The Middle Ground

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  • parkrunfan wrote (see)
    In terms of fitting all the different types of session into a 7 day schedule, well you cant really - its probably better to think of all the various sessions as options rather than 'must dos' and to select what is most appropriate mix according to stage of training/target race etc. A bit like starting with all the potential ingredients that you could possibly put into a cake but you'd probably not include cherries if you wanted the target cake to look something like a Victoria Sponge. image

    Or, using 14 day cycles, rather than 7, can mix things up with a bit more variety so you might use Tuesday for a track interval session one week and then the following week go and do some Kenyan Hills. There's no one way to get it right, but plenty concensus around on basic building blocks.

    I'm planning something like this - a 2-week rotation where I hit LT and 10k pace in week A, and VO2 max and a progression run in week B. The ratio of week A to week B is 2:1.

    Example, I'm planning on doing (in the 10 week build up), A, B, A, C (recovery week), A, B, A (10M race), C, A, taper. 

    That's a rough giude - there's some easier weeks where I add in a VO2 session here and there. If anyone's interested, I'm drawing up a table right now of the 10 week plan, which I can send if anyone wants to dissect it in detail.

    Regarding quality:easy miles ratio, I'm looking at about 12-15% right now per week, on average.

    Also, hi Zion image

  • Just worked out my quality miles percentage - I average 16% over the 7 weeks where I have hard workouts (including the 10M race).

    I realised I made a big mistake earlier on - I only have 3 weeks (including taper) between my 10k race and the HM, then another 4 weeks (including taper) after that before the Kilomaton. So, the 10 week 10k programme's probably gonna bring me almost to peak, and I'll then drop most of my mileage over the next 3 weeks and make sure I stay in racing condition. A 1 week rest, then 3 more weeks of maintaining peak (including taper) before the Kilomaton.

     It's a shame the races aren't a week closer together, but up here you can only race what's put in front of you. 

  • Curly45Curly45 ✭✭✭

    Wow zion I'm even more impressed! As a woman I find the high mileage stuff really hard to get to grips to with (mostly likely due to my non sporty background)!

    I wonder does anyone else have any thoughts on mileage loads for women - we do in general seem to take high loads not as well as men...or is that just my view because I find it hard. I know PRF is very robust so can do huge mileage without injury or niggle...perhaps it is more of a background thing rather than gender?

    Re-arranged track for tomorrow as my hamstring is a bit tight in one leg and I wanted an extra days repair. Its also my birthday tomorrow so am treating myself to a month pass at the track image

  • I dont think the high mileage is a gender issue, more of a conditioning over the years scenario.

    Whether looking at short timescales, ie a few weeks, or a longer timeframe over years, increases in workload are typically done stepwise with regular pauses to allow the body to build the strength to cope with the new workload.

    A runner knocking out 80 mpw with one year of running behind them is at far greater injury risk than another runner doing exactly the same mileage but with 5 years' regular running in the bank.

    The former will almost certainly find it much harder work too due to not having a well developed capillary network and appropriate muscle training.

    At the top end, the ladies seem to be able to cope with the same mileages as the men so it is probably just a matter of patience to build that 'robustness'.

  • Curly45Curly45 ✭✭✭
    But LIz Y does distinctly less mileage than most...anyway its very tough to draw any conclusions I think because there arent enough people to provide data at the top end...
  • Hi guys,

    I'm just wondering what yuou guys think of the FIRST training schedule. http://www.runnersworld.co.uk/general/the-first-three-day-a-week-marathon-schedule/2493.html

    Just running 2 quality sessions a week and a LSR at near MP and doing two cross training sessions a week. This is what I've just finished following in order to run my first marathon in Brighton a fortnight ago. I managed to finish in 3:44 with a pretty hefty negative split so possibly could have gone faster. I was going to continue following something similar for the halfs I've got lined up in the Autumn. Possibly adding an easy run one day as well. But from reading through this thread I'm a bit worried that it's actually a really bad schedule to be following. You all seem to be agreeing that  I shouldn't be doing more than 20% as quality work. Am I better to be trying to follow a different type of schedule? Or because my weekly milage is generally no more than 30 miles (normally alot less!) will I get away with having such a high % of quality work.

     I'm just about to start writing a schedule to work towards a half at the end of Aug so could really do with a bit of advice on this before I start.

     Also when training for a half is there any benefit of running further than 14 miles or so on the Long run? I will hopefully be running another marathon next spring so am not sure whether I should be trying to keep my long run long or to be dropping it down to between 10-14miles and running it a bit faster.

     Sorry, I've only been running a year and need all the help I can get!

    Cheers.

  • Curly45Curly45 ✭✭✭

    Hi Rugger_Bird - congrats on a great first marathon time!

    I wouldnt do such a schedule, 3 days a week is not really enough to cover the basics (easy running and long run) in my opinion...let alone the problems with the long run being too much of the weekly mileage or with the total mileage being below recommended levels!

    I cant recommend a schedule because I have chosen to write my own with some steering from guys on here - if you want to go down that route I'm sure we can help image

    It seems you have some talent for running as shown by your good time so thats definitely a bonus!

    On the long run during half training - I  will run up to 20 miles on my half plan - partly to keep in marathon shape, but partly because I strongly believe in overtraining most distances building stamina for the last few miles of the race. 

    Am sure others will have thoughts too... 

  • Thanks for your reply Curly. The problem I have is my knees don't generally cope with running more than 3 or 4 times a week. Also I have to do the majority of my running on the treadmil as I have two young children. (normally manage to get outside for the long run) so if I do try and run more often as it's on the treadmil I tend to rapidly lose any motivation for it.
    I'm not really sure how on earth to construct a programme which will have the right ratio of 'quality' to easy in it off 3 or 4 runs a week.
    Could you in theory split each run into sections so you have part of each work out at a higher intensity but the majority of it at an easy intensity.
    Am I right in thinking the LSR is not counted as a part of this 20% and quality session is refering to intervals and tempo runs, hill reps etc.
    Do any of you do any form of crosstraining as part of your schedules then? And if so what kind of work outs do you do?
    Cheers.
  • PRF. What are Kenyan hills?
  • 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 questionimage

    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 anotherimage

    Some very technical stuff on here which makes interesting reading

  • Whoops 1.45 half mara image
  • 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.

  • 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 image): 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 image

  • MoraghanMoraghan ✭✭✭

    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?

  • 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.  image

    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. 

  • 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 areaimage. 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.

  • MoraghanMoraghan ✭✭✭
    prf - I don't really know how cars work but I've been intimately involved in cakes for years!
  • 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. image ).

    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! image

  • 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.

  • 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 thenimage
  • 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 image

    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.
  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭

    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.  image

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

  • 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.......

  • 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.  image

    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 readimage

    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.
  • 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.  image

    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.

  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭
    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.  image

  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭
    ...really mixing up my carb analogies there...
  • Mr VMr V ✭✭✭
    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?
  • MoraghanMoraghan ✭✭✭

    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

  • Bread and butter pudding with icing on..... might just catch on! image

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