You've been quite clear that you haven't cut out aerobic training altogether. I was actually wondering what kind of heart rate you achieve on the elliptical trainer? And how long are your sessions? I find it hard to get into the same HR range as when running.
A question that lingers is at what race distance does the emphasis on speed endurance vs aerobic endurance start to become limiting? At some point, one would have to cut back on the speed component in order to increase volume and still allow the recovery that masters need. I would have thought that the 5K would be past that point, but for you apparently not.
Apropos your 5K story, I have been training for middle distance for the past six weeks after a Fall of training for and running a marathon. So mileage has gone from around 70 mpw to 40-45 mpw, with 2X/week speed intervals. I ran a 5K just before the marathon in 17:39 (I'm 53). I am running one tomorrow. It will be interesting to see how my time will compare.
In any event, your message about recovery has really impressed me, and I am going to try to think about that in a more systematic way.
Thanks for sharing your story. Keep it up.
|This sounds like my training|
This is similar to how I train. I am a 39 year old former college runner who has weak achilles that limit my training. In winter, I run 4-8 miles/week and cross train with "NFL Training Camp" on the Nintendo wii several days a week. I can run 30:00 for 8k and 5:10 for the mile with this training. In summer I bump up the mileage to 30 miles/week with most of the miles done pushing my twins in the baby jogger. I do short sprints/strides a couple of days a week along with a weekly time trial. By the end of the summer I can get down to 27:30 for 8k, 16:30 for 5k, and 4:45 for the mile. My college prs were 25:30, 15:10, and 4:25 off 80 miles/week. I would love to train more but my achilles can't take it.
What kind of heart rate you achieve on the elliptical trainer? And how long are your sessions? I find it hard to get into the same HR range as when running.
It's much harder to get your heart rate up on an elliptical. With good effort, I stabilize around 140bpm, which was a good number for what I was trying to accomplish on most days.
Overall, regardless of all the knowledge that existing on chat boards, in books, etc I found that there are few consensus absolutes in this sport. Lots of unproven theories and just as many moving parts.
The most effective approach for me came down to targeting each attribute (aerobic conditioning, speed, lactic tolerance, etc) individually and seeing how I could maximize each one with the least amount of effort and injury risk. Then, I ramped up the volume.
Usually that meant limiting impact and working multiple attributes in a single activity (i.e. long slow stair sessions helped to build strength and aerobic conditioning without doing Achilles/calf-killing hills). My training log is riddled with workouts like this for stairs, bikes, swimming pools, rowing machines, etc.
Good luck with your race!
In winter, I run 4-8 miles/week and cross train with "NFL Training Camp" on the Nintendo wii several days a week.
Hilarious. Actually, the Wii and Kinect have become very popular fitness platforms. I own stock in a small company named Majesco that sells Zumba (hot fitness trend) video games. They're killing it.
When you can run repeat 200s with a Wii, let me know!
|mr. Toad RIP|
We need to be clear. This system works best for middle distance! I'm afraid that the implication here is that high mileage is not necessary, even for aerobic conditioning. Not so.
If you want to excel at the 5K and up, you have to put in the road work. By his own admission, Mark ran 15:55 AFTER 18 months of racking up distance. Doesn't matter if he ran way fewer miles in the weeks/months leading up. That's called peaking.
I'd like to know in greater detail what was TRULY behind that 31 minute 10K in college.
Even more than that, it works better for middle distance guys who are heavy on the fast-twitch, such as Mark. These guys overtrain easily on heavy volume and are more prone to injury in those tyopes of programs. My guess is that in college Mark was overtrained and/or injured a fair bit, since with a 48.9 400 he should have been under 1:50/3:47. So he had a "talent reserve" in these distances that was unexplored.
My approach with these guys is to build in a lot more recovery and "down" cycles on a daily, weekly and annual basis, allowing them to get the best of both worlds.
In an injury-free world that didn't require recovery, top athletes would train 16 hours a day. That's obviously extreme, but it illustrates that recovery is the key thing that limits how much aerobic training any athlete should do.
If everyone had the healing factor of Wolverine (geeky X-Men reference), we would never get injured and super-compensate in real time. Thus, everyone could maximize their aerobic systems. In reality, we can only take so much punishment and must therefore allocate our chips accordingly to optimize the most critical attributes for our chosen event(s). Otherwise, even 400M runners would do 100 miles a week.
So, I believe Mr. Toad is correct regarding the value of high mileage. However, I disagree that my 1-minute 5K improvement was due to peaking. My volume was actually increasing...just not on the roads. I would attribute the improvement more to Coach's comments that I may have been over-trained via too much road work. Switching to the elliptical cut down on the pounding, while maintaining my aerobic conditioning, thus enabling me to do more work each week without getting injured.
Is the elliptical better than roads? In some situations, absolutely. I found myself training/racing at my best when I used the elliptical for recovery day volume. Many great 800M athletes do low-impact cross-training (bike, swim, etc). Elliptical is no different. I just favored it because it was closer to a running motion than a biking or swimming.
Of course, road work is important for muscular adaption, but how much depends on the length of your given race. Thus, depending on your race, I question how much mileage has to be done on the roads. Technology has enabled the invention of some great machines that simulate running and provide (in my opinion) superior aerobic conditioning relative to the injury risk. This of course depends on your personal risk of injury.
I hope three points were clear from the graphic in my article (http://www.fasterthanforty.com/the-irun-new-balance-mile-no-running-strikes-again/):
1. I ran 2:00 doing primarily distance and longer intervals.
2. I also ran 2:00 doing primarily strength work and faster sprints (keeping in mind that my workouts were designed to provide some aerobic conditioning -- i.e. non-stop up and down stair reps).
3. Most importantly, I ran 1:56 with the right combination of both distance and strength/sprint training.
I think Coach is dead on. As a fast-twitch guy, I responded very well to strength/sprint training. Being prone to volume-based overtraining, the elliptical provided something that the roads couldn't without negative consequences.
The combination enable me to build the speed and endurance required to optimize my natural ability.
Great thread and congrats! Since I am out of shape my self I'll ask how did you lose the first 30 pounds you mention in one of your posts before you started jogging - was that on the eliptical as well?
Hi. Sorry for the delay. Here are a couple answers:
Looks like a good schedule that adheres to some key training principles. However, there are many problem (in my opinion) with of-the-shelf training programs:
1. They don't address recovery techniques, nutrition, supplementation, weight training, drills, plyos, race prep, race technique, etc.
I was lucky to have had a superior opponent to chase and 2+ years to do so. If not for that, I would have never come to realize how many things can make a difference in reaching one's maximum potential.
As it was, I'm sure I missed a lot. That being said, what I did learn required a 500-page training log to capture.
2. They don't account for the individual characteristics of the runner (fast twitch vs. slow twitch, endurance base, etc).
That being said, I think that most runners (not most runners that come here -- I'm talking about the general population) could benefit from almost any well-constructed program. I believe yours fits the bill as an interval-specific program.
Ultimately, if you want to run your absolute best, there are no shortcuts. If you read my article, http://www.fasterthanforty.com/the-irun-new-balance-mile-no-running-strikes-again/ I say, "the real benefit came when I combined the two programs into one."
For me, on a very basic level, this came down to a combination of Snell-like training and Bompa-like strength techniques, adding the benefit of some modern technologies (like the Alter-G) and supplementation.
In my opinion, 80% (arbitrarily large number) of weight loss has to do with diet, not exercise. I was a heavy weekend drinker who ate tons of steak, packaged side dishes (with lots of butter), and cereal (among other no-nos).
Switching from beer, steak, and cereal to fruits, vegetables, steamed chicken/fish, and legumes was VERY HARD at first. Early on, I couldn't go 3 days without breaking the diet. A couple weeks later, I could. A couple weeks after that I could survive through 4 days.
After about 6 weeks, I could make it from Sunday night through Friday afternoon. I always gave myself the weekend off to do what I wanted (and still do). As it turns out, there are actually some physiological benefits to eating this way.
BTW, exercise volume helps, but my volume has dropped by about 5 hours per week and I've managed to maintain my race weight. It just required a few extra dietary tweaks, like taking it a little bit easier on the weekends.
I'll be posting more about this on FasterThanForty.com over time. If your phone plan includes free text messages, you can get free notifications by texting the words follow norunmark to 40404. You can always shut off the notifications by texting off norunmark to 40404.
Cheers & Good Luck!
Loaded question! On weekdays, I mostly eat fruits, veggies, nuts, and drink water. I usually start the day by fasting until after my noontime walk / bike ride. It's a depletion thing. The exception is after workouts when I immediately focus on getting some protein in me (Mix1, Muscle Milk Lite, or a shake with whey protein/banana/1% milk. I won't hesitate to have a little taste of chocolate or sorbet, but I'm mostly eating bird food.
It's not as bad as it sounds. You learn to become creative (i.e spinach/pineapple/apple/avocado salad or mixed veggies with chopped up soy burger). On Wednesday night, I take a break and go out for sushi or something like that. Nothing to crazy, but enough to keep me sane until Friday.
From Friday night until I go to sleep on Saturday night, I get to do anything I want. That usually means going out for steak, Italian food, Indian food, a burger, pancakes, whatever. I'll also have a glass of wine with these meals. At the movies and I won't hesitate to get popcorn, Milk Duds, and/or ice cream. That being said, I try to maintain some semblance of healthiness on the weekends.
Overall, this amounts to a feast/famine diet, which provides some nice physiological benefits.
FYI, until a few years ago, I ate tons of steak, packaged side dishes, cereal, Chinese food, ice cream, beer, etc. Making matters worse, my stomach could hold over 9 pounds of food/drink (more than anyone I know personally). Changing all that was very hard. It took six weeks before I could make it through the week without cheating. However, once I did, it became much easier. Basically, I think my whole physiology changed (I don't even like Chinese food anymore!).
If I could adjust, anyone can. The payback can't be calculated. After 45 days I felt like a new man. After that, it only got better. I feel 20 again (OK, maybe 25). Played football with a bunch of 20-somethings today and scored two long TDs. When I was 35, I didn't think that would ever happen again.
FYI, here's what I looked like AFTER losing the first 15:
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