them, then only occasionally.  The aim with intervals is to be unable to do more than the last one, yet be able to do the last one at the same pace as the first one, and the same pace as every one in between.  The progression is highly personal, but if we take an example of periodising intervals towards a 5k, you might start with 8x400 on pace, 30s recovery, move to 10x400 then 12x400 with the same recovery, before moving to 5x800 with 60s, then 6x800 with 60s, then 45s, then 30s.  Final sessions might be 4x1k off 45s jog, 5x1k off 45s jog at which point you are now almost racing and you can be pretty confident of your race pace and ability to hold it for the distance.  All these intervals would have been performed at the same pace, 5k pace.

There's nothing wrong with doing faster paced intervals.  Given enough recovery (again, personal) there is nothing too wrong with going overdistance for the pace, for example 8x400 at 3k pace.  However this should be when you are already capable of everything up to this point, and usually indicates that you are ready to improve your pace (ie. ready to race faster).

Your present recoveries of jogging the same distance as the interval are very long, and are more like sprint endurance sessions than distance sessions.  Likewise allowing your HR to recover to a fixed point is both variable in time and negates the impacts of a build-up of certain fatigue factors such as acid in the muscles, factors which you have to endure in a more constant paced race.  Aim for recoveries in the 60-90s range initially, but if you get your pace right bring this down to the 30-60s range.  Don't worry about recovering to HR at all.

Final question.  Where do you do your intervals?

09/10/2012 at 17:37

@ Ratzer.

Once again, many thanks for your time.

OK -- will up the Thursday to 8 or 9 miles. Wed is a hill run and I basically run Moel Famau (a hill in N Wales) using a route that is 3 miles up and 3 miles down, almost on the nose.

Intervals. I do them outside on a road. It's got a stretch of about 800m without being broken by T junctions, so I just bomb it up and down that wearing my GPS watch. Still have to dodge the odd dog/pram and use all my willpower not to punch the lights out of teenagers who take up the whole path and try to not let me past (until I slam into them anyway)... but it's good enough and relatively straight. It has a slight incline so I make sure to run uphill and recover downhill, if that makes sense. It's a bit shit becuase it rains and is v dark... but while I know of a few tracks nearby, I really struggle for time as it is, and an extra 20 min drive each way is something I could well do without.

This brings me on to the recoveries... I have previous tried 30-60 seconds (as opposed to the ca 2 minutes it takes for me to jog back to the start) but found that I often couldn't manage the last few reps in the allotted time. So they might have gone 1:15, 1:13, 1:14, 1:20, 1:20, 1:20 etc, when I was targeting 1:15 as a 400m time. Now that I am going to relax the pace to say, 1:30/400m, this will be very achievable even at a much higher volume. For instance, last night I did:

2 mile warm up in 14:40 (2nd mile faster than first)

12x400m @ 1:30 with 400m recoveries in av 1:50-2:00

2 mile warm down in 16omething (last mile v slow)

(total session volume 9 miles)

Was still battered afterwards, but not in the same way. And I didn't feel like my legs were going to fall off like they normally do.

09/10/2012 at 21:43

Outside on the road is fine.  I was just concerned that you were using a treadmill!

Have you tried stopping for 30s after each 400 rather than jogging back to the start?  Your incline might be a bit much for running back down at speed, but if it isn't it'd be worth it.

10/10/2012 at 09:33

Yeah but I found that stopping completely caused me to cramp very easily. I'll crack on with your suggestions for the time being and see how I get on.

Many thanks again for your time/expertise.

18/10/2012 at 11:07

Well I've done a week of this and am pretty much at the point where my shins are in pain and my calves feel like they're on the edge of a breakdown!

Perhaps I need to re adjust this!

Am considering eliminating speedwork altogether for a few weeks and concentrating on getting my mileage up...

(a) would this help?

(b) would it undo all the hard work I have put into speedwork over the last few months?

18/10/2012 at 11:15

I started running properly in March/April and tried to go from nothing to 4 sessions a week almost immediately (including 1 speed session).

Inevitably, this caused a few niggles, mostly shin splints and ITB pain in the knee. For the first 2/3 months I found myself training well for a couple of weeks then having to take 4/5/6 days off due to the injuries.

Eventually I got through it and am now running 5/6 days a week and doing around 45 miles but I almost quit a few times as a result of the constant niggles.

Therefore, my adivce would be to do anything you can avoid this as it will get very frustrating. Just leave the speedwork until you are at least at 30 miles a week I'd say just to get your legs a bit more resilient. You can up the mileage relatively quickly I'd say if you keep it gentle.

Hope this helps

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