"There must be some element of lactate work in every schedule and this would be in the base period too. With regard to technique mileage can alter this substantially in some runners. Their stride becomes shorter and speed becomes difficult to regain. Also injury problems occur in the type of runner when he tries to regain the speed. The whole key is to look at each runner individually."
My situation exactly! I've always liked to push the pace to the edge of comfort and do a couple quicker sessions per week. But I could only do this for two or three months before breaking down. After a long series of injuries I decided to play it safe for awhile by jogging, then gradually adding mileage, and gradually picking up the pace sometimes. My mileage got higher than before (often 90-100 miles per week, whereas previously I could only manage 65 consistently).
Results? No races even remotely as good as when my training was hard but spotty. Tremendous loss of speed, and injuries (hamstrings) when I tried to get the speed back.
Any advice about how to get back on the fast horse (minus the injuries, preferably)? Since you mentioned this syndrome in regard to other runners, I assume I won't be the only one eager to hear your answer.
The question is what made you run well with the lower mileage and 2 interval sessions ? This caused you to break down eventually and the higher mileage did not give you better results. The answer in your case would be to go back to running a lower mileage again. You should be able to run 60 again on a less intense basis. You dont need to go to the edge of comfort all the time. This time run easier in between the sessions making sure you recover. You would still need to do faster steady runs /threshold/tempo runs but treat them as sessions for which you again take recovery. 2 sessions a week is enough. Also take a planned easy week where you just run very easy every couple of months. The whole plan should be to keep consistent and adapt to what you are doing. You will find after a good while of doing this that you can increase your mileage without a problem - but gradually say by 5 miles a week for a couple of months - not a leap up to 90 or 100.
Tinman, I too have seen great success with doing only high mileage and tempo runs. But is the true reason that most distance runners have better luck with this type of training because of a higher percentage of slow twitch muscle fiber? I have often wonders as much this compared with sprinters that can run fast short reps year round.
Oh man, now I'm getting more confused than ever. I seemed to make significant improvements going from 45 to 65 mpw (17:36 down to 17:00, and many good longer races), and so I thought this summer I'd move from 65 to around 90 mpw, but stories like these make me second-guess my every run.
I get so worried that I'm doing everything wrong, since everyone seems to succeed in their own way, and I can't seem to figure out what is the best strategy for me!
Try following this simple rule for three months:
90-95% of your training should focus on your natural strengths, 5-10% of your training on your weaknesses.
Do a type of training for 4 weeks. If you feel strong by the 4th week, then it works for you. Do more of it. If it doesn't make you fitter by the 4th week, then change your training.
No matter what happens, remember, don't race in your training. That is, optimal training is not abusive training.
One of the great training challenge is that it has to play with the biological variability. It does not exists a magician formulate for the success, rather based in the absence or refuse to use the interval training or in the abundant use of that same interval training.
Each individual case that it a single unique case. The same performance is done by several runners but it´s gotten through very different capacities, and with different times of development of the maturation of that performance. It is a world of great variety and complexity, and ther´s no need that a coach it grasps itself why the runners did get that performance by formulate it as a result of the statistical registers.
The resultant inquiries of the statistics alone or relating training data to performances only serves to apply to the group, are not operational for the individual. It is therefore the good chrono results, in the competition sport, what makes each singular case very interesting and a issue of analyze focus - that´s in the study of that singular cases where I think that you have the field resource that able you to understand training more than physiology . That´s in the perspective of the practical cases what may guide us and motivates us.
Lindsay Dunn, based in his deep experiment coach experience uses in this thread a few statement conclusions that I advise you to read once again:
“….He had ran 3 interval sessions a week and his lactate tolerence was excellent but his aerobic bases was terrible….”Next year he won British 10k after 100 miles a week winter again no intervals….” - Lindsay Dunn
“…At the same time another runner in the group had done the opposite . He had ran pure mileage throughout the winter for years and had very poor lactate tolerence. He had ran 13-42 5 years prior without improvement. I had him do intervals during the winter and his 5k came down to 13-28 and he eventually won the British 10k also and went on to win an Olympic bronze at marathon…” “…Even with the runner who I mentioned above who ran no intervals - in the light of what I now know I would have included some sessions. - Lindsay Dunn
“…There must be some element of lactate work in every schedule and this would be in the base period too..” - Lindsay Dunn
“…The answer in your case would be to go back to running a lower mileage again…” - Lindsay Dunn
Lindsay conclusion is that ther´s not a single rule. How this way of thinking is distant than the “100miles formula” for everybody that a lot of people pretends that the only correct volume mileage direction.
Let´s take a look to the German Foehrenbach, R., Mader, A., Liesen, H., tail, H., Vellage, E. and Hollmann, W. then alaso includes Dr. Mader statements – some considered the gurus of the training based in the lactate test data. In the original article in German language: Laufen/Marathon - Wettkampf- und Trainingssteuerung von Marathonläuferinnen und -läufern mittels leistungsdiagnostischer Felduntersuchungen
(The need for lactate training management in the marathon training and longer distance events.)
free lanslation to the english language
Read careful the DISCUSSION in it´s item 3 - it says that 3 to 10min intervals (1000m to 3000m) are a constitutive and effective part of the Specific Lactate Training Management, as a marathon specifics - and not only continuous runs are considered LTM, intermittent training is also a good training format for the anaerobic threshold pace intensity.
As you see for Dr. Mader ther´s no contradiction in the use of interval training or don´t.
Now, lets read what Tinman – with his great contributions to all this discussion and with the merit to help us to understand that lots of times the typical (interval) training approach doesn´t works, read what he said about the use of interval training along Ron Clark career:
…”Ron Clarke was interval trained to the max as teen and burned out, but he later came back to bust many world records based upon lots of moderate to strong paced distance running, minimal amounts of ins and outs and racing to sharpen his skills….” – Tinman
According to what Ron Clark did along his career the interval training format is followed by distance running and in that last format he did all his PB´s. Or according Marius Bakken most of the kennian runners they follow the opposite training direction:
… If you want to study how the Kenyans train, you will have to divide this into two categories. One that goes “before they get into the European agents system” and one after. From the Kenyans training camps in Europe and Australia you will hear stories about incredible times on track sessions, and almost no Lactic Treshold (LT) sessions at all. It is therefore important to divide Kenyan training into two : the basetraining done in the small camps in Kenya from a very young age and the track training done in some of the larger camps for older athletes who are already good.”
“…It is in the basetraining phase LT training plays an extremely important part. My experience from training with the Kenyas, even the very young ones, is that they go right under their LT on almost all the sessions….”
“…When these athletes with the LT basetraining in the bottom starts to run well enough, European agents might recruit them. Then the training changes into being more of the running we are used to from European tracks. They can still do their regular 180 –280 km, but now the training is more interval based. Dr. Rosa who coaches Paul Tergat claims that in their group they do intervals every single day, including two-three track sessions a week. The five remaining sessions is then probably around their LT. In the Kim McDonald group, from the information Bob Kennedy and the Kenyan Francis Rop, much of the training consists of three hard track sessions a week. For long distance runners, for example one hill session of 10x300 m, one track session of 1600-1200-800-400-200 (Komen did that one in something like 3.52/2.51/1.51/52/24 at his best in Australia according to Bob) and then another track session of 400s, for example 4x5x400 m. The rest of the running is easy long runs, with only occasional LT work – approx. mileage 180 km pr week. BUT these athletes have a broad base of LT running from a very young age. In a way, this track work is only a way of getting out that base of LT running. That might also be one of the reasons why some of the Kenyans “burn out” and disappear from the European running scene – because they simply lose some of their natural LT base. …” – in Marius Bakken site.
As you see here we have 2 opposite training approaches – that one of the Kenyan runners – building a training base with continuous runs and later on when they get the top wit the use of hard interval workouts with some easy runs in between, and that one of Ron Clark or Carlos Lopes that after a first career moment that the train is based in interval training it follows a period where the interval training isn´t so important in the training context or absent.
I could go on and on with more facts that pick articles or use posts that shows that a training regime or a training direction is not write or wrong by itself. It always depend of the individual we have in front of us to coach. Consequently this is also applied to the case of interval training versus continuous runs, as well as intensity versus volume mileage.
(If you permit me I want dedicate this my post to a UK runner and friend Jerome Brooks, that comes out of an injury and that I wasn´t able to make him improve as I wish, but that the analyse of his unique individual case it helps me to come to the kind of conclusions that I express in this post)
One final word for Tinman. Keep on going. Threads like this one high up the mainstream of this site.
Why don't you follow Daniel's regime and hammer out the repetition work first this summer. Then your body will be biomechanically ready for the slower, but demanding aerobic interval work.
Typically Daniel's prescribes lots of REP work/ in addition to mileage with fully recovery during the hot summer periods before fall competition.
Maybe he can comment more.
Antonio, great contribution.
Another question I always have is how does one determine the proper type of training for an athlete. Does one do this based on previous experience, muscle type, or physiological tests?
Most coaches like Tinman eplains try one type and if the person is known to get injured on that type then tries another in hopes of better results. Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't.
But can't we come up with a better way of determining the type of training that works best for one athlete or another. Or possibly do as De Castella and many others did and touch on all types of training all the time year round. Since we all realize that consistency is the most important thing. I think working all the energy systems all the time leads to less injuries . The key is not overdoing anything.
My experience bears all this out. Unfortunately, I was too stupid to learn from it.
In high school, my coach was/is mainly a sprint coach and trained the distance runners like sprinters who ran a long way (e.g., lots of repetitions). There were barely any distance guys on our team, but he had success with some; one ran 4:16/9:22, and another guy who had run 48.8 & 1:54 was pretty good (but honestly, how could you strike out with that one?). I busted my ass, only got to 4:56 and concluded that I simply lacked any talent at all.
So I go and walk on in college just for yucks. We did more distance than when I was in HS, but it was still lots of reps and pretty damn fast on the "aerobic" milage. I put in some 100-mile weeks in the summers and had some decent XC seasons, but always peaked early and tailed off late. Indoor track followed a similar pattern except that with less time for base building in November/December I wasn't as good; outdoor track was a total disaster. So after three years of increasing frustration I quit and proceeded to put an extra 60 lb on my 5'6" frame over the next few years.
Four years ago I started running somewhat seriously again, shed some weight, and just wanted to do a marathon. I did nothing but miles and miles to prepare and managed my fastest post-college 5k a week before the marathon. Next up I decided to try for a Boston qualifier, and added only 10xmile at MP once a week in the last 2 months leading into the race. Two weeks before I got my Boston Q I ran a 5k where I averaged 50 sec/mile faster than my track workouts - literally the three fastest individual miles I had done in years.
The following summer I thought, Wow, I could really get somewhere if I did some fast track work. Two years in a row I got in great shape from lots of easy miles over the winter, ran some good 5ks from that base work alone, then hit the track hard and went backwards in races until I finally gave up and packed it in for the season. Couldn't figure it out. Duh.
So, like the 40% of the running population I described, you need minimal amounts of faster running to excel in races. Distance runs are what you need, mostly. Perhaps you could try using a template of 90-95% of your running based upon distance work and just 5-10% faster runs. The faster runs can be fast distance runs, a race, or anything that helps you improve. For example, if you run 80 miles per week, you might run a 5k or 10k race on the week or a hard distance run instead. The rest of the week do distance runs and perhaps a few 100m striders just for coordination, but with plenty of recovery between so that you don't build up acidosis.
The key is to focus week after week on the things that make you stronger. Many years ago I learned this from Al Carius, on of the best coaches the USA has had in the last 50 years. He said to me when asked what training is the most important to do: "Whatever training makes you stronger." From strength, I have learned comes speed. That is, whatever gives you strength-endurance proves 90-95% of what you personally need to succeed. For some runners, that may be intervals or reps at 3k to 10k pace a couple of times per week. For you, that may mean plenty of good distance running, some slow, some moderate, some at a strong pace.
As a general rule, whatever you can consistently do, week after week, without breaking down, is what you need most. Mike, a friend of mine in my early 20s who ran 50-60 miles per week and did intervals and reps, posting times in the 26s for 8k xcountry. At one point, he just started doing his own thing. He ran 10 milers every day, once per day, did not vary it at all. He ran moderate most of the time and some days he pushed the pace after 15 minutes, finishing quite strong. He did no track work but all of a sudden the man was running the same 8k xcountry course in the low 24 minute region, and some of those courses were quite challenging. The point is, he started doing what worked for him (practially no fast reps or intervals and only a race every 2-3 weeks as his "speedwork"). Mike became a stellar competitor, able to surge away from others at will.
Daniel's does the speed work first, during high mileage periods such as the summer.
The REPS that Daniel's refers to are mile race pace. They are usually done first to prepare the body for the biomechanical stress component of aerobic intervals.
This seems backwards to most people, but it makes a lot of sense if one is injury prone.
Thank you very much for the advice. I have enjoyed your contributions here and also on the intermittent training thread.
I intend to follow your suggestions. If you don't mind, I have a couple of questions.
Do you advocate very hard sessions (twice per week) and very easy recovery (other days)? Or moderately hard sessions, with moderately easy recovery days? Or some other combination?
Do you recommend long runs during the base phase for 5000m-miler types? If so, do they count as one of the week's two challenging sessions?
Are there any other general guidelines to keep in mind? (Say, about the reacquisition of speed, which seems to have left town and entered the witness protection program)
I know that the best answer is "find what works for you." That's what's so appealing about your posts: you seem to have the ability to figure out what each individual runner needs. But I've found it very difficult to know which lessons to draw from my own training. I don't know if that's a perspective problem, or stubbornness, or just not being bright enough. Either way, I appreciate the generous contributions of people like you, Antonio, Tinman, and Glen Grant.
Without a detailed knowlege of your background ie whether you train twice a day - whether you take a rest day - what your work situation is - plus other factors I can only generalise. For 1500 / 5k runners I think that the a long run should be a recovery run rather than a challenging session. The main objective and the starting premise is to get consistent so 2 moderate sessions would be the starting point or even one session for a while if you are still suffering niggles . Heres a good way to check your progress and its effectiveness without leaving it in training. Using a pulsewatch you can ascertain your lactate threshold without the need for any blood test. Find a flat area with access to a track which is unobstructed ie you dont have to climb walls or run through buildings or gates. Run for 20 minutes at a pace you feel corresponds to your half marathon race pace or what you feel you could maintain for that distance ie solid but well in control. Time your run to go onto the track after 8 minutes by which time your pulse will have levelled off. Run a lap of the track pressing the pulsewatch to record the laptime and pulse at the start and end of the lap. Make sure you do not pick up the pace during the lap. Keep running at the same pace until coming back onto the track at 18 minutes when you again record lap time and pulse rates. Record pulse at the end of the run 20 minutes. By analysing the results you can ascertain quite accurately what your threshold pace/pulse is. Especially if you do this a couple of times and compare the results. (Not on the same day of course !)If your lap times are the same and your pulse has gone up 2 or 3 beats at the end of the 2nd lap than the upper reading should correspond to your threshold. There are a number of things that can happen . If the 2nd lap is slower and your pulse has gone up by 3 beats or more then your threshold is lower than the upper reading . You would run it slower next time.
If your pulse is the same and the lap times are the same then your threshold is higher than the reading and you would do it a bit harder next time. This might sound messy but you will find that after doing it a few times you will see where Im coming from. Many years ago I was offered to have all my runners given blood tests to ascertain their threshold pace and the reading corresponded remarkably with my own using my pulsewatch test. One of my runners was tested a couple of months ago - a blood test - and I got him to run 4 times round a 2 lap circuit of which each lap took 6 minutes. I set the pulsewatch for the alarm to go off when his pulse reached what I had already ascertained as his threshold. Blood samples were taken at the end of each of the 6 minute periods. The readings were all in the 4 mill area which would correspond to threshold.
There can be many advantages to taking this test. On its own it is an excellent session but of probably greater benefit to someone like yourself who has a problem holding back on runs then you should use the pulsewatch . Make sure that you do not go near your threshold on recovery runs. How much below is individual but I have been suprised at the number of runners who exceed it on their supposedly easy runs.They are usually the ones eventually injured or not racing well. After you have ascertained your threshold pulse you can then do the run anywhere just setting the alarm not to exceed your threshold. You may find a course which takes you 20 - 25 minutes. Over a period of time your runs over it should get quicker at the same pulse rate.
Sorry, my writing about the lactate test should heave read 4 x 2 lap circuit where each lap took 3 minutes. So blood tests were taken after every 6 minutes. As soon as the reading was taken the run would continue . This took 30-40 seconds.
What has come out of this thread is that there are numerous ways of doing this which are effective for some and not for others. The best advice I could offer is to get a coach who knows what he or she is doing and can explain and discuss it. If you are trying to get the very best out of yourself then how can you get the time do all the research about training that you will need to do this? How can you have the experience of someone who has made coaching their goal? A coach should not be judged on the good runners he or she coaches but upon the improvement that they bring about. Look closely at their charges records. Choose very carefully as your improvement hinges on this. Are their runners always injured? Do they perform their best when it matters ? Do their runners enjoy the training ?? There are self coached champions but I feel they are few and far between.
Lindsay: You are so right about what makes a good coach. Too often layman evaluate coaches by their top runner. "Well, Johanssen coaches the number one runner in the country, so he must be a great coach." Nonsense. Some of the best coaches in our country, America, are high school coaches. Pat Tyson who coached at Mead High School in Spokane, Washington comes to mind.
For the apsiring runner, someone who wants to run faster than ever while also enjoying their sport, it important to align yourself with a coach who cares about you. A coach who only cares about runners who are fast and bring glory to the coach are worthless. A coach who appreciates you no matter how fast you run is like the teacher you had in your youth who would help you understand your homework questions without making you feel dumb, would call upon all students in the class and not play favorites, and would believe in you before you believed in yourself.
A good coach has vision and sees the bigger picture. It is important not to burn out and short-sighted overly intense training schedules do runners an injustice. It takes time to reach high levels and be able to stay there.
Sure, anyone can start doing heavy speedwork starting from day #1, but long-term progress will be absent. Like building a house, a foundation must be built.
Have you ever done the Jack Daniels format of the hard speed work (rep pace/mile pace) first, then moving to aerobic interval training?
I think Mr. Daniels has has success with this format. It makes sense if it prepares the body biomechanically to handle the muscular stress first.
What do you think?
The Daniels Formula of doing the hard speed work first works great. Its just that most distance runners dont like speed, especially not in the high intensity and volume that Dr. Daniels prescribes in the "formula".
But it does work and I had no injuries when training doing the speed work first.
There is a reason Daniels is called the World's Best Coach.