The Middle Ground

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  • MoraghanMoraghan ✭✭✭

    If you want to burn fat to lose fat obviously you have to get a pen and paper out and work out the most efficient pace / duration combination to burn the most TOTAL FAT CALORIES.

    Which, of course, is a different thing than trying to improve fat utilisation for a marathon.

  • MoraghanMoraghan ✭✭✭
    Mr Viper wrote (see)
    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?


    Mr Viper

    There are two issues here - one of intra-year increases and how they are managed and the other is how you apply the quality training to increases in mileage.  Then you have to factor in your running experience and the method you use to increase mileage.

    Although your approach seems conservative (and it is in structure) it represents a jump from 40 to 70 in one year.  If you are accompanying your training with proportional increases in quality work then I would say that's aggressive.

    If you think about a multiyear progression an experienced runner may look to increase by about 10 miles year to year.  It takes a long time to really be sure that a volume increase and quality work increase is the right thing to do.  It's not a case of what is possible, it is what is optimal and makes you quicker.  That's personal so there's no easy answer.  At the end of each season there is always the question - where and how do I progress from here? 

    Similarly, if you were to add in 2nd runs on some days (which I like to do for reasons other than mileage purposes) then I would say it is okay to increase a bit more aggressively.

    Sorry, that was just an unhelpful ramble.

  • Mr VMr V ✭✭✭

    Thanks Moraghan - very helpful. My initial feeling was that my mileage increase would all come from easy miles. I currently do two quality sessions a week, both with my club (total quality miles around 14) and I think that currently the proportion of quality miles to easy is a bit too high. By the time I reach 65-70 mpw this would be about right?

    Would you recommend adding second runs on some days then as I approach 70 mpw  (or even before?)- what is the benefit of this? I'm moving house soon so running to work would be an option to get a morning run in, in addition to an evening one. Alternatively I could fit the 70 into 6 individual runs but would this be less useful?

  • MoraghanMoraghan ✭✭✭

    Mr Viper

    I think your thinking is backwards.  If you feel your quality component is too high then reduce it - don't increase your easy mileage to justify it and make the sums work.  If I were you I'd increase volume / quality gradually and in proportion (which means at your current mileage reducing it) whilst listening to your body and see where you end up.  I doubt it will be 70, but if it is then at least you've done it methodically.

    2 runs.

    In terms of training effect (for a marathon) one a days are better than splitting it up - assuming you are recovering sufficiently.

    The reason I like 2 a days are as follows - and they have nothing to do with the goal of increasing mileage although that can be a byproduct.  But the 2 a days would be additional for a marathoner.

    1.  On quality days.  There is an Italian study that showed that percieved effort is lower in a session done 4 - 6 hours later than a run of about 30 minutes compared to no run at all prior.  Apparently the earlier run results in more production of HGH which can reduced perceived effort or perhaps actually true effort.  (A sleep of 30+ minutes also results in more HGH production by the pineal gland as well).  So the purpose of this would be to improve your quality workouts.  Anecdotally I have found a run of 2 - 3 miles sufficient and you will note many Kenyans run 3 times a day - each run seperated by 4 - 6 hours.

    2.  The day after quality days.  Renato Canova has described his research that a run the following day after a quality workout helps to reduce resting lactate levels in the blood to a level lower than if you hadn't run.  He says these should be done @ 80% of MP.

    On these days I try and maximise the time between the early run and main easy run because maximising rest and recovery is the priority.  It's important to remember that making the 2nd workout easier and maximising rest are two different things!

    * All the above assumes you are fit enough of course!

  • Edit: x-post with Moraghan. 

    *whistles* image

  • Mr VMr V ✭✭✭

    I know I should really cut the quality work a little bit at the moment. My issue is to do this I'd have to drop a club run which I enjoy  and helps alot with motivation. I guess I could drop 1 of the club runs until my mileage is a bit higher and then reintroduce at a later date.

    Moraghan when you say you doubt I'll end up at 70 do you mean it's likely to be less mileage? I think once I move house at the beginning of July I'll run into work (about 3 miles) on the days when I have a quality session in the evening and see how I get on with this.

  • There is lots of anecdotal evidence around this idea of an easy run earlier in the day before an intense workout/race.

    It can seem like you're just imagining it and just having one of those 'purple patch' days.

    Even easy runs of as much as 10 miles in the morning before an evening race seems to lead to a better performance than doing nothing beforehand.

    I seem to remember Mike Gratton running one of the fastest legs of the National 12-stage relays one afternoon after doing an am run of 22 miles! (Feel free to correct this, Mike, if you're reading image)

    However, I'm a bit stuck since I do my track sessions between 7am-8am - its a bit tricky getting the easy run in 4-6 hours earlier. Ah well, at least I get the track to myself...... image

  • I'm going to try and make do with 1 run per day for as long as possible - eke it out in terms of time/distance as much as possible before adding in more runs.

    Anyway, I've been thinking about how to tackle my 10k race. I've been prioritising quality sessions in terms of the main determinants of a 10k race. Here's what I've come up with so far:

    Priority 1: LT development (tempo runs)

    Priority 2: 10k pace development (through longer intervals of abotu 1.5 miles)

    Priority 3: VO2 max (as discussed previously, kilometre repeats at 5k pace)

    If I had longer than 10 weeks I might have focussed on each aspect for longer, but right now I have to hit what's going to make me improve the most. If I have more time next year I might do month cycles where I focus on each in turn.

  • parkrunfan wrote (see)
    Even easy runs of as much as 10 miles in the morning before an evening race seems to lead to a better performance than doing nothing beforehand.
    Is this true? I might try this before my 10k in May. But not as much as 10 miles, perhaps 2 or 3.
  • The Duckinator wrote (see)
    parkrunfan wrote (see)
    Even easy runs of as much as 10 miles in the morning before an evening race seems to lead to a better performance than doing nothing beforehand.
    Is this true? I might try this before my 10k in May. But not as much as 10 miles, perhaps 2 or 3.


    Indeed, certainly dont overdo it until you know what you can handle and how it works for you.

    And also remember that this is in addition to the 2-3 mile warm up in the hour before the race, that would typically start at easy pace and gradually build towards 10K race pace at the end.

    So you'd have something like a 12-13 mile day there.

  • Curly45 I noticed in your schedule you have a parkrun planned for Saturdays. How do you run this?Do you use it as a time trial?Or is it more a social run?

    The end of last year I did several parkruns but due to being a bit competitive I would always race them. Stopped when upping the mileage but  have now started doing them again. Question is should they not be raced especially if doing them most weeks?

  • MoraghanMoraghan ✭✭✭
    Mr Viper wrote (see)

    I know I should really cut the quality work a little bit at the moment. My issue is to do this I'd have to drop a club run which I enjoy  and helps alot with motivation. I guess I could drop 1 of the club runs until my mileage is a bit higher and then reintroduce at a later date.

    Moraghan when you say you doubt I'll end up at 70 do you mean it's likely to be less mileage? I think once I move house at the beginning of July I'll run into work (about 3 miles) on the days when I have a quality session in the evening and see how I get on with this.


    You could reduce one of the club runs in length.  If you want to keep the quality then do so - these are just guidelines anyway.  But for these discussion purposes we should endeavour to start with best practice and then adjust away from that!

    I would think it's likely to be less than 70 - purely because 0 to 70 in 18 months is a fair test of the body.  At some point you're going to have a month when everything gets slower and a bit more of a struggle - we all do and it's all part of the training process, so it's unlikely to be a smooth and linear increase in mileage.

    No doubt you could go to 100 this year and get the workouts done, but at the end of the day all this training is for performance.  If you race slower at 65 miles a week than at 55 then all the theory in the world means bugger all and you should go back to 55.  You may reach an optimal balance for 2010 and if so, stay there.  By 2011 your optimal balance will likely be higher.  What's optimal balance?  That's the art of running.

  • And that's why this thread is a great idea.

    I'm sure there is a pretty large group of 'middle ground' runners who actually enjoy the discovery/experimentation as a never ending fascinating journey.

    I think this group is pretty much uncoachable in the traditional sense of just doing what they are told because they want to ask questions, look at things from another angle, understand the logic of whats going on etc etc Its the 'What Ifs?' that are intriguing and fun and if someone has already had the same 'what if?'  and can provide some input, all the better.

    There's plenty of this type of discussion on the sub 3:00 thread but its not restricted to a certain level of performance, its more to do with the facination of wanting to test your own capabilities through experimentation.........

    Some people want to buy a shiny new car from a showroom and just put petrol in it whereas others buy a car and deconstruct it to see how it works, change parts to improve performance etc

    Whereas Moraghan would buy the shiny new car and just put petrol in but spend hours in the kitchen with his mixing bowl trying to perfect his next fruitcake.... image

  • MoraghanMoraghan ✭✭✭
    I would just make a fruitcake with wheels and an engine.  You have to think out of the box!
  • There's plenty of fruitcakes on here...image
  • A fruitcake writes...

    I think many runners go through phases.  For 4 years I was happy with my progress running lots and doing whatever sessions my club had down.  Then my progress stalled and I had a coach for 2 years to work on my marathon time.  Life circumstances then meant that it was hard to commit to the sessions he was setting so for the last 4 years I have used knowledge from my coached period and what I've picked up from forums for training purposes.

    It can be hard to tread a line between doing what you wish, honouring club commitments and sticking to a philisophically sound programme.

    Even with Hilly, I need to keep reinforcing the logic of what her coach is setting her and why she doesn't `need more miles' because that is her default training style.

  • PFR - for years I've never had coaching mainly because I find it hard to stick to what someone else tells me to do.  I've always been a mileage queen worrying that if I drop mileage I'd lose fitness.  My running has been mainly focussed on marathon training so I built up to running twice a day seven days a week with the odd day of rest when the body felt like it rather than planned in.  This worked for a long time with improvements, but the last few years I've felt tired and stale with this approach and now feel that to make further improvements I do need someone else to unlock some parts of my running that I don't seem to be able to do myself.  Besides the coach now setting my sessions I also still need BR to keep me in check as I'll sometimes say I want to go for a long runimage  What I think I'm saying in a clumsy way is that sometimes when you think you've done as much as you can by training yourself you may need to call on the expertise of a coach who may well bring a fresh approach to a stale running life.

  • lol x-post with BRimage
  • MoraghanMoraghan ✭✭✭
    If you two keep doing that your respective partners are going to start getting suspicious!
  • 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!! image

  • Just found this thread but I like the idea, mind if I join you all?image
  • MoraghanMoraghan ✭✭✭
    Sue - only if you have succeeded persuading Kaysdee!
  • Maybe, maybe. image

    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 image

    Really good thread, Curly!

  • Curly45Curly45 ✭✭✭

    Wow I go away one evening and... image

    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)...my 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 image

    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? 

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

  • Curly45Curly45 ✭✭✭
    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!
  • 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?

  • Curly45Curly45 ✭✭✭

    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...

  • 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! image

    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! image

  • MoraghanMoraghan ✭✭✭

    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.

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