Speed Sessions & Injuries

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22/08/2002 at 15:51
Martin, this is excellent. Thanks for taking the time to write it out for me. I'm going to try these two sessions this week.
22/08/2002 at 15:54
Achilles, the extra mileage is done at the ideal heart rate for improving base fitness. Depending on what programmes you read this varies between 60% and 70% of WHR. The actual pace for these runs can vary quite considerably. Anything else I do has a specific reason, eg increasing VO2 max, increasing threshold, etc.

Although there are many definitions available for junk miles for me they are when you run at such a slow pace to be of no benefit whatsoever or run when you know you shouldn't, simply because your weekly mileage is "too low".

As for the "master plan" - yes, I do have one which I will be very happy to share with anyone, once I know it works! This will probably become apparent at the 2003 FLM.
22/08/2002 at 16:21
I think the concept of a master plan is interesting and with the times that you are running drew I would never question either your methods or your motivation! I am interested to know whether you actually enjoy running, or do you enjoy the getting better and faster bit of running? I know on the session thread we always put the "why" but and mostly there is a reason for my runs but largely thats secondary to the fact that I like running and unlike most have never found it boring. However, I know that a few years ago when I found I had plateaued in terms of times I found it incredible hard to stay motivated.

Is this something you are planning for? Do you think it will ever happen?
22/08/2002 at 16:39
Drew -

Actually, I think I'm always so worried about running so-called "junk miles" that I tend to run most of my recovery runs too fast to compensate.

The only other thing I would say, subjectively speaking, is that too much running slow makes me feel slow.

As for judging recovery pace with a HRM, I found I just couldn't manage with it. Actual recovery runs (i.e. where you are running to "recover" from a previous hard work-out, rather than just running at recovery pace, whatever that is) always seem to me to vary more widely than anything else in terms of perceived effort versus effort recorded by the HRM. That's one of the reason I threw mine in the drawer this time last year. (It was especially useful for tempo runs, I admit that - but that's a different kettle of fish, cos they're actually very dependent on actual as opposed to perceived effort to work properly.)

The other reason I threw mine away was that it's a piece of junk (Nike HRM]Triax 15) which despite its funky design and orthography just plain failed to work after a while, having been intermittently faulty from the get-go - the last piece of Nike kit of any kind I'm ever buying. Actually, the reason for the rant is I got it out of the drawer again this morning and hopefully, foolishly bought yet another new battery and still the thing didn't work. As a result, and in view of coming round to your view of the over-riding importance of tempo runs, I'm going to go out and get me a nice simple and infinitely cheaper Polar HRM which I have no doubt will last forever - and I'll have the satisfaction of knowing that my money isn't going towards ludicrous TV campaigns where Eric Cantona referees football matches on board rusting oil tankers (what the hell was that all about?).

Can't blame you for not sharing the master plan - now we REALLY know it harbours never-before-discovered killer secrets.

best. s.
22/08/2002 at 16:48
Claire -

Martin's two exemplary sessions are just the ticket to get you going, but a word of caution. I notice you said you were going to do both of them in the same week! Maybe you didn't mean this, but the most important thing you need to know about speed sessions is to ease into them gradually and two new tough sessions in the same week is probably not recommended. Either of two things is likely to happen (or both) - you'll decide it's all too tough and you'll never want to do them again (which would be shame), or you'll get injured. Speed wisely and recover well and you'll be delighted with the results - watch that 10K PB plummet!

Also, having seen what you're currently doing, I'm sure you'll enjoy your running even more once you start to bring some variety into it - and the more variety you go for, the better all-round runner you become.

best of luck. s.
23/08/2002 at 09:39
Martin, I'm motivated by success! Constant improvements are one aspect which motivates me to go out and train harder (and smarter). I'm alwasy striving for PB's on my training runs. Eventually I will reach a plateau, probably 3 or 4 years. At that stage I'm not sure how I'll react. May revert back to cycling.
23/08/2002 at 10:52
Scenario: Seaside 5K race next Wed 28/8 . Also planned further ahead: 10Ks 15/9 (Hoylake), 22/9 (Mersey Tunnel), 5K (Seaside) 29/9, 10K (Chester Zoo) 13/10

Since rest day last Wed 14/8

15/8: 25 mins on grass, mainly easy
16/8: 9.3K/5.8 miles hard
17/8: no run but long cricket innings on hot day
18/8: 5 miles at 6:30 pace
19/8: 4 x 1 mile interval session off limited jog recoveries (i.e. speed endurance session)
20/8: 43 minutes v easy on beach/road, mean HR 135
21/8: 4.1 miles/6.65K hard
22/8: intended easy run on grass - terminated at just over 2 miles (with last 1/2 mile q hard) when realised wouldn't make it to Safeway in time before it closed & would face frosty reception from Mrs S in consequence.

this morning: legs feel not too bad
tomorrow: cricket match scheduled.

Really can't make my mind up what to do tonight....so - you, the jury, can decide What - and Why
23/08/2002 at 10:52
oh sh*t - posted to wrong thread...try again...
23/08/2002 at 17:34
Tough one for me to answer I have always done speedwork, though didn't have a lot of choice running on the track..... Personally I love speedwork and reps sessions for reasons outlined below.

I do use them to get fitter, faster, but I think the main benefit I get from them is they allow me to gauge my level of fitness - I know that if say I run a session of 8*1000m reps with 60s rest in a certain time, then I know what time I can expect to run a 10k. However this has come from years of doing reps...

The distances and number of reps have increased, as I do not run so much track now, and there are many sessions I use, though I tend to stick to 8 throughout the year, increasing the intensity of the session throughout the year...
23/08/2002 at 17:37
One more thing - be careful. I have suffered my fair share of calf and achilles injuries - generally because I would run even more on my toes than usual, and through wearing shoes with less cushioning - only advice would be to wear your normal trainers until your calfs/achilles are used to the additional demands, then switch to less cushioned/lighter trainers if you use them..
23/08/2002 at 22:14
Wow - what a lot of information to try to absorb. I thought the Yasso 800 was a type of motorbike...

'I remember when' - you're probably onto something there - as I am a committed forefoot runner - don't think I'll ever leave my Air Pegasus' for any other trainer - and at my slow speed - lighter trainers honestly won't make any difference at all.

I do get hacked off tho as despite intensive - 5-8 times a week training - over the last year - I still can only jog with a heart rate which quickly reaches 183 and stays there or just below (180 is the theoretical maximum for me but I can reach 220 in the gym when I really push myself, not the point I know!)

Everything else I do in the gym's got easier - especially the rower - over the last year - but not the bike or the treadmill - and it's running I want to do - not rowing or cycling!

I will try some of these tips tho,' thanks
23/08/2002 at 23:42
A genuine contribution (or an attempt at one) this time....


you never really outlined exactly what you were trying to do on your "speed sessions". The term is one used loosely by most people; in practice it actually encompasses sessions designed to enhance, at one extreme, pure speed (which is basically getting the central nervous system used to the co-ordination required to move the muscles faster), and at the other, speed endurance, which is more about acquiring the strength required to maintain speed over a longer time/distance.
Most sessions include an element of both; as an example, most of mine (with the exception of this evening) tend to be biased more towards speed endurance, in that I'm looking to run repeats of longer distances at a not-quite-so-high speed, and going back into them after an incomplete recovery - so I get increasingly fatigued as time passes. This does also increase the risk of injury, and I wonder if this is the source of your problem.
You give the impression that at this stage, all you're seeking is the ability to run faster. In which case, if you aren't doing so already, try to cut out the "speed endurance" elements of your sessions - make your recovery periods longer, and, if necessary, your efforts a bit shorter in terms of time/distance.
If you find as a result you can get through a couple (or more) sessions without any ill-effects, try, very gradually, to reintroduce the "speed endurance" elements - lengthen your efforts, and then shorten the recovery times.

Good luck

Mike S
24/08/2002 at 10:23
Mike S - that is really helpful, thankyou. And yes - I've been trying to do speed endurance - so now will try the longer recovery periods and shorter distances that you suggest. Thanks to the rain this BH weekend - the local playing field should be lovely and soft for me to mess about on ... Thankyou.

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