The Middle Ground

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29/04/2010 at 23:28

Rugger _Bird well done on your first  mara sounds like it went really well!! Have only trained for one half marathon and did my long runs by time rather than distance. At the time predictors indicated a sub 1.45 hour mara so I ran for two hours at  an easy pace - ended up running 1.42 - and felt good all the way. Expect it also depends what other runs you are doing.

parkrunfun definitely agree about the slow progression of miles enabling you to increase your load. Very interested in your view of wall pace. Have done a lot of my mara training at a much slower pace than what I would class as easy and will be interesting to see how this corresponds with my mara race pace. Soon have the answer to that question

Curly45 I think when marathon training the miles soon mount up - a long run and a medium long run and that can be half the weekly miles. I found my pace dropped substantially when I started increasing the mileage but by the slowing of pace i was able to build quite quickly. I am a complete advocate of the miles make champions motto. I tried lots of things to break 45 mins when I first took up running but it was when I had built up a marathon base that I made the breakthrough. Hence my incentive to train for another

Some very technical stuff on here which makes interesting reading

29/04/2010 at 23:29
Whoops 1.45 half mara
30/04/2010 at 01:38

Zion - 'Marathon Pace' is more of a technical indicator, based on your current fitness, rather than the actual time that you run for a marathon.

You would use race times at shorter distances to calculate the figure.

As a rough guide:

MP = 5K pace + 15%

MP = 10K pace + 10%

MP = HM pace + 5%

It used to be standard to refer to the relationships between paces for different distances as xx secs/mile, but it is more realistic to use percentages.

Edited: 30/04/2010 at 01:45
30/04/2010 at 08:59

I'm not a fan of the FIRST schedule - Curly's already mentioned most of the things I was going to say. You're essentially always working at a high intensity so you don't have any low-end aerobic development which is so beneficial. I wonder - if someone who's only ever trained by a FIRST schedule was asked to go run at 70% MHR, how much slower would they be? I remember reading what Mark Allen (5-time Hawaii Ironman winner) said about first starting base training - because he was so used to running at almost maximum HR during his training, he ran almost 3 min/mile slower when he first started base training because he body was so unaccustomed to burning fat.

Zion wrote (see)

Curly45 I think when marathon training the miles soon mount up - a long run and a medium long run and that can be half the weekly miles. I found my pace dropped substantially when I started increasing the mileage but by the slowing of pace i was able to build quite quickly.


This is essentially the idea of base - you run at a lower intensity (i.e. speed), which reduces your chance of injury, reduces recovery time and means you can run more miles. Over time your body adapts to the increased mileage so you can run that when adding in hard sessions. I've progressed to 65 miles pretty quickly, but I'll be reluctant to add any more mileage on this year at all.

Rugger_bird (I hope I got your name right, it's on the previous page ): you probably don't really need to go beyond 14 miles. Try, for a start, running for a set period of time (say, 2 hours) first, then going for a specific distance in your long runs. You'll have plenty time to build up to 20/22 mile runs again over the winter.

I wish I could be more specific, but your post is on the previous page and I can't remember everything you said

30/04/2010 at 09:08

Rugger_bird

Here is an article on Kenyan hills:

http://ptpin.com/2010/02/11/hill-training-kenyan-style/

I really, really dislike the FIRST schedules.  You know when you were young and there was Christmas cake.  You knew the icing tasted nice so you just picked that off - after all who wants the boring stuff when ignoring it means you can have more icing?  The thing is the cake ends up tasting like shit and you end up feeling sick.  This schedule is all icing and no cake.

Two things that are worth exploring with regards to your knees:

1)  I think hard quality training is more stressful than higher easy mileage.  It may be worth taking a couple of weeks seeing if you can run more often / further at an easy pace by ditching the quality work.  You can then judiciously add back the quality work. 

2)  See a physio recommended by runners and address the root cause.  Be very careful with your choice of physio.  Where are you based?

30/04/2010 at 09:46

I like it - there's a theme of cake analogies developing.

Usually, I find car analogies fit the bill for most running related things but cakes might just have potential.  

On the subject of the FIRST thing, sure you can reach a certain level doing just key sessions and getting the aerobic work elsewhere but there will be limited longevity to the fitness and early/lower peaking than getting the traditional runnng 'miles in the bank'. If the FIRST approach was the way to go it would have spread like wildfire by now, especially since it appeals to the large group of people whose prime aim is to look for how little they can get away with rather than how to explore their full potential.

Duckinator - I think you have hit the key failing on the head. Where is the work that develops the body's ability to use fat preferentially as a fuel source? Fat requires much higher volumes of oxygen per unit of energy expended and requires a lot of training to become more efficient - bulk miles encourage fat to pitch in to the energy mix at faster paces, thereby sparing glycogen. 

Edited: 30/04/2010 at 09:47
30/04/2010 at 10:08

parkrunfun thank you for the explanation. I've just reread your post about wall pace, done my calculations and seem to have been running alot of my miles in the this area. I have been experimenting on a few of my 16-22 mile runs by not taking any fuel on board other than water. First one was scary as I kept thinking ok 20 miles now whats going to happen - nothing. Felt tired at the end of the 22 but was able to run as normal the next day, no lasting fatigue, did this several times.  Have also been doing a faster, I suppose what I now assume would be classed as a marathon paced run the day before, per Hal Higdons recommendation, so as not to run the long run too fast.

30/04/2010 at 10:18
prf - I don't really know how cars work but I've been intimately involved in cakes for years!
30/04/2010 at 10:31

Zion -

From your explanation of how the runs felt it certainly does sound like they were in the right region re pace.

By running at the pace that the body can pretty much operate on fat alone you simply are not in danger of running out of fuel. Whereas glycogen can fuel about 20 miles of running, fat can fuel in the region of 500 miles. In other words, you will never reach the 'fat wall' because other things will fall apart first.

You may have noticed that ultra runners often eat any old crap during events, including some quite fatty foods.... thats because pretty much any food can supply energy at the rate that they need it. ( I think Alf Tupper took it a step too far with his fish and chips before the Olympic 10000m final, but we'll gloss over that one.  ).

The telling point when you do long runs at the right 'fat burning' pace is that there is no noticeable hunger afterwards, over and above what you would normally experience if you hadnt been running.

Moraghan - it sounds like you've paid rather too much attention to the carb loading phase!

Edited: 30/04/2010 at 10:33
30/04/2010 at 10:58

Good idea for a thread C45.

Like many who have been running for a few years I've followed off the shelf schedules (no RW when I first started so none of the vast advice available) read books, wrote my own schedules and all with some success.  However, it was only when RW came about that I made any real improvements. 

For my marathon pb I followed a mix of Mike Gratton and P&D with a few tweaks of my own.

I've never been good at 5k and struggle over 10k, so now am trying new things having got a coach for the first time in my running life.

Have to get back to work, but will try and read back later.

30/04/2010 at 11:07
parkrunfan thats answered one of the things that I've been wondering about. I haven't felt any more hungry than usual even though I've doubled my mileage and heard lots of other marathon trainers complaining of their increase in appetite. Have lost a bit of weight but as I don't weigh myself no idea how much, am slim anyway and not something I really think about, clothes are looser though. Seems all good then
30/04/2010 at 11:20
parkrunfan wrote (see)
The telling point when you do long runs at the right 'fat burning' pace is that there is no noticeable hunger afterwards, over and above what you would normally experience if you hadnt been running.
The problem for me being that I am ALWAYS hungry

So what HR/pace ranges would you recommend for maximum fat burning efficiency? I'm trying to do this base phase purely by heart rate, and I'm generally running between 70% and 75% MHR, for about an hour a day. I've heard this is a good rule of thumb, just wanted your two cents on it.
Edited: 30/04/2010 at 11:21
30/04/2010 at 11:36

TD - I'm sure I've read somewhere that maximum amount of fat burn (as opposed to % fat/carb ratio that the mythical 'fat-burning zone' is based on) occurs at pretty much marathon pace?  Or certainly, beyond this pace is when carb burn starts to take-off more dramatically, without the fat burning increasing significantly.  (And is obviously more stressful to be running at any kind of volume.)  So apart from obviously being race-specific training for the marathon, training at around the high-aerobic HR range of 80 - 85% should promote maximum fat burning efficiency?  And I would've thought this fits in well with your Lydiard/ HADDing or whatever it is you're doing. 

Curly - good thread.  I'll also have a read back when my head is less ale/cider fuzzled.

30/04/2010 at 11:42

Zion - You're right in the sense that, in broad terms, if you burn up 20 miles worth of fat out of the 500 available then the fat reserves have been reduced by 4%, the body has no great need to send hunger pangs to frantically replace the used fuel. However, use 20 miles worth of glycogen and thats near enough 100% depletion which needs replacing quickly, hence the hunger pangs.

Even MP + 15-20% is going to cause a good deal more hunger tham MP + 25%.

Duckinator - Cant help you with that one I'm afraid as I've never had a heart rate monitor. All I measure is the end pulse immediately after a session just so that I've got a like-for-like comparison to judge progress and spot warning signs over time.

If end pulse readings are a reasonable approximation of heart rates then I have some quite strange readings. As examples:

A 6x1000m session at just over 5K pace on Tuesday, End Pulse 134.

A short MP run yesterday, End Pulse 108

A long MP+25% run, End Pulse 80

But I know from doing lots of these sessions what they should feel like, ie perceived effort. I dont know whether I would gain from having access to HR data or whether it would confuse the issue?

You will probably find that Barnsley Runner has a lot more knowledge re training to heart rates.......

Edited: 30/04/2010 at 11:58
30/04/2010 at 11:55
PhilPub wrote (see)

TD - I'm sure I've read somewhere that maximum amount of fat burn (as opposed to % fat/carb ratio that the mythical 'fat-burning zone' is based on) occurs at pretty much marathon pace?  Or certainly, beyond this pace is when carb burn starts to take-off more dramatically, without the fat burning increasing significantly.  (And is obviously more stressful to be running at any kind of volume.)  So apart from obviously being race-specific training for the marathon, training at around the high-aerobic HR range of 80 - 85% should promote maximum fat burning efficiency?  And I would've thought this fits in well with your Lydiard/ HADDing or whatever it is you're doing. 

I think (don't quote me on this) it was Lydiard who recommended 1 weekly MP run, which would be at the higher end of the aerobic scale, as you said. I haven't heard that it's any more efficient though (or perhaps it's just been worded differently). Could you maybe try and get a link to it? I'd be interested to have a read

I agree with that being the range where carb burn starts to take off, as paces above MP is when lactic acid starts to accumulate from the breakdown of carbohydrates. So it would follow that a quicker pace than MP will burn more carbs. However the base period allows more fat to be burnt in this phase, thus contributing to a slower build up of lactic acid (which isn't really what you asked, but it's just incase anyone's interested as to the base period).

I've learnt a lot from this base period already (after only 6 weeks). I haven't included everything I've wanted to so far, which I'll factor in for my next base period: form hills, more strides/basic speed, MP runs.
30/04/2010 at 11:56
PhilPub wrote (see)

TD - I'm sure I've read somewhere that maximum amount of fat burn (as opposed to % fat/carb ratio that the mythical 'fat-burning zone' is based on) occurs at pretty much marathon pace?  Or certainly, beyond this pace is when carb burn starts to take-off more dramatically, without the fat burning increasing significantly.  (And is obviously more stressful to be running at any kind of volume.)  So apart from obviously being race-specific training for the marathon, training at around the high-aerobic HR range of 80 - 85% should promote maximum fat burning efficiency?  And I would've thought this fits in well with your Lydiard/ HADDing or whatever it is you're doing. 

Curly - good thread.  I'll also have a read back when my head is less ale/cider fuzzled.


Its a bit like a cyclist pacing a peloton, at very low speeds he can do the entire pacing all on his own and can go on for hours.

As the pace picks up, he can increase his effort and put a bigger overall contribution in but he will increasingly need help from other riders to keep the pace up.

When the pace gets really ratcheted up he will get to a point where he has to admit defeat and give the pacing duties entirely over to the faster riders.

So, yes, the marathon paced runs are critical but are very tough workouts and therefore limted in volume. It terms of developing fat burning efficiency the marathon paced runs are back to Moraghan's icing on the cake, its difficult to do much MP stuff unless you've done the MP+25% in volume first.

30/04/2010 at 12:34
parkrunfan wrote (see)
So, yes, the marathon paced runs are critical but are very tough workouts and therefore limted in volume. It terms of developing fat burning efficiency the marathon paced runs are back to Moraghan's icing on the cake, its difficult to do much MP stuff unless you've done the MP+25% in volume first.


Totally agree with that.  My post was a little fuzzy actually, just like my head!  Where I quoted 80 - 85% I didn't mean to equate this with MP effort per se.  I'd say typical marathon HR for a well trained athlete is in the region of 83 - 87% (this is based on my own experience of 83% plus what I've seen from other people).  So 80% HR for me would probably equate to around MP + 20 secs which I think would be a good pace for fat-burning without too much stress, certainly much further from icing on the cake than MP itself.  (In addition to the bread and butter <75% stuff.)

TD - to be honest the last time I remember reading about MP and fat burning was a post on the sub-3 thread from Coronium, so I couldn't give you a reference/link.  I'll check my Noakes/Daniels, etc over the weekend if I think of it. 

30/04/2010 at 12:35
...really mixing up my carb analogies there...
30/04/2010 at 12:39
What are peoples views on how quickly it is ok to increase mileage. I've been running for around 18 months and worked my way up to around 40mpw at the beginning of the year. In the last month I've been avergaing around 55mpw. I was intending to give myself a further 2 months at this mileage before steadily increasing again so I hit 70mpw by September time. Is this an appropriate timescale or too much too quickly?
30/04/2010 at 12:40

Here are fat / carb burn ratios for different %'s of vo2 max:

25% 85 /15 and you burn about 0.1 Kcal / kg / min

65%  60/40 and you burn about 0..25 Kcal / kg / min

85%  30/70 and you burn about 0.3 Kcal / kg / min

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