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Mark Gomes
RE: 41 yr old runs 4:38 mile with "no running" training program 2/10/2012 2:45PM - in reply to Mark Gomes Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
p.s. Someone mentioned that my recent times are a remnant of my leftover aerobic capacity or the 10,000 lifetime miles I logged. I respectfully disagree for a few reasons:

1. In the first 3-months after I stopped running, my 5K time trial times worsened by over 2-minutes. That's a LOT of lost aerobic capacity in a short span.

2. A couple months ago, my time dropped from 2:06 to 2:00 in 2-weeks on nothing but a targeting non-aerobic regimen. I believe the 2:06 reflected my lost aerobic capacity, while the 2:00 reflected my quickly regained speed/strength. Keep in mind, 2:00 still isn't close to my potential (1:56 last July), but it's big jump from 2:06 in 2 weeks, no?

3. I didn't run a step for 13-years. Quite the opposite. I gained close to 50 pounds and could sooner drink 20 beers than run twenty 200s. Trust me, despite heavy incentive on a Friday night, running down to the local bar had become a struggle. I didn't even start jogging until I lost the first 30lbs. Didn't think my knees could take it. LOL.

Cheers,

Mark

______________________________________

FYI, for more info...

From 2:06 to 2:00 in 2-weeks http://tinyurl.com/6ornk7y

"No Running" on Facebook: www.facebook.com/groups/NoRunning/

I also send free text alerts to people who want to read my occasional rantings: Text FOLLOW NORUNMARK to 40404
Junk Master
RE: 41 yr old runs 4:38 mile with "no running" training program 2/10/2012 2:59PM - in reply to Mark Gomes Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Thanks for posting, Mark.

A couple questions--

Why the elliptical machine instead of slow runs or even vigorous walking?

What can you run a 10 k in?

How tall are you and how much do you weigh?

Are you on HRT?

Do you take creatine, beta-alanine, or any other supplements?
yusuf saad kamel toe
RE: 41 yr old runs 4:38 mile with "no running" training program 2/10/2012 3:29PM - in reply to Mark Gomes Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

Mark Gomes wrote:f

3. I didn't run a step for 13-years. Quite the opposite. I gained close to 50 pounds and could sooner drink 20 beers than run twenty 200s. Trust me, despite heavy incentive on a Friday night, running down to the local bar had become a struggle. I didn't even start jogging until I lost the first 30lbs. Didn't think my knees could take it. LOL.




BINGO. Almost exactly the same as Masters phenom SoCal Pete during the same period (just add cigarettes and maybe more ;)

Lesson is: 13-15 years of post-collegiate indulgence for masters supremacy!
From200mto8k
RE: 41 yr old runs 4:38 mile with "no running" training program 2/10/2012 3:31PM - in reply to Mark Gomes Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Mark,

I tend to agree with your general beliefs, especially for some of us with certain builds. I created this training program and wonder what you might think of it: http://www.letsrun.com/forum/flat_read.php?thread=4294087.

As you can see, I took a lot of heat for it. I'm going to run a couple of Masters Championships this year in the 1500m and we'll see how I do. This is my first year back running track and I figure I'll be able to hit 5:00 or maybe sub-5. Next yeat I might be able to hit closer to your times in the mile. I don't think I'll ever run 1:56 again and my hat's off to you for doing it.
Memory Lain
RE: 41 yr old runs 4:38 mile with "no running" training program 2/10/2012 3:53PM - in reply to Mark Gomes Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Mark, what were your college times?
From200mto8k
RE: 41 yr old runs 4:38 mile with "no running" training program 2/10/2012 4:07PM - in reply to Mark Gomes Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I also like the idea that other sports develop good runners. Molly Seidel was a skier. Scott Brinen from U of Wisconsin was a basketball player before he beat my freshmen school record in the 3200m. During my current comeback, playing full court basketball has been an under-appreciated/under-documented part of my running performance development. Leg press shouldn't make me faster, but it seems to. Any other examples?
Mark Gomes
RE: 41 yr old runs 4:38 mile with "no running" training program 2/10/2012 4:59PM - in reply to From200mto8k Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
OK...lots of questions! I'll answer some now and some later. Here's some background info to answer those questions:

I ran for Northeastern University, between the eras of two well-decorated American runners: Erik Nedeau (1500 Bronze at '95 Worlds -- http://tinyurl.com/7h59tkl) and Brad Schlapak ('96 U.S. XC Champ -- http://tinyurl.com/6vvgasz). My only claim to fame is having broken Brad's 1000M school record (which Nedeau kindly demolished the following year). LOL.

Age: 41
Height: 5'7"
Weight: 155

Low Weight: 135
Peak Race Weight: 150
Peak Weight: 195

PRs
400: :48.9
800: 1:52.28
1000: 2:24.50
1500: 3:53.XX
Steeple: 9:15
10K: 31:08
HJ: 5'8"
TJ: 43'8"

Masters PRs
800: 1:56.20
1500: 4:01.73
5000: 15:55

You can see that my times were good, not great. Best was the 1000M. If I ran a 10K at my Masters best, I'd probably run about 34-low. If I did it now, I'd probably die trying. LOL.

I never took supplements in high school or college. I've never done HRT (had to look it up to find out what it was!). I discovered beta alanine about 18-months ago and cycled on and off of creatine during the final 6-months of my spring 2011 training. Lots of other stuff that I can get into another time.

I was VERY careful with the supplements to make sure I was well within WADA guidelines. The last thing I needed during my "mid-life crisis" was to lose a big event for taking the wrong protein powder or something.

Brings up a good question -- how does everyone feel about creatine?

I used to be afraid of it until I did he research and realized it wasn't the Mark McGuire drug (yes, I was that dumb a couple years ago - not much better now, but a little...haha).
Mark Gomes
RE: 41 yr old runs 4:38 mile with "no running" training program 2/10/2012 6:09PM - in reply to Mark Gomes Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
p.s. The biggest challenge to me was distinguishing between the training that makes talented people run good times vs the training that makes people run to their FULL POTENTIAL. I think that was the key to coming within 4 seconds of my all-time PR at 40 years of age (1:56.2 vs 1:52.3).

In other words, if you take training advice from a 4:00 miler, are you getting great advice from someone who ran to his full ability?...or someone who should have been a 3:50 miler, but never reached his potential due to sub-optimal training?
From200mto8k
RE: 41 yr old runs 4:38 mile with "no running" training program 2/10/2012 6:30PM - in reply to Mark Gomes Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
What kind of research did you do? Many physiological studies are done on average college kids rather than on serious athletes like us. Also, studies seem to compare one type of training to a bland baseline. Because of this, it is hard to say whether 6 X 600m is better training than 2 X 1M, etc. What studies did you find that really helped you?
tigerox
RE: 41 yr old runs 4:38 mile with "no running" training program 2/10/2012 8:24PM - in reply to From200mto8k Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I think that someone with a lot of talent can pull off a pretty good mile race on low running. He is keeping himself in general shape plus doing sprints and stairs.

For those of us with less talent, it is not so easy. I am 50 and tried to cut back on volume last year. I only did 10 mi long runs instead of getting up to 15 - 20 in previous years. I did more speed work. I lost 30 seconds off my 5K time, but was able to run a decent mile for my age (in my case, 5:06). I went back up to the 15-17 mile long runs this year, and I already got my 5K time 15 sec faster than last year.

I don't like doing those longer LR's, but I am convinced they are necessary for me to run my best. Intervals, Reps, Tempo, Hills, striders, and strength training as well.
zuut alors
RE: 41 yr old runs 4:38 mile with "no running" training program 2/10/2012 8:25PM - in reply to From200mto8k Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Just want to throw in -- an injured Marty Liquori could barely run after an injury in the early 70s, and at one point ran an 8:37 two mile indoors. He'd been swimming and doing weight training focused on the legs. This I remember reading in a Sports Illustrated article on Marty back in the day.
needs a new hobby
RE: 41 yr old runs 4:38 mile with "no running" training program 2/10/2012 8:40PM - in reply to Mark Gomes Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

Mark Gomes wrote:

p.s. The biggest challenge to me was distinguishing between the training that makes talented people run good times vs the training that makes people run to their FULL POTENTIAL. I think that was the key to coming within 4 seconds of my all-time PR at 40 years of age (1:56.2 vs 1:52.3).

In other words, if you take training advice from a 4:00 miler, are you getting great advice from someone who ran to his full ability?...or someone who should have been a 3:50 miler, but never reached his potential due to sub-optimal training?


Look, a 156 800 is a great accomplishment at any age, but 40-41, while a masters age, isn't really that old (almost as old as Geb or Lagat!) and 4 seconds is a lot in the 800. So, you aren't all that old and you are not even very close to your best times.

Also, did you really just imply that you are running to your potential? Wow, the arrogance of some runners!
wishful thinking
RE: 41 yr old runs 4:38 mile with "no running" training program 2/10/2012 8:51PM - in reply to needs a new hobby Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

needs a new hobby wrote:


Mark Gomes wrote:

p.s. The biggest challenge to me was distinguishing between the training that makes talented people run good times vs the training that makes people run to their FULL POTENTIAL. I think that was the key to coming within 4 seconds of my all-time PR at 40 years of age (1:56.2 vs 1:52.3).

In other words, if you take training advice from a 4:00 miler, are you getting great advice from someone who ran to his full ability?...or someone who should have been a 3:50 miler, but never reached his potential due to sub-optimal training?


Look, a 156 800 is a great accomplishment at any age, but 40-41, while a masters age, isn't really that old (almost as old as Geb or Lagat!) and 4 seconds is a lot in the 800. So, you aren't all that old and you are not even very close to your best times.

Also, did you really just imply that you are running to your potential? Wow, the arrogance of some runners!


I'm only 38 but if I could come within 4 seconds of my 800 time when I was 22 I would be ecstatic! And I'm running 70-80 mpw still.

And read more carefully. He wasn't saying he was running to his full potential. He was asking a good question.
hbubuhiiub
RE: 41 yr old runs 4:38 mile with "no running" training program 2/11/2012 12:22AM - in reply to Mark Gomes Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

Mark Gomes wrote:
If we use the 200M runner as the baseline, we can make a hypothetical assumption that you can subtract 28% (let's round up to an even 30%) from the aerobic/anaerobic equations to determine how much time one should dedicate to the development of each system.



I think I just threw up in my mouth.
Mark Gomes
RE: 41 yr old runs 4:38 mile with "no running" training program 2/11/2012 3:10AM - in reply to hbubuhiiub Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Wishful Thinking understood what I was trying to say. I was just asking a question. I definitely wasn’t implying that I had run to my FULL potential -- I’m nowhere near smart enough to know how to induce such a result (my modest knowledge of aerobic/anaerobic systems is one of many things that would tip you off to that).

However, I do know a couple little things:

1. I worked very hard in high school and my first couple years of college. I also have reason to believe I had strong coaching. As a high schooler, I competed at a National level. At Northeastern U, both Nedeau and Schlapak flourished under the same program in which I was enrolled. This implies that I probably ran closer to my potential than not.

2. If you believe age-graded calculators, last summer’s 1:56.2 equates to a 1:49.8 lifetime PR. Yet, I only ran 1:52.3. So, even though I was never a great runner, we can still infer that something enabled me to run faster at 40 than I theoretically should have.

Of course, I’d much prefer to possess a comprehensive scientific study on the best way to train for an 800/1500. But if that existed, every question about middle-distance training would simply provide a link to that source. I can only conclude that the world’s best runners/coaches keep their secrets tight to the vest.

3. I have detailed logs and have analyzed them repeatedly with a fine-toothed comb (I’m an OCD stock analyst by trade). I can’t call anything I did scientifically significant, but there were plenty of things that stood out. When replicated, they elicited a similar result in many of my training partners. If anyone cares, great. If not, that’s fine too :^)

For 2 ½ years, I practiced every single day. Every night I spent hours reading books, message boards, and physiological studies. I also studied up on legends like Lydiard/Snell and Coe (along with less intuitive folks like Kiprotich, Bompa, Nurmi, and Zatopek). I even read Tim Noakes 900-page Lore of Running cover to cover.

All I wanted was the ideal training program to run as close to respectable as possible. I still do. Point me in the right direction and you’ll have my eternal thanks -- I’ll never have to experiment on myself again! So far, I haven’t had any luck. Everyone seems to have different opinions on what works and what doesn’t.

If I can offer any shred of value, it’s the following:

1. My performances only dipped markedly below 2:00 when I made strength / speed / explosiveness the primary objective in my training. Everything else had to fit into my schedule as best as it could.

2. Focusing on s/s/e every other day made it virtually impossible to run on the roads -- I just couldn’t recover fast enough. Thus, I turned to things like biking and elliptical machines for endurance.
I viewed the elliptical as a poor man’s Alter-G, which wasn’t produced until the Nike Oregon Project received a prototype in 2006. I wonder how Lydiard’s philosophy would have differed if he had access to that technology. Would Snell have run 100% of his 100 weekly base-training miles on the road if Alter-Gs were around back then?

FWIW, my lifetime 10K PR (31:08, decent for a half-miler) came during a summer when most of my “mileage” was done on a bike.

3. S/E every other day + non-impact aerobic work on recovery days led to the most swift / dramatic improvements for me…and more importantly, my fastest times. There were many other discussable factors involved, but this is what it came down to on a simplistic level.

If none of this is of value to you, I won’t be surprised -- there are a lot smarter people on these boards than I am. That being said, many people have made the same changes I did and experienced similarly sharp performance improvements. Thus, no matter how little I might have learned, there are at least some people benefiting from it.

To me, that’s plenty. I don’t know many runners who wouldn’t like to earn a greater reward for their hard work.

So, if anyone has any more questions, ask away…and if anyone has insight I can use, I’m happy to hear it.

Cheers,

Mark
Mark Gomes
RE: 41 yr old runs 4:38 mile with "no running" training program 2/11/2012 3:37AM - in reply to needs a new hobby Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

needs a new hobby wrote:

Look, a 156 800 is a great accomplishment at any age, but 40-41, while a masters age, isn't really that old (almost as old as Geb or Lagat!) and 4 seconds is a lot in the 800. So, you aren't all that old and you are not even very close to your best times.


I appreciate the compliment, but most 40 year olds who gave it a serious go in college don't typically run within 4 seconds of their lifetime PR in the 800M.

For example, this year's Masters World 800M Champion was barely within 5 seconds of his high school time (1:55.7 vs 1:50.8 -- and he's a coach as well as a runner).

That doesn't make me special, but it does imply that something(s) enabled me to perform better last year relative to what I accomplished 20 years ago. I'd just like to pinpoint all of those things. That way, I can use that info and pass it on to others who train like I did before figuring out how to do it better (not perfect, just better).

Any insight that enables me to stop playing guinea pig would be great. Similarly, if my experiences / data is of value to anyone here, great. Cheers!
absolutely
RE: 41 yr old runs 4:38 mile with "no running" training program 2/11/2012 12:06PM - in reply to Mark Gomes Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Mark,

Considering the general sentiment of LRC, your reception here is actually quite positive! I think what you are doing is very interesting, and no one can seriously argue with the results.

I'm not sure I agree with your logic in taking 200 m racing as the baseline for middle distance training. However, the results stand for themselves, so you may have serendipitously developed a workable system for the wrong reasons (or you could be right!).

I think what everyone has to keep in mind is that all of this is specifically meant for masters athletes.

Contrary to what your wrote, I have found plenty of writing by high level coaches on middle distance training. Almost nothing exists with the masters athlete in mind.

Clearly, there is almost no research at all on training masters runners in the middle distances. Why would there be? It is not relevant for 99% of older competitive athletes, nor for the general population (from a fitness/health point of view), Masters athletes are pretty much on their own trying to figure out middle distance training. For some of us, adapting typical training schedules works, but no doubt this is a very individual thing.

You alluded several times to the need for recovery precluding long road running. Recovery may be the key; your system sacrifices volume for recovery, which may simply be an inherent limitation for masters runners. If we could recovery like younger athletes, we could train harder like younger athletes. Not to dis your research and analysis, but I think that this might be the real reason your system works for you - its not that more running wouldn't be better if it could be tolerated, but it turns out to be better to have more recovery than more training.

Given the enormous variation in aging phenomena, masters middle distance training almost has to be a very individually tailored thing. I have tons of admiration for what you have done, and I think you have lots of good advice. Keep it up!

BTW, if we subscribe to your text feeds, how would we unsubscribe if we were to lose interest? I'm interested, but don't want to sign up unless I can opt out later (no offense, nothing lasts forever you know!).
Mark Gomes
RE: 41 yr old runs 4:38 mile with "no running" training program 2/11/2012 1:56PM - in reply to absolutely Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
You make some great points that I'll have to research further. You also nailed my thought process behind sacrificing long road running for speed/weight training.

However, even though I cut down on road work, my aerobic conditioning didn't suffer. Oddly, the opposite happened. After about 18 months of roads training, my average 5K time was clearly flat-lined in the high 16s. But then, after a stretch of cutting road mileage and ramping up the elliptical volume, I ran a 15:55 seemingly out of nowhere.

Obviously, in a vacuum 15:55 is nothing to get excited about...but the point here is how did a one-minute breakthrough occur a couple months? What was the exact physiological processes that led to this?

The obvious hypothesis is that low/non-impact activities like the elliptical are efficacious for aerobic development without a commensurate recovery requirement, thus enabling greater workout volume and/or a lower incidence of over-training. That's one of the ideas behind the the Alter-G, no?
Mark Gomes
RE: 41 yr old runs 4:38 mile with "no running" training program 2/11/2012 1:56PM - in reply to absolutely Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
You make some great points that I'll have to research further. You also nailed my thought process behind sacrificing long road running for speed/weight training.

However, even though I cut down on road work, my aerobic conditioning didn't suffer. Oddly, the opposite happened. After about 18 months of roads training, my average 5K time was clearly flat-lined in the high 16s. But then, after a stretch of cutting road mileage and ramping up the elliptical volume, I ran a 15:55 seemingly out of nowhere.

Obviously, in a vacuum 15:55 is nothing to get excited about...but the point here is how did a one-minute breakthrough occur a couple months? What was the exact physiological processes that led to this?

The obvious hypothesis is that low/non-impact activities like the elliptical are efficacious for aerobic development without a commensurate recovery requirement, thus enabling greater workout volume and/or a lower incidence of over-training. That's one of the ideas behind the the Alter-G, no?
Mark Gomes
RE: 41 yr old runs 4:38 mile with "no running" training program 2/11/2012 1:58PM - in reply to Mark Gomes Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
BTW, you can turn on and off my text alerts by texting ON @NORUNMARK or OFF @NORUNMARK to 40404. Cheers.
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