The Middle Ground

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28/04/2010 at 16:29

So I've been thinking for a little while that there's not really a thread on here for people who train hard (5-6 days a week) and write their own schedules, but are still at the beginning of their running journey relatively speaking and are testing what things work best for them over months and years.

Surely it cant just be me? 

So I thought a place to share ideas might be good - I love to lurk on the Sub 3 Thread for example, but I'm not currently training for a marathon and I'm a lot slower than sub 3!

An idea I'm currently testing:

WP - wall pace - marathon pace + 25%, or the pace you drop to when you hit the wall, this then becomes your easy run pace so you arent putting the body under stress on easy runs.

An idea I've tested in the past:

back to back hard sessions (i.e. over successive days) - this worked really well for me in terms of times, but it did leave me very tired and prone to injury.

 So who's testing what and why? I'll do a fuller intro to my aims a bit later, but for now I'm off out for a run.

28/04/2010 at 17:08

I've been testing Hadd's method, long runs with steady HRs, for six months now and watching my paces rise and my times drop.  The next step I want to take is to test the Chinese swimming method of huge miles for a period followed by long rests - skirting overtraining - then cycling back into huge miles.  When I start this I'll let you know how it goes.  Of course, swimmers are a lot less prone to injury when doing huge mileage, so it's something I'm not going to be advising anyone else to do when running, but I'd like to see the results for myself.

A final little tweak I'd love to test is hopping endurance.  After my marathon in November I'm going to plan in a lot of hopping!!  It's also an injury risker, but again, I'd love to see the impact on running ability.

28/04/2010 at 17:30

Is that all easy running then on Hadd's training plan?

How do you cope with boredom (for want of a better word) of similar runs every day?

Interesting thoughts on overtraining - I've actually hit it once by accident - I did a 24 miler at the end of a heavy week and was beyong my best for about 3-4 weeks afterwards, but passed that point (i.e. after 4 weeks) I got a sudden rush of improvement again - now that could be from the 24 miler or from the rest...but I think its good to have a sense of where your limits are at any given point so you can find the optimal training balance.

Hopping ?? As in on one leg

28/04/2010 at 17:54

Ooh, I'm keen on joining this.

 I'm also following Hadd for now - I'm doing a 12 week base schedule before I move onto focussing for an August 10k race. Afterwards I have a HM in September, the Scottish Kilomaton in October and I'd like to finish with a 5k race at the end of the year.

 I'm currently working on an overview for the rest of the year with races, potential finishing times/paces and mesocycles where I'm focussing on various races. I can post it later on if anyone's interested.

Taking the long term view, I'm looking at stepping back and focussing on 5k & 10k races next year.

28/04/2010 at 18:39

Sounds interesting Duck - I've seen a few of your posts around the last few days and have found them insightful and thoughtful - so please do join and post your thoughts!

Cycles ohhh - I've been working on periodisation as mentioned by Moraghan a while back (am currently in a speedwork period) but mine are slightly longer than the 6 weeks he recommends as I find improvements for me happen slowly, but I havent really thought about cycles of training as yet. 

28/04/2010 at 19:19

Thanks - I'm still young but I've learnt quite a lot in the past few months.

I'm not really planning on basing my cycles around specific parts of training, I'm more basing my cycles on whatever race I have at the end of the period (each race specific period is about 7 weeks).

 This is what I've drawn up so far. Each mesocycle finishes with a race on roughly the final day. 

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Race Priorities - 2010

  • 5k - Edinburgh Park-run (Mid-December). A.

  • 5k - Aberdeen Beach (June 3rd). C. (I'm pacing a 19:30 runner)
  • 10k - Forfar 10k (August 15th). A.

  • 10k - Aberdeen 10k (May 23rd). B. (This is more to see how well base training has benefitted me)
  • 10 Mile - Ballater (25th July). B. (Can just become a long tempo workout if need be)

  • Half Marathon – Moray (5th September). A.

  • Kilomaton – Edinburgh (3rd October). A

An "A" Priority race is one that is my main goal for the period. A "B" Priority is one I'm taking semi-seriously, but don't mind if I have to run slower/duck out. The 5k in June, as it says, I'm pacing at, so I'll be running pretty much bang on 19:30. So it's not a "race" as such.

I'm yet to find a suitable 5k race to run in the late year (seeing as I'm in Scotland, there are much less racs) so I might just have to do a parkrun in Edinburgh (I'm in Fife, so not far to travel) to do a 5k time.

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 Pace Goals – 2010

  • 5k – 18:45 – 6:00/mile

  • 10k – 40:00 – 6:26/mile

  • 10 Mile – 1:06:30 – 6:39/mile

  • Half Marathon – 1:29 – 6:47/mile

  • Kilomaton – 1:53 – 6:55/mile

  These are the times (and the respective paces) I'd like to achieve by the end of the year.

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Training cycles

39 week cycle until last 5k opportunity.

Mesocycle I: Weeks 1 - 11 (11 wks, to June 6th): Base training. Build to 65mpw. 10/5k races (Aberdeen).

Mesocycle II: Weeks 12 - 19 (7 wks, to August 15th): 10M (Ballater)/10k (Forfar) mesocycle.

Mesocycle III: Weeks 20 - 28 (8 wks, to October 3rd): HM/Kilomaton mesocycle.

Mesocycle IV: Weeks 29 - 30 (2 wks, to October 17th): Rest/recuperation. Can be just 1 week if 5k date is changed.

Mesocycle V: Weeks 31 - 39 (8 wks, to December 19th): 5k mesocycle. Could be 1 or 2 weeks shorter depending on date.

 The last two mesocycles lenghts all depend on when I decide to run the 5k. If the weather's good I'll leave it until the last possible moment before Christmas.

I'm still working on the key workouts for each cycle. If you've got any input I'm keen to hear it.

EDIT: For some reason the formatting's been included in the text. Just ignore it, I copied/pasted this out of a Word document.

 
Edited: 28/04/2010 at 19:21
28/04/2010 at 19:31

Wow very interesting - I havent gone so far as to plan a year yet...but I'm impressed by your targets - just to be clear what are your current pbs and training breakdown for the 11wks you're in now - is it all easy running?

Also the 10k target seems slightly softer than the others... Mcmillian would suggest a 38:57 from an 18:45 - obviously the A target is in August so a few months before the A 5k so it depends what shape you will be in by then.

Because in a sense you are training through the first two cycles to get the distance required for the 3rd it should be interesting to see the breakdown of sessions - I'm sure Moraghan would also have input here. 

28/04/2010 at 19:40

Okay so mine is nothing so long term as yet...

Current pbs:

5k 22:20 (hilly)
10k 46:26
10 mile 1:19:20 (undulating)

Older pbs not so good:
marathon 4:31
half 1:56

So the first target is a sub 45 10k - I'm entered for the Penny Lane 10k on 4th July, until then my training looks like:
Mon - rest/easy mileage
Tues - interval session - either 3 x 1mile or 6 x 800m all with 2 minute recoveries, decreasing to 1 minute over the course of the plan, mile reps at 5k pace, 800s at 3k pace
Weds - 10k easy
Thurs - MP tempo session at track, up to about 6 miles
Fri - Rest/easy miles
Sat - jog round a parkrun
Sun - long run, 16 miles but one 20 every 4 weeks

Usual mileage is around 45-50 but I'll do varying amounts depending on tiredness. I always have one rest day which is usually Friday, but sometimes I have Mondays instead of/as well as depending on how the long run goes. 

After this period I'll see how close to target I am at the race...if I reach it I'll aim for a 1:40 half at Amsterdam in October and if I dont I'll aim for 1:45ish, but I havent thought too much about that plan in detail yet. 

28/04/2010 at 19:52

I've found Mcmillan to be a bit aggeressive regarding race times - I'm going to train for a 40:00 and if I seem to be progressing faster than I can change my target if necessary. There's a possibility of a December 10k in Aberdeen so I might have another bite at the cherry.

 It's good that I'm focusing on the 10k first - from what I've heard/seen, 10k/10M running ties in quite nicely with a HM so the two should help each other. The kilomaton's not a main focus, but seeing as it's a month after the HM I'm gonna race it properly, though I don't think I'll race another one. 

Basically, Hadd recommends running at around 75% MHR for about an hour a day to stimulate michrondia (I think this is how it's spelt) growth - this corresponds with about 8:30/mile pace on a good day so I do about 7 miles per day. I do strides to keep the basic speed (but I admit I keep forgetting to do them). 

When I get to Mesocycle II I'm gonna factor in the hard sessions and base the mileage around them. I think Moraghan mentioned somewhere that the weekly mileage comes from the hard training you do, not the other way around. Or something similar to that. 

The only real reliable time indicator I have is the 1:33 HM I did 6 weeks ago. The last 10k I ran was in snow (the previous before that was this time last year), and I haven't raced a 5k in almost a year.  As guestimates, I'd say 41:00 for the 10k and about 19:30 for the 5k. The pacing's gonna be interesting...

Anyway, enough about me. 

I had a look at your idea of 'wall pace' - surely the pace you can run at when you hit the wall isn't predictable - couldn't it can vary depending on when, and how hard, you hit the wall? I would think practising a refulling strategy until you can recite it in your sleep might be a better idea. 

As for the back-to-back session, you've said it yourself. I also learnt that the hard way last year

Edit: x-post. My blabbing means I missed your post. I should be doing some readings right now... nah

Edited: 28/04/2010 at 20:02
28/04/2010 at 20:11

You're doing Amsterdam? Ooh - I bet that's got some nice PB potential

The interval sessions for a 10k race is something I think about the most - they need to be long enough to ensure you get primed for the 10k distance, but short enough to give you the speed. It's difficult because it works across a wide range of paces - from 5k up to HM sometimes. You need a good balance of VO2 max and LT to perform well at the distance, which is what makes it so difficult I suppose. 

Something I'm considering trying is VO2 max intervals (I like 5 minute repetitions at 3k pace) every 3 weeks, with intervals at 10k pace (something like 4 * 1.5m) the other two weeks, for a small microcycle in the large mesocycle. 

My reasoning is that the 10k pace workouts are almost race distance, so you'll get used to running 10k pace on tired legs. They'll work LT as well, and hopefully VO2 max. The dedicated VO2 max session every so often can be used also to help in the last mile or so. 

This is probably the interval workouts I'm going to attempt for mesocycle II - the other hard session being tempo runs. I'd like to run them longer but slower (45 mins at current HM pace, perhaps) but I'm still working on those workouts. 

Edited: 28/04/2010 at 20:12
28/04/2010 at 20:12

Ah well its not my idea - I stole it from Parkrunfan - he's hit the wall a few times and the corresponding drop off time (i.e. the pace at which the body can rapidly switch to fat burning) seems to be about MP + 25% - basically its a run that burns mostly fat and is low stress - I've probably put too much into it calling it WP - but I wanted a way to explain it as not a normal 'easy' run because I've been guilty in the past of running 'easy' way too hard!

I find Mcmillan fine at the lower end, less acurrate at the marathon level, but thats because of the unknown stuff - he works on a perfect conversion formula I think so its the 'if you have trained perfectly for your distance' kind of prediction. Also another good tool is to look up those around you in races on the power of ten website - thats a nice guidline through different form and development!

I think your targets look pretty good - as you say you can see how the pacing race goes and readjust if necessary! If its very easy you might want to pop back the week after and get a true time to work from...

28/04/2010 at 20:18

Yes true on the VO2 max stuff - although in theory the 800s should do it for me - currently I reckon they arent (the pace is very slightly off)...

Moraghan recommends doing less volume at 3k pace than at 5k - so just remember that one - hes most likely right, but I am trying to offset with the recoveries (because of course there is more recovery in a 6 x 800 than a 3 x1).

45 mins at HMP is pretty tough stuff I reckon, I wonder about breaking it into 2 sections with an easy section in between perhaps?

28/04/2010 at 20:26
Curly45 wrote (see)

Ah well its not my idea - I stole it from Parkrunfan - he's hit the wall a few times and the corresponding drop off time (i.e. the pace at which the body can rapidly switch to fat burning) seems to be about MP + 25% - basically its a run that burns mostly fat and is low stress - I've probably put too much into it calling it WP - but I wanted a way to explain it as not a normal 'easy' run because I've been guilty in the past of running 'easy' way too hard!

Interesting. I've never run a marathon so I can't comment on hitting the wall, but the first thing that hit me is that that MP + 25% seems to correspond with a very slow run of about 70% MHR, which is totally aerobic and - as you said - burns fat.

Curly45 wrote (see)

Moraghan recommends doing less volume at 3k pace than at 5k - so just remember that one - hes most likely right, but I am trying to offset with the recoveries (because of course there is more recovery in a 6 x 800 than a 3 x1).


 That's a good point regarding the volume - I was thinking 5 x 5 minute segments, which now seems a bit too much if I'm doing it at 3k pace. Do you think doing it at 5k pace would be a better option?

Curly45 wrote (see)
45 mins at HMP is pretty tough stuff I reckon, I wonder about breaking it into 2 sections with an easy section in between perhaps?

 Hmm. Like I said, tempo runs are the one thing I'm not too sure how to go about. I'm not a big fan of the 20 minute steady run at tempo pace, however for what I'm aiming for to begin with (the 10k and 10M) it might be the best option, and leave the HM pace stuff until after the 10k.

 What's your tempo track session like? Is it repeats or something similar?

Edited: 28/04/2010 at 20:27
28/04/2010 at 20:38

Great idea for a thread - plus you've managed to pull off a training discussion without someone saying "who cares" which is no mean feat.

A few things (some in my defence ):

-  Hopping is essentially basic plyometrics so isn't as strange as it first appears.  I hope you'll report back Ratzer and perhaps progress it into some more dynamic plyos.

-  I don't recommend 6 weeks as a rule - that was probably a response to a particular situation.  Your periods can be anything really (my base was in 3 parts, each of 9 weeks).  It is quite a good idea to modulate your training every 4 weeks or so.  So you may well do 4 weeks of form hills / MP runs and then 4 weeks of hilly fartlek / MP to tempo progressive.  So you have 8 weeks with a particular emphasis but you are constantly challenging the body in slightly different ways while staying in the spirit of the phase.

-  I'm the other way round!  I think consistent easy mileage earns you the right to the quality work.  I would prefer an increase in easy mileage, hold it to see if you tolerate it and then increasing the quality work as a result.  (That word - proportion again).

-  As you will all be doing multipace training over the year, I find it useful to set a table of volumes by pace for quality workouts (decreasing, i.e. more volume at MP than 3k) for a period of time (a yr for experienced athletes, less for newer athletes who are making the quick gains).  Then within this you can change the recoveries / rep length etc in a manner that allows progression and challenge.  This also helps you with a long term (i.e. multiyear) approach to mileage and quality work progression.

28/04/2010 at 20:39

My tempo is a 3 mile track session (building each week) at MP pace (which is roughly about 8 mins/mile for me)...I do a 3 mile warm-up where I run there and 3 miles warm down.

Eventually I hope to get it to 6 miles but will happily cut it at 5 - MP work should be reasonable short in 10k plans I think...when I go up to the half plan I'll do MP sections in the long run rather than exclusive tempo session I think

28/04/2010 at 20:40

Fyi - I do 5 * 800m @ 3k pace for a 3k vo2 max, but I have poor natural endurance.  It's easy to do too much volume in vo2 max sessions.

It also seems that women find the 3k vo2 max sessions easier than men - so I would lean towards the 5k pace stuff.

Edited: 28/04/2010 at 20:41
28/04/2010 at 20:42

xp oh goody I was hoping you'd pop in

I will digest and come back - your stuff is very technical (in a good way!) so I often have to talk it through with prf to make sense of it! 

28/04/2010 at 20:51

Very interesting points as always.

Unfortunately right now I'm almost 6 weeks of 11 into my base (with no sessions like form hills or progression runs, which I now know I should have been doing) so it might be a bit late to include the sessions now - the lack of hills in Fife makes it difficult to do hills from the off! Having said that it's something I will put serious consideration into next base phase.

 I'm currently at the point where I'm doing 65 mile weeks with no noticable fatigue - although I do have Monday where I run very easily (about 1 min/mile slower than normal) as recovery. I reckon I'll add no more, or very little, mileage this year from now on.

I'm a little confused with the last part - what do you mean by "volumes by pace" - does that mean setting the amount by time?

Also (finally!) - you reccomend I do the VO2 no faster than 5k pace? A session like 5 * 1,000m @ 5k pace perhaps?
Edited: 28/04/2010 at 20:51
28/04/2010 at 21:04

The duckinator

I think you should do both 5k and 3k vo2 max sessions, but more of the former than the latter.  5 * 1000m is a good session.

A session I did today was 1200@5k / 1000m@4k / 2 * 800m@3k / 1000m@4k / 1200@5k.  So you can mix them up aswell.

For 2010 I will try and do the following volume in one session for each pace (I haven't included all of them):

MP: 7.5m

Tempo: 4m

1500m: 2400m

So if I want a progression over time within a tempo session it might go 4 * 1m, 2 * 2m, 1 * 4m.  (bit basic!).  You can also show progression by reducing recoveries or running them more quickly - that's goes hand in hand with the pace progression which will come from improving race times.

What I won't do it progress by suddenly doing 5m @ tempo.  However, next year my tempo pace volume may well be 5miles reflecting a greater overall weekly volume and another year of running under my belt.  A newer runner may increase those volumes every 6 months etc.

Edited: 28/04/2010 at 21:06
28/04/2010 at 21:06

The MP+25% is a figure I use for the bulk miles in a marathon training plan.

For me this is the 'sweet spot' that generates maximum benefit.

When I had a MP of 6:00/mile the bulk of my miles was at or around 7:30/mile. I incorrectly termed this MP+90 secs and as such have made the mistake on my current journey back into marathon running of doing MP+90secs work when in fact for a MP of 7:00/mile, the bulk stuff should be done at MP+105secs.

By doing the bulk miles too quickly leads to a watering down of the key sessions.

Where does the 25% figure come from? Well, as with all sessions, you should understand the purpose of what you're trying to achieve before you walk out of the door. As far as I'm concerned the bulk miles are there to develop the muscle capillary networks, increase the size and volume of mitochondria and generally train your body to preferentially use fat as a fuel source.

As Curly says, it makes sense to me that this pace should be right on the money of where the body can run fastest when glycogen runs out, ie after hitting the wall. Typically if you hit the wall you know about it and will experience a horrible transition period lasting something like 1-1.5 miles after which a new equilibrium kicks into play whereby the body stabilises at the maximum pace it can manage on the fuel source available (ie mostly fat). Luckily I kept enough old training info to establish that this 'post wall' pace was consistently at MP+25% on the 3 occassions when I suffered it. Being naive and young didnt help the learning curve but thankfully I havent hit the wall in that way since I was 18!

There is a common theme in less successful marathon campaigns, including some of my own, of running the steady miles too quickly and as such reducing the effect of the training and making it harder work into the bargain. 

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