Training For The 'Right' Distance

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  • Moraghan

    Id like to ask you a few questions on introducing quality training and then advancing that training as Ive never had much joys with this as always gone too fast and suffered for it.

    So to be conservative after the base mileage how would you start to introduce the speed work ? I was thinking of doing 800m at MP which for me I thing would be around 8:45-9mm then 800m @ easy pace.

    The quality would start with a warmup of 2 miles and end with another 1 mile cool down for a total of 10miles

    If this felt too easy after the session and if there was no ill effects could I then increase the speed slightly for the next week of would I keep the session for the 4 week block ?

    Could I also change the 800m to 1mile reps but keep the same pace ? I know only to change 1 variable at a time image, I have learnt something

    Then after the 4 week block if everything goes well I was thinking that I could increase speed/rep length etc for that next block and monitor the outcomes. I would then rinse and repeat for 4 block cycles.

    Have I got the general idea or am I just way off the mark ?

    Also on a related note, after all the training has been done (About 6 months to my next race, England Kilomathon) how would you work out what a reasonble race pace would be ? 

    Would this be taken from how well the quality work has gone ?

    My current half pace is around 8:15mm but off weekly milages of 25-35, I know pitiful. But I am currently increasing to 50-60mpw so even with the increase in aerobic work my time should come down naturally I hope.

    I hope this isnt too much of a wall of text and doesnt hurt your eyes image but your help would be much appreciate

    Cheers

  • Hi Moraghan,

    This is an excellent thread you have started and you have offered some great advice.

    I normally like to concentrate on half marathons but I often struggle to get in alot of long runs in and much more than 40 miles.

    So am I right in thinking would probably be better off concentrating on shorter events, like the 5k and 10k and adding more quality(which I dont do at the moment)?

    Thanks 

    Ian 

  • Stevie See - in that situation I'd go longer in the evening.

    Crashtest - that approach is fine in principle, although you could probably start off with mile reps at MP as it's only really stressful when run over a prolonged period of time.  I wouldn't look to increase speed - I think the first goal would be to manage a run with a continuous section of c. 5 - 7 miles @ MP.

    I'd use an under distance race a few weeks out to come up with a target pace for the kilomathon.  Too many variables trying to work out paces from training runs (perhaps marathons excepted).

    Your goals are good - don't try and do too much soon.   Good luck.

    IanRunner - better off in terms of the most effective use of your training, yes in my opinion.  With those restrictions you'd get better results training for a shorter distance than the HM.

  • Thanks for the advise Moraghan, I'll schedule the MP sessions in gradually once my base is solidified in about another 8 weeks or so hopefully.

    Yep, Im taking the increase really easy, only increasing by 10% per week across 3 seperate runs and Im even using a heart rate monitor (running @ 75%MHR) to help keep my pace down. I did my first proper long run last Sunday (12 miles) and it was really relaxing, Monday I felt ready to go again.

  • Moraghan - You certainly have a vehement dislike for the FIRST schedule. However, I feel that the schedule has been hijaked by Runners World where it was published in an inferior form. Following the schedule in the book requires 5 x 20 runs with 2 x 18. It also requires a mid-week runs of 11 miles at MP later on in the schedule. Some of the reps are quite lengthy (try 2x3200 or 6x1200!). The schedule is not really a short-cut as it requires a minimum of 2 cross training sessions lasting at least 45 mins and strength training is also recommended. So it's not so much train less as run less!

    I realize that for many, running less misses the point, but never the less, the schedule has allowed me to remain injury free for nearly 3 years. I have run competitively for 27 years. 2 operations to my right knee almost completely brought my running to a close. The fact that I can run (albeit with relatively poor HM to M conversions) is down to the FIRST schedule.

  • Just popping in to say thank you to Moraghan for a very interesting and informative thread.  I will continue reading with interest.  I've just started using Parker's Compleat Idiot HR schedules for 10k and notice a number of similarites but will do a compare and contrast later.   Much better advice than anything I've read in RW.  image

  • iFish wrote (see)

    However, I feel that the schedule has been hijaked by Runners World where it was published in an inferior form.

    Hi iFish.  Glad to hear you're up and running safely.  Just to clarify, my comments were aimed at the FIRST schedule on the RW website - I've never looked at the book version.  I guess I shouldn't be surprised it's watered down on here - they did the same to Mike Gratton's schedules apparently.  I wonder who's to blame because FIRST must surely have paid for it to be on here.

    Hi Soup Dragon.  I think I have that book somewhere from years ago, I might take a look.

  • Moraghan - I would be very interested in your views on Parker.  Hope you still have the book.
  • Moraghan - love your introduction to this thread:

    ENJOYMENT is linked to accomplishment, proficiency and staying free.

     First we must enjoy it, and running will be what we do even when all the pbs have been achieved.

    Parkrunfan - love your comments too:

    You can race any distance based on 3 days a week training. And.. Then again you can race any distance based on zero days a week training! I know - my son does exactly that! And pays for it!!

    Moraghan - it's always hard to work out which bit comes first, whether to stay concentrating on the shorter stuff before moving up to the marathon.  My best 1500m time was 2 weeks after a marathon - it felt like 100m!!

  • Soup Dragon wrote (see)
    Moraghan - I would be very interested in your views on Parker.  Hope you still have the book.

    And I wouldnt mind your views on Lady Penelope. image

    NZChristine - We had a long debate about this on The MIddle Ground 2-3 weeks back. Concentrating on maximizing your shorter distance potential first is certainly the traditional way to go about things before moving up to the marathon. This is Moraghan's favoured approach and has produced some of the world's best.

    But there is also plenty of evidence  showing that specialising in the marathon in your early 20s, before full potential at the shorter distances has been fulfilled, can be equally effective in producing top end athletes.

    I think it comes a lot down to personal preference but to put it in context the difference in training between the two approaches is probably one quality session per week is designed differently......so hardly two ends of a spectrum. Both approaches involve getting the big miles in to produce a solid aerobic base.

    Your experience of what I call the 'Marathon Kickback' is something that most runners are unaware of, or at least dont take advantage of! Usually, it comes 3-4 weeks post marathon (so your 2 week post marathon experience was quite early) and is prime time for kicking in a PB at a shorter distance.

    Its not clear whether the effect comes from 'racing' a marathon or 'running' a marathon but I suspect most of the benefit is derived from the latter, hence the reason why many top marathon runners like to go overdistance 3-4 weeks out when training for a marathon and why I did 27.3 miles 4 weeks before this Sunday's race.

  • Moraghan wrote (see)

    In effect the practical difference most of the time in the training would be your quality sessions, the length of some of the other runs and the periphary things like drills, strides, short speed, general strength training etc, i.e. the things that actually make you faster rather than able to endure. The other major difference would be the intention and organisation of training.  

    Re, the middle ground thread - the above was my view of the difference between marathon and 5k training.  In hindsight the last sentence should have had more stress.

    We'll definitely have to agree to disagree about this statement:

    parkrunfan wrote (see)

    But there is also plenty of evidence  showing that specialising in the marathon in your early 20s, before full potential at the shorter distances has been fulfilled, can be equally effective in producing top end athletes.

     

  • We'll leave that one for the other thread!! image
  • Ha ha, good idea. image
  • Question for Moraghan.

    I know you are a 800m 1500m specialist - when and why did you run the marathon? How many have you done and will you run more of them?

    Moraghan - I think you have a remarkable ability to write exactly what you mean and that is huge when coaching on-line. You aren't face to face to people, so you can't see each other to get feed-back - so top marks to you for making things very clear!! Lots of people know what they want to be able to say but can't find the words.

    Parkrunfun - interesting - I've never heard of the term - "marathon kickback" but that is exactly what it is. I always like to fit in a short race a few weeks after a marathon - it's like a bonus, before starting training again for something else.

    The over-distance run before the marathon can be a bit of a problem - great if it works, but can just take the stuffing out of you too. We used to do a 24 mile - extremely hilly run - guess it would have been alright if it was done alone, but that is so hard, so we'd run it in a group, and if you got to that stage of hanging on just to finish it, you knew that was your marathon gone right there! When it gets hard in the marathon - you just don't want to know about it, you just don't want to keep pushing on, as you've been in that situation just a few weeks before.

    These days - I think - 26 miles for the weekend. It could be 10 on the Saturday and 16 on the Sunday. Six on the Saturday and 20 on the Sunday - or variations of this - just so in the back of your mind you know you do 26 miles most weekends without that awful feeling of going to that dark place only ventured into in the marathon! I'm 59 now, so probably going very soft, and trying to find the easy way. My best marathon was when I was 30, so did the hard yards then!
  • <blockquote class=quoteheader>NZChristine wrote (<a href='/forum/forummessages.asp?URN=3&UTN=166480&cp=4#8879007' target='_blank' rel='nofollow'>see</a>)<blockquote class=quote> Parkrunfun - interesting - I've never heard of the term - "marathon kickback" but that is exactly what it is. I always like to fit in a short race a few weeks after a marathon - it's like a bonus, before starting training again for something else. The over-distance run before the marathon can be a bit of a problem - great if it works, but can just take the stuffing out of you too. We used to do a 24 mile - extremely hilly run - guess it would have been alright if it was done alone, but that is so hard, so we'd run it in a group, and if you got to that stage of hanging on just to finish it, you knew that was your marathon gone right there! When it gets hard in the marathon - you just don't want to know about it, you just don't want to keep pushing on, as you've been in that situation just a few weeks before. These days - I think - 26 miles for the weekend. It could be 10 on the Saturday and 16 on the Sunday. Six on the Saturday and 20 on the Sunday - or variations of this - just so in the back of your mind you know you do 26 miles most weekends without that awful feeling of going to that dark place only ventured into in the marathon! I'm 59 now, so probably going very soft, and trying to find the easy way. My best marathon was when I was 30, so did the hard yards then!

    No, you wont have heard of it - I made it up!

    It just seems an appropriate phrase to describe what happens every time post marathon. image

    And you're quite right about the overdistance stuff - it needs to be done at MP+25% and be very comfortable. Anything faster is counterproductive.

  • NZC - thanks, very kind.

    I ran a marathon back in 2002.  I'd been training for the mile in the US and halfway through winter training developed respiratory problems, the net effect being that I found it impossible to do any training at vo2 max pace or faster.  I felt the only distance at which I could complet the appropriate training was the marathon so I did one.  My next one will be after I've maxed out at 5k / 10k which I'll train for when I've maxed out at all the shorter distances.

    Any decisions on Sacramento 2011 for you yet?

  • Elementary question here (have read the thread but can't see an answer) - what is considered quality pace? I've only started running again in the last three months or so but i'm doing enough mileage to start the 5k plan. My current 5k time is about 23 mins.
  • NZChristine wrote (see)
    These days - I think - 26 miles for the weekend. It could be 10 on the Saturday and 16 on the Sunday. Six on the Saturday and 20 on the Sunday - or variations of this - just so in the back of your mind you know you do 26 miles most weekends without that awful feeling of going to that dark place only ventured into in the marathon! I'm 59 now, so probably going very soft, and trying to find the easy way. My best marathon was when I was 30, so did the hard yards then!


    Strangely enough thats what i did last time out and maybe the one before  or rather when training for the last 2 marathons i didn't end up running or rather use 26 as a bare minimum

    PRF - With regards to MP+25% for easy pace would you say that for all standards as using me as an example at the moment my Marathon time wouldn't be faster than 4 hours so using 9 minutes per mile (i know its 9:09 pace) to make the sums easier would mean easy runs at 11:10 pace which is too slow for me normally operate around 10:30 pace Tried 11 min pacing before but this changes my natural gait significantly and am sure this can bring on unwanted niggles or even more

  • Moraghan - I'll see how I am after this marathon that I'm running on 31st Oct.

     I'm always in two camps. I love the 1500m, but am not fast anymore, so probably my best resutl would come from the marathon

     Most people I know that go to World Masters enter everything!!  Well, quite a few events. There is always pressure because to do so because of the team medals.

     I've never competed in a World Masters Champs, and I'm thinking about it, but will have to sort out in my head what I really want out of it.

    It will be hot I guess so not good for marathon running, so maybe skip the marathon and do the 1500m and xcountry. Certainly haven't booked anything yet. How about you?

  • This looks a good thread.

    Will read it with interest.

  • Pammie* wrote (see)
    N

    PRF - With regards to MP+25% for easy pace would you say that for all standards as using me as an example at the moment my Marathon time wouldn't be faster than 4 hours so using 9 minutes per mile (i know its 9:09 pace) to make the sums easier would mean easy runs at 11:10 pace which is too slow for me normally operate around 10:30 pace Tried 11 min pacing before but this changes my natural gait significantly and am sure this can bring on unwanted niggles or even more

    Pammie - Thats a very good question.

    The MP+25% is a figure that fits for the elites, say 5:00/mile MP equating to 6:15/mile for overdistance work and it also fits for my level at 6:30/mile leading to overdistance at 8:15-8:30.

    However, it is also probably true that this equation breaks down at some point where easy paces and race paces start to get closer together.

    The MP+25% figure is an approximation that I came up with to replicate the fastest pace that can be maintained after glycogen depletion , ie where fat is the predominant fuel source. This is the system that you are trying to stimulate to enable fat to bring more to the party during a marathon.

    That doesnt really answer your question but have you ever experienced gycogen depletion in a marathon and do you have any data to establish what pace you were able to continue at after that point?

  • parkrunfan where is this evidence that running a marathon in your early 20s get results ?

    i would say this is the opposite of what you need to do at my age. my own experience is that short term a few months of running more miles works wonders but this only works short term though. after a few months your performance plateaus by just running lots and i think most people's answer to this (running more and more and more !) is the wrong one!

    i did purely endurance running for two years and i think i went from 20.15 to 18.30 in six months but in the end it took me six month training to go from 17.15 to get under 17 minutes. i think i knocked myself out with the running because i have lost my enthusiasm for long distance now.

    when i eventually got round to start track at 23 and i met hordes of teenage boys who can run 52-55s for 400m and i was running with 14 year old kids at the 800m that could easily destroy jessica ennis. they can all run under 2.10 but most of them would not be able to run 5000m. i realise now i have a lot to do here but i would pose to do you long distance runners - how on earth do you guys expect to beat these kids. at 24 these kids in 10 years time they would be running 1.55 for the 800m and if they went up in the distance under 15 minutes for the 5000m. those who have done marathon training will never have the speed training to get anywhere near that sort of speed.

    track makes you rethink a lot what you think about training and i would say in general people who run track train a lot less for much better results. i would even go as far as to say that those who train hard on the track and later go up to long distance become unbeatable by anyone who does not run track - look at our chris thompson!

    http://www.thepowerof10.info/athletes/profile.aspx?athleteid=1606

    legend image
  • > (great username btw!)

    Not wanting to divert the thread away from Moraghan's original aim, and not wanting to repeat the same info twice, I would refer you to here:

    http://www.runnersworld.co.uk/forum/forummessages.asp?UTN=158114&URN=3&SP=&V=7&searchdate=0&cp=144&dt=4

    specifically pages 143-144 where I quoted several examples of runners who specialised in the marathon in their very early 20s and were certainly capable of 13:xx 5000s and 27:xx 10,000s .

    But I would emphasise that this was a specific debate and I'm not necessarily saying that it is a good idea as you may miss out on the opportunity to maximise your potential at the shorter distances.

    The debate was centred around if the marathon was the ultimate goal, what was the best route to achieve maximum potential at THAT distance or if indeed there was one definite favoured route. 

  • PRF

    Thanks for the reply there and there is  a lot of truth in that that the paces (Easy and MP) get closer together the further back in the pack you go

    Only done 2 marathoners but different first i hadn't done enough training to be frank had to walk/run last 8 miles my records say i got to 18 miles in 3:17 and it took me just over 2 hours to do the last 8.2 mile

    More lack of miles in legs i think than anything else and from my report i felt bad from the start but somehow didn't put me off i have the spits might blog it over on fetch for posterity as i had to hunt for it lol and don't want to clog up this thread

    2nd one was better but felt held back all the way whether that was a good thing or a bad thing i don't know

  • >

     what type of training do you mean that took you to sub-17?

     i've pretty much followed that same pathway so far, going from 20.30 to 17.30 mainly focusing on endurance running, with very little 5km specific work. I'm looking to run under 17 next year, with 5km being my main focus for 2011. Be interested in your thoughts as I prepare for winter training next month as to how I should plan it.

  • parkrunfun - those names are blasts from the past!! You're not Australian are you?

    The story comes to mind about a certain Peter Pfitzinger who came out here and ran a good marathon. He entered a 25km hilly race on one of the little islands dotted around Auckland. He had a pesky 13 year old hanging intently on him. This boy was just suited to distance running. He still is one of our best marathoners. This boy is now 35 just took out our NZ Road champs 10km yesterday. I'm sure he wouldn't have had the career in running that he has had if he had concentrated on 800m 1500m running. He probably would have given up like most youngsters just knowing that they weren't fast enough!

    On the other hand we have Rod Dixon who was a sub 4 minute miler and because of this and the way he trained he could convert that easily to a 2.08 marathon - winning New York.

    John Walker on the other hand ran 100 sub 4 minute miles and was handy up to half marathon distance but I'm pretty sure he wouldn't have wanted to run the marathon.

    Alison Roe although had plenty of speed found that her strength and stride length and the power of the mind is what found her starring in the marathon.

    It's like the thread says - we do what we do best, but the training should change too. Sometimes we need speed, sometimes it's long easy running that we need, we just have to get that right!
  • Good post Moraghan.

    I have only one question which I've never quite worked out about quality work. My favourite 2 quality sessions are hill reps and mile repeats. What sort of effort should go into these sessions?

    I have been running my mile repeats as fast as I can cope with given the total distance (6 mile loop with 4 repeats) and I'm hurting when I get to the last 100m or so of each rep. I'm guessing this would be too fast, but I've never been quite sure what would have the most benefit. I also find it difficult to back off when going fast so tend to get carried away.

    Other than that I'm going in the right direction as most of my mileage is easy work and I'm on around 35 miles/week at present with my main aim being 10k for now.

  • Jeesby - I'd class anything at marathon pace intensity and quicker as quality.  Easy is obviously not.  The bit in the middle (often called steady state) is very much an individual thing - ability, background, context, how it's incorporated etc. 

    NZC - nothing booked yet.  800m and either 400m or 1500m.  

    YRob - the hill reps completely depends on your objective for the hill session which is usually dictated by your event and / or where they fall in your overall schedule.  Sounds like a bad way of running your mile repeats to me.  I'd go for either an even pace or making each one slightly faster.  Again it depends on the point of the session and whether they hurt aerobically, mechanically and if they affect your form.  Sorry to sit on the fence!

  • Cheers Moraghan.

    Hill reps for me are more for fell training than anything else so I'm not hugely worried about them. I'm aiming for climbing ability more than anything else. I have the descents pretty nailed so I just need a bit more strength for the climbs.

    As for the mile repeats, I try for even pace but it sometimes gets affected by hills etc. so I'm going to try running them all along the same stretch next time and see if that helps. I don't think they affect my form too much (although it's hard to tell), if anything my form seems better the faster I go and I seem to have less aches and pains after a fast session then I do from a longer slower session. I'm more concerned that running them too fast might give the wrong sort of benefit.

    Thanks for that

  • Moraghan - did you watch the Commonwealth Games Women's 800m & 1500m?

    Could you believe our girl making up so much distance for the silver medal?

    Do you realise that she was a junior Great Britain rep? She came to NZ for a break from running after a string of injuries.

    Her NZ coach, who is not great with words, but has coached some of our top triathletes, comes from a Lydiard background. He spent most of his running days with people like Kevin Ryan - a 2.12 marathoner, who Barry Magee coached. Barry Magee was marathon Bronze medalist at Rome Olympics - one of Arthur's boys. Just thought you might enjoy a bit of background.

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