The Middle Ground

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04/05/2010 at 14:18

Ditto with the 3 outcomes.

Outcome 1 is the realistic outcome - what I expect to achieve. For my last race, I was expecting 1:33 - 1:34 for the HM.

Outcome 2 is the "this is the least I will accept" outcome. If the weather's crap, or if I feel bad on the day, I'll go with this one. I took 1:36 to be my upper limit.

Outcome 3 is the "oh god, I'm on fire" outcome. When everything goes right and I feel like I could take on the world. 1:30 was my time.

As it happened, I hit my target. But I don't tend to get too specific with my target times.

04/05/2010 at 14:22

Hilly - I have thought about non watch racing actually...have done it in the past before I bought one and didnt do too badly!

Anyway - said I would report on how my session went today and woohoo is all I can say...

2 weeks ago the average pace for the 6 x 800s was 6:59 a mile  - this week I reduced the interval to 1:50 and the average pace was 6:50 - very happy indeed (obviously its not the pace you guys knock out but its moving in the right direction). The last 800 was also the fastest at 3:23 which is good because it shows I wasnt running the session eyeballs out. One leg is very slightly tired on the top though so I will keep a watch on that before the tempo on Thursday.

04/05/2010 at 14:28
Sorry cross post with Duck - I do try to do this but the problem I have is I cant work out at any one time which one I'm on - I often in shorter races give up a little effort and then realise that I miscalculated and could have been on for a pb - DOH!
04/05/2010 at 14:31

Hmm. Since I race with my Garmin, I really haven't needed to workout pace per mile in my head. But I'm not so good with maths either

04/05/2010 at 18:40

Oops sorry about the spelling on the last post.

Curly - nice improvement.  Are you setting your own sessions or following a plan? 

04/05/2010 at 20:17

Thanks Hilly! No need to apologise for poor spelling - mine is awful most of the time!

I'm following a self written plan, but with input from PRF as usual - he gives me ideas and I work them into my week. I posted an average week a while back but I do move sessions as/when and dont usually plan the distance on the easy days - I'll doing anything from 6-10 miles depending on tiredness and how the week is progressing.

For the intervals I do alternate weeks of 800s and 1mile reps - I set the paces on these (or more precisely I run to feel with a rough target per lap in mind) same for the rest - I am aiming to reduce this 1 minute over the course of the plan but that may or may not happen depending on how tough I am finding them...

Gosh sorry thats a lot of waffle

04/05/2010 at 20:30

What pace are you doing your reps at - current or prospective race pace? I've read that it's very beneficial firstly to do the reps at current pace, to allow you to improve the physiological systems necessary to run at  quicker pace in the future.

However, in the same article -this article, actually - I also read not to set aspirational times as you may be limiting yourself. So should you run all your interval sessions at your current pace, and just see how the chips fall on the day? 

04/05/2010 at 20:41

So they are set based on current 5k pace, but obviously for 3k paced reps (since I've never raced 3k) its based on the 5k - I just use that as my rough guide and see what comes out in the wash!

The idea is that they should in theory get faster but you counter that by reducing the recoveries throughout the plan. Effort should always remain the same (as you would expect). 

Todays were a touch faster than the projected 3k time for me (which is 6:52 a mile), but I'm not going to worry about it at the moment - you get good benefit from the session even if you are running it a bit too easy. I'll aim moving forward to keep them about the pace of todays, but I do tend to make jumps rather than linear improvements, so I dont mind if they get quicker even with shorter recoveries as that just demonstrates as I making more progress than planned

If the progress keeps jumping then I will re-race 5k and re-do the paces.  Thats not too difficult - just cut out the sessions for a week and have a bash at a flatish parkrun. Then I would also need to re-visit the sub 45 and think about maybe 44:30 or so, but lets not get too excited on the basis of one session eh

04/05/2010 at 20:42

Duck - if you're a consistent runner like me who knows within a few seconds what you're going to run for any particular race it's a safe bet to be able to train at current race pace (which is also very close to goal race pace as I've been running that long).

However if you're on the improvement curve like you your current pace is constantly changing, so some sense of how you feel is needed.  You should always finish a session feeling like you could have done a couple more laps at that pace (or the last few a bit faster) even though you might have had to dig very deep to do so.  The time to actually dig deep is the last 3rd of a race.  That's where they hand out pbs and medals.

04/05/2010 at 20:47

That is very true BR - I always try to run the last rep the fastest (even if by one second), but feel as if I could do another when I've stopped.

When you feel strong at the end of a race is an amazing feeling - I never thought of the reps as helping this but of course they do (doh!) in the long term, in the short term they do the exact opposite by taking all the speed out of your legs (or is that just me?)!

Edited: 04/05/2010 at 20:48
04/05/2010 at 20:51

Ok, that's good advice - I've only been running seriously for about 15 months, so I'm still on a rapid improvement curve.

What I'll do is the first "aspirational" pace session (which will be week 7 of 10 on my schedule, 4 * 1.5M @ 10k pace), I will run the repeats at 40:00 pace, and if they feel slightly easier than they should be I'll bump the pace down 5 sec/mile and try again the next week. 

It's a shame I only have 10 weeks, otherwise I would have used the first 6 weeks to become comfortable at my current pace and used the last 6 weeks to push the time target down. 

04/05/2010 at 20:57

Duck - I would always run anything (from reps to long runs) at current pace and move that week by week if needed...

With reps there is risk of injury so slightly slower than you want is fine tbh . I know Moraghan is very against aspirational paced running in marathon plans (usually because its too big a gap to bridge) - I wonder what his thoughts are for shorter distance plans?

04/05/2010 at 21:03

I suppose as you get more experienced at running you start to know what pace you could keep up for what distances. Give me a few years

I remember for my first HM I was running the last 1/4 at my aspirational pace (over a hilly course) and wondered why I was so tired the next day

04/05/2010 at 21:15

Intervals are definitely to be judged on effort rather than pace.

If you ran 6x800 @ 2:40, say, then week on week it would get easier, which is not what you're trying to achieve.

BR accurately described the effort level above - instead of trying to run intervals at 5K/10K/HM pace etc I run the intervals at the correct effort level and then let the session tell me what my 5K pace now is, not the other way around.

If you run 3x2miles (2 mins recovery) at the effort described by BR then it would approximate very closely to your current 10K pace.

4x1 mile (1 minute) would approximate your 5K pace

6x800m (1 minute) would approximate your 3K pace   etc etc

Usually you will find stepwise improvements over the first 4-6 sessions and then you'll be close to a short-term peak. It is then time to either taper for a race or just have a couple of weeks without intervals before starting another batch. Even when they're going swimmingly they are still a very stressful workout.

Edited: 04/05/2010 at 21:16
04/05/2010 at 22:16

I'm planning on 6 10k pace sessions in my schedule anyway, so I should be in peak shape right before the 10k.

With regards to stopping for a few weeks, would you start to lose the benefits, but slow, meaning when you started again you would progress like you did when you started the intervals in the beginning?

04/05/2010 at 22:22

Agree with prf and BR for most training at vo2 maxes and slower and they summed it up well.  If you find it difficult to purely use effort a race will tell you whether your fitness is improved and you qualify for new training paces.  You can also progress your paces as time passes (to hopefully mirror fitness improvements) but you have to be very careful not to jump ahead of your fitness as you would then be defeating the main purpose of the workouts.

However, I believe there are some exceptions to the "current fitness" rule:

-  Any workouts that you are doing at 1500m or faster (and sometimes 3k) with a view to racing those distances later in the year can be faster than current pace because there is a necessity to develop comfort at the faster paces from early on.  However, the very short nature of early season reps means that their purpose will change over the season - unlike 5k vo2 max reps for example.

-  Vo2 max reps when they are run as aerobic power reps.  These can be run at more aspirational paces because the focus of the workout is on the speed of the recovery portion.  In fact due to the shorter nature of the reps, it is usually better to do these at apsirational paces.

Edited: 04/05/2010 at 22:22
04/05/2010 at 22:57

Thanks for the clarification Moraghan and the elucidation prf and BR

05/05/2010 at 07:28

I think we have our 3 SSX mentors sorted out for next year

I'm doing a 5km this evening.  PRF are you doing the John Carr series?

05/05/2010 at 07:39

No, but I am in your neck of the woods - its Spencer Arms night tonight, 2nd race of 6!

Although, I'm tempted to do the 3rd race of the John Carr Series on the 19th instead of a track session.....

05/05/2010 at 12:45

That was a lot to catch up on.

Let's see... Paces.  I don't do aspirational paces except for very short distances, or on very slight declines.  I have a set of shallow slopes which I use for physiology upgrades.  One of my favourite, but rare, sessions is to use a field near the top of a hill which has a nice concave running up one side (starting steep then getting shallower), recovering by walking the diagonal, then flat out(-ish) the last slight diagonal which has a slight decline.  Rest again, run it again.  Occasionally I have to dodge sheep.  Anyway, my opinion is that a very slight decline improves the getting-used-to-running-at-speed for lowered cost.

Refuelling.  I don't refuel when running MP+25%.  Why would you?  It's supposed to be using fat as an energy source, and I can't really put on fat that quickly, from any nutrition!  Water, however, that's necessary for many processes in the body.  Though I have been interested in a number of recent articles debating the effects of training and racing close to dehydration...

Hadd - it's working for me.  There are hard sessions, and the paces are always rising.  I've recently started to add in the faster sessions, as I think you need to train everything, and all easy running eventually, over many years, converts you into an easy runner (if a fast one).  Everyone's got quotes about the ultrafit guy who ran a marathon and said it was too short.  Physiologically you need your fast-twitch fibres to recycle lactic acid, which they will do as long as you're not using them!

Hopping - plyometric exercise works to increase strength and improve form, but also increases the resilience of connective tissues, something that mustn't be forgotten once you reach a certain age...

I love these types of threads!  Well done, Curly!

Now who's got something that's just wackily out of the ordinary??

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