The Middle Ground

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10/05/2013 at 17:16

BBB - I used to be religious about Nike, but switched to Adidas and never looked back. Use Boston in training and Adios for racing (ha, if I ever return), but they only have 3 miles on them after 15 months, sob. I can get 2000+ out of the Bostons.

YD - I feel your pain completely. I'm on week 7 of a chest infection. On my third round of antibiotics, different type each time, it is utterly miserable. Tried a run yesterday and it felt like a marathon. These newest antibiotics seem to be really helping but it is going to be a long road back. 

My mood is not pleasant these days. My poor kids!

10/05/2013 at 19:59

Over 24000 messages, I note! No doubt PRF will pop in when it is 24042.

Quick update from me: no running for a week. Ill. Shivering. Legs like jelly. Dizzy when bending. Sounds somewhat similar to YD. Not even been to the Alehouse. For the last 35 years I have gone out each Friday with friends (well, it is now down to just the one friend!): last Friday I left my ale and had to be transported home! Things are getting better, though, and ran for 12 minutes yesterday and 16 today as little tests.

Shoes: in the 70s they were all minimalist until Nike came along with some thick wedges of a heel. Then things got increasingly padded, cushioned and clumpy. The Achilles surgeon and a couple of physios have said that these shoes may have been responsible, along with orthotics, for my Achilles and calf problems, taking away much of the natural rotation movements that you are more likely to develop with the lighter shoes. Asics DS trainers (which seem basically to be a trimmed down version of the 2060/2070 series) for me, in the main. I have a pair of DS racers, but too light, and son wears as a leisure statement.

11/05/2013 at 11:27

Bob, my transition to doing all my running in flats was not immediate. I did try to do that originally but had a few problems. I don't know enough about biomechanics for my opinion to mean much, but I believe that the majority of people's lower limbs are capable of adapting to running comfortably without excessive support from footwear, and that the majority of problems experienced are not de to some physical fault, but rather due to overuse. Pronation control trainers may mean the beginner can do 20 miles a week instead of 10 before their shins start hurting, but I think more benefit is to be had long term from letting your body adapt to the stresses naturally.

Duck, what shoe would you say is most similar to Hyperspeed 4s? I absolutely loved mine and the HS 5s seem a little too rigid for my liking. Agree with YD that the holes in the bottom are a bit irritating.

11/05/2013 at 11:29

YD, I would simply start with adding a few strides to a couple of runs a week. These will help improve form (if done correctly), but also allow a gentle introduction to stimulation of your fast twitch muscle fibres. A favourite of mine is to do 8 x 10 seconds, focussing on a different aspect of my technique with each one:

1) Upright posture
2) High hips
3) High knees
4) Dorsi-flexed foot
5) Good rear-leg extension
6) Bring heel up under buttock
7) Relaxed shoulders
8) Driving arms

That order is deliberate and in some cases one technical aspect is dependent on a former (e.g. you cannot get high knees unless your hip carriage is high and they have room to move)

I'll also make the speed with which they're executed progressive, starting at around 1500 pace and ending at a touch faster than 800 pace, although I don't worry about this too much.

Even if you're *not* planning on switching focus to shorter stuff, I think including these types of strides in your warm up now and again can be useful.

Once you feel comfortable with the strides, you could make the sessions a bit more structured. Early in the winter I was doing:

2 x 4 x 200 @ 1500 pace
2 x 4 x 100 @ 800 pace

All done with a strong focus on relaxed running and good form. One point which may not be relevant to you is that these were done at goal race pace, rather than at current race pace.

I wouldn't call these quality sessions. The intent was to provide some FT stimulus, pacing familiarity and to prepare myself for the more intense work to come in the spring. The natural progession is to increase the length of the reps, but once you're much over 400m for 1500 pace and 200m for 800 pace you're moving into speed endurance territory which probably isn't as useful unless you're racing those distances.

Do you listen to the marathon talk podcast? In a recent one they were talking about shifting focus during the summer and Tom mentions how training for a mile last year really changed his outlook. Although MD is still my focus, I've learnt a lot from MD training that I would transfer to longer distance running in the future.

If you're really want to build speed, then I'm no expert, but the following progression has worked well for me (i.e. my top speed has improved since last summer):

1) Weights + core work
2) Short uphill reps
3) Short downhill reps
4) Short track reps

The basic idea is that the weights and core work give build my strength. Then the short uphill work allows me to work on coordinating that strength (applying it to a running action). The downhill strides are for turnover and neurological gains - I'm running faster than I could on the flat and essentially teaching my nervous system how to do it. Then finally the reps on the track are to bring it altogether and add that element of specificity.

Of course, other benefits to gym work include injury-proofing yourself and I'm sure strength gains are helpful (to a small degree at least) for all distances.

I think Duck might have other ideas about top-end speed, but I suspect our approaches will be different because for him speed is a strength, whereas for me it is a limiter/weakness.

11/05/2013 at 11:37

What Simon wrote, below, seems to be exactly the view of my Achilles surgeon and the physios involved with my rehab. But not the view of the podiatrist, obviously!

Simon Edward wrote (see)

Bob, my transition to doing all my running in flats was not immediate. I did try to do that originally but had a few problems. I don't know enough about biomechanics for my opinion to mean much, but I believe that the majority of people's lower limbs are capable of adapting to running comfortably without excessive support from footwear, and that the majority of problems experienced are not de to some physical fault, but rather due to overuse. Pronation control trainers may mean the beginner can do 20 miles a week instead of 10 before their shins start hurting, but I think more benefit is to be had long term from letting your body adapt to the stresses naturally.


Edited: 11/05/2013 at 11:38
11/05/2013 at 20:37

Thanks for the suggestions Simon. As I am coming back from a period of no training, using strides in a more formal or structured way is a good idea as a bridge into genuine harder work down the line. I also like the idea of breaking different components of good running form down into individual segments and adding in the next component in once you have nailed the last.
So I will give what you have suggested a try. Once I am comfortable with the strides I will start to structure the sessions like you describe (2 x 4 x 200 @ 1500 pace etc.. using a realistic aspirational pace).
I was also planning on adding in some hill work soon, a set of form strides before the hill session could work well as a combo session I would have thought?
As to where I will take it next I will give it some thought. The likelihood is I will use what you have described as a pre VO2Max phase an attempt to get into decent 5k-10k shape, but I may be tempted into having a bash at some shorter stuff just yet

As for Marathon Talk, I have not listened to it for a while. I remember Tom doing the MD thing last year, he overtook me with 150 meters to go in his big sub 5min mile attempt.

Kelly, Alehouse – fingers crossed for you both. My recent issues are nothing compared to what you two have gone through.

Kudos to CS for toughing that track 5,000m race out Duck.

Feeling better today, though not ready for exercise yet, I played a bit of football in the garden with YD Junior this afternoon and I was blowing. He is only two years old!

11/05/2013 at 22:46

Thanks for all the replies, folks - much appreciated. Will come back with some fuller thoughts tomorrow after my morning race in Lecicester, and a lunchtime buffet curry and beers.

Hoping for, and should be, a better day than today unsuccessfully monsoon dodging at cricket - waste of an afternoon getting cold and bored for 12 overs of leather chasing in the field!

Not even felt the shin for several days now, so unless that wind keeps blowing, there's no excuse not to nail the race other than a potential lack of company from a rather poor quality field looking at last year's race. If a similar field turns up, I could find myself close to the top 30 from a field of over 500, with that top 30 fairly evenly spread from 36:xx to the 43:30 or so I'm targetting. 


Edited: 11/05/2013 at 22:49
12/05/2013 at 11:56

Quick update before we head out for lunch. Chip results probably not out yet, but read about 43:36 as some young spunker and I got involved in a big sprint finish for the line.

Will definitely be a 2 minute plus PB, and brings the 10k nicely into line with the 5k. Would be nice if the chip comes out at 43:34, as that would dip me a second below the PB of a pal from an online cricket game I play.

Got to stop setting myself such stiff targets though. Pleased with that, but not euphoric as I probably ought to be! Already thinking about the next targets instead of revelling in this one.

Shin was fine during the race, but could feel it pulling a bit as I walked back to the car. Bit of RICE action going on at the moment, before I get involved in some rice action at the curry house. 

12/05/2013 at 12:45

Bob - Well done on the PB, 2 minutes off is really impressive and sets you up nicely for the summer.

I've just got back from my 10K race and am fairly pleased. It was part off road and had some pretty nasty hills so was never a PB course. However it was the first time i have actually been in a "proper" race at the front end. At the end of the first lap there was four of us neck and neck at the front. Myself and one other managed to lose the other 2 up a steep incline and settled in for the last 3KM stride for stride. I couldn't quite take him on the last hill and I finished 2nd in a time of 38:35. My highest ever finish and a 10 minute improvement on the same race last year. Think the marathon training paid off for the hills. Going to focus on my interval training for the next few weeks ahead of my next race.

Duck - Still think your 400m times are insane, have you got a target to aim for this year?

12/05/2013 at 14:47

Howdy folks, what's happened to BR, Hilly, Prf and Curly? Leave a fair old hole!

Quick in and out for me, as I do go on elsewhere, but pleased to keep a nice run of pbs going. 12secs taken off the 5miler for a 27.44 today

12/05/2013 at 15:15

well done bob, thats a massive pb!! I did my local 10k today and my 3rd in 10 days. Extremely hilly and tough course so expectations were low after the times logged in last 2 much flatter runs. Surprisingly though it was my fastest of the 3, coming in at 41.02, my course best by 50 secs from last year as well, so kind of restored my mojo. With hindsight i felt so much more fresher during and after it as well. I dont think that can be a result of 2 weeks of the new training plan making me stronger/fitter, i think it is a result of it though in that instead of running 50 miles a week for last 2 at semi hard pace and being fatigued, other that the quality sessions, my runs have all been easy and that perhaps gave me a bit more energy today.

Anyway, racing done for 7-8 weeks, just going to train and really concentrate on getting to sub 40, which now suddenly feels more doable in that time.

12/05/2013 at 15:15

YD, actually I do those strides before hill sessions, and they work very well as a warm up.

Bob, well done on a massive PB. Enjoy the RICE/rice

Nice one, DT. It's always difficult to say exactly where improvements come from, but as long as they're coming you can't complain.

Edited: 12/05/2013 at 15:18
12/05/2013 at 15:57

Well done Bob, DT and Stevie . Duck, as a second race in a week it looks good. And some good evaluation to go with it. Times will fall eventually!

Sending well wishes to all the sick notes out there.

Bob - on my last first aid course (in Feb) we discussed RICE, and it was suggested that the C part is outdated, and you should let the area swell naturally, otherwise the swelling will stretch internally along the limb, rather than outwards.

Delamere Parkrun yesterday. For a similar PE to the last 2 weeks, a 22:33 which was a 50sec improvement on 2 weeks ago.

12.3 miles today, with no drifting of pace which has happened on my last few long ones.

I can feel the fitness coming back. I still don't think I'll be matching my times from last summer anytime soon though, but will keep plodding.

Christleton 5k on Friday will give me some training paces to use.

Edited: 12/05/2013 at 16:00
12/05/2013 at 18:19

Congrats on a great and deserved PB Bob! Impressive racing too Pittsy (nice 2nd place!), DT19 (sounds like progress there) and Stevie G (another decent PB). Also good to see you coming back into the swing on things with the Parkrun CB. Hope your feeling better Alehouse and that you can further continue with your steady running this coming week! 

Sounds like a very frustrating time YD but it will make the comeback all the more satisfying when that time comes! Same with you too Kelly.

Tempo run Friday evening in the end went ok. 6:29 m/m average for 3 miles with a mile warm up and warm down. Target pace was 6:27 so just missed that...not a bad session though in all. Followed this with a Parkrun yesterday on fairly heavy hindsight I should have done a steady run. Think I should really work on pacing more at these for the time being and perhaps be less prolific in turning up at them for a lung buster/PB each time. 

Went to Marwell, Hants today to see the 10k there (girlfriends first ever 10k race!). A very well organised good natured local event for both faster and fun runners. Was nice to watch and support rather than race for once. 

Edited: 12/05/2013 at 18:25
12/05/2013 at 20:57

Simon, YD, Duck, Kelly and alehouse - Thanks again for the thoughts and recommendations on the shoes. Have saved those off to a document to refer back to next time I'm in the market for some new wheels. Your thoughts, particularly Simon, are definitely confirming the way I've planned to go in getting more minimal with the cushioning as I go along. I might well have gone for something a little less cushioned than the Glides this time but for the recent shin problems. I do still plan to do some running in the less built up trails though - think I'll be keeping a lot of my quicker work grass based for the time being in fact, as well as trying to tackle a bigger proportion of my training runs off road in general. Hopefully that will give me a decent balance between a bit of protection on the road and in racing from the Glides whilst still getting a bit more conditioning in the legs when wearing the trails. 800 miles sounds good though Simon - comfortably going past the 500 miles shelf life I've read lots about!

CB - Thanks also for the thoughts on the compression. I was going to compress overnight and at work tomorrow, but will lay off for the time being - seemed to make progress with the initial flare up without it, and the missus is going to have a word with some of her outpatient colleagues at the hospital tomorrow to get their feedback on the issue.

Kelly - Week 7 of your chest infection? That's grim.  Glad you're now getting some improvement though. Bad news for you too, alehouse - similar to YD, that was all you needed after your other issues. Trust all is still well there?

Right - the good stuff that we're all here for!

Pittsy - Top racing there, and congrats on the 2nd place. 10 minute improvement in a year is terrific. Very motivating to hear too. If I can get a solid block of training and progress in over the next 9-12 months gives me hope I might be able to knock, say, a slightly more modest 8 minutes plus off my debut 10k time in March and be competitive at the sharp end of the V40 category in a few, at least lower key, races by next spring / summer - this is one of the longer term targets I've set for myself.

Well done to you too, DT. Fair point from Simon, but given your punishing training schedule that you're now stepping back from, your legs are bound to be fresher as a result, so I'd wager that had an effect today. In fact, I'd back you to see some big leaps in both the training times you hit in your reduced quicker sessions over the next few weeks, and then your racing times once you get back out into competition. Hopefully whilst it's perhaps held you back somewhat recently until now, you'll begin to reap the rewards of that hard training as your body gets a chance to rest, recover and adapt.

Good stuff at parkrun yesterday, CB and with the long run today - you're really beginning to step up up again now. Will look out for Christleton result with interest.

WJH - Tempo run plus a parkrun within 12 hours or so of each other?! You nutter!  Still - should be a good block of running to harden you up mentally anyway!


Edited: 12/05/2013 at 20:58
12/05/2013 at 21:00

Still waiting for the official results from today to appear on Run Britain, but looking at the PDF results on the race website, I think there might be some confusion. Was a dead heat on the gun time between the young spunker I mentioned and I, and despite him being given the nod I definitely took him on the line, and I'm pretty sure therefore that they've allocated him my chip time and vice-versa as I've got 43:36 for both gun and chip and I started several seconds back at the start line, whilst he's got a chip time of 43:33 which I'm pretty sure is more likely to be mine! OK, it's only 3 seconds, but slightly annoying nevertheless - is it considered bad form to query these things if that's how it comes out officially? Anyway, looks like I was 54th (though I say 53rd!) from 496 runners in total - seems that last year, the course ended up being 320m over distance which goes some way to explaining why it initially looked such poor quality when I reviewed the times yesterday!

Oh, and will trim one of these down over the next day or two and replace my profile pic!

And here's me (in the background) reeling in the young lad as we take the final curve towards the finish...


12/05/2013 at 21:24

BBB: well done on the PB! A few points...
-I was brought up half a mile from Abbey Park and spent a large part of my life there (football, tennis, cricket, running...and even watching showjumping!)
- The weather looks quite good from the photos...and my mother told me it had rained all day in Leicester!
- Good luck with the changing of your profile pic: if you succeed please tell me how!

Must get to Delamere when I am slightly fitter, CB, and well done to SG, Pittsy and DT: if I am ever to set another PB it will be either WAVA based or a very obscure distance!

WJH: next prostate appointment is not until late June, so won't be tempted to comment until then.

15 mins running today, so have actually run four days in a row: that was my long slow run today! Onwards and upwards!

12/05/2013 at 22:38

Bob – excellent work, 2 mins is a big chunk to take off a PB.
As for introducing racing flats, I did it by using a pair for speed sessions
(on grass at first) then races, whilst using a pair of cushioned trainers for
general usage. After a while I realised I liked the racing flats more than the cushioned trainers and started wearing them for more and more general running. Soon I was buying a 2nd pair of lightweights for training. Don’t believe the
500 mile nonsense manufacturers tell you. I have been well over a thousand on a
couple of pairs.
As for the gurn, must try harder 5/10

Excellent work on the podium Pittsy, and 10 mins off in a year, sheesh

Nice one Stevie, there is a fairly quick 5 mile race up in Newcastle in November. You have just set me a nice target time to aim for……

Good work DT, sub 40 is a big one to break, going to be interesting watch you do it.

CB it seems things are progressing nicely for you, well done on the recent improvement at parkrun.

Looks like some good training there WJH, has the GF got the bug?

Well done on the LSR Alehouse. I have always wondered about your Avatar, is that a giant bruise on your arm?

4 miles for me tonight and it felt good, breathing was a little laboured but much
improved. I have some weakness causing minor discomfort in the hip flexor area
but I think it’s curable with some additional core exercises.  One thing I noticed was that if I concentrated on my posture and pushed my hips forward the discomfort was reduced. So working on my running posture is next....

12/05/2013 at 22:41

Alehouse - Zing! Have you tried to change it recently? Mine was a trimmed JPEG and I just followed the instructions from my Profile page. Updated within a few minutes.

And yes - glorious morning, if a bit breezy for perfect running (15mph per Garmin) in Lestar as the locals, and perhaps you, say.  Going home for me too in many ways after a childhood brought up in the County and following the Foxes, Tigers and Leics CCC as mentioned on here a couple of months back. Think I 'pulled' one of my first girlfriends on a school trip in Abbey Park if memory serves in fact! Started raining shortly after getting back to Notts at about 11.30am though, and as your Mum says, it's rained all day here and probably across the entire East Mids since. 

4 days running in a row sounds good. Hope you can keep it rolling this time. 

YD - Aye - disappointed with the gurn. It wasn't close enough to the finish. Was in a world of pain by the time I hit the line - gotta be a load of bollox but the Garmin actually thinks I was doing 3:33 mile pace by the time I crossed it. Highly unlikely, but did feel like I was moving and was aware of a few 'oh great finish' type comments as the kid and I fought to get there first. What does seem more plausible is that I covered the last 0.29 miles at under 5:30 pace which is pleasing, though still suggests I need to suck it up a bit sooner!

Glad to hear you're back out there too. 

Edited: 12/05/2013 at 22:47
13/05/2013 at 10:02

Simon – Do you genuinely think P&D is crap? If so what would you use as a starting point for mara training?

Duck – I’ve got a pair of Kinvara 4s but have only worn them once after getting really sore feet the first time I used them. They feel less cushioned than my actual racing flats. I might give them another try but I doubt I could use them for bulk mileage. I do like a soft shoe rather than a firm one though so maybe that’s my issue. (My flats are lunar racers which are really soft for a racer).

Kelly – Hope you’ve finally found an antibiotic that is going to sort you out. Mega frustrating for you.

Alehouse – Hope you are feeling better. The whole thread seems under the weather at the moment...

Bob – Well done on the PB. Sounds like another good run. Can you send some PBs my way once you get bored of running them every race

Pittsy – Well done on your second place. Must have been a tough course by the sounds of it. What do you think that was worth on the flat?

DT – Looks good for a sub 40 attempt at the end of your next training block.

YD – Good to see you being able to get a bit of running in. The recovery starts here!

Reasonable week of 65 miles for me including an 18 miler on Saturday. Expect I’ll try for a 19 and a 20 as well over the next few weeks so the longer runs feel ok when I start mara training. I’ve got a relays event on Wednesday evening made up of 2 mile legs. An undulating little course which I remember feeling quite tough last year (the shorter the event the more the hills kill you!). So not one for super fast times. I ran 11.02 last year so would be good to go under 11 although in reality I’m probably still significantly less fit than this time last year.

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