The Middle Ground

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30/04/2010 at 16:14

I agree with this phases thing.

I started without having any idea what I was doing but there was a few of us at school at 16 who were inspired firstly by the Coe/Ovett/Cram rivalry but also by the incredible marathon talent that was around at the time.

I now cringe at some of the 'training' we did but if nothing else we had determination....I'm sure I hit the wall a few times in training, thinking it was normal to have to 'go through the pain barrier'. Anyway, the end result was a rather shambolic 4:12 marathon at 16.

There was no internet to learn from and magazines didnt teach you much, but trying to use what little logic I possessed I then got the time down to 3:30 over the next 12 months. 3 marathons, 3 painful collissions with The Wall!

I then left the marathon alone for a while to concentrate on shorter stuff. Then a few years later it struck me that for a 17 year old without a clue 3:30 wasnt at all bad.

It was then that I underwent some postal coaching by Frank Horwill and the next 3 marathons were 2:52, 2:51 and 2:48 just through putting the right building blocks into the training.

The 2:48 was actually a major disappointment as the Horwill approach had got me fitter than that, probably about 2;35 fitness, but because I felt as fit as a fiddle I stormed off at 5:04 for the first mile and was actually leading the 2nd biggest marathon in the country at the time....... not what you would call a conservative, sensible start to a marathon. A 1:18 first half was followed by a painful 1:30 second half. Just when I thought the Wall had been left behind years ago it was back with a vengeance!

But it is these experiences that really teach you how the body works and you also learn that you can quite easily leave off the mileage for a few weeks/months without harming your 'potential'.

So, for me coaching is the provision of information that I can disect and think about rather than being handed a schedule as such.

I also agree that you will after a while need something to renew your enthusiasm and that is often an extended break. Even if it feels like it is wasting some of the fitness that has been hard gained you still have to work on the principle that the body knows when it needs a longer break than usual and this will often show up as disillusionment.

Top class waffling there!!

Edited: 30/04/2010 at 16:21
30/04/2010 at 16:15
Just found this thread but I like the idea, mind if I join you all?
30/04/2010 at 16:30
Sue - only if you have succeeded persuading Kaysdee!
30/04/2010 at 16:40

Maybe, maybe.

This is all very fascinating. Hence lots of my questions on the theories behind things.
I shall lurk here, there really is a wealth of knowledge within this community. 

I'm somewhat in the middle. I like the routine of being told what to do and having a plan, but also ejoy fluidity and have great interest in the bigger picture and all the sciency bits.

PRF, track at that time in the morning? Yikes

Really good thread, Curly!

30/04/2010 at 17:00

Wow I go away one evening and...

Hello everyone!!!

Too much to comment on, but Zion - yes I run them just off my best (sshhh dont tell Moraghan but that makes them quality work and puts me at 3 a week) pb is 22:20 (done twice at different courses) but I run about 23:50 ish at the moment - my legs just will not do any more due to the track sessions so I dont push. Its a bit sad that I am still usually in the top 5 women though! 

I would rather lose another session than the parkrun - its a great place to talk over ideas with other runners among other things, but I'm really not bothered about the times atm. I ran them all through my previous marathon training as my only quality session and its a great place to go and mini taper for if you need a pace 'check'.

So enjoying my day off - had the track all to myself this avo - got a great 4 miles tempo in (up from 3 miles for the last two weeks!). I love these days when it all seems so easy

Hilly I'm interested in what your coach will have to say - I wonder if the high mileage is your double edged sword at the moment and has allowed you to take the edge off things without meaning too...

Cake - where's my cake please? 

30/04/2010 at 17:18

You would have thought that Moraghan would have baked you a cake for your birthday, wouldnt you?

Edited: 30/04/2010 at 17:19
30/04/2010 at 18:15
I dont like icing though - more of a ginger cake kind of gal...anyway about to start on the wine so who cares about cake!
30/04/2010 at 18:33

Wow, this is all getting way to indepth for a beginer like me.

Are there any good books out there that you guys feel have particularly helped you in developing the ability to write your own scedules and really understand what kind of thing you should be putting in them. Or is it all just down to experiance and experimenting with what works for you?

So from what you guys are saying if I'm only running 4 times a week only one of those sessions should really be a 'quality' work out. And if I really gradually ramp up the easy miles, maybe eventually adding extra days running, I could eventually add another days 'quality' running. Where does cross training come into all this. Is it really a big no no to try and swap an easy run for a bike ride or a session on the rower. Is it all about time on your feet?

30/04/2010 at 19:01

Sorry R_B - I meant to answer then promptly forgot...

There's nothing wrong with cross training - but its also not necessary - the best thing to get better at running is more running! If you enjoy it then thats great - keep it. Also on your knees - do you use Sorbathane insoles? If not invest in a pair - they are about £18 quid and are lifesavers!

Maybe others will have ideas too but I dont think you can go too far wrong with  Lore of Running bu Noakes and Advanced Marathoning by Pfitzinger. I know PRF has really enjoyed Charlie Speeding's book, but I havent read it yet! 

On the experience thing - some people here are very experienced - Moraghan,Hilly, Philpub, BR and PRF. The rest of us are still learning - which was kind of what this thread was all about so even if you dont feel you have stuff to add - by asking questions you are helping the rest of us learn more too! 

Regarding one quality session - my choice would be marathon paced tempo for marathoners but I could be wrong on this! Also dont forget that the key focus for your week should be the LSR - so perhaps incorporating the two  is the way forward...

30/04/2010 at 19:12

rugger_bird -

Think of it like a brain storming session where no question is too stupid. You know the sort of thing, does standing on one leg for 10 minutes before doing a track session help you go round corners better?

On second thoughts, that was supposed to be an example of a stupid question, now I'm not so sure!

On the books front, I'd agree with the Lore Of Running by Noakes and for a really sciencey approach, Peter Coe's Training Endurance Athletes is a good reference.

I think I need to go and lie down now - I'm sure I just saw a fruitcake speeding down the M62!

Edited: 30/04/2010 at 19:13
30/04/2010 at 19:24

If you can master the odd publishing decisions the absolute best book for building your own schedules etc is Run With The Best by Ray / Benson with the Coe book prf mentioned for the why.  In fact, I think RWTB is the best book out of them all.

For me, Lore Of Running poses lots of interesting theories but is a bit short of practical advice.

Jack Daniel's Running Formula is pretty straightforward but I don't like its canned approach which makes it feel too much like an internet off the shelf schedule.

30/04/2010 at 19:28

Speaking of track session s- achilles aches and I need to move out a couple of lanes of just wait for my achilles to get used to it? Its not a niggle - just a stiffness but its a bit annoying when I'm sat at my desk in work for some reason...

(I was a heelstriker and my form is still in development so it could well be poor running style)

Edited: 30/04/2010 at 19:29
30/04/2010 at 19:34

How about alternating reps between clockwise and anti-clockwise?

Perhaps not, eh, if you want to go back there again!

I'd say just monitor it, it should strengthen over time. If it persists, instead of missing track sessions altogether you could fartlek the reps, pushing hard on the straights and coasting the bends to lessen the stress?

30/04/2010 at 19:36

Yeah its usually pretty busy when I went away last week but is back again today - seems to be worse from the tempos than the interval sessions...

I like the fartlek idea if it gets worse!  

30/04/2010 at 20:22

Curly - yup I'm not on low mileage, just lower than it was, but with more specific quality work.  I'm happy for it to be this way for a while as I have no plans to do another marathon this year.  A difficult decision that even now I find myself fighting as I have this urge to do so, but just know it's not the answer this year with the illnesses I suffered at the beginning of the year.  On my run this evening, only a short run, but my legs felt strong and I've not had that feeling all year!!

BTW - on the track I warm up and cool down anti-clockwise to make sure I'm not putting pressure on one side.

30/04/2010 at 20:26

Hilly, are you sure thats the right way round? Or is it me getting confused with my clockwises and anti-clockwises?

So what are you targetting for the rest of the year and what would you say is the main difference that you're getting from the new coach?

30/04/2010 at 20:44

PRF - we'll be investigating a**e and elbow later

Interesting point you made about snail mail post with Frank Horwill (who is worth a few threads on his own)!

When things go right or wrong in a race I can come onto here (usually sub 3) and compare and contrast notes with runners of a similar ability and mentality.  I guess you did not have such a wide range of information to draw from in ye olden days;-)

Curly - I was online coached by Mr Hadd for a couple of years.  There was a lot more to his training than slow running.  He was very much into working on a runner's weaknesses and tailoring the programme week by week in the light of feedback, rather than setting a 16 week schedule.  He was the one of the best IMHO in understanding the ordinary person and was very strong on the psychological aspects as well as the physiological (that took a few retypes after a few Cobras)!

30/04/2010 at 20:56

PFR - doh!  What am I like.  Yup you're right I got a bit confused

I'm targetting 5ks and 10ks and a few track races during the summer, then going to focus on 10 miles in autumn before picking up base mileage again later in the year for London next year.  The coach is setting more specific sessions for what I'm trying to achieve which I've never done before.  This means that the training is freshened up and prevents me becoming stale.

It's remotivating me and meaning that I'm going out to run when in the last few months I would have asked `what's the point of doing this run tonight'? 

01/05/2010 at 06:24

I can't say that I'm devising my own schedules by experience - I've only been taking my running seriously for about 15 months. I found P&D's "Road Racing for Serious Runners" to be good in that it shows you what aspects of running take priority for different events - I've based my periodization around these principles.

JD's running formula is another book I have. I agree with Moraghan - it's not the best book ever but provides some interesting insight into various aspects of running - I foun the VO2 max stuff to be fascinating. 

You may be wondering why I'm up at such an ungodly hour - I just did the St Andrews May Dip - Google it 

01/05/2010 at 07:03

Well I'm up too - getting ready to pop off to a parkrun

Hilly that sounds really positive regarding your coach and the training moving forward - I think sometimes its easy to stay in the same routine of what worked last time but the body is too clever  and adapts to it so gains made on old training become minimal.

BR - sorry I dont know very much about Hadds training - it seemed that the base plan (on t'internet) was easy running but at different HRs which kind of comes back to what we were talking about a few pages back with the difference between 75% and 85% in terms of adaptation to fat burning etc!

I'm still never sure which way round I'm supposed to go on the track - I just follow other people. I'm also not sure where to start - I think I am using the 100m finish line but the bell is there too...can you tell I'm a track novice

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