The Middle Ground

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22/11/2012 at 11:34

As with any lofty plans I might have for "periodisation" I tend to find that real world circumstances, namely being feckin ill this year more than I can remember being for a long time, has given me more down time than I feel I've needed.  So I can't see me scheduling a proper break now till post-VLM.

On which note, to ensure I stay ticking over during the festive period, I've already scheduled taking part in the last Dulwich parkrun of the year (Sat 29th).  Club mate is keen to have one last stab at sub-16 for the year; I may not have such lofty goals (we'll see!) but it will be a nice sharpener before the Kent county champs XC the following weekend.

22/11/2012 at 14:10

Phil, isn't that dangerous? I think part of my problem over the last couple of months has been focusing on trying to get fitness to a pre-determined level by a certain time, rather than the goal being "get fitter" and as such I've done too much too soon.

22/11/2012 at 15:41
Simon Edward wrote (see)

Phil, isn't that dangerous?

What, not scheduling a proper break till after VLM?  I just feel I haven't had the consistency of training I've needed to really progress since coming back from injury. I can't complain about some of my recent times but really, since running a 72:48 HM just five months after getting back to it, I don't think I've moved on much since.  I'm thankful that I've not had a single injury niggle but that's beside the point; I really feel like I can push things on a bit now.  I'll have the usual mini-respites of cut-back weeks and mini-tapers for warm-up races, obviously.

Also, I genuinely believe that a multi-sport approach is less taxing on the running muscles and joints, and you can get more overall training in without breaking down.  I've averaged less than 50mpw this year and even at the peak of marathon training I don't plan on venturing over 70-75 miles and two sessions (+LR) per week.  I appreciate cumulative fatigue is still a possibility, but I've not seen any signs of it so far.

22/11/2012 at 18:37
Evening all,

7.5 miles for me this lunchtime, with an average heart rate of 138bpm. I suspect the battery on the heart rate strap may be dying, or the contacts weren't quite right, as for the first mile it was telling me my heart rate was over 160, and then it suddenly dropped down to a much more sensible 132....

It was blooming windy today along the Thames, and at times it felt like I was running into a wind tunnel. Luckily, I do an out and back course, so I did also get to float along for a couple of miles with the wind on my back.
22/11/2012 at 18:40

Phil - Liking the sound of ambitions to 'push on from a 72:48 HM'. If you ran that time again as a V40 it would give you a ranking of 32 but if you're feeling ambitious 70:56 gets you into the top 10!


10.0 Miles at 8:39/mile this evening.

22/11/2012 at 19:04

Duck - 8 a day?  Pfft... I eat 12 a day (without any fruit juice)

PP - I have never had a planned break in running as I have had so many unplanned breaks.  But Jack Daniels says in his book never taking a planned break with the expectation that you will have another unplanned break is a big no no. (I know this is not exactly the case, but just something to be aware of).

Going for my first run tomorrow since 8th October.  Although I am looking forward to running again - I could quite easily never been able to run again if things were a little worse for me - a part of me feels a little heart-broken that I have got to start over again for the second time this year. 

I mean I did everything possible to avoid any set-backs - including compression, massages, recovery drinks, ice baths, foam rolling, core work, and of course trusty stretching - then basically my body let me down!  At least now my heart defect is fixed, I will be able to run at 99% of my full potential (a small hole still remains, but is under 0.2cm compared to the previous 1.8cm)

Two questions I'd like to put on here:
1) Does anyone here use training peaks?  I have heard you can to HR analysis that you cannot do on garmin connect.  Can anyone shed anymore light on the specifics of what you can do in training peaks?

2)  I have read a fair amount of running books.  The problem is that I still would not know how to put together a periodised training plan.  Have I done something wrong?  Should I be able to do this given that I have read a lot?  For instance, I would not have an idea on what and how many workouts to do in a specific phase nor how long that phase should last.

For those that are self-coached, what of these describes you best: follow a training plan in a book exactly, adapt a training plan (such as replacing workouts or adjusting milage) or make up your own plan entirely?

Edited: 22/11/2012 at 19:05
22/11/2012 at 20:54

Josh.. I'm definitely in the 'make up your own plan entirely' camp.  Now I am of advanced years I listen to my body a lot more, run the easy runs easy and bash out the odd interval session & Parkrun when the legs feel like it.  Great to hear you can run again, don't fret about what you've lost and just enjoy it for now.

Dr.Dan.. no probs, I'm more hip op than hip-hop these days.  Anyway I quite enjoy plotting my tinpot race trophy hunting schedule!

Did a gusty 4.2m off road this morning.  Heavy rain tonight so did a sweaty treadie session of 10k inc. 6 x 1k @ 5k pace.  Pleased to get that one done.

22/11/2012 at 21:51

Phil, fair points. I just meant the danger of setting in stone that you're not having a break regardless of how you're feeling. Although that's more what I've been doing than you're likely to do, so best ignore me.

YP, that's often due to poor contact with the skin, which improves as you sweat. Or intereference from static on your clothing, which also disappears as you sweat. I've noticed it's worse in cold weather as well.

Josh, great news that you can run again, and don't worry, you won't be starting over from scratch.

I was going to say that I make up my own plan entirely, but it's not like I've worked out my training from first principles: I've assumed that Coe, Lydiard and other authors/coaches etc. know what they're talking about and have accepted - particulary with regards to the points they agree on - that I can safely adopt many of the approaches they specify.

However, as I learn more about how I respond to different training loads and session in terms of improvements and performances I add more and more elements that are more truly of my own devising.

As for planning a schedule, I think the best thing to do is work backwords from a planned competition or competition phase. If you want to peak in June, then you know you want to get in x weeks of hard anaerobic training (you know this either because you read it, or because x +/- y weeks last year was not quite right. And what should you do before that? Well, it depends whose training philosophies you are compelled to adopt or what you think you need to do to be ready for the following phase.

As for how long a phase should last in general. I think until you stop seeing signficant improvements is a good guide,

I had my first track session in ages tonight. I took it easy and did 8 x 100m @ 1500 pace with 200 jog recovery. Did the last one at 800 pace because I was feeling good. It felt really nice to run at a decent speed, albeit for a short distance. No complaints from the knee either.

I've been advised to use the cross trainer rather than the treadmill if I'm not fit to go on the roads. I can understand the reasoning - the fact that treadmill running is so similar to road running is probably a bad thing for technique.

22/11/2012 at 21:54
Josh: as Wardi says! Listen to the body. Enjoy it. Gently does it. Don't rush back etc etc. I don't want to hear of anything but short gentle runs until the new year! I think that most on here will be saying the same. I know some might suggest that anything longer should be run/walk, or even walk/walk! You have had a major shock to the system, remember! Hope it goes well tomorrow: you must be a little anxious!
22/11/2012 at 22:01

What is your motivation?

23/11/2012 at 06:29

Josh, I make things up myself too.  I might plan in my head what I'm doing for the week, but that can even change day to day.  I normally set myself a total mileage I want to run and will go over but not under that.  Any sessions I do will be based on the base mileage and any extra miles will be at easy pace.

Enjoy your return to running!

Glad the knee held up Simon!

Well I didn't make the full week of training having took yesterday off.  My excuse I came home to find a panel off the conservatory roof in next doors garden meaning BR had to climb over the fence to get in high wind and lashing rain...The run became replaced by a curry instead

23/11/2012 at 07:14
Morning all,

Another 8 miles for me this morning, with the dog and the headtorch

Josh - I'm a lot newer to following a proper training plan than most on here, so I'm more likely to follow a training plan, with maybe one or two adaptations based on how I feel on any particular day.
23/11/2012 at 07:51

Ive never followed a plan at all. I have an idea of what I should do and then execute it as best as I can in the time I can find. 

I want to be fit for everything that takes my fancy, it may be a park run 1 week and a bgr leg or 2 another. I dont think there would be a plan for that so i mix it up as much as possible. I know this will never make me a master of anything but i'm happy with this. 

At the moment I feel just running more will help, without any speed work, so thats my plan till january at least with maybe the odd fell race thrown in, My fitness and pb times have all come off the back of cycling fitness with very little running.

I am finding it hard as I used to be doing 12 hours a week commuting and now im doing 4-5 hours running and its killing my legs so im finding it a real balancing act. My head says do more and legs say no. Hopefully the legs will sort themselves over winter as i ease in to some decent mileage.

Not ridden my bike for 2 months. Not sure why. 



Edited: 23/11/2012 at 07:52
23/11/2012 at 10:17

Josh - You were putting in some big mileage before you had your frightening little episode, so there's a big reserve of endurance fitness you should be able to tap into, and hopefully you'll be pleased with the rate of improvement without having to push things too hard.

I've mentioned before how I don't really do periodising to any strict degree.  I could take a step back and say that my training is organised into cycles according to different seasonal objectives, e.g. Spring marathon; Summer track/shorter road races; winter XC/endurance building but in all honesty it boils down to a simple set of "keep fit" principles that apply all year round and get tweaked a bit depending on my short- to medium-term goals at any one time.

90% of the races that I target are within the range 5k - half marathon.  With the exception of a 1,500m race, 1 mile race, a long duathlon, and a very hilly/muddy XC, all my race paces this year have been in the range 5:08 - 5:38/m.  This tells me that it's in my interests to keep VO2max and LT topped up (hence regular weekly intervals + tempo type runs), with endurance taken care of with long runs supported by general easy mileage.  Maybe I'd perform a couple of % better for certain key races if I took a different approach but I do like the feeling of being fairly race-ready at any one time.  The exception would definitely be the marathon, since training for 26.2 miles has its own challenges.

Simon - Good to see you "back on track".    I spent a LOT of time on the x-trainer before getting back to running at the end of last year.  It's no more exciting than the treadmill unfortunately but is definitely less impact-ful on the joints.  Therefore, no real substitute for running but good for getting the heart and lungs going.

nosemi - Might be an idea to get back on the bike to give your running legs time to recover between sessions.  I really find I can increase my overall training load substantially if I combine the two. 

Edited: 23/11/2012 at 10:18
23/11/2012 at 10:52

Josh – I usually jot down a plan for a couple for months ahead. Put in the races and targets and work out what sessions I want in there. That then lets me know that I’ve got enough time to get in all the runs I need. I then chuck it away and don’t look at it again. That way I know what sessions I need to do but I’m not held to a rigid plan and work around whatever comes up. I’ve just done exactly that for the Brass Monkey half which is in 8 weeks time. Good luck with the 1st run back.

Simon – Good work on your first speedy session.

Looks like good conditions are forecast for those doing Gosforth tomorrow, so I’m expecting some fast times! Though probably not from me as I’ve got a sore throat and full of cold!  (yeah I know excuses, excuses.....)

23/11/2012 at 12:55

Josh - I work on 6-8 week blocks. ATM I'm just trying to get in 6 40 mile weeks!

Take it easy Mr V!

I hope all your running paraphenalia in the conservatory wasn't damaged Hilly. It doesn't sound good.

7 miles this morning with 5 at what was MP back in June. Comfortably tough.

23/11/2012 at 12:57


8 hour shift yesterday (but brilliant fun and enjoyed myself as well as discovering a taste for Gouda with cumin mmmm), did an easy 6.8 and another today with strides so all ticking over for tomorrow's race.

PRF next target is Brighton Next B target is Chichester as I havent nailed a good 10k for a few years... and that elusive sub 20 has got to be hiding somewhere in early 2013! Other than that I will race for the club but instead of a second session and drop them if necessry.

Great to see Simon back out with the fast boys and  Josh allowed to go back out at all! YP doing lots of training and PRF  still shuffling along

Interesting questions about training plans and periodisation. I think that working back from a race is good for those who dont want to stick with on particular philosophy, then there is the option of alternate weeks of tempo (race pace and next pace up) and short bursts at much faster than race pace for intervals. An easy way to mke intervals harder without pushing the pace is to reduce the recoveries week on week.

I tend to work on a longer scale so build in some long term work on my weaknesses (speed endurance recently which has paid off big time I would say) as well as progression through the period, for example by focusing on intense speed work for four weeks then longer less intense speedwork for the second 4. In my mind are some time targets that help too, but these can be dangerous, especially when running well as it does tend to cause (me to at least) overreach!

Right off to find some lunch


23/11/2012 at 13:59

I like to take a mid-season break when I get through all the enduranc-y stuff, so will probably be taking 2 weeks off either in January or February (planning a holiday to Washington to recharge). Then there's the post-season break which is a couple of weeks too. 

I'm touching wood here, but I've been fortunate in that the last injury I got was over 2 years ago, so my reasoning for having breaks is more psychological. I get niggles like everyone, so a few days off here and there isn't uncommon, but that is more rehab time off than pure "sit around and eat icing sugar until I can't stand" kind of time off. 

YP, sounds like the contacts. The battery in mine just stopped working one day whereas the contacts gave irregular readings.

alehouse wrote (see)
Josh: as Wardi says! Listen to the body. Enjoy it. Gently does it. Don't rush back etc etc. I don't want to hear of anything but short gentle runs until the new year!

Bolded and underlined for emphasis  

I read about, apply ideas I like and think make sense, but also have my own ideas. For example, now training how I am has made me rethink how to approach pure 800m training to the extent where I'm not sure whose ideas I would be following! 

There needs to be a degree of adaptability in any training programme. I could not pick up a plan from a book that says "Easy Monday, tempo Tuesday, Long Sunday" etc etc as it is far too rigid. You need to be reactive and adaptable to the every day and have the ability to think "ok, I can't get what I planned in today, but what can I do today, and when can I get in what I wanted to do without compromising the rest of the week/cycle?" And that's why I couldn't follow a plan to the day.

I really like Lydiard and his ideas, although as I said I've rethought my position on 800m training, so my plan now would be a mixture of his ideas, other ideas such as Coe and ideas I have come up with on my own. 

Good news on your knee Simon. 

5*1000 off 60s rec this morning. 3'42, 3'41, 3'32, 3'31, 3'26 for 5:46/m avg. Despite the pace, this session felt more like a traditional 20 minute tempo (most likely because of the recoveries), which is fine as I don't want to go to the well in this kind of session at this stage in the season. Once I cut this down to 4*1000 in the spring it'll become a harder effort. 

Got home to find a large piece of glass embedded in the sole of my right shoe. It had gone in lengthways and I'm not sure how far it went in! A lucky escape 

Edited: 23/11/2012 at 14:02
23/11/2012 at 14:58

Went for my prostate test results this morning. Not good news. The recent biopsy showed cancer in a number of areas. Either I will be having radiotherapy, or more likely, complete removal. Not the news I wanted to hear! It will be a few weeks before a decision is made on the preferred option. Hopefully I will be able to get some sort of fitness back before I am subjected to anything!
I do NOT want a load of expressions of sympathy! Would prefer to hear good news stories of decent training/racing. And of good prostate outcomes of people that you know, either through professional involvement or friends/family. Just want to be back running some time!

23/11/2012 at 14:58

Ok, bit of input please!

The national open is on January 19th in the brand new Commonwealth arena. No question I'm going (£5 per event is a pretty decent price) but the question is what to do?

Best choices for me would be the 400, 800 & 1500. The 800 is at 10.30, the 400 at 11.45, and the 1500 at 1.30. An 8/15 double looks the best option but I do really want to run a 4 to get an idea of where I stand. 

I could of course run the 400 and the 800 and accept I might be a bit tired for the 400. Then again running a 400 & 1500 would give me a decent estimate of my 800 potential. The aim is more to refresh my mind on how to run the events, but at the same time I think I could possibly pb over all three events if I ran them. Decisions!

Edited: 23/11/2012 at 15:03
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